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No Thanks, Lefty, We’re Good

Jesse Singal points out that most black Virginians want Gov. Ralph “Blackface” Northam to stay in office (58 percent [1] — more support than Northam has among whites). Most Latinos don’t want to be called “Latinx”. Only nine percent of Native Americans want the Washington Redskins to change their name. This signals that progressives have a class problem. [2] Excerpts:

But at the same time, if you’re a progressive who is calling for the Washington football team to change its name, or for Ralph Northam to resign, because of the harm that football team name and that governor did to marginalized people, it should feel very weird that the actual groups most affected mostly disagree with you, no? Or if it doesn’t feel weird, why doesn’t it feel weird? What does it mean to say you hold an opinion out of a desire to protect a given group when members of that group say, in polling, they don’t require your protection on that particular issue?

The broader problem here is that progressive political elites have a bit of a class problem. They know how to speak the language of their fellow college-educated politicians and journalists and nonprofit-founders, who tend to have more progressive politics than just about everyone else, but sometimes stumble when it comes to their attempts to appeal to more blue-collar groups. That this is true when it comes to the white working class is a truism at this point, albeit a complicated one without an obvious solution — conservative whites in the U.S. are, on average, so conservative that it’s hard to argue in good faith a different progressive communication strategy could sway anything but a tiny subset of them. But what’s less appreciated and more rarely discussed is the extent to which this class problem extends to non-elite blacks, Latinos, and members of other minority groups, who are sometimes taken for granted simply because they vote so solidly Democratic.

More:

Anyway, on more specific issues like the Northam controversy, the key point here stands: Two very different questions — What are the views of members of marginalized groups? and What are the views of elite exemplars of marginalized groups whose opinions I am exposed to on cable news or on Twitter? — are being conflated by many people. And that’s a problem.

Read the whole thing.  [2]

Remember back during the Kavanaugh controversy, how so many progressives were sure that every woman in America would be on Christine Blasey Ford’s side? It never seemed to occur to them that women have sons, husbands, fathers, and brothers, and they would fear for a world in which they could be professionally and personally destroyed by a false accusation.

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64 Comments To "No Thanks, Lefty, We’re Good"

#1 Comment By JonF On February 20, 2019 @ 7:03 am

Re: The picture that many women paint of gender dynamics and the on-the-ground reality of relationships…I’m simply not seeing it.

I suspect (but cannot prove) that these people had horrible personal experiences that color their view of relations between the sexes and family life: bad relationships with jackasss men, failed marriages that involved abuse, or nasty fathers tyrannizing their mothers and childhoods. Such things exist and are not rare, but also not the rule of life either. It’s similar to the manner in which people who suffered spiritual abuse in noxious churches may be permanently anti-religious. It’s very difficult for any of us to escape the particulars of our childhood and youth.

#2 Comment By Collin On February 20, 2019 @ 9:36 am

It may surprise conservatives that a lot of white liberals live in very diverse communities, but I can state a lot of the white SJWs is eye-rolling stupid and very condensing to minorities. (Although my guess many older Virginia African-Americans know the realities of the past that they don’t want Northam removed from office but they would not vote for him again.)

One reason I wish SJW would quiet down is, most minority voters already know 90% conservatives are supporting a President that thinks the protesters in C-Ville play acting KKK rallies are ‘Good People.’ (And I can state that minority voters were very shaken by those rallies.)

#3 Comment By kgasmart On February 20, 2019 @ 9:38 am

Standing O for the John Michael Greer reference, he nails it in that post about our modern-day Puritans.

Hey Rod, maybe that’s a phrase you should work into your book – “Progressive Puritans.”

That said, I agree that the left has a class problem. There’s far too much corporate influence. Socialism-lite is a good place to start…

We’re going to get universal basic income. Bet on it. It’ll be just enough to mollify the masses, just enough to keep us out of actual poverty but not enough to actually get anywhere; enough that a significant chunk of recipients won’t be motivated to go find work because even if it was available, meh, they can get by on what the government and those wonderful generous socialistic big tech firms who are just trying to buy them off are willing to cede.

#4 Comment By Furor On February 20, 2019 @ 9:58 am

“Also, could you comment on why so much American industry grew up in relatively small cities and towns, rather than being concentrated mostly or exclusively in the big cities? Were government policies partly responsible for this (even old fashioned crony capitalism), or was it just the invisible hand of the market at work, or the need for so much water and fuel that thousands of sites were needed rather than a hundred or so?”

That the industry grew in the outskirts isn’t anything special, because it did so everywhere, even in France. Doesn’t change the fact that France is still dominated by one big city and it had, and has, an effect on mentality and differences between people. I don’t know the US density or urban design very well and I assume that the US isn’t in the same situation as France, but I also don’t know if it has the same structure as Germany where potential is distributed around the country nicely. One reason why big cities grow overly important is because people are enamoured by their glory and grow a certain servilistic attitude towards the elites of big cities. Maybe Americans are simply servilistic to big cities and dislike anybody who isn’t rich and popular.

#5 Comment By aaron On February 20, 2019 @ 12:59 pm

Anyone on the left (like myself) who suggests we focus more on economic issues and less on identity / culture-war politics gets a standard response like, “Oh, so basically you’re saying that black voters and other minorities need to shut up and move to the back of the bus!” This column is basically my answer to that. Somehow, a segment of minority activists has pulled off the trick of claiming to speak for their entire demographic and most of the left has largely bought it, even as actual opinion polling shows significant viewpoint discrepancies. We need to be better about calling out this trick for the fraud that it is.

#6 Comment By JonF On February 20, 2019 @ 1:54 pm

Re: could you comment on why so much American industry grew up in relatively small cities and towns, rather than being concentrated mostly or exclusively in the big cities?

Land was cheap and available with no need tear down existing buildings and displace people and businesses. Also, easier to expand and retrofit infrastructure to accommodate major industry. I’m old enough to remember the huge brouhaha over Detroit’s GM Poletown plant which involved the city taking, by eminent domain, homes and even churches from people and selling the land to General Motors, which was acting on a promise to build a new factory within the city limits. (Why there? possibly because good freeway access already existed and the area was not already badly congested). The new plant, by was, was not exactly one for the ages: it’s in the process of being shuttered.

#7 Comment By EngineerScotty On February 20, 2019 @ 2:33 pm

“Also, could you comment on why so much American industry grew up in relatively small cities and towns, rather than being concentrated mostly or exclusively in the big cities? Were government policies partly responsible for this (even old fashioned crony capitalism), or was it just the invisible hand of the market at work, or the need for so much water and fuel that thousands of sites were needed rather than a hundred or so?”

Some speculation:

* We didn’t have anything resembling enclosure and clearance; indeed, land was widely distributed among the populace. Indeed, it was the policy of the US government for much of the 19th century to spread out across North America and settle the wilderness (and displace the natives). Thus less concentration of people in cities. (Modern mechanized agriculture might be finally having the impact here that E&C did in Great Britain, as rural areas lose their job markets and people are forced into cities to find work).

* As noted above, much industry was concentrated around water sources; and the US landmass is full of rivers from which early factories could draw power, dump waste into, and use to transport raw materials and finished goods.

* Don’t discount the damage done to cities during the mid 20th century, when many of them were viewed essentially as ghettos.

* There has long been a belief in US political culture of distributing power. Unlike England or France or Russia (and like Germany, Italy, and China), the US has no “primate city”. Many states have located their capitals in smaller cities or even small towns (such as Pierre, SD or Montpelier, VT), deliberately placing the seat of government away from the centers of industrial and financial power. (And modern Germany and Italy are both recent unions of smaller states that had developed their own power centers; whereas England has been a distinct and unified polity for a very long time, even if Great Britain is a more recent development).

#8 Comment By C. L. H. Daniels On February 20, 2019 @ 3:28 pm

Re: could you comment on why so much American industry grew up in relatively small cities and towns, rather than being concentrated mostly or exclusively in the big cities?

Because it makes sense to put productive facilities close to:

a) The sites of production for the raw materials that they need (or in the case of extractive industries like mining and timbering, they have to be where the resources are, and those places are not big cities).

b) Cheap power, which at the advent of the industrial revolution meant rivers.

c) Convenient transportation, which at the advent of the industrial revolution meant bodies of water, especially rivers.

Later on, with the development of railroads and eventually automobiles, the incentives changed. There’s a reason why Worcester, MA was at the heart of the American industrial revolution at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and that reason is the Blackstone River valley. There’s also a reason why it didn’t stay that way, and that reason was steam power and railroads.

Nowadays the incentives tend to have more to do with the fact that cities, especially the big coastal cities, are really expensive places to buy real estate, especially the kind you need to build a massive, modern production complex. If you want land, it’s cheaper where there’s less people. Not to mention, people in economically depressed rural parts of the country are likely to be much more excited about the potential jobs a factory will bring than they are to be concerned about environmental impacts, noise, or aesthetics, which is very much *not* the case when it comes to wealthy, educated urbanites.

#9 Comment By Furor On February 20, 2019 @ 3:42 pm

” Unlike England or France or Russia (and like Germany, Italy, and China), the US has no “primate city” ”

What if the US has “primate cities”

#10 Comment By Zapollo On February 20, 2019 @ 6:41 pm

“Remember back during the Kavanaugh controversy, how so many progressives were sure that every woman in America would be on Christine Blasey Ford’s side? It never seemed to occur to them that women have sons, husbands, fathers, and brothers, and they would fear for a world in which they could be professionally and personally destroyed by a false accusation.”

The flip side of this is that progressives often overestimate the hold of reactionary, patriarchal views among American men. Men have moms, wives, daughters and sisters, and they don’t particularly enjoy seeing any of them getting the short end of the stick. No man is going to excuse somebody raping his sister by rolling his eyes and saying “boys will be boys!”, though you might not know that from the way some progressives talk.

More to the point, at least one of the reasons that Title IX has been such a smashing success in opening up opportunities for women in sports is because it gives conservative, sports-crazy dads a way to bond with their daughters. If you don’t believe me, try screwing up a story about a local high school girls’ basketball game and see who calls up wanting to rip your head off.

I’m actually surprised there hasn’t been more pushback on transgender “women” competing in women’s sports by dads who are angry about seeing their daughters get beat by boys.

#11 Comment By EngineerScotty On February 20, 2019 @ 8:06 pm

What if the US has “primate cities”

Under the usual definition of the term–there can be only one; either a country has a primate city (like London or Paris or Moscow or Seoul or Tokyo or Mexico City) or it has none.

Washington DC is the nation’s capitol, but it’s furthest from the largest city; nor the center of finance or industry or culture. A primate city is the city in a country which is the unquestioned leader in these things–the seat of government, the cultural mecca, the center of finance.

Of course, all cities by definition are full of primates, but that’s not what the term means. 🙂

#12 Comment By JonF On February 20, 2019 @ 8:10 pm

Re: I’m actually surprised there hasn’t been more pushback on transgender “women” competing in women’s sports by dads who are angry about seeing their daughters get beat by boys.

For all the hew and cry on the subject, transexuals are still rare, so most young people never interact with any, especially not those who have gone the distance and gone through “the change” which would in MTF persons playing on female teams.

#13 Comment By JonF On February 20, 2019 @ 8:21 pm

Re: Many states have located their capitals in smaller cities or even small towns (such as Pierre, SD or Montpelier, VT), deliberately placing the seat of government away from the centers of industrial and financial power.

Also, many state capitals were placed near the geographical center (perhaps weighted a bit by population density) to facilitate travel there by representatives from all around the state.

#14 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 20, 2019 @ 9:37 pm

The broader problem here is that progressive political elites have a bit of a class problem. They know how to speak the language of their fellow college-educated politicians and journalists and nonprofit-founders, who tend to have more progressive politics than just about everyone else, but sometimes stumble when it comes to their attempts to appeal to more blue-collar groups.

Yup. That’s why they are not “left.” Nor socialist. I don’t use the term “petit bourgeois” because it has been so rhetorically overused, like much other jargon, but that’s basically what these cretins are. No, they are those for whom the mistranslation “petty bourgeois” actually applies. There is the working class, the ruling class, and those with no class at all.