Dems Can't Stop Sneering at the White Working Class

What happened to the white working class? It finally figured out that Democrats didn't even want to be LBGFs. It's hard for them, because the Democrats used to love the working stiff.

Nobody really intended it, but the bottom line on liberal politics for the last half century is that the white working class were the suckers that had to pay for liberal race politics.

Thomas B. Edsall, who's a good guy at heart, wants to look a little deeper, and he stumbles over a point I've been making for a while. He writes in the New York Times about the growth, since the Sixties, of “expressive individualism,” the move among the youth from a “utilitarian self” to an “expressive self.” According to Andrew Cherlin, professor at Johns Hopkins,

The utilitarian self... accepts “conformity to external standards -- which included doing what your supervisor at work told you to do.” This conformity was essential for industrial work, “which required self-discipline and the suppression of feelings such as alienation and anger.”

The expressive self, in contrast, “emphasizes one’s feelings and emotional satisfaction and the pursuit of a personally fulfilling life.” For the less educated, however, the kind of low-skill, low-wage jobs available to them offered little or no opportunity for self-expression.

So too bad; there wasn't any room in the brave new world of expressive individualism for the white working class. Or for the religious white middle class, for that matter. Screw 'em.

And what about today's little darlings of the ruling class, the Hispanics and African Americans, and the catfishing college girls engulfed in today's college “rape culture?”

Won't they get caught in the undertow between working class dependency and the brave new world of expressivism?

Of course they will. That's because this supposed move from the “utilitarian self” to the “expressive self” is baloney; it's not how the world works. You can't move directly from the subordinate life of an obedient factory drone to the expressive life of a creative artist. Life doesn't work like that. Creative artists start from a solid base in the responsible middle class. They need a start like Picasso, whose middle-class dad sent him to middle-class art school, and only then sent him to Paris to change the world.

So here we come to the fatal flaw at the center of the liberals' little-darling politics. The little darlings, obediently sucking at the teat of the Mommy Party, never learn how to take responsibility for their lives. So they never get to rise out of dependency and helplessness. They obediently march and protest, and nothing changes. They go and “share” their issue with the Dean of Students and bury themselves in single-issue activism. But to live and act as a Person of the Responsible Self? No clue.

You certainly won't escape learn about expressive individualism by joining the rank-and-file in fashionable “activism” and “peaceful protests;” that's for the community organizers that get their creative juices flowing by going out and bullying the rest of society into caving in to their “non-negotiable demands” with the help of their biddable followers.

So where does that leave the white working class, suspended in a no-mans-land between dependent submission and creative expression?

It leaves them in a world of hurt. Cynics might say that liberals left them “on their own” about the time that Norman Lear taught hipsters to sneer the white working class in the person of TV's Archie Bunker.

It would be easy for the white working class to be angry, because all the liberal “help” they got arguably set them back 50 years. But the past is gone; it's a sunk cost. The question is what to do now?

That is easy.

The road ahead for the white working class has been marked out by millions before them. In the Great Awakening it was mechanics like George Eliot's Adam Bede that showed the way; in the Second Great Awakening it was Abraham Lincoln and Joseph Smith that followed the trail. In 2000, according to the sneering Hanna Rosin, it was the religious right that had debouched from the Appalachians into the horribly kitsch striver suburbs south of Charlotte, NC.

You could read all about it in my Road to the Middle Class.  It's a mere $0.99 on Kindle.

The point is that in order to make a successful transition from life in the countryside to life in the city you need to abandon the culture of resignation in the feudal countryside and learn the culture of responsible individualism that you need to thrive in the city.

And now it's the white working class's turn to try it. Give them a generation and they'll be the backbone of the GOP. Liberals won't be sneering at them then; they'll be raging at them.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.

What happened to the white working class? It finally figured out that Democrats didn't even want to be LBGFs. It's hard for them, because the Democrats used to love the working stiff.

Nobody really intended it, but the bottom line on liberal politics for the last half century is that the white working class were the suckers that had to pay for liberal race politics.

Thomas B. Edsall, who's a good guy at heart, wants to look a little deeper, and he stumbles over a point I've been making for a while. He writes in the New York Times about the growth, since the Sixties, of “expressive individualism,” the move among the youth from a “utilitarian self” to an “expressive self.” According to Andrew Cherlin, professor at Johns Hopkins,

The utilitarian self... accepts “conformity to external standards -- which included doing what your supervisor at work told you to do.” This conformity was essential for industrial work, “which required self-discipline and the suppression of feelings such as alienation and anger.”

The expressive self, in contrast, “emphasizes one’s feelings and emotional satisfaction and the pursuit of a personally fulfilling life.” For the less educated, however, the kind of low-skill, low-wage jobs available to them offered little or no opportunity for self-expression.

So too bad; there wasn't any room in the brave new world of expressive individualism for the white working class. Or for the religious white middle class, for that matter. Screw 'em.

And what about today's little darlings of the ruling class, the Hispanics and African Americans, and the catfishing college girls engulfed in today's college “rape culture?”

Won't they get caught in the undertow between working class dependency and the brave new world of expressivism?

Of course they will. That's because this supposed move from the “utilitarian self” to the “expressive self” is baloney; it's not how the world works. You can't move directly from the subordinate life of an obedient factory drone to the expressive life of a creative artist. Life doesn't work like that. Creative artists start from a solid base in the responsible middle class. They need a start like Picasso, whose middle-class dad sent him to middle-class art school, and only then sent him to Paris to change the world.

So here we come to the fatal flaw at the center of the liberals' little-darling politics. The little darlings, obediently sucking at the teat of the Mommy Party, never learn how to take responsibility for their lives. So they never get to rise out of dependency and helplessness. They obediently march and protest, and nothing changes. They go and “share” their issue with the Dean of Students and bury themselves in single-issue activism. But to live and act as a Person of the Responsible Self? No clue.

You certainly won't escape learn about expressive individualism by joining the rank-and-file in fashionable “activism” and “peaceful protests;” that's for the community organizers that get their creative juices flowing by going out and bullying the rest of society into caving in to their “non-negotiable demands” with the help of their biddable followers.

So where does that leave the white working class, suspended in a no-mans-land between dependent submission and creative expression?

It leaves them in a world of hurt. Cynics might say that liberals left them “on their own” about the time that Norman Lear taught hipsters to sneer the white working class in the person of TV's Archie Bunker.

It would be easy for the white working class to be angry, because all the liberal “help” they got arguably set them back 50 years. But the past is gone; it's a sunk cost. The question is what to do now?

That is easy.

The road ahead for the white working class has been marked out by millions before them. In the Great Awakening it was mechanics like George Eliot's Adam Bede that showed the way; in the Second Great Awakening it was Abraham Lincoln and Joseph Smith that followed the trail. In 2000, according to the sneering Hanna Rosin, it was the religious right that had debouched from the Appalachians into the horribly kitsch striver suburbs south of Charlotte, NC.

You could read all about it in my Road to the Middle Class.  It's a mere $0.99 on Kindle.

The point is that in order to make a successful transition from life in the countryside to life in the city you need to abandon the culture of resignation in the feudal countryside and learn the culture of responsible individualism that you need to thrive in the city.

And now it's the white working class's turn to try it. Give them a generation and they'll be the backbone of the GOP. Liberals won't be sneering at them then; they'll be raging at them.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.