Here’s a list of the people who today, yesterday, and tomorrow administer the country in which you live. You’ll note that each of them spent time in the public sector and in the private sector. Remeber, it doesn’t matter which of those you do first, as long as you do them both. — Lewis H. Lapham, The American Ruling Class (2005)
Amiee Terese asks a related set of questions that are worth attempting to answer. Why is it that the West has a “Left” that spends much of its time demonizing its largest demographic group, “working class” white people? How did the language of race, sex, and other “political identities” replace any discussion of class interests on the left?
Even more to the point, Terese asks why the “Left” spends so much time “attacking the proletarian family” and more generally, any “human relationships that are not transactional.”
Terese complains about the mercenary nature of the “professional left” but, as an industry, its hardly any different than finance, show business, or any other important bureaucracy. At some level, all human relationships are “transactional” but only a narcissist has only transactional relationships.
For complex reasons likely more-or-less unique to America, since the Cultural Revolution of the 1960’s, the Democratic party and its ideological counterpart, “the Left,” has pursued a minoritarian electoral strategy. It’s easy to get lost in reactionary weeds about “democracy” in general, but since professional Democratic partisans typically announce their strategies to as many people as will listen, we can instead simply focus on what is quite open and public.
In electoral politics, you have essentially “joiners” and “splitters.” In 2020, the Republican strategy is a “joiner” strategy: appeal to the largest voting block, then try to join up other smaller voting blocks into a “Big Tent.”
The Democratic party’s strategy has been a “splitter” strategy. Splitting Americans by sex is the most obvious first step, almost a Schelling point for “splitters,” hence all of the divisive rhetoric around various sexual issues.
Another example is how the Democrats court the Black vote. Blacks are appealed to as Blacks and it’s assumed that their major issue is “racism.” Democrats of course are very quick to point to the opposing party, the Republicans, and the demographic they are splitting, “Whites”, as the “racists” – not them. Democratic appeals to “Hispanics” work much the same way; Democrats assume that “Hispanics” identify as “People of Color” – not “White” – and that their ultimate political loyalty is to “their people” on the other side of the American border, in whichever foreign country they ultimately came from.
After all – what does the term “people of color” mean? It means “everyone except whites.” All people on earth, from all time, into the future, who are not indigenous European. The Democrats often use the phase “women and people of color” to describe their coalition, white women and everyone except white men – the largest voting block.
The “dissident right” are already familiar with this essentially “cultural Marxist” strategy, but Democrats use a very similar strategy on “economic” issues and others that are typically not considered “social” issues.
A quick look at America’s class structure explains it. America never had European-style “feudalism” and was mostly spared the worst of the dark satanic mills. Americans were never really “tied to the land” like European serfs and surlus populations simply moved West.
European-style socialism never took off in America because “the means of production” have typically been quite widely distributed. In times of centralization and consolidation, “socialism” and “labor unrest” did break out, sometimes leading to the breakup of concentrated economic power and a wider distribution of “the means of production.”
Michael Lind, an establishment right-of-center liberal, demystifies an aspect of the class structure of America and how it impacts American attitudes towards the Coronavirus and the “lockdowns.”
At the top of Lind’s class hierarchy is the “managerial elite.”
The managerial elite proper consists of the functionaries of corporations, large investment banks, law firms, government agencies, both civilian and military, nonprofits, and universities. They may have professional degrees, but they are essentially organization men and organization women in centralized, hierarchical, bureaucratic entities. They are the chief beneficiaries of the neoliberal system set up in the last half century to replace the New Deal order.
Egalitarian pretensions aside, only a relatively small minority of people have the genetic ability, much less the blind fortune, to be a member of the American “managerial elite.” Central to the American system is the idea that the qualities it takes to lead a bureaucracy are more or less universal. The CEO of a bank can be the President of a university; at the executive level, you are mostly managing people; the specific “product” of your bureaucracy is of secondary importance.
Underneath the ruling class are two “bourgeois classes,” the “professional bourgeois” and the “small business bourgeois.”
The professional bourgeoisie – made up of lawyers, doctors, professors, K-12 teachers, journalists, nonprofit workers, and many of the clergy – is concentrated in the teaching, helping, and research sectors. Their jobs often pay modestly but provide both status and a degree of personal autonomy that the frequently better-paid managerial functionaries in more hierarchical occupations do not possess. The small business bourgeoisie consists of the owner-operators of small businesses and franchises, along with genuine contractors (as opposed to proletarian “gig workers”), both those who are self-employed and those who employ others.
In less precise political rhetoric, this divide is sometimes lazily characterized as “urban vs. rural.” Virtually all mainstream economic political rhetoric in America amounts to arguments from these two perspectives, each advocating for their own “crass” economic interests.
It “just so happened” that the entire “professional bourgeoisie” not only fully supported the most draconian aspects of the Coronavirus “lock downs” but enthusiastically volunteered to enforce them via social shaming. According to this class, it is high status to support lockdowns and masks, and it is low status to oppose lockdowns and masks.
In another amazing coincidence, most of the opposition to the draconian “Coronvirus lockdowns” came from the second group, the “small business bourgeoisie,” who is the most economically injured by the lockdown measures, and in many cases even have their class status increasingly threatened the longer the “lockdowns” go on.
Each “side” lined up on the “Coronavirus issue” exactly where one would expect them to, based on their most crassly materialistic, “vulgar Marxist,” direct economic and social interests.
In modern American politics, proles don’t matter anymore than proles matter in any other society. America’s elites are not threatened by democratic and electoral politics, and this class has a faction that manages electoral politics in the same way that other bureaucracies manage other aspects of the economy.
It is between the two bourgeoisie classes that American political rhetoric is aimed. Political choices are crafted by the ruling elites for the two bourgeoisie classes to fight over.
Or was. One of the most controversial election issues is now “data mining” from social media, as done by Cambridge Analytica via Facebook. This technology development, a mix of behavior modification and data mining, may yet make the traditional 20th century public relations and polling political business obsolete – a development that is hurting Democrats more than it is hurting Republicans, hence the Democratic party’s constant attacks on social media companies that will work for Republicans (Facebook) and support for social media companies that only work for Democrats (Google.)
This new technology of individually targeted propaganda is called “populism” by the interests that put Trump in power.
This ability to directly “target” an individual voter is much more sophisticated than the Democrat’s current minoritarian strategy based on “identity.” Modern political campaigns now have the ability to “split” and “join” voting factions far more precisely than the Democrat’s “identity politics” approach. These new Republicans can now employ the “splitter” strategy as effectively than the Democrats.
This new approach requires far fewer professional activists as well. Which is one materialist reason we are seeing the bizarre meltdown of the “left” in the last decade or so, really since the rise of the Obama administration.
We began by discussing status. Consider the relationship between status and stigma. A stigma has a negative effect on status.
What is the number one political enemy of pro-whiteness in America 2020? It’s the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith, a Zionist Jew organization that specializes in attaching stigmas to their political opponents, via defamation.
Back in the day, the ADL could attach stigmas to people via newspapers, advertisements, and later via the electronic media like cinema, radio, and television. In the Internet age, the ADL is officially an “expert” according to Wikipedia, meaning the ADL is directly in control of globally defaming and stigmatizing people globally on one of most trafficked website in the world.
The reddit commenters complained bitterly about the “artificial” status that “shitlibs” are convinced they have, due to them parroting the “correct” opinions and attacking those who hold “incorrect” opinions.
Sociology 101 says that any social group has another group they feel superior towards, and another group they aspire to be.
For those “shitlibs” – what are those two groups? Call them what you want, “liberals,” “leftists,” “Social Justice Warriors,” “socialists” whatever. What group do they feel superior toward? What group do they aspire to be?
What would have a material impact on their status as perceived by others, and their status as they perceive it themselves?
Every high school girl knows the way to win the High School Politics game is to talk shit about your rivals behind their back, undermine their confidence, and attach some sort of stigma to them. And “real politics” – in the sense of which “ideologies” and politicians are popular, is not different than a high school Mean Girls party.
Electoral politics don’t have any direct effect on policy, but can have the effect of moving various stigmas and status points around.
China has a “social credit score” that includes a component that measures conformity to various ideological trends. You’ll notice that “the left” has a sophisticated and privatized system of defamation and stigmatizing on Social Media.