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The View From Mount Olympus

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The view from Mount Olympus is said to be spectacular, but few have ever seen it. Head up past the former homes of long dead movie stars and you can look down from the Hollywood Hills on WeHo’s gay nightlife and Russian restaurants, along with much of the rest of L.A.

With names like Hercules Dr, Zeus Dr, Apollo Dr, Jupiter Dr, and, of course, Mt. Olympus Dr, it’s truly a hangout for any gods with twenty million to spare. Reported celebrity residents and owners of the gated community with 24/7 security include Leonardo DiCaprio, Katy Perry, and Harrison Ford, but even more importantly here is the Ross House, a 13,000 square foot modernist monster, where Hollywood studios hold intimate receptions, screenings and award parties for the small club of those who are famous or can help make them even more famous.

The Ross House of Mt. Olympus is usually a brief entry in industry publications, but it embodies the vast gulf between how people down in L.A. live and how those who decide their fates do.

While Los Angeles has become a crime-ridden hellhole, Mt. Olympus, like many well-off neighborhoods in the area, enjoys private security patrols so that someone is always watching. The celebrities who come and go from private parties at exclusive locations like the Ross House have their own security and studios provide security for their events. In Greek myth, Mt. Olympus may have been difficult for mortals to reach, but the Los Angeles development has a regular commuter class of illegal alien maids, cleaners and gardeners, as well as security.

“The wealthy elite of Mount Olympus are some of the wealthiest and most influential people in all of Los Angeles,” one real estate agent gushes and that may be overstating it, but the 400 or so homes and the 800 or so residents of this Hollywood Hills enclave do live apart from the rest.

As do many of the immortals of the Hollywood Hills where crime is rare and junkies don’t sleep on the streets. And when crime does happen, even the most pro-crime prosecutors are much more responsive to the needs of those on high than to the troubles of those down below.

Every city has its class divides, but the heights of Mt. Olympus and its neighbors in the ‘Hills’ are a divide not only in geographic distance, but topological territory. To pause for a moment at a reception for an Oscar winner at Ross House and cast a brief gaze down below to where street level retail is vanishing and angry hobos roam the streets stabbing people is to be above it all.

Socialism is not an ideology of street-level social reformers, but of aspiring gods who look down and imagine moving people around like so many toys until everything fits perfectly. To be down on the street is to know that there is no perfection and that nothing will ever fit. And that all we have are the imperfect solutions of common sense and whatever character we can wrest from the chaos and technological tricks we can use to stay one step ahead of the entropy horizon.

Hollywood, the people who pretend to tell our stories, play with toys in an industry of them. There are the white roofs of the studios, the large prop rental facilities and a backlot of fake streets on which fake lives will be portrayed and fake lives depicted. And then after playtime is over, the men and women will drive up the narrow winding canyon roads along streets named for old legends, past the Greystone Mansion, where an oil tycoon’s murder-suicide inspired the movie ‘There Will Be Blood’, and where everything from Batman to Star Trek was filmed, to their estates up in the sky. Is it any wonder that they’re socialists? How could they be anything else.

The view from Mt. Olympus is not nearly as glorious as the Alps or the Rockies if what you value in life is natural beauty, but if what you love is power, then the twinkling fairy lights of the Los Angeles landscape, the long roads and the endless springtime are ideological ambrosia.

Leftist politics are one part perpetual outrage, two parts magical thinking and four parts pagan godhood. The old days when powerful men could pretend to be gods were dashed by religion and then democracy. Until socialism, wealth bought you only so many privileges. Now it buys you the privilege of looking down and toying with the less well off in the name of social justice.

It doesn’t take much to toy with the really poor, but the genius of leftist politics is that the wildly rich can use it to grind down poorer rivals and aspiring members of the middle class. California’s upward mobility was turned upside down when success was more than just buying a mansion in one of the nicer parts of town, but moving uphill to rain misery on everyone down below.

California’s social justice class is even more effete than in most other places. Gov. Gavin Newsom carries vineyard country wherever he goes. The DSA socialists drive six figure cars when they go to protest for the homeless or Hamas.  And their parents benevolently gaze down at them from Mt. Olympus: proud of how much Oliver and Sophia care about the ‘big’ issues.

Radicals are not made out of the molten metal of oppression but poured out of the golden crucible of prosperity. It isn’t the mobs rising up from the streets, but descending down from pricey prep schools like Harvard Westlake where the children of celebrities and their financial planners with few real skills go on to study gender theory at UCLA or USC in between shopping trips to hip boutiques on Rodeo Drive and protests around Grand Park.

The mediocre elites of Mt. Olympus have their McMansion versailles not despite their socialism, but because of it. Stockbrokers call for the redistribution of wealth, doctors demand that medicine be socialized, and celebrities champion the rise of the working man. Up in the sky, idealism seems more real than common sense and reality is for the lesser folks below.

The immortals may have to descend from Mt. Olympus to shop at Trader Joe’s (if they choose not to Instacart their order) where there are bums in the alley and tent encampments under the underpass, but a return to the heights also restores a sense of the rightness of things. In Manhattan, a liberal who had been mugged might become a conservative, but in the nicer parts of Los Angeles County, the liberal drives past the chaos, and escapes that sense of vulnerability by retreating to gated communities and estates policed by heavily armed private security.

It’s vulnerability that makes conservatives out of liberal immortals. Not just a mugging, but mortality in whatever form it comes whether it’s financial reverses, government abuses or just the passage of time. Leftist politics, like casinos and crypto, only work in a cloud of unreality. When reality touches our souls, then the impossible makes way for the realities of life.

What happens to a liberal who never gets mugged? He becomes an idiot immortal, living outside reality, convinced that everyone else could live that way too if only they voted like him.

Southern California is uniquely insulated from those realities. This is where the seasons do not change and time does not pass. Even as the cities decay and the suburbs empty out to Florida and Nevada, the immortals look down from the heights and believe that nothing has changed. Until one day they look down to find that there is nothing left to see underneath the mountain.

Article posted with permission from Daniel Greenfield


The Washington Standard

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