We despised and lionized the working class by turn, and always patronized them... Working class people recognized that they were being trashed and fought back.This is all interesting stuff - and I do find the central idea (that "anyone can, and should, be a liberal 'intellectual'") quite attractive - but I'd like to hear a bit more about precisely how we are to entice the working class to adopt our culture. I am especially skeptical of the suggestion that the problem is with our motivation: I would have thought that most liberals would be overjoyed to see more people "repudiate fundamentalism" - the difficulty is in convincing them to do so! We can open the door as wide as we like, it won't do any good if nobody wants to walk through it.
[As a solution,] I would favor genocide--cultural rather than material. We could let them in and by doing that dismantle their culture--we could wipe out the working class by assimilation. If, as the author suggests, class has become a matter of ethos rather than economics then anyone can join the elite. Ideas are free: anyone can, and should, be a liberal "intellectual."
But we excluded the working class by romanticizing their "culture" and despising their religion, by adopting passes and signs to keep them out and by consuming positional goods to set ourselves apart from them. We despised their food preferences and body fat, their fundamentalism, their leisure activities, their grammar and the little boxes made of ticky-tacky in which they lived because those were the things that set them off from us and gave us claim to elite status. We didn't want them to slim down, repudiate fundamentalism, speak grammatically or develop a preference for microbrews over Budweiser because then our status symbols would be tarnished: there's no point in eating whole grains or practicing Wicca if everyone else is.
The question of how middle-class liberals should relate to working class culture is a tricky one. Should we respect their (conservative) values? Try to convert them to ours? Is education the key? Is assimilation or multi-culturalism preferable? I'd be very interested to hear others' thoughts on this issue.