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Targeted Resentment

How the Democrats Lost the White Working Class- Book review of White Working Class by Joan Williams- reviewed by Joe Queenan in Barron’s:

“The working class…has been asked to swallow a lot of economic pain, while elites have focused on noneconomic issues,” Williams writes. Elsewhere in the book, she adds, “During an era when wealthy white Americans have learned to sympathetically imagine the lives of the poor, people of color, and LGBTQ people, the white working class has been insulted or ignored during precisely the period when their economic fortunes tanked.”

Working-class people view work as a means to an end, not an end in itself. And working-class people do not think there’s anything heroic about making a living by designing apps or shorting Valeant. Heroism is what cops and firemen do.

“Daily life reinforces admiration of the rich but resentment of professionals,” she writes. “Most working-class people have little contact with the truly rich…but they suffer class affronts from professionals every day: the doctor who unthinkingly patronizes the medical technician, the harried office worker who treats the security guard as invisible, the overbooked business traveler who snaps at the TSA agent.”

At a certain point during the past half-century, it became acceptable to sneer at poor white people while expressing bottomless compassion for impoverished minorities. Williams believes this is because members of the elite, professional class do not have to compete with minorities for jobs or status or anything else, so it’s easy for them to be compassionate and understanding. Elites never say nasty things about minorities because they don’t know any.

HKO

The last paragraph strikes me a bit odd. I don’t think the elite compete with poor white people either. The last sentence insinuates that the elites would not like minorities if they knew any.  Seems a bit racist. I don’t know if that is an accurate conclusion until I read the book.  I find that the elites do spout off against minorities in the privacy of their country club but never in public or in the media.

Generation Z

from Selena Zito,  Why the generation after millennials will vote Republican

“They are not as impressed with fame — celebrities, athletes, politicians — as are their predecessors, since fame in their lifetime has become rather easy to obtain with social media and reality TV,” Brauer added.

Generation Z is diverse. They are only 55 percent white and will be the last majority-white generation in America. And they have the most positive outlook toward the nation’s growing diversity of any previous generation.

Generation Z is a product of 9/11, global terrorism, school shootings, perpetual wars, the Great Recession, high unemployment and constant budget cuts. Because of all that, they are cautious, even fearful, of an uncertain world and economy. Security and safety are very important to them, as they have grown up in such an unstable society.

They are distrustful of “big” employers because they’ve seen good people, who did all the right things, get laid off from longstanding jobs and careers. They are cautious with finances, always looking for the best deals and the best value.

HKO

Selena Zito’s analytic creds are rising with me.  Interesting trend in youth voting… and they like Trump.

Competition Trumps Meritocracy

From The Washington Post Ana Swanson writes Why The Industrial Revolutions didn’t happen in China

The article is mostly an interview with Joel Mokyr about his new book , A Culture of Growth: The Origins of the Modern Economy.  It appears to travel on similar ideas expressed by Deirdre McCloskey’s Bourgeois Equality and she referred to his work in her own.

Of interest is the notice of the liability of the meritocracy as why China lagged in economic growth in spite of its scientific achievements.:

I believe the fundamental reason is China’s position as a single empire, and also its bureaucracy, which is a unique and peculiar animal. On the one hand, it is very progressive, because it is a meritocracy. In Europe, the people who were in power were the sons and nephews of other people in power. But in China there’s an examination, and the people who did the best rose in the Mandarin civil service. So you’d think, “Wow, that’s very progressive.” Except if you look at what they were studying for these exams, they were simply regurgitating the classics. It was the perfect tool to keep reproducing from the same mold generation after generation.

HKO

We face a similar false sense of diversity of we choose leaders from different ethnic backgrounds but with no intellectual diversity. Progress is made in the garages of Steve Jobs more than in the Ivy League class rooms.

 

Deserting Our Better Nature

Kevin_Williamson (1)

from Kevin Williamson at the National Review, Bitter Laughter

A nation needs its Twains and Menckens. (We could have got by without Molly Ivins.) The excrement and sentimentality piles up high and thick in a democratic society, and it’s sometimes easier to burn it away rather than try to shovel it. But they are only counterpoints: They cannot be the leading voice, or the dominant spirit of the age. That is because this is a republic, and in a republic, a politics based on one half of the population hating the other half is a politics that loses even if it wins. The same holds true for one that relies on half of us seeing the other half as useless, wicked, moronic, deluded, or “prehensile morons.” (I know, I know, and you can save your keystrokes: I myself am not running for office.) If you happen to be Mark Twain, that sort of thing is good for a laugh, and maybe for more than a laugh. But it isn’t enough. “We must not be enemies,” President Lincoln declared, and he saw the republic through a good deal worse than weak GDP growth and the sack of a Libyan consulate.

The better angels of our nature have not deserted us. It is closer to the truth that we have failed them, and the impossible situation of 2016 — a choice between two kinds of corrupt, self-serving megalomaniacs — is only the lesion that denotes a deeper infection. There is no national vice-principal’s office or confessional into which we can drag ourselves and shame-facedly admit that we messed up, say that we’re very sorry, and promise to do better next time. But we must nonetheless admit that we messed up, say that we’re very sorry, and promise to do better next time. And there will be a next time, irrespective of the hysterical ninnies who insist that if this election does not go their way, then this is the end of the nation.

HKO

I have quoted Kevin Williamson so often in this blog that it risks becoming a fan club.  Still, he brings an intelligence and a perspective (and wit) that is uncommon.  The National Review has a great stable of writers and commentators and is a must read regularly.

 

Suppressing the Oddballs

from Mark Judge in The National Review, Is Contemporary Liberalism Creating a Soulless Monoculture?

Legutko’s thesis is that liberal democracies have something in common with communism: the sense that time is inexorably moving towards a kind of human utopia, and that progressive bureaucrats must make sure it succeeds. Legutko first observed this after the fall of communism. Thinking that communist bureaucrats would have difficulty adjusting to Western democracy, he was surprised when the former Marxists smoothly adapted — indeed, thrived — in a system of liberal democracy. It was the hard-core anti-communists who couldn’t quite fit into the new system. They were unable to untether themselves from their faith, culture, and traditions.

Both communism and liberal democracy call for people to become New Men by jettisoning their old faith, customs, arts, literature, and traditions. Thus a Polish anti-communist goes from being told by communists that he has to abandon his old concepts of faith and family to become a member of the larger State, only to come to America after the fall of the Berlin Wall and be told he has to forego those same beliefs for the sake of the sexual revolution and the bureaucratic welfare state. Both systems believe that societies are moving towards a certain ideal state, and to stand against that is to violate not just the law but human happiness itself.

Thus in America came the monochromatic washing of a country that once could boast not only crazies like Scientologists and Louis Farrakhan, but creative and unusual icons like Norman Mailer, Georgia O’Keefe, Baptists, Hindus, dry counties, John Courtney Murray, Christian bakers, orthodox Jews, accents, and punk rockers. The eccentric and the oddball, as well as the truly great, are increasingly less able to thrive. As Legutko observes, we have a monoculture filled with people whose “loutish manners and coarse language did not have their origin in communism, but, as many found astonishing, in the patterns, or rather anti-patterns that developed in Western liberal democracies.” The revolution didn’t devour its children; progressive-minded bureaucrats did.