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White Working-Class Decay Is a Real Phenomenon

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  nerm-l  •  11 months ago  •  15 comments

By:   Nathan Ehrenreich (National Review)

White Working-Class Decay Is a Real Phenomenon
I believe that Trump voters do believe in a very real sense that they are victims of the elites

Ehrenreich provides a solid explanation for what is happening.  Sticking fingers in ears and chanting Kamala-lala-lala-la won't make that explanation go away, either.  In fact, dismissing and ignoring the core issue that Ehrenreich addresses really does provide a rational explanation for how we got her. 

The elite class prosecuting Trump for elite crimes won't persuade anyone.  A Harvard law professor looking down his nose at people is only an elitist snob undeserving of serious attention.  Jack Smith, Alvin Bragg, and, even, Merrick Garland are playing the role of Dylan Mulvaney in this bit of strictly elitist political theater.  People aren't drinking what they're selling.


S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


I appreciate Dominic’s  must-read  response to my  piece  this morning in which I touched on the phenomenon of working-class whites in Middle America who find themselves and their communities in “states of dissatisfaction, decay, and discombobulation.” He rightfully notes that “there are plenty of people living in urban areas on the coasts who are dissatisfied, decaying, or discombobulated as well.” To an extent, I take Dominic’s point, but I maintain that there is a unique (in both kind and degree) sort of decay in white, working-class communities in Middle America — and I think that conclusion is largely supported by the data.

Take drug overdoses, which Dominic references. Dominic lists the ten states with the lowest overdose rates, but not the ten with the  highest . I’ll do so here:

  1. West Virginia
  2. Tennessee
  3. Louisiana
  4. Kentucky
  5. Delaware
  6. New Mexico
  7. Ohio
  8. Maine
  9. Pennsylvania
  10. Indiana

And now the ten states with the  highest  suicide rates:

  1. Wyoming
  2. Montana
  3. Alaska
  4. New Mexico
  5. South Dakota
  6. Colorado
  7. Oklahoma
  8. Nevada
  9. North Dakota
  10.  Arkansas

And here are the ten states with the lowest estimated levels of happiness according to a 2022  study  attempting to aggregate 30 relevant factors:

  1. West Virginia
  2. Louisiana 
  3. Arkansas 
  4. Kentucky  
  5. Alabama  
  6. Mississippi  
  7. Oklahoma 
  8. Tennessee 
  9. New Mexico 
  10. Missouri

So yes, “there are are plenty of people living in urban areas on the coasts who are dissatisfied, decaying, or discombobulated as well.” But to the same extent? With the same life-ending consequences? 

Now, on matters of economics, I’m not even going to attempt to argue with Dominic — he would pummel me so thoroughly that I fear it would rival the worst  defeats  of my beloved Cleveland Browns. But I will note that Dominic’s assertion that “nobody actually has the capability to direct trillions of dollars in economic output across hundreds of millions of people over millions of square miles in such a way as to screw specific geographic areas on purpose” does not mean that elites did not do so  accidentally . And even highly destructive accidents of elite behavior, of course, should be of  particular concern  to those (not referring to Dominic) criticizing “Rich Men North of Richmond” singer Oliver Anthony for failing to emphasize human agency and personal responsibility. “It wasn’t on purpose” isn’t all that satisfying a response to someone whose family member died of a drug overdose as a result of elites failing to patrol the southern border.

And finally, I believe that Trump voters (which I focused on in my original piece) do believe in a very real sense that they are victims of the elites — I’m struggling to see Trump’s primary victory in 2016 any other way. As a matter of fact, it was already apparent in 2016 that the local mortality rate for whites was significantly  correlated  with support for Donald Trump in the primaries (for those interested in the relationship between social capital and Trump primary support, Tim Carney’s  Alienated America  is a must-read). And as the  Washington Post  noted  in March of 2016, “most demographic groups saw a decline in their mortality rate over the past 15 years. Whites with little education saw an increase” (that is true for whites in general as well). 

In sum, I agree with Dominic that


[M]any individuals and communities in middle America do find themselves in states of dissatisfaction, decay, and discombobulation, but many do not. Many individuals and communities in urban America also find themselves in states of dissatisfaction, decay, and discombobulation. The causes for each are varied and often context-specific.

But that every white, working-class Middle American (or even a majority) is not in a state of despair does not mean that white, working-class despair  in general  is not relatively elevated, responsible for more loss of life, and disproportionately liable for creating our current political reality on the right. And I seriously worry that elites who discount this impart a “trust me or your lying eyes” message (I am not referring to Dominic, of course) which makes it impossible to wrestle these communities away from supporting Trump and thus furthering the tragic impact he continues to have on our politics.


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Nerm_L
Professor Expert
1  seeder  Nerm_L    11 months ago

Whutabout all you want.  That's not going to change the opinion of the dismissed, disparaged, and ignored.  Elitist arguments won't persuade Qanon.  Demanding sympathy from the working class without empathy for the working class is not a sustainable political strategy.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1  devangelical  replied to  Nerm_L @1    11 months ago
Elitist arguments won't persuade Qanon

wtf? nobody sane cares about those willfully ignorant wack jobs in the right wing fringe.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.1.1  Tessylo  replied to  devangelical @1.1    11 months ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
cjcold
Professor Quiet
1.1.2  cjcold  replied to  Tessylo @1.1.1    11 months ago

Seems some fascists have actually been assigned to be here.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.1.3  Tessylo  replied to  cjcold @1.1.2    11 months ago

Truth hurts cj.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.1.4  Texan1211  replied to  cjcold @1.1.2    11 months ago
Seems some fascists have actually been assigned to be here.

Persist!!!!!!

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Professor Principal
1.1.5  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  cjcold @1.1.2    11 months ago

That is quite the imagination you have there.........................

 
 
 
cjcold
Professor Quiet
2  cjcold    11 months ago

National Review. Yet more far right wing bias.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
2.1  Tessylo  replied to  cjcold @2    11 months ago

Garbage

 
 
 
evilone
Professor Guide
2.2  evilone  replied to  cjcold @2    11 months ago
Yet more far right wing bias.

and White Evangelical Martyrdom. The article is nothing more than the same culture war bullshit we've been hearing for years now and amounts to, "We were all better off when white males dominated every level of leadership." Except they were the only people that were better off. When someone wants to reference drug overdoses as a metric of community decay they should be pointing at affiant white greed like the Sackler family and the doctors they bribed to push their opiates. The Kochs that buried environmental and health data to keep pushing oil. 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
2.2.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  evilone @2.2    11 months ago
he article is nothing more than the same culture war bullshit we've been hearing for years no

It is funny that when data shows any other group falling behind, it's always the fault of society  and necessitates  society wide changes to remedy the situation.  Even to the point of mythologizing an oppression that doesn't exist (see Barbie).  But white men? Fuck' em.

e were all better off when white males dominated every level of leadership."

Get that strawman!   Only a progressive could turn an article about rising levels of suicide into some demand to dominate society. 

Here's a shocking thought. We are all better off when white males aren't killing themselves.  

ould be pointing at affiant white greed like the Sackler family and the doctors

I'm guessing you didn't read the article at all, but had the typical progressive racialist reaction to data that points out things aren't going swimmingly for the white working class. 

Do you not think the Sackler family  is exactly the type of elite this article is talking about?  It's the literal point of the article. 

 
 
 
evilone
Professor Guide
2.2.2  evilone  replied to  Sean Treacy @2.2.1    11 months ago

The National Review is a populist propaganda rag that isn't worth the pixels count to read. If they told me the sky was blue I'd have to check out the window. If there is a point beyond their typical whining I'd be surprised.

I'm guessing you didn't read the article at all, but had the typical progressive racialist reaction to data that points out things aren't going swimmingly for the white working class. 

I'm white working class. I've worked for every god damned thing I've every gotten. Clawed, scaped and sacrificed. Rubbed shoulders with milionaires and homeless people. Made friends and allies of every kind of person in every race, class, religion and sexuality. Now I constantly have to hear some entitled fuckstick tell me I should be afraid of anything outside the norm. Fuck all the little populist prick bastards. 

Do you not think the Sackler family  is exactly the type of elite this article is talking about?  It's the literal point of the article. 

Are the guys at the National Review all of a sudden Bernie Bros?

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
2.2.3  Sean Treacy  replied to  evilone @2.2.2    11 months ago
e National Review is a populist propaganda rag that isn't worth the pixels count to read.

Lol.  You are just throwing words around without understanding what they mean. 

I'm white working class.

So? 

t the National Review all of a sudden Bernie Bros?

No, they aren't left wing populists. 

Do you have any actual objection to the cited data, or is this all just an ad hominem deflection? 

 
 
 
evilone
Professor Guide
2.2.4  evilone  replied to  Sean Treacy @2.2.3    11 months ago
You are just throwing words around without understanding what they mean. 

That's funny!

No, they aren't left wing populists. 

So then the right wing populists have gone so far to the right they now look left? That actually makes complete sense...

Do you have any actual objection to the cited data.

Nope. Only how they are trying to use it.

Non-critically thinking populists are a joke... Case in point from the article -

I believe that Trump voters... do believe in a very real sense that they are victims of the elites

But fail to see that Trump (their great white dope) is the very definition of elite. He was elite when he was hobnobbing with Bill & Hilary. He was elite when he was stiffing contractors for work he ordered done. He was elite when he employed undocumented workers in his businesses. He was elite when he declassified government documents with his mind...

 
 
 
Hallux
PhD Principal
3  Hallux    11 months ago

Fun times ... the "white-working class" are the new elites.

 
 

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