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by Christopher Chantrill
November 10, 2015 at 12:00 am
BACK IN THE Sixties a couple of lefty BBC TV guys thought up a cool idea. They would do a documentary about a group of British seven year-olds from all walks of life. And then see what happened to them. The result was “Seven Up,” produced in 1964, and updated every seven years since.
But what is never mentioned about the “Up Series” is the searing fact that the three cute working class girls from the east end of London have lived rather dismal lives, including lots of single-parenthood and welfare. Whereas the three upper-class (and rather priggish) seven-year-old boys have ended up living exemplary lives. The only working-class kid that did well was Tony, the son of a criminal in jail at the time of the first show; he became a London taxicab driver. But then the good old London criminal class always did know how to look after itself.
The show that thought it was celebrating the rise of the working class under the tender supervision of enlightened lefty north London luvvies showed us instead that the British working class was actually getting hammered. Today their daughters are getting hammered by “Asians” in Rotherham. Who could have seen that coming?
Now we have The Atlantic telling us that all is not well with the US white working class either. They are dying off briskly, what with alcoholism and drug dependency, opoids and such. This is a shock to liberals who apparently were too educated and evolved to read Charles Murray’s Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010. Murray told us back in 2012 that educated white America was doing fine: going to school, getting good careers, marrying and seldom divorcing. But the bottom 30 percent of White America was not doing well. The men didn’t work much, and the women didn’t marry much. Murray wrote that it would be a good thing if educated Americans, conservative and liberal, preached what they practiced.
How could this happen? For over a century, lefties the world over have loooved the working class, fluffing its nest with wage and hour laws, union exceptions to monopoly laws, education, entitlements, and, in the 1950s at least, good jobs at good wages. What could have gone wrong with the little darlings of the liberals?
The answer, I think, is that the welfare state is all about lefties. The working class was never more than a prop for the lefty morality tale about themselves, and the day came when the left tired of the working class. In the TV sitcom, All in the Family, with Archie Bunker liberals gave themselves permission to hate on the white working class and stigmatize Archie and the millions like him as racists, sexists, and bigots.
This dovetailed with the liberal agenda because, with the cultural Marxist turn to race politics and gender politics, somebody was going to have to pay the price of Affirmative Action for blacks and women in the government bureaucracies, and it wasn’t going to be educated and evolved white liberals. Ditto when it came time to create sanctuary cities for illegal immigrant Hispanics and bake wedding cakes for gays or else.
By all rights the white working class ought to have tumbled to this a generation ago and become rock-ribbed Republicans, but, pace The Atlantic, alcohol and opoids aren’t the only addictions corroding the white working class.
The main addiction of the white working class is that it still thinks someone owes it a living. That’s why, as late as 2012, the Joe Soptic ad helped re-elect Barack Obama.
Does Trumpmania mean that the white working class is finally ready to join the Republican Party? I don’t think so.
The Republican Party is the party for Americans who are People of the Responsible Self. The white working class isn’t there yet. Now maybe, in the depths of their alcoholism and opoid addiction, the white working class is finally going to bottom out and head over to Alcoholics Anonymous, or even better, start their own Great Awakening and get religion. Then they’ll be ready for the GOP.
But then maybe not. Maybe the white working class in the US and the UK is going to keep going down, and never hit bottom. The world is full of the ghosts of cultures that just kept right on going down.
On this view the liberal morality tale got it all wrong. Our problem is not Whatever’s the Matter with Kansas. Our great national problem is liberals softening up their client groups so they don’t work much, as in welfare, don’t marry much, as in the sexual revolution, don’t have kids much, as in abortion, and don’t take responsibility for anything, as in Black Lives Matter. At some point they aren’t good for anything except cowering in a safe space while, outside, a liberal microaggression counsellor chants magic incantations against racism, sexism, and homophobia.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
[T]he way to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,
Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop
discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm
[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values
Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion
The Union publishes an exact return of the amount of its taxes; I can get copies of the budgets of the four and twenty component states; but who can tell me what the citizens spend in the administration of county and township?
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America