Friday, November 6, 2015

Working Class Angst: The False God of Politics

In the same week that The Atlantic published scary numbers about white working class collapse in the US a Brit feminist got herself all over the media sneering about a British male MP worrying about boys in Britain.

And so it goes. A couple of years ago Charles Murray warned in Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010 that the bottom 30 percent of white Americans were not doing well. The men don't work much and the women don't marry much. Liberals ignored Murray, as they have done since The Bell Curve that told uncomfortable stories about race and IQ.

So this new factoid from The Atlantic fits into my big theory about the Fall of the White Working Class.

The problem started when the working class got seduced by the Educated Youth of the 19th century. As in most cases where some poor working girl got into the wrong company, and allowed herself to imagine that the rich boy liked her for her mind, it all was bound to end in tears.

Looking back, you could say that the writing was on the wall from the moment in the 1970s that liberals started to sneer at the white working class with All in the Family and Archie Bunker. The Brits also had sneering TV sitcoms in that era, notably Steptoe and Son.

There was, it seems to be, a certain tactical cunning in the demonization of Archie Bunker.

Think about it. As the liberals pirouetted elegantly from their Dance of the Exploited Working Stiff to their Dance of the Oppressed Minority, not to mention the Dance of the Patronized Feminist, it made common sense to blame the poor bloody working class for their racism and bigotry. Because when Affirmative Action came along, it was working-class whites that had to pay the bill. With expanded welfare it was working-class dads that would be cast into outer darkness. And when the Stonewall Inn production number debuted, it was a natural to stigmatize the simplistic morality of lower-class whites in the campaign to make the world safe for gay wedding cakes.

Back in 1800, George Eliot taught us, the rising yeomen of England -- chaps like Adam Bede and his incandescent love interest, the Methodist lay preacher, Dinah Morris -- wived and thrived in the challenge of industrial revolution on the rock of their Methodist faith and their sterling character. And when Eliot got to Middlemarch and the Reform Bill, she gave us Mary Garth as the working girl with a character of diamond.

In other words, these ordinary working folk that rode the wave of the industrial revolution did not rely on the honeyed words of upper-class liberals. They were grounded by their religious faith and their sterling character, and that is what sustained them through the turmoil of the age.

But the working-class generations that followed them listened to the liberals. Let us use our political power and savvy, these rich kids said, and we will give you benefits. Why not? It was free, after all.

And for a season, it all worked so wonderfully well. As liberals like to remind themselves repeatedly: back in the 1950s good liberal policies delivered good jobs at good wages. And then in 1973 the music stopped. The Big Corporation/Big Labor/Big Government condominium started to crack.

It doesn't really matter what went wrong. Maybe it was the whole idea that government could successfully intervene between employer and employee. Maybe the whole industrial manufacturing paradigm changed. Maybe the world was sucked into a maelstrom of low-cost production and low-cost labor. Maybe dreaded H-1B visas and illegal immigration killed the full-time job at good wages and good benefits.

The point is that by then the liberal rich kids had tired of their working-class mistresses. They were in love with blacks and women. The working class was fat. And old.

What was the working class to do? It had put all its marbles in the welfare state basket. Well, now we know what it did, thanks to The Atlantic and Nobel laureate Angus Deaton. It took to drink. And opoids. And started to die off.

But don't worry, working class. Recent polls indicate that women, last-but-one main squeeze of the liberals, are less happy than they were back in the awful conformist 1950s. It looks like women are next to go in the meat grinder. Could it be that it just doesn't pay to be the little darling of the liberals? Could it be that the wages of sinning with the liberals is death?

It's not as if we hadn't been warned. Remember what happened to Mimi, La Boh√®me and temporary squeeze for the rich kids playing at writing the big novel in a Parisian garret back in 1896?

The solution for the white working class is to come on over to the Republican Party. But there's a problem. Everyone in the Republican Party is sustained by a non-governmental faith. National-defense conservatives believe in responsible national defense. Economic conservatives believe in responsible economic action under the unhampered market. Social conservatives believe in putting their trust in Jesus. Second-Amendment conservatives believe that the government is minutes away when seconds count. Nobody believes in government picking up the tab.

There is really no place in the Republican Party for the Joe Soptic kind of American that thinks it is Mitt Romney's job to pick up the tab for his sick wife.

But here is an interesting aside. In the Republican Party the base seems to be at war with the elite, but in the Democratic Party the base is expertly led by elite community organizers. So with Republicans we get dissident voices constantly expressing their annoyance with the bosses. But in the Democratic Party the bosses fake the voice of the base with their peaceful rent-a-mob protesters.

Back to business. All this stuff about responsibility is covered in the Bible, for those with a yen for that sort of thing. Put not your trust in princes. Don't give up your birthright for a mess of pottage. And so on.

The whole Obama era is a campaign ad for this. When it comes to Hope and Change, don't put your hope in government to make the vital change in your life.

Hope and Change must start with you, and not some smarmy politician.

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