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 â€œglobalistsâ€ and â€” odious, stupid term â€” â€œthe Establishment,â€ 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 â€” which is to say, the whelping of human children with all the respect and wisdom of a stray dog â€” you will come to an awful realization. It wasnâ€™t Beijing. It wasnâ€™t even Washington, as bad as Washington can be. It wasnâ€™t immigrants from Mexico, excessive and problematic as our current immigration levels are. It wasnâ€™t any of that.
Nothing happened to them. There wasnâ€™t some awful disaster. There wasnâ€™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 â€” and the incomprehensible malice â€” of poor white America. So the gypsum business in Garbutt ainâ€™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 Trumpâ€™s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isnâ€™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 Bristolâ€™s blog on Patheos, and I represented Bristol in a lawsuit â€” 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…