A florid overproduction of elites: Roses are red, limousine liberals are miserable; put the liberals back in the car, and dump the car in the Kill van Kull

That’s “car” as in “Parker, fetch the car,” which Paul Fussell avers is a Social suggestion that one might make to the subordinate. When one is of a certain Class (C), one need not say explicitly that one uses limousines and waits in joyful hope for the inauguration of Kwesi Millington as Sheriff.

Well, shucks. That again. As Robert Dziekanski said, “I’m shocked, SHOCKED to see YOU here.” You may be reading that and thinking dude, it’s rude. Well, dude, I’m in Philadelphia; I’m violating the prevailing community standards by exceeding them. I’m hardly two blocks from the street where a bum blindsided me from a distance of two paces by announcing, out of the blue, “Believe it or not he IS my fucking savior! Don’t test HIM, pussy!” I wasn’t surprised to discover that the Catholic Church had left street ministry in this hood to the Protestants; it can barely manage its own internal catechesis. Mercy Street is an underrated PBS drama, not anything that the one holy catholic &c is particularly trying to reify in meatspace.

Where the hell am I going with this? My bum from above will surely say that I’ve answered my own question, but many mentally ill people will agree with me that it’s foolish to take the mentally ill too seriously. Unfortunately, you don’t have to be clinical to be crazy. If you’re high-functioning enough, you can always go into politics. The poetry (sic) in my title was inspired by a similar outburst of poetry (very sic) during last week’s Day Without Immigrants, to wit:

Roses are red

Tacos are enjoyable

Don’t blame Mexicans

Just because you’re unemployable

Don’t blame this white boy just for throwing you into the Kill van Kull. You were asking for it. The Democratic Party must feel at home on Staten Island. It’s run by people who point excitedly at every smoldering, repulsive trash heap of a mountain that passes into their view and eagerly volunteering to die on it. They probably do this because they presume themselves immortal. As I’ve discussed before, I’ve voted and even campaigned locally for Democrats, so yes, I find it disgusting that they’ve given practically their entire party apparatus over to sanctimonious, malignantly tone-deaf shitheads who make me look back wistfully on the innocent naivety of John Lindsay. That’s kind of like how, though time goes by, James Blunt will always be in a club with you in 1973, only more so, but still. Here we go again, I guess. It wasn’t actually a simpler time (that much is utter nonsense), but I get the feeling that the shitty left-wing politics of the time weren’t so stupidly shitty. For one thing, the left wasn’t trying to outmaneuver a bunch of sniveling useless eaters who had taken over the Democratic Party and refute the apparent category error that these fuckwads, who have been sinking the party for decades now, were part of the broad left.

So here we fucking are. The Democratic Party, the closest thing to a mainstream leftist party in the United States, keeps casting its lot with immigrant scab labor. A combination of party myth and entrenched strategy still holds that the labor left, especially union labor, is a crucial part of the Democratic base. But why the hell shouldn’t it defect from Hillary Clinton, who smears labor as bigoted and hopelessly backwards, to Donald Trump, who at least speaks glowingly about the working class and its trades on a regular basis? The Democrats keep shooting themselves in the foot. They keep bolstering the suspicions of Jacob Bacharach and other observers that they operate not to win elections and advance policies in the interests of their constituents, but to apportion jobs from their baroque spoils system to various hangers-on who demonstrate an adequate combination of political correctness and pedigree.

The Inside Baseball approach to correcting this ugly stance is to somehow convince these shitheads that the unemployed are able to swing elections, that we and our sympathizers are a hidden Florida lurking throughout the land. This would require credibly demonstrating that the unemployed don’t consistently sit out elections in a state of dejected apathy and, in many states, reversing the mostly Republican restrictions on the franchise for ex-convicts. It would also require inspiring Democratic apparatchiks with a desire to win elections by being pragmatic (e.g., by not gratuitously insulting key constituencies) instead of losing elections with stands of haughty principle (sic, as ever).

Fundamentally, this mess goes far deeper than stupid strategies. The Democratic Party’s stupid strategies are driven by a heartfelt bigotry towards the poor, the working classes, and the unemployed. The Republican Party is even worse in this regard, but it has managed to cobble together a functioning coalition of zealots, timid authoritarians, and Go-Galts under the auspices of a deep story that isn’t an utterly incoherent mess, so it’s able to win elections in years when the economy isn’t a total disaster and/or the Democratic Party is one. The Democratic Party has tried to peel off the Go-Galts with offers of a libertine paradise on earth for yuppies and bring them into a coalition with the very working classes that they scheme to dispossess for their own socioeconomic aggrandizement, and to do this under the auspices of a deep story that cherishes a balanced, equitable sharing of human freedom for all citizens, regardless of class.

Of course it doesn’t work. Of course the “socially liberal but fiscally conservative” crowd is a millstone around the Democratic Party’s neck. Any self-preserving leftist party that found itself concern-trolled into a death spiral by interloping yuppies would lay down the law: all right, shut the fuck up, you guys are Main Line Republicans catfishing as Democrats and sinking our coalition by showing up here, it’s time for you to take that shit straight back to Strafford. Leave. Instead, they insist that yuppies are the future and working stiffs are the past. Unemployment and disability stats suggest that they aren’t entirely off-base on the latter point, but the yuppie swarm doesn’t even return a reliable Democratic-majority vote, and the national job market (hell, the international job market) has turned into an ugly game of musical chairs.

This approach is electorally disastrous and disastrous for legislation and public policy, but it’s grotesquely adaptive if the goal is to close deals at country clubs. It makes frighteningly good sense under the assumption that Democratic politicians would rather trade favors with Republican politicians than answer to their own voters. This, after all, is the crowd that was caught doing business at Tim Russert’s funeral mass. If they’ll do that in a church sanctuary, where won’t they do it? *VERY RICHARD NIXON VOICE* Christ, they’re in a goddamn cathedral, they were supposed to help the priest help the poor bastard find peace at the center and they’re handing out fucking business cards. *TRICKY DICK OUT*

The Main Line and the Clurb are much less important to the Republicans than they are to the Democrats. As Republican voters, they provide funding and small regional voters bases to complement those that the Republican Party has amassed in poorer areas. As Democratic voters, they provide the same funding, the same small regional voter bases, and an attitude that alienates the Democrats’ major bases. This is a problem unique to the Democrats because they’re the ones who make a show of respecting the vulnerable lower classes and wanting to do right by them; the GOP safeguards itself against this line of attack by never insinuating that it gives a shit about the poor per se.

In addition to courting these fancy-pants who don’t know when to shut up and wouldn’t if they did, the Democrats have cultivated an overlapping but maybe marginally poorer and less secure base of strivers who regard Bill Maher as a public intellectual. Maher’s traditional self-justification is that because he’s abrasive and forward he’s the only person on the left (again, sic, mostly) who’s willing to speak harsh truths about, for example, Islam. His foils are a minority of scrupulous liberal dipshits who are afraid to upset the Ummah by saying bad things about terrorists. This is a very easy opposition for Maher to own. It’s foolish enough to defend Islam against claims that the entire religion commanded terrorist attacks instead of proposing a simple, targeted response, like “cease military and foreign aid to Saudi Arabia.”

Tellingly, Maher got woke liberals so upset in the aftermath of 9/11 by insulting Islam and the Ummah that he flew almost under the radar with his thoughts on grain elevators, specifically, that it’s funny as all hell when rednecks die in mass-casualty grain elevator disasters. In his world, it’s okay to make fun of people for dying in preventable mass-casualty incidents as long there isn’t an overt political component at play, and as long as the victims are poors. All those goofy hayseeds were doing was making sure that the rest of us had food. Who cares about them?

A party that curries favor with Maher’s ilk cannot expect to win over anyone who does honest manual labor for a living. Injurious and fatal accidents are an ever-present threat to manual laborers. Any party that truly cares about the working class will take them seriously and do what it can to keep them to a minimum. Instead, the Democratic Party keeps using Maher and other dipshits like Stephen Colbert to show that they’re hip. Colbert’s inaugural Late Show episode featured his stuffing his mouth with Oreos to the point of overflow as a stunt to show that he didn’t give a shit about production being offshored to Mexico from Chicago. The general point was to make fun of Donald Trump, but which of these television blowhards was looking out for the heavily black and brown production floor workforce at the Oreo plant: Colbert, the ostentatiously flippant one, or Trump, the one who demanded that the factory remain in Chicago?

It’s understandable that entertainers are alienated from the means of production. What’s special about Maher and Colbert is that they have achieved total alienation from the means of production. They are the platonic ideal of the knowledge economy incarnate. They transcend all knowledge of and care for their food supply (it’s a limited kind of knowledge). Meanwhile, they preach to audiences heavy on woke locavore foodies, which is insane.

The Donald is able to clean up just by showing an ADHD level of interest in how factories work and an admiration for the people who run them. When everyone else in show business is a shitty, hopelessly sheltered ingrate, that’s enough. When protesters demand that out-of-work, dispossessed Americans from old families (including black ones, in case you’re a fucking moron) respect Mexicans for their work ethic AND their tacos, and when there have also been campaigns of brown-on-black ethnic cleansing in bad parts of Los Angeles, how can anyone expect the deplorables not to conclude that they’re the targets of an ethnic population replacement project? It’s hip to politicize tacos now. They’re the breakfast of champions. Fuck Wheaties. Fuck whiteys, too. And darkies, for that matter. They’re panda-bearing us again.

It’s possible to be a foodie and not be an asshole, but being an asshole doesn’t seem to hurt. They aren’t uppity for wanting novel taco options; we’re the uppity ones for expecting preferential hiring over people who are not authorized to work in the United States. We’re just unemployable and bitter about it.

I’m already doing PT in preparation for this summer’s blueberry harvest. You’re fucking welcome.

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4 thoughts on “A florid overproduction of elites: Roses are red, limousine liberals are miserable; put the liberals back in the car, and dump the car in the Kill van Kull

  1. Congrats on being thought provoking. And yet, and yet…this nativism is the same ol’ same ol’. The Know Nothing Party was making the same arguments (Catholics and dirty Irishmen and Jews and Pollacks and Eye-talians), for some of the same reasons. Their working class descendants would never have gotten here at all if the early Anglo “closed border” people had won.

    And I am still struggling with the idea of “leftist border controls” Especially as any border control system designed to truly evict your alien peasant invaders would be horribly invasive and militarized. Have you listened to the people eager to crush their boots on the peasnats (ICE agent union spokesmen). “I can always hire half the working class to keep down the other half”. Or something like that.

    Where I agree with you is that the employers are where enforcement should be focused. And, it never will be and never has been. So, I am not sure how focusing hatred on immigrants is the best approach.

    • “We’re a nation of immigrants” is a trite talking point, but it’s valid. One of my own grandfathers, for example, was a Russian Jew who immigrated to the US as a young child in 1906. He and his parents would have done fine had they stayed in England (where they initially fled in 1905) instead of ending up on Staten Island, but they likely would have suffered grievously had they stayed in Russia. A cousin of my grandfather’s is presumed to have been imprisoned and executed by Stalin’s security services in the late thirties, so this wasn’t just an intellectual exercise. Just knowing that the “nation of immigrants” rhetoric has forced the WASP supremacists back onto their estates to indulge in their highbrow antisemitism in private instead of using it to deny suspected Jews access to public accommodations makes it fairly worthwhile; that’s a class that richly deserves every bit of diminution it has sustained and then some. If nothing else, I’m ethnically Jewish enough to be thankful to live in a country where I have never detected meaningful antisemitism in the flesh.

      From what I can tell, US-born Latinos today are in a position analogous to that of the Ellis Island-descended ethnics circa 1960 or 1970: overwhelmingly assimilated and subject to rapidly diminishing bigotry from the descendants of earlier immigrant cohorts. On the other hand, Latin American immigrants today, especially Mexicans and Central Americans, are in a position analogous to that of Ellis Islanders fresh off the boat around the time that my great-grandfather embezzled the money for his family’s cabin passage from Southampton to New York. (Here, certainly, I hate the game, not the player.) Specifically, the presence of large numbers of unassimilated Latin American foreigners in what are functionally outlaw enclaves is inevitably stirring up tensions with the natives. The problem isn’t with Central Americans being inherently unassimilable but with the decision we’ve made as a society to be irresponsible and hypocritical in our relationships with these communities. If anything, older-stock Americans in the Gilded Age were more responsible in their relationships with contemporary immigrant communities than modern Americans are towards Latin American peasant immigrants; the open push for assimilation limited the persistence of foreign underclasses and the high-conflict cultural differences that their presence provokes.

      The all but explicit cultivation of Spanish as a peasant language in an otherwise Anglophone country is bad news. It’s indicative of a mindset that seeks the relegation of Latin Americans to permanent underclass status, but it’s framed in terms of cultural sensitivity, and the most prominent opposition to bilingualism and the like is too loutish to be taken seriously by people who find bigotry distasteful, so here we are. The same thing is true of the immigration debate more generally: the standard arguments for open borders are outwardly civil and decent, in contrast to the nativist bigots who inevitably rush in to fill the political vacuums created when no one else is willing to even admit that elements of the native population are being dispossessed by one-sided policies favoring immigrants.

      Hence Trump, inter alia. The political ecology that he’s exploiting is badly diseased, and dispossessed voters who are desperate to see something done on their behalf reasonably enough prefer his heavyhanded and yet ineffectual response (ICE dragnets and the like) to the prospect of a Clinton presidency that would cultivate Latinos as a client population to Patroness Abuela. Thirty years of bipartisan bad faith on immigration and labor policy is why Midwestern factory hands were able to put Trump over the top. Blue-collar voters made common cause with a larger base of suburbanites who enjoy Latin domestic scab labor because Trump was the only hope they could see for reform. The thing is, an opposition that wants lower-class voters to vote against opportunistic bigots needs to give them credible alternatives to opportunistic bigots. The lecturing is counterproductive; think about how many Americans now proudly declare themselves deplorables, a plural they would have unimaginably goofy not a full year ago.

      Much of Trump’s margin of victory came from Sanders crossover voters; affluent reactionaries weren’t enough to flip swing states for him. This is one of the reasons why I’m modestly optimistic about the medium-term prospects for labor policy reforms limiting the bad effects of mass immigration: I-9 enforcement, real sanctions for scofflaw employers, etc. That’s what we’d probably be seeing today under a Sanders presidency, and I won’t be surprised if that’s what we end up seeing when Bernie opens a new frontier of American gerontocracy in 2021.

  2. At the same time…going over to Naked Capitalism ( favorite of mine) you can find people that absolutely ILLUSTRATE TO A TEE your main point here. I linked your blog in response to “Sam” who complained about the shiftless rednecks. Would the blog comment policies allow similar derogatory class or racial terms for anyone but the white working class? One wonders.

    • I’ve never tried to figure out Naked Capitalism’s actual comment policy or how it relates to the published policy, but as a permalurker who’s seen only one of his comments go through, I figure it’s not my circus, not my monkeys.

      It does strike me that the mods talk more about banning trolls than they seem to actually bar the door against trolls (especially longwinded, uninspired ones), but it’s nothing that I’m inspired to investigate.

      The notion of the white working class as the one unprotected class that it’s safe to disrespect is all but explicit yuppie Democrat orthodoxy. After all, this is not a faction that would want to consider how many working-class minority voters it lost to Trump or to abstention from 2012 to 2016, and it’s been transferring the noblesse oblige that it formerly showed blue-collar voters to racial minorities for decades (and to women as a feminist superorganism, which is no less politically disastrous). To the extent that Yves Smith and Lambert Strether apply a similar policy to comment moderation (I haven’t noticed it, but I don’t consistently look through their threads), it’s probably just a habit that they picked up in the neighborhood. They certainly show a hell of a lot more independence of mind than the Nevertheless She Persisted blob, who are classic idiots in the worst sense.

      If the Democrats actually want to win, they’ll scurry away from anyone whose stance towards the unemployed is that they’re bitter only because they hate Mexicans and tacos. Directly disavowing this sort of bigotry would be shrewd, too, since doing so would limit the disaffection of both African-Americans and the white majority, but the Clinton camp is too fucking arrogant to go there. Several million people in and around Clintonworld actually think that this is effective politics and that Sanders is the problematic one for framing things in class terms. As Donald Trump would say, SAD!

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