Tuesday, November 8, 2016

"What About the Workers?"

The great theme of the 2016 election has been the sudden discovery of the white working class. It's as though somebody asked, as they did of Peter Sellers' character droning in a British upper-class accent hears a voice from the audience: "what about the workers?"

Gosh! I thought we had dealt with the problems of the workers, two generations ago. I thought they were put to bed so we could all work on women and minorities and gays.

In fact, of course, politics has ever created more problems that it solves, and every group that gets "helped" by government ends up with what I call the "little darlings" problem. Simply, if you become the little darlings of the ruling class you are getting set up for disaster, because the day will come when the ruling class no longer likes you, or needs you.

Even liberals are coming round to the notion that something went wrong with the white working class -- in The New Yorker yet. Well, yes, liberals. What went wrong is that you gave the white working class special privileges and enabled a generation of the working class to avoid the challenge of embourgeoisment. You taught them to believe that good manufacturing jobs at good wages would last forever, and vote Democrat. Then you went off and taught women and minorities to believe in liberal promises and vote Democrat.

But I am just thinking, on this Election Day, November 8, 2016, about the folks you see in the photos at Trump rallies. I suppose they are all racists, sexists, homophobes, as the liberals insist. But to me they just look like ordinary Americans. OK, ordinary white Americans.

It makes you realize how Republicans have failed in the last few elections. The party leaders have failed to connect directly with ordinary, typical Americans. They have instead appealed to libertarian conservatives like me, and Christian conservatives in the Religious Right, but not ordinary unaffiliated, typical Americans. It is shameful that it took a political neophyte like Trump to connect the party with typical Americans given that Michael Barone writes that the Republican Party has always been the party of people that think of themselves as "typical Americans."

In a long article on "Economic Growth," John H. Cochrane, an economist, lays out in excruciating detail how the present government makes life difficult for the average "typical American" with its taxes and its subsidies and its regulations and its favors and its rigidities. It's been a long time building, and it is hard to imagine how any government in the near future will have the mandate to do anything about it, since politics is and has always been about taxes and subsidies and regulations and favors and rigidities. Until the Huns ride in from the Asian steppe.

But I still have in my mind the images of ordinary Americans at the Trump rallies getting enthusiastic about a political leader that is actually speaking to their concerns.

According to Larry Summers, the Republican Party has combined "social conservatism and an agenda of helping rich people." Well, yeah. That is the image that Democrats and liberals want to propagate, and they do it very well. But it doesn't really connect with the idea of former construction worker Sean Hannity that Republicans are really people that follow the law, go to work, and obey the rules. The point about free-market economics is that it allows unknowns to enter the marketplace and thrive without having all the good paths reserved for the established and the well-connected. If you call that "helping rich people" well I gotta bridge to sell you.

And I get what he is talking about. If you think that life is a patron-client experience, where people are all People of the Subordinate Self that rely on the power of a patron to survive and prosper in this world, as proposed in my Three Peoples theory, then you really cannot believe in the notions of economics and the city economy of trusting the stranger without the intervention of the powerful patron on your behalf.

But I think that Republican voters are and have been people that are not organized into political armies under some patron for the purpose of wresting loot and plunder from the economic system. They may be that way because they are established middle class, or because they are aspirant, seeking to rise. But I don't think that the Republican Party is the part of "the rich." Not today. It must be pretty obvious that these days "the rich" are people that are very careful to keep on the right side of the Democratic Party and the liberal culture in general. The point about Peter Thiel, Trump supporter, is that he is an outlier.

My view of the world is that progressives -- Marxists socialists, whatever -- have created human wreckage wherever they go. There is a ton of wreckage in the welfare state today after about a century of progressive politics, and it is not just the white working class that got wrecked. How about the black underclass and how about women?

Yeah. "What about the workers?"

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