Why is the supposedly egalitarian left so snobby?

Snobbery is not confined to any party or faction, of course. What seems far more common on the Left, though, is the need to find some inert, subjugated, grateful mass to champion. At first, that mass was supposed to be the industrialised proletariat. But, when working people were enfranchised, they often turned out to have troublingly conservative opinions. The needy politicians then turned to immigrants and other minorities. Annoyingly for them, some of these groups were equally unwilling to play the part allotted to them. So Lefties began to cast the net wider, searching for people who could be relied on not to contradict the official line: oppressed colonials, Palestinians, black South Africans. Sadly, these groups, too, refused to be either unconditionally grateful or politically correct.

I sometimes wonder whether political neediness explains the popularity of the animal rights movement: here, finally, is a constituency that can be relied on never to gainsay its self-proclaimed champions. Passive, predictable and in need of protection, animals are the perfect political prop.

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