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Give Me My Yellow Vest

A reader who is, shall we say, intimately familiar with elite prep schools in the imperial capital, draws my attention to this web page for the “Colloquium for the Common Good,” [1] a day of activism education at St. Stephen’s St. Agnes, an Episcopal school in Alexandria, Va. Here’s the current tuition rate:

So, what kind of activism does the Ruling Class consider it proper for its children to embrace? What initiatives count as working for the “common good,” according to the Ruling Class? Check out the very revealing Colloquium. [1] It is like reading a menu at Social Justice Warrior Day Camp. Here are some screenshots that give you a sense of the whole. Mind you, they are almost all like this:

Read the whole thing. [1] This is a snapshot of the elites in the capital of the American empire furrowing their collective brow at the problems they wish their children to solve. It’s a a glimpse of what the ruling class believes are the issues involved in fighting for the common good. The entire Episcopal school program — 38 workshops, by my count — is almost entirely about identity politics, protest, and global warming.

“Common good.” I wonder what a jobless coal miner in Appalachia would have to say about that program. I wonder what the 700 paper mill workers in my part of the world who are about to lose their jobs would say. I wonder what the public high school guidance counselor in the Rust Belt who sees kids in her school falling victim to heroin addiction would say.

I know what I say: “Give me my Yellow Vest.”  [2]

You know that this is where Trump comes from, right? Trump is failing, for reasons that are specific to Trump’s personal faults, but the forces that produced Trump are not going away. They only await another, more disciplined and effective advocate. The ruling class sees people like me, and tens of millions of Americans who are not so much like me, as part of the common bad — as those who must be marginalized, stigmatized, and defeated for the sake of the common good. It’s why the K-8 Sheridan School in DC (annual tuition: $35,000-$38,000) is proudly announcing that it refuses to play Immanuel Christian School’s teams [3], because the Evangelical private school (where Karen Pence teaches) is a bigot factory.

When graduates of these schools take power within the US establishment — corporate power, cultural power, media power, and political power — they will use it against us, and call it Social Justice. They’ll call it Working For The Common Good. If you object, they’ll call you “fragile,” and do their best to roll right over you without their halo falling off.

Like I said: “Give me my Yellow Vest.” In the meantime, orthodox Christians had better start taking seriously the Benedict Option [4], to form themselves and their children in the Resistance. The ruling class is doing this with its children in places like St. Stephen’s St. Agnes. Why aren’t you?

UPDATE: A reader comments:

I grew up in DC in the 90s (graduated from St. Albans), and it’s like that throughout most of the local institutions now. I was one of the few who took my alma mater’s motto seriously (Pro Ecclesia et Pro Patria) so ran off to adventure and spent my 20s in the Middle East rather than at Goldman, making me something of a black sheep/class traitor among my family and old friends. I return to DC occasionally and am taken aback at the brazen openness of the radicalism on show. DC denizens have always seen themselves as the masters in their relationship with the rest of their countrymen, and apparently they feel secure enough in their grip on things to express that sentiment openly now. Take it from a defector from the capital, you won’t find any peaceful coexistence with them.

UPDATE.2: Another reader:

This stuff is indicative of how D.C. has changed in the past 20 to 30 years. Washington has always had these elite schools and a social stratum of rich white weirdos, but what kept them in check until the early 2000s was that the majority of the city was black and poor. Going to the permit office, the police station, or the dysfunctional DMV in Marion Barry’s Washington was humbling, even intimidating, for these people.

Now, though, the black population of D.C. is less than 50 percent, roughly equal with the white population. A real-estate boom from young people who want to live in a city has made D.C. a playground for wealthy white people. City services are better, and whole neighborhoods that looked like postnuclear wastelands in 1995 are now rebuilt and thriving. White folks in the city no longer get daily reminders that they don’t run and rule everything, and culturally this has emanated out to suburbs like Bethesda and Alexandria.

So there’s now a much larger stratum of these sheltered rich kids. They’re going to be our overlords in a few years, but they’ll graduate from college with little firsthand experience of people who aren’t like themselves. They’re too busy taking classes and attending enrichment camps and landing internships at prestigious-sounding places, so almost none of them hold jobs where they’re bussing tables, stocking shelves, or assembling burritos next to someone who makes minimum wage. They encounter the poor only when they go do résumé-building “service” trips to some Caribbean island. The pragmatic middle class is foreign to them. After college, grad school, or law school, they’ll go into business, politics, or activism without ever having been, even for a brief time, the secretary, the receptionist, the mailroom guy, the file clerk, or the janitor. They probably won’t know anyone who’s started a business, run a family business, or done low-level work for a big company.

I knew a group of D.C. teens who self-published a book about how to fix U.S. foreign policy. They had never worked, not even mowing a lawn for pocket change, but by gosh, they knew how to fix and run the world—and presumed to lecture adults about it. One of the kids told me he loved to watch reruns of “The Office.” Of course he did! Working in a sad corporate office where you hate your life was an ironic fantasy to him and to his cohort, not the grinding reality it is for the less privileged.

I don’t blame these kids; I blame their parents for keeping them sheltered and giving them a really skewed idea of who their fellow citizens are. Our present social situation and culture war make more sense when we understand their weirdly skewed priorities. But since they mostly control the culture, we’re not seeing the satires, parodies, and criticism of them that they deserve, even though they’re a rich subject for ridicule. The Trump crowd really doesn’t have a clear or accurate picture of this elite, which is why most criticisms lobbed from the right don’t do damage, i.e. the lame “Georgetown cocktail parties” accusation. But at some point, a movie, TV show, or news story may give the rest of the public a “condensed symbol” for this high-achieving class of people who feel entitled to power. Only then might there be a real yellow-vest moment in the U.S.

 

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87 Comments To "Give Me My Yellow Vest"

#1 Comment By Locksley On January 30, 2019 @ 4:30 pm

Mr Jenkins: Thank you for the Phil Ochs song, ‘The Ring of Revolution’; I hadn’t heard his voice in many years. He was a tragic figure who somehow convinced himself that ‘Revolution’ was a sacred and talismanic thing, and his singing of the word really does ‘ring’ in an eerie way. But it was a ring like Gollum’s ring. I wish he had taken seriously his most famous line, ‘smoking marijuana is more fun than drinking beer’; he might have avoided alcoholism and not hanged himself over . . . the inevitable failure of Revolution.

#2 Comment By Thaomas On January 30, 2019 @ 4:33 pm

For the right young people, I can see how these could be useful although they could also be pretty old had for most who would have learned most of these lessons at home.

#3 Comment By The Other Sands On January 30, 2019 @ 4:33 pm

‘Like I said: “Give me my Yellow Vest.”’

To what end? To advocate for what policies specifically?

It sounds like you just want to smash things. Do you respect when antifa does that? The Proud Boys? BLM?

“Just to be blunt, relentless violence seems to be all that gets the empire’s notice and gets them to change policy.”

People in these comment threads will be openly discussing civil war within the next year or two. What are your responsibilities here, Rod?

#4 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On January 30, 2019 @ 4:49 pm

So, it may or may not be false, but more importantly, it hurts peoples’ feelings!

Have to remember that line.

As Siarlys might say, these workshops are mere bourgeois fascinations for rich kids.

Yup. That’s exactly what I did say.

I return to DC occasionally and am taken aback at the brazen openness of the radicalism on show.

Three fourths of the population of DC are skeptical about same sex marriage, and definitely don’t want their children taught about the details. I could tell you one other thing about them, but you can probably figure it out for yourself.

The capital elite are as bigoted against the common people to such an extreme that it is a religion where they are the gods, and the rest of us are sub-human.

There’s a lot of truth to that. We may find that if the infantile disorders consolidate power, they rule with the rhetoric of egalitarianism over districts not unlike those in The Hunger Games.

I would like to see a little more sympathy in these columns and comments with those parents who realize that only by paying more than $30,000 a year can they have a hope of seeing their children overcome their “privilege”.

That was meant as sarcasm, I hope?

#5 Comment By Hunter C On January 30, 2019 @ 4:50 pm

Could someone please explain to me how the pernicious ” indoctrination” going on in this school is different from what a properly functioning Benedict Option Community is supposed to look like, aside from the specific content of the message being delivered?

I find it hard to take complaints about ideological monoculture and a lack of opposing ideas seriously when the remedy is presented as… ” intentional communities” doing their thing. If this curriculum is indoctrination, how is that not?

#6 Comment By Marie in Vermont On January 30, 2019 @ 5:11 pm

I listened to the NPR program, “The 1A” on December 19, 2018 when the topic was the lack of protections for coal miners and the increase in black lung disease. At some point in the broadcast, a listener who identified himself as Jonathan sent in a comment which went something like this: ‘Why are these people working in coal mines? Why aren’t they in school getting a Ph.D. (he really said that) so that they don’t need to work in the mines?’ THIS is the attitude of our elites: complete disdain for anyone they see as inferior – and that’s a whole lot of us.

Naturally, Jonathan failed to consider how the HVAC would keep working in his Ph.D. office, or who would do the dirty work of providing the energy to run the electric grid if all these folks decided to get Ph.D.’s instead of doing the important work of keeping things together in an industrial society.

For sure, this elite school is producing class after class of Jonathans, attitude and all. Judging from my experience with wealthy second-home owners here in Vermont, as a group they’re spectacularly unprepared for any glitch in any kind of public provision, because they really aren’t able to do a darn thing for themselves. Here’s hoping the tradespeople of the world get the last laugh.

#7 Comment By Brendan from OZ On January 30, 2019 @ 5:32 pm

“In Jesus time and culture to slap someone with the palm was to make them your equal and so by turning your cheek you force them to your level.”

The gospels are explicit about being struck on the right cheek – a back-hand slap to an inferior.

Turning the other cheek invites a real punch – and see what happens then!

#8 Comment By Collin On January 30, 2019 @ 5:35 pm

VikingLS,

Honestly looking at coal markets, it would hard to see anything good as the amount of coal used in the US has fallen more during Trump administration than any two consecutive Obama years. Between natural gas and various renewal energy (wind mostly and solar) they are increasing the number of power coal closing the last several years. Trump even put tariffs on solar panels to protect. (Cost some working class Cali btw) And the various Rick Perry plans are bizarrely awful considering Texas probably has the best electrical power market in the nation.

Literally, I would like to see the well defined ideas of Democrats to improve the lives of average WV citizen as even with Trump as President, I don’t see the course of coal changing the next five years.

#9 Comment By JonF On January 30, 2019 @ 5:50 pm

Re: What happens when Mario Cuomo is elected President of the United States, with his “First Mistress”

Well, kings and emperors had mistresses for centuries. In France the king’s principle mistress even had a title, maîtresse en titre. And we’ve had several presidents with paramours on the side.

#10 Comment By Earle On January 30, 2019 @ 6:35 pm

i had the good fortune to go to a Christian prep school in NY in the 80’s called The Stony Brook School…probably not as elitist as inn the d.c. area…but with required student pledges on personal conduct and actual work requirements like cleaning toilets, manning the cafeteria industrial dishwasher and greeting outside the morning chapel…it was more evangelical than i was was brought up…it also had served up some lifelong lessons and unique experiences that still ring true for me and i would not have been exposed to if i had not been there… i still value the motto “character before career”and some of the habits i adopted even to this day…

so the specifics of this story and the constellation of stories relating to it over the past months and recent years is just appalling with its posture of vindictiveness(to say nothing of the drive by privilege or sense that there is only one way for others to educate their own children and you are not entitled to it or else we will fabricate fear based straw dogs) which may be how the nyt came to offer this up or maybe not: nytimes.com/2019/01/29/us/christian-schools-students.html

#11 Comment By A Former Washingtonian On January 30, 2019 @ 6:38 pm

FoolMeOnce: “OK, I’ll bite. Tell me what is so terrible about children of the elite being made aware of their privileges and their obligations to the less fortunate.”

One problem is that it’s all theoretical. Unless they’re, say, the children of senators, which means security issues, there’s no reason rich white kids in cities like D.C. can’t go work at CVS or Chipotle rather than attend Robotics Camp or hone their Mandarin. Most of these kids have zero personal experience with the citizens they’ll eventually manage, govern, or hope to help with social programs. How can they ever know what they want or need? Hell, how will they see them as fully human?

Elijah: “I often wonder where all those poor and black families are pushed to as the city becomes more privileged and gentrified.”

Much of the black population that got pushed out of D.C. went to neighboring Prince George’s County. If the black family owned a house in D.C., they did really well when they sold it, and by moving to the suburbs they got a nicer house, a nicer neighborhood, a yard, and better schools. By contrast, the poor and the renters were the ones for whom this gentrification was decidedly unhelpful. They didn’t have a say in whether they could stay or go.

grumpy realist: “on the other side, you’re reminding me about the clueless/arrogant kids on the right who were scooped up by the Bush administration to ‘run’ Iraq after we kicked Saddam Hussein out. Brought in to set up a modern stock trading system, etc. etc. and so forth. Total chaos.”

You’ll get no argument from me. There are definitely conservative prep-school enclaves and professional hubs where the kids are equally as clueless and unprepared to understand their country as the progressive kids are. The functional difference as I see it, though, is that given the way the culture is going, the kids from the progressive elite schools will be the ones running the show in a few years, not the conservative brats.

#12 Comment By Ampersand III On January 30, 2019 @ 6:55 pm

“Now, though, the black population of D.C. is less than 50 percent, roughly equal with the white population. A real-estate boom from young people who want to live in a city has made D.C. a playground for wealthy white people.”

Interesting. We’re often warned of the doom posed by multiculturalism…but in this case, (non-elite) non-whites left, and it’s being presented as a problem. I’m sure most here would argue that it’s more about class than race. But maybe we need to import more brown people, so white elites can rub shoulders with average, normal citizens.

#13 Comment By P On January 30, 2019 @ 7:04 pm

My dad said a lot of young people these days think they know the cost of everything, but the value of nothing. That really applies to the Let Them Eat Cake class you described (the sentiment being the original, not necessarily disdain but definitely disconnect).

No one asks this: Do kids from St. Stephen’s St. Agnes really grow up to rule the world? I challenge that assumption–do these snowflakes really have the chops to sit in boardrooms or strategy sessions and plot the direction of a company or campaign? Even the practice of law, the poor sibling of Big Business, requires grinding hours for newly-minted Ivy League associates.

Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but my guess is that a healthy number of St. Stephen’s St. Agnes kids grow up to be trust fund babies and trophy spouses. They might sit on a few metro art district committees as they mature, run an organic food coop or coffee shop, stay active on social media, etc.

I do know a few of these types who went into social activism, or worked as legislative aides. Having family money is one way of not having to make ends meet on a paltry salary, let alone an internship.

#14 Comment By Noah172 On January 30, 2019 @ 7:45 pm

Siarlys wrote:

Three fourths of the population of DC are skeptical about same sex marriage, and definitely don’t want their children taught about the details. I could tell you one other thing about them, but you can probably figure it out for yourself

Just because you personally know some black people, or even many, does not mean that you can make evidence-free assertions, with numbers or proportions attached, as to what Persons Of African Descent writ large think about a given political issue. If I make an assertion about What Negroes Think, it’s because I’ve looked at one or more of public opinion surveys, exit polls, election results (primary, general, and referenda), or census figures. I don’t base it on, “I have a friend who says…”

Let’s review the holes in your above assertion:

Blacks are not 3/4 of DC residents, or even a majority anymore.

Not all blacks oppose homosexual unions, or even necessarily a majority by this point.

Not all blacks are religious.

Even some (many, really) religious blacks take a more liberal political stance on culture war issues than, say, white evangelicals, irrespective of what their churches teach.

Blacks have moved left on homosexuality like everyone else. Trend most pronounced with youth, as with every race.

I’ll give you this, Siarlys: nine years ago, just after the DC city council voted to legalize homosexual marriage, WaPo polling showed that a modest (not overwhelming) majority of black residents opposed the idea, and a large majority wanted a city referendum on the subject (which never happened). But that was nine years ago, and opinion on this issue has shifted rapidly.

#15 Comment By Mark On January 30, 2019 @ 7:50 pm

“You know that this is where Trump comes from, right? Trump is failing, for reasons that are specific to Trump’s personal faults, but the forces that produced Trump are not going away. They only await another, more disciplined and effective advocate.”

We already had more disciplined and effective advocate run for president in 2016, and all the establishment had to do was hysterically scream the “s” word. So instead of voting for the candidate who’s been beating this drum his entire life, the coal miners/paper mill workers went for the silver-spooned con artist who used them to win the presidency as the ultimate enhancement to his brand.

#16 Comment By Mark Krvavica On January 30, 2019 @ 9:07 pm

I would love to send the U.S. establishment a message by wearing a Yellow Vest because it’s a symbol for freedom against the ruling class’ idea of the common good, I will buy one as soon as possible and await a more disciplined and effective advocate than Trump. Until then I will not bow down to a $39,770 Washington City high school kid.

#17 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On January 30, 2019 @ 9:38 pm

he might have avoided alcoholism and not hanged himself over . . . the inevitable failure of Revolution.

Don McLean, the musician who made “Bye Bye Miss American Pie” famous, wrote a less well known song that might have been about Phil Ochs’s tragic end. It has lines like “they did not love you, and yet your love was true” and “this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.” OK, Ochs wasn’t beautiful. And he had a better grasp on the rough side of life than the adoring student throngs who came to his concerts. But he never quite got beyond the paradigms of the movement he ran with.

It takes a bit of pragmatism to be a successful revolutionary. It requires taking people as they are, not seeking the noble knights of The People that one might dream of. And eventually, you recognize that while everyone has their faults, most have something useful to contribute. Phil Ochs gave up to quickly. But, for the kind of plush, prosperous, patronizing faux leftists under discussion here, “Ringing of Revolution is a salutary reminder that the people on the outside will resemble Lee Marvin, not a bunch of prep school kids, and, that they will find themselves spiritually resembling Charles Lawton on the inside.

If I make an assertion about What Negroes Think, it’s because I’ve looked at one or more of public opinion surveys, exit polls, election results…

On the contrary Noah, you’ve been known to come off with a variation on “some of my best friends are Negroes,” and you often share your personal experiences with us that made you a white nationalist redux. But while you fixate on the fact that indeed 90 percent of black votes go for Dems, I know that these very Dem voters are not universally on board with what the party leaders think is “the Will of the People.”

Not all blacks oppose homosexual unions, or even necessarily a majority by this point.

Not all… is obvious. “Or even necessarily…” is a vague conjecture.

Not all blacks are religious.

Yes, some are in college, and some of those have bought into the infantile disorder line. But you have no idea how “religious” some of the most hard-bitten street thugs can be.

nine years ago, just after the DC city council voted to legalize homosexual marriage, WaPo polling showed that a modest (not overwhelming) majority of black residents opposed the idea

Like I said, there is a disconnect on SOME issues between the talking heads and the masses. And … if you want to know what has changed in nine years, it does help to know people instead of just reading polls.

#18 Comment By Fran Macadam On January 30, 2019 @ 9:43 pm

” So instead of voting for the candidate who’s been beating this drum his entire life, the coal miners/paper mill workers went for the silver-spooned con artist who used them to win the presidency as the ultimate enhancement to his brand.”

If you meant Bernie, it wasn’t Trump who dumped him, it was Madame President-In-Waiting. We never had a chance to vote for him, thanks to the Dem machine sandbagging him. We never had a chance to vote for him.

#19 Comment By Janwaar Bibi On January 30, 2019 @ 10:49 pm

What happens when Mario Cuomo is elected President of the United States, with his “First Mistress”?

Mario Cuomo died in 2015 so this is unlikely. His son Andrew on the other hand may indeed become president and he does have a live-in girlfriend so your fears may come true.

On the plus side, his girlfriend just bought a cockatoo, so we may yet have the first “First Cockatoo.” This will be a big step forward for cockatoo rights and it will force “first dogs” to check their privilege.

#20 Comment By VikingLS On January 30, 2019 @ 11:13 pm

“Literally, I would like to see the well defined ideas of Democrats to improve the lives of average WV citizen as even with Trump as President, I don’t see the course of coal changing the next five years.”

Okay, so what should they do? I’m from the region and I’m at a loss for the majority of Appalachia.

#21 Comment By Surly On January 31, 2019 @ 12:24 am

I continue to be gobsmacked by the center right/cultural conservative melange that calls themselves red or Republican to see that if there is significant market demand for a 30K per year kindergarten, taxes are too damn low.

#22 Comment By James Gillen On January 31, 2019 @ 12:46 am

Gad, never mind the leftism, just look at the course descriptions: “This session will share how artist all over the world use art” – “More important, it can be psychological harmful” – and from the link: “In the current political environment many Americans are engaged in robust political debate. Students may be well served to know what views can be shared and when words step over a line. This session will examine both of these.”

Spell check can’t do miracles, kids.

Both conservatives and liberals have a strain of thought that holds that the country should be controlled by elites. (That’s part of why I can’t stand either of them.) But even this idea implies that the folks in charge are professionals who know what they’re doing. Well, as we’ve seen in this Administration, conservatives have completely abandoned that principle, and liberals seem to have doubled down on the smug elitism while throwing out the professional standards that would justify it.

And as for all this talk of revolution, I’m led to observe that revolutions normally don’t occur when the peasants think the nobles are superior. They occur when the nobles are exposed as inferior.

I’ll agree with this much, Rod:
“You know that this is where Trump comes from, right? Trump is failing, for reasons that are specific to Trump’s personal faults, but the forces that produced Trump are not going away. They only await another, more disciplined and effective advocate.”

I loathe Trump, I would NEVER vote for him, and to me he’s a Russian polezni durak – at best. But if libs think they can just turn back the clock to 2016 and pretend this whole sad affair never happened, they’re blanking out how things got to this point.

#23 Comment By James Gillen On January 31, 2019 @ 12:48 am

This might be interesting, though:


Magic: A Window into Implicit Bias
Presenter: Bob Weiman

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

In this session students will learn about how magicians use psychology and a deep understanding of perception to manipulate their audiences. This same framework is then applied to implicit or unconscious bias in order to give students a better understanding about why this occurs and how it can lead to stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. We will then discuss strategies for countering implicit/unconscious bias.

#24 Comment By cka2nd On January 31, 2019 @ 5:49 am

Fran Macadam says: “What happens when Mario Cuomo is elected President of the United States, with his ‘First Mistress’?”

I believe you meant to refer to Andrew Cuomo, not the late Mario Cuomo, Fran. Shockingly, by the way, Andrew has decided not to run for president in 2020. I have to think he is looking to 2024, instead, since it was my impression that Andrew’s great ambition was to be president.

On the other hand, it looks like my old roommate, Mayor Bill De Blasio, is looking to jump right over the Governor’s mansion and instead make a run for the White House. Surprise, surprise.

#25 Comment By jacopo On January 31, 2019 @ 8:11 am

The children of the managerial elite need to be taught to have the all the current and correct attitudes of the managerial elite in order to differentiate them from their potential competitors. Currently, wokeness is the correct attitude. Wokeness indicates one has the power to spout objectively silly things without any consequences.

#26 Comment By Sam M On January 31, 2019 @ 8:20 am

” This is a snapshot of the elites in the capital of the American empire furrowing their collective brow at the problems they wish their children to solve.”

Don’t be naive. These people don’t give two craps about these issues. They are terrified of brown people… at least the vast majority of brown people. The ones who went to fancy colleges and have MDs are ok. But the rest of them? These people will not tolerate them in their schools or especially in their neighborhoods. Anywhere around their kids. That’s why they live in Kalorama and Bethesda and avoid public schools like the plague.

Of course that’s a terrible look because it’s racist! So they loudly do BS like this to cover their racism.

My kids go to a small rural Catholic school. There are hardly any black or Hispanic people there. But I’d say my school is WAY more diverse than this school in other ways. Looking at my kids classes, I bet at least 20 percent will not attend a four year college. And at least half the dads wear boots to work.

Tuition is less than 3k, too. And it’s a classical academy.

#27 Comment By Noah172 On January 31, 2019 @ 8:47 am

Siarlys wrote:

while you fixate on the fact that indeed 90 percent of black votes go for Dems

No, I mentioned other categories of evidence besides general elections. Primaries and state referenda are also revealing, to some extent even more so than general elections. If the blacks took politically conservative stances on religious and sexual culture war, but favored the Democrats on economic and racial grounds, then the blacks would: 1) use their considerable clout in Democratic primaries to support candidates with conservative stances on religious and sexual culture war, and 2) vote conservatively in state referenda (where party labels are not an issue) addressing these matters. Neither of those things happen (I could go into the details), at least not consistently or recently, so I take those pieces of evidence, plus all the others, to form generalizations about What Negroes Think, what they really think, when push comes to shove.

Not all… is obvious. “Or even necessarily…” is a vague conjecture

In November 2012, Maryland, which is adjacent to the District of Columbia, had a referendum on homosexual marriage. Exit poll said the blacks were 46% in favor. Not a majority, but pretty large (and a big jump in black support from the 2008 California exit poll on its marriage referendum). If you are skeptical of exit polls, a WaPo analysis of precincts showed that the marriage change had 48% support in predominantly black precincts. That was six years ago, and public opinion on homosexuality has only shifted left in recent years, hence my “or even necessarily a majority by this point” line.

#28 Comment By Annie On January 31, 2019 @ 9:36 am

As others have said, there’s been some great posts here recently, but this is the one that strikes me as the most important because it’s what the powerful least want to talk about: there is no workshop called “How St. Alban’s, followed by the Ivy League, secures your lasting and permanent privilege to manage the masses.”

Redbrick points out how much worse it is than pre-1789. He’s right. They teach contempt for the people repairing the bridges when it’s icing or salting the roads at 3 am. We have articles from the big outlets about robot bigotry, cataloging attacks on robots around the country. Silence on the men, women, and families suffering in the 24/7 economy, manning the gas station in exhaustion under lurid lights at 3 am. The entire economy and culture is a destruction of the ability of the majority of people to grow roots, be stewards, have some say over their lives, and build some kind of stability. It is this way because we have never been good at managing input/output. We take from one area and when that dries up the wealthy go take from somewhere else. Silence on the people living in the ruins.

Silence on how the H-1B visas transformed the field of IT, the field that was sold to Americans as a chance to have a middle-class lifestyle as manufacturing plants were shut down. What happened? Nearly 30 years of the H-1B program being used to avoid hiring American workers, crush the wages of the Americans they were employing, the virtual hostage-taking of their American workers by threatening them with unemployment if they protested against the 80-90 hour work weeks demanded of them, and then told they were racists not standing in solidarity with their immigrant co-workers if they had any complaints.

This ruling class is engaged in one of the greatest farces any elite has ever attempted: they preach the saving religion of intersectional self-examination of privilege while being the biggest benefactors of a privilege they zealously guard: the privilege of credentialism. For all their stated concerns about the poor and minorities they preserve a system where monetary wealth and a public platform are beyond the reach of the working and welfare classes. It’s a system where the middle-class door-knockers who attempt access are, more often than not, punished with a lifetime of debt. It’s a system where all the talk of access and free schooling are a joke to make their conscience a little clearer in order to avoid the elephant in the room: not everyone can be the HR manager of Procter & Gamble. Not every little girl will grow up to run for President. The empowerment of the few to live without limits comes at the cost of the many being able to live at all. They have no intention of leveling the playing field. They speak about compassion for the immigrant but have no desire to change economic policy to stop pillaging the immigrant’s country of origin. It is all pitting people against one another in the hopes no one will notice that their child will get the best. And DC is the number one living monument to this willful cognitive dissonance.

I, like a few other commenters here, am from DC. For a time I occupied the strange position of working in places just like St. Alban’s; of being friendly with the parents of people who sent their kids to such places, of being close to people who, if they have children, will send their kids to such places (or purchase 1.3 million dollar house, the Cape Cod-ers once built for returning WWII veterans, in the best public school districts). Their children grow up hearing, quite sincerely, a religious worldview in which the Democrats are liberating people from oppression, where college will one day be free, where manual labor will magically disappear, where Republicans are literal-actual-Nazis, where small towns worried about opioid deaths deserve to die because someone there watches Fox News, and where it’s okay to pay your Peruvian nanny under the table, deny her health insurance, ask her to work 75 hours a week, and be annoyed if she wants to take a flight back to Peru once a year to visit her grandchildren. And while I’m focusing on the convenient myopia of the progressives, largely because they overwhelmingly dominate the Big Ed/Big Gov’t/Big Business trinity, please don’t think I missed Trump’s gross nepotism with all its parallels in the Republican party. This is what the elite do: reproduce their privilege. The system of meritocracy and credentialism is allowing them to consolidate it at a simply astonishing speed.

I hope their children see the dissonance. There are some actual good workshops at St. Alban’s that other commenters share, but do any of them make the jump to how we actually live and what we can actually do to address that privilege? Or is self-examination something we like in theory but only want practiced by those less materially fortunate than ourselves? I pray the children see that this system of eternal self-examination of privilege has one main beneficiary: their class of credentialed upper middle class technocrats and their 1% rulers. I hope they connect that the woman working overnight at the 24-hour Giant isn’t sending her kids to Yale. I hope they realize that the sexual liberation preached by the universities, the liberation their parents had the money to flirt with but ultimately protect themselves from by marrying late, is one of the things which has robbed the children of the poor of the stability absolutely necessary to thrive. I hope they see the disconnect between the stranglehold on credentialism from Big Business, Big Education, and Big Government, and how that is the privilege which keeps millions in debt bondage and tied to a system of waste and destruction that extracts wealth and concentrates it in a few cities and a few neighborhoods.

There’s a massive amount of time, money, and energy directed at getting us not to notice. The yellow vests noticed. The question is, will they notice enough to reexamine the self-serving myths which created this system, or will they seek only a bit of tweaking to help those myths serve themselves a little better for a few years? In the end, what can’t go on won’t go on. The mines are not bottomless, the top soil can be eroded. We can make the world a desert. Will we?

#29 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On January 31, 2019 @ 12:00 pm

Okay, so what should they do? I’m from the region and I’m at a loss for the majority of Appalachia.

I’ve thought about that a lot Viking. I spent a few years in southeastern WV, learning among other things that people from the northern pro-union parts of the state tend more virulently racist than people from the pro-confederate southern parts (once slavery was removed of course, I’m talking about recent times). An older friend, now deceased, pointed to forested hills and lamented “It took 100 years to clear this land, and in twenty years its all grown back.” He also told me how it used to be viable to run dairy farms in WV, and local dairies would buy the milk, bottle it, and distribute it to local grocery stores. But the dairies were bought out by bigger regional companies, with large efficient plants in Ohio and Virginia, and they didn’t consider it worth the trouble to send trucks up hill and down dale to buy from the little farms.

I look at this from a socialist perspective of course. You’ve probably seen or at least heard of the movie “Matewan.” I was particularly grabbed by the young miner Danny’s denunciation of the “red” union organizer (who was mostly his friend, but they had their moments): “First some people came and said they’d help us with some money, and pretty soon we don’t have no land. Then they said they would help us with some jobs, and they stuck us down in their damn coal mines. Now you come to bring in the new day. We’ve had all the help we can take.”

West Virginia is a state dependent on coal because vast sums of money were invested in transforming it from a state of independent farmers and small business owners into a state of company towns, coal mines, railroads, and small businesses catering to same. Now, the great big world doesn’t so much need the coal. It seems no private investors are particularly MOTIVATED to invest in new industries in WV — the coal was there and they wanted it, but there are plenty of other places to do almost anything else.

So, a bit of economic planning is in order. Not some bureaucrat locating a factory nobody wants to produce fluff nobody needs in a place that doesn’t make sense just because they can sit in an office and write edicts… But production that maybe could be located a lot of places, but could work well in WV, and locating it there because people who need work are there rather than telling them to move because the jobs are elsewhere.

Exactly which industries, I wouldn’t venture to say without talking to people in WV at length and in detail, and looking at the contours of American production and consumer demand. But we the people owe that much to our fellow citizens in WV, who had their entire state revolutionized by outside capital because they had a resource everyone else wanted in quantity.

If the blacks took politically conservative stances on religious and sexual culture war, but favored the Democrats on economic and racial grounds, then the blacks would: 1) use their considerable clout in Democratic primaries to support candidates with conservative stances on religious and sexual culture war, and 2) vote conservatively in state referenda (where party labels are not an issue) addressing these matters.

You’re attempting to apply a GOP paradigm to Democratic voters. Demographics and motivations are different. The leading black talking heads deal directly with “woke” liberal counterparts, and play the game, perhaps even believe it. When the NY Court of Appeals turned down a “gay marriage” claim, the NAACP legal team submitted a brief submitting that Loving v. Virginia cannot be upheld while denying plaintiff’s petition. That just showed how mediocre the legal minds at the NAACP have become since Thurgood Marshall’s day, but yes, a team of NAACP black lawyers wrote that and submitted it in an amicus brief.`

Rank and file voters… often don’t have much in the way of pro-life anti-gay-marriage Democrats who are strong on civil rights to vote for in primaries. And those who belong to churches that are traditional in their teaching do have an eye on the legislative alliances they need for issues that are indeed more important.

But your basic problem is you are looking at how “the blacks” vote, which is as problematic as black pundits excoriating the fact that 10-15 percent of black men voted for Trump. Blocs don’t vote, people do, for a variety of reasons.

Maryland is where some of the wealthiest Americans of African descent in the country live. I would expect a larger number to support same sex marriage than in many other areas. My point though, is that the situation on the ground is more complex than the woke pundits imagine.

These people will not tolerate them in their schools or especially in their neighborhoods. Anywhere around their kids. That’s why they live in Kalorama and Bethesda and avoid public schools like the plague.

So true. Some things never change. “And I love Puerto Ricans and Negroes, as long as they don’t move next door, so love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal.”

#30 Comment By clifford On January 31, 2019 @ 4:01 pm

Rod:

Here’s a place to get your yellow vest. PM me – I have an account.

[5]

#31 Comment By Fran Macadam On January 31, 2019 @ 9:48 pm

“I look at this from a socialist perspective of course. You’ve probably seen or at least heard of the movie ‘Matewan.’”

What a great movie.

The town’s owners were pretty “woke” to hire African-American scabs to replace those entitled whites, weren’t they? 🙂

Yeah the union organizer admitted he was a communist. But you know, you don’t have to be a socialist to be against monopolies and company stores to which you owe more and more. Socialists want the government to run everything important, a monopoly in itself where commissars are almost as bad as oligarchs, while trust busting is a much more efficacious approach to making sure there is real free enterprise, and alternatives for people other than one size fits all. One of the tragedies of wehat’s happened is the evisceration of unions in the private sector, which neither party cares about at all. Yet unions are what helped create an economic middle class that isn’t what Chomsky calls part of a precariat, as most are becoming. As Frederick Douglass observed, the politicians don’t come to help those dispossessed because there is no money to be raised there.

#32 Comment By Michael On January 31, 2019 @ 11:52 pm

I am a young former lefty. Bloody hell this looks more like satire than reality. I am not saying I don’t believe you, it just looks like a satire of a parity.

#33 Comment By VikingLS On February 1, 2019 @ 9:14 am

@Siarlys

Thanks but unless you have some specifics that was just a well written version of the same old thing we’ve been hearing for decades.

#34 Comment By VikingLS On February 1, 2019 @ 9:15 am

@Siarlys and Fran

Oh and unrelated side note, the sheriff in Matewan, Smiling Sid Hatfield, is one of my personal heros.

#35 Comment By John Spragge On February 1, 2019 @ 10:26 am

Briefly: if you don’t already have a reason to wear hi-viz, putting it on for a political protest is contrived.

The long version is: I can see more than one possible theme in your post, but they do not hang together. I suspect, given your previous writings, you disagree with the ethical assumptions of the seminars described in this post. If so, please explain why you disagree.

I see you object to the hypocrisy of a school charging tens of thousands of dollars a term claiming to uphold social justice, but again, I don’t see a coherent analysis of the reasons our society has seen so much concentration in wealth. Put simply, yes, the ruling class has manipulated the system to their advantage in a huge number of ways, but beyond that, an information based economy will concentrate wealth and power for reasons having nothing to do with anyone’s bad intention or hypocrisy.

People are working seriously on these issues, making real progress in converting the characteristics of an information economy from a vehicle for concentrating wealth into a vehicle for sharing opportunities. The civic technology movement, free software/open source, and creative commons aim to do just that. You may agree or disagree with any of these efforts, you may have alternatives, but to simply rail against the technologies transforming our economies does not, in my opinion, help anyone.

We share the world with nearly eight billion people. Technology has made it possible for more people than ever before to climb out of dire poverty, and to have access to quantities of information never possible for even the most wealthy. The same technology also threatens to drown, bake, or outright incinerate us. We are walking a knife edge. The choice God offers us in Deuteronomy 30:19, between life and death, blessing and curses, is sharply visible. We face challenges that have no exact precedent in human history; we cannot meet these by simply calling for strife.

#36 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 1, 2019 @ 7:00 pm

Thanks but unless you have some specifics that was just a well written version of the same old thing we’ve been hearing for decades.

I don’t think so. What we’ve been hearing for decades is that “miners will be retrained.” Not a deliberate redirection of capital investment, which isn’t done in capitalist economies. The Market Determined Everything, and WV always loses by that standard, because everyone wants to take a vacation there and talk down to the picturesque hillbillies, but nobody want to build a production facility there.

I wouldn’t dare offer details without the people whose lives are most effective weighing in first.

But yes, love Sid Hatfield.

#37 Comment By Jones On February 4, 2019 @ 6:10 pm

“But since they mostly control the culture, we’re not seeing the satires, parodies, and criticism of them that they deserve, even though they’re a rich subject for ridicule. The Trump crowd really doesn’t have a clear or accurate picture of this elite, which is why most criticisms lobbed from the right don’t do damage, i.e. the lame “Georgetown cocktail parties” accusation. But at some point, a movie, TV show, or news story may give the rest of the public a “condensed symbol” for this high-achieving class of people who feel entitled to power. ”

This is SO TRUE.

I keep dreaming up satires of the sort you’re talking about. I think this would have been an alternate direction for the movement against the neoliberal elite to take.

I agree that they are not facing the ridicule they deserve. And largely because their current enemies (alt-right) don’t really understand them / have any cultural authority / have opted for really earnest forms of white ethnonationalism.

[NFR: The Stuff White People Like blog from a while ago was a good satire of that crowd, in a way. But that was forever ago. — RD]