Monday, August 29, 2016

J.D. Vance's American Victims, Black and White

Guess what. The US has long had two underclasses, one white and one black. The white underclass has always been the Scots-Irish that settled in Appalachia, the southern uplands. The black underclass are the west Africans brought to the Americas in the slave ships.

Here's the difference, according to former hillbilly J.D. Vance.

[T]he two groups took different approaches to politics. The white poor, unencumbered by legal discrimination, focused on a politics of class... Black people, meanwhile, understandably voted the color of their skin, putting their trust in whoever promised to tear down the most legal barriers. 

Really. Now let's analyze this using my reductive Three Peoples theory.

These two groups didn't take "different approaches to politics" because, as Eeyore said, they was "pushed." As People of the Subordinate Self they do not act upon the political stage, they are the chorus, the rank-and-file in somebody else's power project. And both groups have had a pretty hard time of it, because their leaders have not been too careful about the interests of their followers.

I dare say the white upland farmers of the South were attracted to a kind of class politics. That's because the South, before and after the Civil War, was run by a planter/merchant elite that ran the place in their own interest as planters and merchants. But there has been plenty of race politics too, whenever the ruling class needed to rile up the bubbas.

I dare say that African Americans have tended towards a racial solidarity politics. In the Jim Crow era, it was natural to vote for the Republican Party that had freed the Negro slaves, even if it had abandoned them to Jim Crow in 1876. In the quotas and diversity era is is natural for blacks to vote for the party that offers them free stuff by virtue of their race.

But here's the point. You really don't want to become the rank-and-file in someone's political army, whether you are white or black. That's because armies are not run for the benefit of the rank-and-file soldiers; they are run for the benefit of the generals and their political masters. That's why I have developed my idea of "little darlings." If you are the little darlings of the ruling class, watch out. One fine day (that's un bel di in Italian) you will find yourself abandoned by the side of the road, sick and wounded, just like a soldier in a rifles-and-bayonets army.

The root cause of black and white underclass malaise is simple. Blacks and whites enlisted in some ruler's political army, and believed the recruiting sergeant and his promise of loot and plunder. It all started out well. Until the ruling class decided it had other fish to fry. The ruling class cast the white working class adrift about half a century ago, just as the labor-union arc of history started to bend towards oblivion. And now blacks are wondering angrily about what happened to all the Hope and Change they were promised and that they believed in eight years ago just as the affordable housing bubble collapsed on them.

We are starting to see the harvest of the liberal sowing of race and class politics, as angry and disappointed hyphenated Americans that have been left behind turn on each other in the flatline Obama economy.

But the reality of life is still the reality of life. Social animals help those left behind up to a point. But when the going gets tough, the tough get going. If you are not adapting to the changing economy then you are going to get left behind. Society will help you for a season -- especially if you are useful to someone's power project. But society will not help you forever.

The Scots-Irish and the West Africans both came from war-torn borderlands where force ruled. The Scots-Irish left their borderlands because of poverty, and the West Africans were the victims of inter-tribal warfare, conquest slaves sold to the European slavers. Both groups have had a problem adapting to the life of the city, where cooperation, not fierceness, is the order of the day.

Unfortunately both groups have suffered as political opportunists have exploited their fierceness and recruited them as political soldiers. So they have not adapted well to the cooperative culture of the city.

And time is running out.

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