Brilliant(!) analysis at American Spectator.
So what drives them? The great St. Louis University historian James Hitchcock summed it up nicely in an essay, "The Root of American Violence." "What has happened," Hitchcock wrote, "has been the abandonment of politics, or it annihilation, in favor of public and organized forms of therapy. Emphasis is
less and less on the general material needs of the citizens, with which the state has some possibility of coping, and more and more on the formerly private, personal, and subjective aspect of lives, which the state is expected, somehow, to respond to in symbolically comforting ways. What the New Left primarily
accomplished was to establish a particular style of public discourse which enables emotionally frustrated people to express themselves in cathartic ways."
The best examination of the problem of resentment came in the 1914 book Ressentiment (the French spelling is in the original) by Max Scheler. Scheler, a forgotten genius, was a philosopher whose work influenced the future John Paul
According to Scheler, resentment is "an incurable, persistent feeling of hating and despising" that happens in certain people due to certain "psychic, mental, social, or physical impotencies, disadvantages, weakness or deficiencies of various kinds." It's less about social problems than mental illness.
James Hitchcock, interpreting Scheler, broke it down further: Resentment, he wrote, is about moral values themselves. It was the role of certain people, whether through mental problems or some other disadvantage, to hate the idea of morality itself. This is why resentment is incurable, and different from hatred or jealousy. If you're jealous of your neighbors sports car, you get over it when you by your own. If you resent him because he's a Christian -- well, there's really nowhere to go with that, other than to this year's protest march. It's also why resenters can't forge a coherent philosophy. If you're problem is with the natural law and morality itself, you're not going to be happy in this life.
Yes, yes, we all know Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman et al hate Bush, the war, etc. But what are they for? The world may never know.