THE REAL CLASS WAR
March 12, 2016
“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” ~Warren Buffet
Is anyone so naïve as to believe that a new Cold War hasn’t started? This one isn’t about capitalism vs. communism. It’s not even two-way but three-way, because there are now three major distinct classes, each with its own culture. They are presently pulling the U.S. in three incompatible directions. Donald Trump, as of this writing still the GOP frontrunner, is drawing the bulk of his support from one of these classes. The other two hate everything he stands for. There should be no surprises here.
There is, first, the U.S. branch of the globalist superelite (my term for them), housed in entities ranging from the Trilateral Commission to Goldman Sachs to the Federal Reserve, and their bought-and-paid-for political subclass with all its functionaries. This class includes GOP corporate donors who threw millions down the Jeb Bush rathole as well as those who have donated millions more to Hillary Clinton. Their original goal for Election 2016 was another Bush vs. Clinton non-event! One may thank the good Lord we were spared that particular cure for insomnia!
Second is the politically correct (PC) crowd: Black Lives Matter militants, radical feminists as well as large numbers of single career women influenced by them (a-woman-needs-a-man-like-a-fish-needs-a-bicycle types), homosexuals, secular Jews, at least some Muslims (when not throwing homosexuals off tall buildings in their own countries, that is), illegal immigrants, academic leftists, and those in government aligned with the so-called progressive mindset.
Finally, there is the increasingly self-aware white working class and former middle class. They don’t always have their t’s crossed and the i’s dotted, and are routinely dismissed as “uneducated.” But with information now available on the Internet to compare with the song and dance they get from government, corporate media, academia, etc., about the economy, race, and much else, they can see that what they are told does not fit reality. They conclude that they have been lied to and screwed up one side and down the other for at least the past quarter century. Small wonder they are angry! And although millennials have come up more recently, I would reluctantly place many of them in this group, to the extent they’ve been taken advantage of by unscrupulous university student loan officers and lied to about their income prospects.
Hence the massive support Donald Trump has gotten from this third group. Note also the support Bernie Sanders is getting from millennials, many trapped in student loan debt serfdom. The “populist” insurgency of 2015-16 is not limited to Republicans, after all. Trump, we should note, has created tens of thousands of jobs. Sanders has never worked outside government in his life. This speaks volumes about the most poorly educated generation in U.S. history (and the institutions “educating” them), their agility with the latest gadgets notwithstanding.
The Elite Class has no interest in social issues such as abortion and gay marriage. They have little interest in minorities beyond their potential to keep the masses divided and distracted. They want the “little people” to be good employees (or, these days, good career-changers), obedient taxpayers, and mindless consumers. The Elite Class is about political economy. Its goal — as I have patiently explained in many articles — is to build piece by piece, “free trade” agreement by “free trade” agreement, a de facto world government answering to corporate interests: technofeudalism. While they have no interest in philosophy, obviously, they are operational materialists as I explained this concept. The idea of answering to a Higher Power is meaningless to them. There should be little doubt that Hillary Clinton is their first choice for President of the U.S. starting in 2017. She may be corrupt to the core, but she knows who is buttering her bread.
The PC Class cares passionately about social issues. They care about their so-called rights; rarely about responsibilities. It is now abundantly clear, given the campus disruptions last fall: many in this class would shut down free speech and even eliminate the First Amendment if they could get away with it. They pontificate about inequality, but in their Orwellian world, “some are more equal than others.” They are economic illiterates. They believe redistribution of wealth and jobs will make us all one big happy prosperous, diverse family, despite hundreds of years of history testifying to the contrary. While many of them also prefer Bernie Sanders, they will join the Elite Class in backing Hillary if she is the Democratic nominee. They will ignore her labyrinthine connections to the war machine that has destabilized the Middle East and to Wall Street, the most visible manifestations of her own Elite Class membership. Hillary’s disdain for those outside her class, whom she sees as “beneath her,” comes through loud and clear in clips such as this, and also explains her treatment of the women her slimy husband has sexually abused his whole life. Almost all are in that third class.
The Country Class (I am borrowing political scientist Angelo Codevilla’s term, for those who identify with the U.S. as a country, and with individual freedoms) tends to be conservative. Their conservatism is frequently a conservatism of the heart, not the head, of experience and instinct rather than reason. They will turn to their Bibles and say that they know some things are right and others wrong, absolutely. They also care about social issues, but come down on the other side from those in the PC Class. They have no interest in transforming the world. They don’t identify with the economic agenda of the Elite Class. The better informed recognize how NAFTA and GATT II sent millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs overseas for cheap labor, and how the Trans-Pacific Partnership threatens to continue hollowing out the U.S. economy and destroying what was once the largest financially independent middle class in history. They see open borders and unlimited immigration as threats to their culture even as it drives down wages.
The three classes are barely civil to one another. They have no interests or values in common. For all practical purposes, they inhabit different worlds. The first lives in a connected world of high finance, global confabs, and quasi-secret agreements able to move nations. They indulge the PC Class as it generates sensational non-events and disdain the Country Class as dumb rednecks. The PC class inhabits an academized world of activism, where you either agree with us or else! They hate the Country Class and are barely aware of the Elite Class. The world of the Country Class includes the Ten Commandments and NASCAR, the workaday world of men and women who entered adulthood wanting to do honest work feeding their families, be good neighbors, attend church, hopefully send their kids to college, and otherwise be left alone. They despise politicians of the Elite class for wasting their tax dollars. They believe the PC class should grow up, quit whining about how mistreated they are, and take some responsibility. Their ideal was a peaceful retirement late in life with a sense of having contributed something to society. Their hope was to see their children do better than they did.
The primary benefit of the Elite Class’s globalism to the Country Class has been the flood of cheap goods at Wal-Mart, made with Chinese slave labor, items that break or fall apart six weeks later. Which means, back to Wal-Mart, since it’s all they can afford. The “new economy,” after all, created mostly low paying “services” jobs. NAFTA left many of them unemployed or underemployed; the Meltdown of 2008 and ensuing Great Recession made matters worse. Their college degrees, if they have them, are wasted since the majority of “new economy” jobs can be done by high school kids with a little vocational training and a few tech skills that can be acquired online. Seeing their millennial children return home from universities unable to find decent-paying work and saddled with crippling student-loan debt, they’ve largely given up on that last above — not to mention that peaceful retirement.
The Country Class’s members came to realize they have no real representation in the political system. They are routinely denounced as racists, sexists, homophobes, etc. ad nauseam, especially if they stand up for what they believe in, which may be Christianity or genuine race neutrality as opposed to affirmative action preferences. They recognize the fundamental absurdity, moreover, of a man tying the knot with another man and calling it a marriage. They’ve spent a quarter century watching their economic fortunes decline and their influence on the public conversation wane. They know they have no “white privilege.” Many have begun to suffer from the maladies afflicting lower classes and the increasingly hopeless in any society: alcoholism and substance abuse, premature death from treatable illnesses, and suicide. A recent widely-cited study shows their life expectancies dropping, while that of other groups is still rising.
This group has been animated as never before by the Donald Trump candidacy, which (as of this writing, post-Super Tuesday) is looking increasingly likely to deliver Trump the GOP nomination. The pundits are shaking their heads as Republican primaries have seen record turnouts. Did the other two classes really believe they could continue their agendas without eventual pushback? Donald Trump dominates the airwaves of corporate media. He’s ratings. He knows it, and they know it. Democratic capitalism in action, folks!
I do not know what Mr. Trump’s actual chances are of becoming president. Some of the GOP elites are openly refusing to support him. This reflects their commitment to their class. Some have floated the idea of running their own candidate, should Trump win the GOP nomination: dividing the GOP vote and giving Hillary a landslide. This won’t bother them because as we noted, the Elite Class prefers her anyway.
Nor do I think it realistic that Trump or anyone else could reverse a half century of engineered economic decline and cultural decay in just four years (or in eight). It might be quixotic in any event. Republics tend to turn into empires. Empires do not tend to turn back into republics, no matter who is at their helm.
Lastly, I’m not sure Mr. Trump or his supporters realize the full scope of what they’re up against, given the global connectedness of the Elite class. What they’re up against is not merely other billionaires but well organized groups able to control trillions — who, with a few private text messages could lead to movements of investments able to precipitate the next economic downturn in the U.S., possibly even a depression. Since they control mainstream media’s six corporate leviathans, they could see to it that President Trump got blamed. He was a “con man” who “lacked experience.” He was “hateful.” He was a “bully.” He was “reckless.” Have another narrative? You’re a “conspiracy theorist.”
This is just one of the scenarios someone has to think about. Also what could happen if things are not allowed to progress to that point, because something happened to Donald Trump between now and November. No one in his right mind, after all, thinks the Elite Class is going to roll over, while one man with a Country Class following they despise upends a world they’ve spent the past century building.
� 2016 Steven Yates - All Rights Reserved
Steven Yates has a Ph.D. in philosophy and is the author of Four Cardinal Errors: Reason for the Decline of the American Republic (2011) and Philosophy Is Not Dead: A Vision of the Discipline’s Future (ebook, 2014). He blogs occasionally at WorldPress.com. He lives in Santiago, Chile with his wife and two spoiled cats, and is working on his own online education project, the New Lyceum Academy for Philosophical Studies (website forthcoming).