The China class and its damage to America
In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote: "If there are rats in the cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly[.] ... The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light." In this regard, Donald Trump was the surprise light that exposed the rats gnawing away at America's foundations since at least the 1980s.
Writing in the Tablet, Lee Smith explains what coalesced the disparate parts of the establishment into a unified force against Donald Trump and his MAGA policies. It was globalization, or more specifically the China trade.
Why did they [the corporate and political class] trade with an authoritarian regime and send millions of American manufacturing jobs off the China, impoverishing working Americans? Because it made them rich. They salved their consciences by telling themselves they had no choice but to deal with China: it was big, productive, and efficient, and its rise was inevitable. And besides, the American workers hurt by the deal deserved to be punished — who could defend a class of reactionary and racist ideological naysayers standing in the way of what was best for progress?
President Trump was elected to stand up for America's long abused middle class. He attacked the self-serving establishment, naming names. Not used to such criticism and fearing that their rice bowls would be smashed by the MAGA hammer, the elite gained a powerful motive for solidarity against President Trump. They formed what Smith calls the China class. With this class consciousness, the elites joined to resist Trump's MAGA policies by means fair and foul. This further cemented their relationship with their Chinese patrons.
This speaks to just how successful Chinese money has been in penetrating and corrupting America. The height of irony is that this money came from the deindustrialization and impoverishment of the U.S. itself. Smith quotes General (ret.) Robert Spalding, a former Trump administration official, as saying of Chinese influence: "It's so pervasive, it's better to ask who is not tied to China." Chinese influence is like a cancer that has metastasized throughout America.
At the same time, the American establishment came to admire and then emulate Chinese techno-autocracy. The elite had long decided that the two-party systems was retarding progress and their path to further wealth. Democracy was messy. The Republicans with their base emphasizing moral values and patriotism were regarded as particularly reactionary. Hence, the China class found its center in the Democrat Party. To be sure, many Republicans are in the China class. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell is one. His shipbuilding billionaire father-in-law James Chao has benefited greatly from a cozy relationship with the Chinese Communist Party. This could go a long way in explaining McConnell's hatred for Donald Trump. But even so, Republicans like McConnell are still only the junior partners to the Democrats in the China class.
Smith says the installment of Joe Biden in the Oval Office "marks the hegemony of an American oligarchy that sees its relationship with China as a shield and sword against their own countrymen." He notes that these people "are not simply contemptuous of a political system that recognizes the natural rights of all its citizens that are endowed by our creator; they despise in particular the notion that those they rule have the same rights they do."
Smith sees what is happening today is an eerie repeat of what happened after Athens lost the Peloponnesian War in 404 B.C. Citing Machiavelli's The Prince, Smith says Sparta installed a government friendly to itself in Athens. The pro-Sparta oligarchy used its patrons' victory to undo the rights of citizens and settle scores with their domestic rivals, exiling and executing them and confiscating their wealth. The reign of the Thirty Tyrants lasted less than one year, but in that time, it is estimated they murdered about five percent of Athens's population while exiling many more notable Athenians and taking their property.
Athens was fortunate. It had only thirty tyrants, while we have countless sellouts to China in positions of authority. The good news is that the China class has been outed. This class may have the power now, but its members can't withstand the disinfectant of exposure. After all, when you scrape away the rhetoric, what the China class is engaged in is actually treason. In time, the awareness of this will grow and take its toll.