National Review Dumps the White Working Class

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Obama Administration

I don’t normally quote the National Review, but this article was so extraordinary — not in a good way — that I felt compelled to point to it. And jeer.

The original article, by Kevin Williamson, is behind a subscription firewall, but here it is quoted in another article. Speaking of white working-class supporters of Donald Trump, Williamson said,

The white middle class may like the idea of Trump as a giant pulsing humanoid middle finger held up in the face of the Cathedral, they may sing hymns to Trump the destroyer and whisper darkly about “globalists” and — odious, stupid term — “the Establishment,” but nobody did this to them. They failed themselves.

If you spend time in hardscrabble, white upstate New York, or eastern Kentucky, or my own native West Texas, and you take an honest look at the welfare dependency, the drug and alcohol addiction, the family anarchy — which is to say, the whelping of human children with all the respect and wisdom of a stray dog — you will come to an awful realization. It wasn’t Beijing. It wasn’t even Washington, as bad as Washington can be. It wasn’t immigrants from Mexico, excessive and problematic as our current immigration levels are. It wasn’t any of that.

Nothing happened to them. There wasn’t some awful disaster. There wasn’t a war or a famine or a plague or a foreign occupation. Even the economic changes of the past few decades do very little to explain the dysfunction and negligence — and the incomprehensible malice — of poor white America. So the gypsum business in Garbutt ain’t what it used to be. There is more to life in the 21st century than wallboard and cheap sentimentality about how the Man closed the factories down.

The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap. Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs. Forget your goddamned gypsum, and, if he has a problem with that, forget Ed Burke, too. The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isn’t analgesics, literal or political. They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.

One might ask, where can these people drive a U-Haul to find steady jobs that pay a living wage, so that they might put down roots and raise families, etc.? Because I sure as hell don’t know, either.

Of course, in National Review land, these people aren’t being marginalized because the economy has no place for them. It’s all the fault of government handouts! The author of the linked article, David French, seems to think all these rednecks on narcotics are living off bogus disability checks. There’s no evidence supporting claims of rampant fraud in the SSD system, but it’s a beloved myth on the Right.

Weirdly, while David French thinks the fracturing of the Holy Nuclear Family is what’s wrong with America, in the past he has defended Bristol Palin as a perfectly wholesome roll model for American youth. Of course, he also mentioned this —

My wife, Nancy, worked with Sarah on her most recent book, she worked with Bristol on her book, she edits Bristol’s blog on Patheos, and I represented Bristol in a lawsuit — when a man sued her after he profanely accosted her at a bar. (He lost.)

And French is a staff writer at National Review. I ask you, who is a bigger freeloader on society? French, his wife, and the Palins? Or some injured, unemployed guy attempting to keep himself alive on stingy SSD payments? Hmm…

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23 Comments

22 Comments

  1. joanr16  •  Mar 15, 2016 @4:59 pm

    I lost my scorecard. Who are these haters hating, again? Trump supporters? When at least one of ’em (French) loooooves the Palins? But Sarah Palin loves Trump!

    And thus the Republican Party becomes a junior high cafeteria.

  2. c u n d gulag  •  Mar 15, 2016 @5:21 pm

    I’m one of the people he’s writing about.

    I just turned 58, and haven’t had a job in 6 years.
    And not for lack of effort. I e-mailed hundreds, no, make that thousands of resumes. I made about the same amount of calls and follow-up calls. And if I even heard back, it was that I was “over-qualified” for their job(s).
    And my credit rating cost me a job or two. Because, you know, when you don’t have a job, the dirty little secret is that your credit rating usually improves.
    No, really.
    ASSHOLES!

    And finally got SSDI at the beginning of 2015. I had to do everything but literaly jump through hoops to get it.

    This makes me a “taker,” I guess.
    Never mind that I’ve been working part-time and summers since I was 14. And full-time as soon as I graduated from college.

    Let me finish my word-turd with this:
    I’d rather be a “taker” than some highly-paid maggot writing stupid and ignorant columns for a magazine that never made a dime – but is a classic example of a “taker,” living off the donations of under-taxed uber-wealthy conservative Vulture Capitalists.
    A maggot who tells people like me to either move, or die.

    I ain’t moving, maggot!
    And if I find out I have a fatal disease, it’ll take every bit of my Agnostic self-control and hatred of violence to stop me from strapping bombs all over, and going to your piece of shit’s magazines HQ, and doing the country a favor, and taking you with me.

    But don’t worry, maggot!
    Unlike you, maggot, I have respect for human beings and their dignity, and all of life.

    So, instead, I’ll hope that you break you fucking neck trying to do the anatomically impossibe – going and fucking yourself!

  3. Swami  •  Mar 15, 2016 @5:47 pm

    “Nothing happened to them.”

    When you get to high up on the pedestal of righteousness you are too far away to see what happened to them.

  4. Swami  •  Mar 15, 2016 @6:24 pm

    Trump is the Pied Piper of anger… if the anger the Trump voters have was channeled toward supporting Sanders rather than Trump they would stand their best chance at changing their situation. In all likelihood things are probably not going to change, but if they do it will be through Sanders vision.
    Phineas Taylor Trump sure ain’t gonna do it.

  5. paradoctor  •  Mar 15, 2016 @6:26 pm

    “They deserve to die.” The depraved indifference shines through.
    Has the right wing fallen through a kind of moral event horizon? No turning back, next stop the singularity, where all laws break down?

  6. paradoctor  •  Mar 15, 2016 @6:30 pm

    Swami:
    A street-poet friend of mine (Julia Vinograd, bubble lady of Telegraph Avenue) wrote a poem saying “The poor can be as nasty as the rich / … / Looking up or looking down / they don’t see people / Only distance.”

  7. bernie  •  Mar 15, 2016 @7:14 pm

    Thank you Swami. Might I add a quote which might explain the “loyalty” of tRump supporter, or if you will Heir Peculiar. “The foolish and the dead alone never change their opinions.” James Russell Lowell 1819-1891.

  8. moonbat  •  Mar 15, 2016 @8:39 pm

    Shorter National Review: “Let them eat cake”

  9. paradoctor  •  Mar 15, 2016 @9:25 pm

    Williamson is not wrong about the moral, mental and spiritual collapse of left-behind America, but they’re left behind because they have been abandoned; a betrayal that he is in denial about because his paymasters are complicit in it.

    “Nothing happened to them,” he said. Precisely. The big Nothing happened to them. No work, no money, no prospects, no help, no future.

    And can you guess who are the big nothings who did that much nothing to them?

  10. paradoctor  •  Mar 15, 2016 @9:31 pm

    Williamson calls ‘the Establishment’ an ‘odious, stupid term’. But which is odious and stupid? The term or its referent?

  11. Doug  •  Mar 15, 2016 @10:04 pm

    The republican ‘base’ – as seen by the GOP aristocracy –

    See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
    1. despicable, contemptible. 2. poor, inferior, cheap, tawdry. 3. fake, spurious. 4. servile, ignoble, abject, slavish, menial.

    This is how the aristocrats viewed the clown class they created. Election after election they offered the rabble an assortment of establishment candidates guaranteed to serve the nobility while offering the peasants different flavors of contempt, for women for Islam for minorities and for the poor. (And Allah protect the poor, black Muslim woman.) Perfecting the politics of resentment without delivering on their rhetoric frustrated the conservative voters. Like a dog being teased through a fence, they became angry. The aristocracy never noticed that the aristocracy itself was also becoming the object of the hate they curried.

    This election they had a blue-blood former governor backed by hundreds of millions of special interest money, a governor of a northern state who had delivered unprecedented spite for unions and poisoned water for the inner cities. They had an establishment Senator from Florida, and an Uncle Tom selling books. Holding the leash of each of the sanctioned candidates was one or more billionaires. They even had a female CEO with a resume of failures but a gift for promoting herself. Tattooed on ass cheek closest to the wallet for each of these candidates was the receipt “Bought & Paid For”.

    And the base said ‘No, thanks’. Many were so rude, they left off, ‘thanks’. How uncouth. The sanctioned candidates were delivering the ritual messages in ritual code which had always placated the base. And the base knew the sanctioned candidates would not deliver on the hate anyway, being in service to Royalty, not the rabble. A different candidate was delivering the hate straight without a chaser. The aristocracy could not control this hateful impudent upstart – he has his own fortune and does not offer homage. His talent for bombastic rhetoric outfoxed even the fox. The base watched and loved how the nobility spurned, attacked and could not wound their champion.

    The liberals the base hate also hate their champion – the conservative aristocracy they hate also hate their champion. Experience, qualifications, policy – who needs these when hate aligns perfectly behind one man.

    The loyal servants of the billionaire class are dumbfounded, flummoxed, befuddled, desperate and angry. They see the future of the party as described in prophecy.

    “All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.”

  12. uncledad  •  Mar 15, 2016 @10:06 pm

    “Nothing happened to them.”

    Exactly nothing. Wasn’t it the GOP elites (along with some loathsome democrats) what gave away the store to the 1% in the form of tax-law, tax-breaks, needless war, bloated military spending all the while using race and hate to fool the rubes into supporting them? So yes nothing happened, yes nothing, no jobs, no education, no trickle down, nothing.

  13. uncledad  •  Mar 15, 2016 @10:16 pm

    Poor little Marco:

    “Not God’s plan that I be president in 2016”

    Wow that’s some serious narcissism! Another phony christian tea-tard hits the bricks, as much as I despise Trump he is doing the nation a favor eliminating these empty suits! Looks like its gonna be Hill versus the Donald!

  14. Swami  •  Mar 15, 2016 @11:28 pm

    uncledad …Not to nit pick, but “Christian” should be capitalized. When you’re standing before the throne of judgment and about ready to get tossed into the lake of fire you don’t want that trivial slight added to your indictment. 🙂
    Seriously, I don’t see Marco’s cop-out as narcissistic. I see it as a denial of personal failure and a refusal to look at himself from the outside his bubble of good intentions. Back when he first introduced his failed immigration plan proposals that were laughed out of the Senate, somebody had said he was pushed into the deep end. I think that assessment holds true for his entire political career. And if he really believes in the idea of God’s plan then he’d have to believe that God’s plan is that Trump gets the nomination.

  15. Craig  •  Mar 16, 2016 @3:00 am

    The simple truth is that wealthy libertarians are trying to use the Republican Party to turn the United States into one huge safe haven for the rich, the way Hong Kong was decades ago: low taxes, cheap labor, no regulation, easy rules on investments and easy profits for scammers.

    And then there’s the reality of global warming, which the rich do not accept. Not even Rupert Murdoch, who has a lot of ties to Australian coal. They refuse to accept the possibility that their golden goose has become toxic.

  16. uncledad  •  Mar 16, 2016 @5:13 am
  17. rudolph schnaubelt  •  Mar 16, 2016 @11:56 am

    Sadly, Bristol Palin has been a roll model, as you say, and not a role model.

  18. Joel Dan Walls  •  Mar 16, 2016 @12:45 pm

    Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap.

    I’m reminded of 1984, when Ronald Reagan’s campaign appropriated Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” as a theme song. They heard Springsteen screeching the words “born in the USA”, but not the rest of the lyrics, such as these:

    Got in a little hometown jam so they put a rifle in my hand
    Sent me off to a foreign land to go and kill the yellow man

  19. uncledad  •  Mar 16, 2016 @2:02 pm

    “you don’t want that trivial slight added to your indictment”

    Bring it on, it will be toward the end of a very long list!

  20. Diane  •  Mar 16, 2016 @4:59 pm

    He’s wrong. Time and time again if you look at what happens and talk to the folks that live in these towns, the jobs go and then then the decay and rot set in.
    Ask any person that has lived in these towns for all their lives.
    He is arrogant and he is wrong.

  21. c u n d gulag  •  Mar 16, 2016 @5:04 pm

    Diane,
    On top of arrogant and wrong, if you add stupid, intolerant, overly “Christian,” and bigoted, you’ve got the conservatives default position.

  22. goatherd  •  Mar 17, 2016 @11:03 am

    If you’ve even known a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Borderline Disorder, some of the rhetoric and argument put out by the right seems to display a collective version. (Of course, I am not saying this as a professional, just someone in the habit of trying to make sense out of human behavior. ) Some of the pieces seem to fit, like railing against the “sense of entitlement” of people down on their luck, while being blind to their own sense of entitlement and privilege. The article cited fits right in.

    I guess this is the stage of the game when we all get to see who is in on the grift and who isn’t, and there may be a few surprises, even for those of us who had some strong theories. The last ones to see it will be those who have really been “taken to the cleaners.” But, then they have so much invested over such a long term, that the realization would be devastating, so there will be a convoluted path to denial.

    There may come a day when the “gifted” and Galtian won’t be needed anymore. So many of the ilk of the National Review staff will be swept out by the new broom, which may rely more on brute strength than the old one. It was such a “just world” that recognized their talents and paid them well. It will hurt them to realize it was all an illusion.

    For those who tend towards the true believer, the elegant beauty of the system matched its practical perfection. If such a beautiful thing starts to fail, then clearly, there is someone at fault, or some general moral failing like sloth or ignorance. So naturally, a harsh resentment turns towards those who refused to succeed in such a just and well composed piece of work. Some (former) allies just aren’t worthy of club membership, but a wait staff always comes in handy.

    By the way, Roy Edroso at Alicublog and the Village Voice cited this same article. He’s always worth a read.

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