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July 09, 2015

Donald Trump and the Class War Within the GOP

There is a class war within the GOP. There has been for years.

The war is between two groups. My terminology may not be perfect, and there is lots of give in these terms, but the war is between the Middle/Working Class (hereafter just the Middle Class) and Professional Class, which I sometimes call the "Comfortable Class."

Both classes, frankly, disgust me, depending on the day of the week.

The Middle Class is naked with class resentment and don't seem to mind if the world knows they are seething angry at the Professional Class (whom they feel, correctly, disrespect them). They tend to push a "politics" which is less about actual policy and more about asserting the cultural class supremacy of the Middle Class.

The Professional Class is composed of both actual professionals, who are a fraction of the class, and the larger number of people who aspire to join the Upper Middle Class, but are actually Middle Class.

The Professional Class loves denigrating the Middle Class. One of its proudest achievements is that it's not the Middle Class, but something more.

Also, the Comfortable Class does in fact enjoy showing the liberals that they're not like that rabble, the White Working Class, by making a bigger deal than necessary over PC lapses by the Middle Class.

The Comfortable Class is very PC. It has, in fact, incorporated most of the mores and forbiddances of the Establishment Left. When people call members of this class "sort of liberal," they're 100% accurate.

This is why you'll never see true conservatism win in DC -- the actual representatives you send to DC are almost entirely members of the Comfortable Class, or soon will be (you become the fish you swim with). And they are in fact much, much closer to the Establishment Left than they are the mores and customs of the Middle Class they are nominally allied with.

I despise this class more than the Middle Class.

I'm going to be perfectly honest now and tell everyone what I hate about them.

I hate that the Middle Class is so comfortable being what I would term "crude," and in fact seems to take a backwards-ass pride in being crude of expression, especially in regard to things they know are extraordinarily sensitive. They seem to have this passion for making controversial subjects even more controversial, by engaging in, or supporting, a style of carelessly offensive cant.

But I hate that the Comfortable Class is So. Fucking. Cowardly.

The Comfortable Class routinely lies in order to establish its bona fides with the Establishment Left.

Let me give you an example: the mighty squeal we heard from the Comfortable Class when Ben Carson said, accurately, that you can't say that sexuality is perfectly immutable and inborn, because straight men and women engage in opportunistic homosexuality in prison.

Is anyone actually claiming this is wrong?

The Comfortable Class uses a trick of the Establishment Left in these cases-- they cannot say the thing is actually wrong, because it's self-evidently true.

So instead they play the Uproar game-- they just scream so loud in protest, never quite identifying what was said that is inaccurate, just screaming about how terrible a thing to say it was, without quite saying why a true thing should be so terrible.

This is exactly what the Left does. And the Comfortable Class shares most of the mores of the Left -- and they also share their advantages.

When you are closer to the Establishment, when you have more of a hold on the means of communication, you can play the Uproar game, and you can silence people from saying things that are obviously true (but for whatever reason culturally forbidden).

When you're in a weaker position, you can't.

There is a bit of grumbling I hear from Working Class Whites, who sometimes ask why they can't just demonize a particular group or a particular thought like the Establishment do (the Establishments of both Left and Right).

The answer is simple: Because you don't have that power. You don't have enough of a cultural reach to impose your own Uproar forbiddances. You just don't.

The Establishment Right -- or, Establishment Center, really -- can always just scream about Ben Carson's horrible statement.

They don't bother to answer why, if sexuality is perfectly inborn, with no possible circumstantial or cultural inputs, it could be that some societies, like the ancient Greeks and Romans, had a fair amount of homosexuality, especially in the upper classes; nor why in modern day Afghanistan, it is an accepted and widespread cultural practice that a rich warlord will take a young boy into his bed for pleasure.

If there's no cultural or circumstantial element to homosexuality, are we saying that Greeks and Italians and Afghans are simply more genetically gay than the average population?

Why is homosexuality so frequent in prison? Yes, it's often due to rape; but are those same men raping men outside of prison? Or are they paying female whores and raping female victims?

Ben Carson was right. You might not like the use he put this fact to, but the fact itself was correct.

And the left did not want to discuss it, because it is simply part of their religious dogma that homosexuality is 100% genetic with absolutely no cultural or circumstantial component, so they Uproared it.

And the Comfortable Class Right screamed even louder about it, because Ben Carson was embarrassing them in front of their liberal friends.

Hey, Comfortable Class, I know you so love watching Premium Cable TV shows; do you watch Oz and Orange Is the New Black and routinely say, "These shows are so preposterous! It's absurd to show so much opportunistic homosexuality in prison! Why, that just doesn't happen, ever!" ?

This a thing the left is doing -- you don't know this, probably, and I just realized it, but it is central to the left's electoral ambitions to constantly stir up fights between the Middle Class wing of the GOP and the Comfortable Class of the GOP.

They are always highlighting these cleavages. Always. Confederate flag? Well, that sure does divide the Middle Class from the Professional Class, doesn't it?

Guns, gay marriage, etc. The left has profited greatly by the right's inability to negotiate a united compromise front on these issues, some kind of compromise that the White Working Class and White Comfortable Class can live with.

Instead, both classes are determined to WIN and destroy the other.

The Middle Class has to get over its penchant for wanting to state things in the -- let's be charitable here -- most "direct" way possible. That kind of talk might appeal to you, but it does not appeal to a Republican dentist in Bucks County.

Yes, Middle Class -- you have to take the feelings and sensitivities of the other members of the conservative coalition into account. You don't just get to insist "We get to win because we're right."

A marriage doesn't work when one party is always insisting on his way simply because he feels he's in the right. Of course you feel you're in the right. Everyone always does.

It takes delicacy to maintain a partnership.

If the GOP wants to be, forever, the party of only working class white men and married women, fine, but just because you might hold the Upper Middle Class in contempt, and think the wealthy Philly suburbs are filled with stupid PC voters -- and I hold both of those positions myself -- you cannot base a politics on Working Class White Resentment alone and think you're going to win elections.

The only people who care about putting the Middle Class on top of the Cultural Pyramid are Middle/Working Class members themselves. No one else is in favor of this, and this isn't even a political issue -- it's a pure social class struggle having nothing to do with policy, and everything to do with ego and a desire for broad-based cultural validation.

And to the Comfortable Class -- My God, get the fuck over yourselves. So you graduated college. So did 40% of the country.

Do you think you've become a separate, elite species due to this not-so-bragworthy accomplishment?

Stop playing those snotty games by which you attempt to put the Lower Orders in their Place, damnit, and tell them How It's Gonna Be.

You don't have the power you think you do.

And you're not as smart as you think you are, either.

Again: Get over yourselves. You talk an awful lot about what is politic and what is winning strategy; how about putting some of that theory into practice and making common cause with a group you absolutely need the 100% support of?

Maybe you could try not being used like an easy 2am booty call for the Left every time they sext you "u up?"

In short, these two feuding classes, who obviously hate each other (every single Twitter war or comment fight soon resolves cleanly into the Middle Class vs. Comfortable Class), need to get over the emotional fight they really love having and get their fucking heads screwed on straight and start fighting the fight they care less about, but which is more important to win.

No conservative has ever won without a significant majority of both cultural cohorts.

One without the other is a loss -- even if one is super-pumped up.

This is, by the way, why I don't think I can support Trump: Yes, it's wonderful that he excites the working class whites component of the Middle Class.

But he repulses the Upper middle Class whites.

You can't win that way. You just can't. Period.

Maybe the Comfortable Class is too silly about these things (I do think they are pretty silly), but that's the fact. He has said the sort of things no member of the Comfortable Class will associate himself with, ever -- remember, they are almost as PC as the left - and hence this is a losing candidacy.

Every candidate is going to please one cohort more, but you just can't win associating yourself that closely with only one, and telling the other "I'm nothing like you, and in fact I find you unworthy of respect."

I'm tired of politics degenerating into a proxy war for class-based cultural superiority.

I would say I'm tired of politics, but when do we actually ever get to discuss politics? Seems to me we're always having this cowardly proxy-war over who shall be Top Dog in the Loser's Coalition, the White Working Class or the Comfortable Class.

At some point, this ego-based stupidity needs to end.

Everyone likes to call himself a patriot, but constantly getting into intraparty Class Wars is not patriotic. It's a loser's game, and one the left laughs at while we frag each other.

We don't all have to agree here, or even like each other. We are not all friends; we are certainly not family.

But this passive-aggressive shit from the Comfortable Class -- and this aggressive-aggressive shit by the prouder member of the Middle Class -- has to end.

All we need to do is forge compromises between each other that we can mutually live with and then go in a united front to face the real enemy. Not compromises with the left, but compromises with each other.

Or, we can do what we've been doing, and just keep on losing, and blaming each other, and just fighting other conservatives.

I speculated one time that we like fighting other conservatives so much because deep down we know we're easy to beat.

So we can keep on fighting in the junior leagues, to see who gets to take the 4 inch Participation Trophy home, or we can put aside childish things and act like men and women who care about their country and not just their class prerogatives.

What is Class? A lot of people don't seem to know. For example, LincolnTF writes:

Just because there is "such a thing" as "Class" doesn't mean it has to be determinative in any way. Money is all you're talking about anyway, not the archaic usage of "Classes".

Um, no. A lot of people seem to think that classes have a neat hierarch, one on top of the next. That's not true. This illusion comes from the fact that there is clearly one class at the tippy-top -- the very rich -- and there are clearly two classes at the bottom (the underclass and the struggling/working poor).

However, in the middle, there are various middle classes, most of which are not on top of each other, but rather latitudinal to each other.

I am most certainly not talking "just about money." As I've mentioned endlessly, the original class division we're talking about, between the professional/clerical middle class and skilled worker middle class (carpenters, etc) started in england.

The two classes had equivalent education and made equal money. However, they lived in different neighborhoods and had different accents.

The professional/clerical class was largely like our current professional/clerical class- mid-level managers, guys who added up columnar math in accounting houses. Not really the classic High Professions.

But they were called "Mind workers" -- unlike the "hand workers" of the middle class.

Even though a carpenter had to do a lot more mind-work to build a desk than a guy had to do mechanically copying accounting books.

The classes divided there not on income or education, but simply on white collar/blue collar grounds, and they have remained divided ever since.

Even today, you will find low intermarriage rates between the two classes. The Upper Middle Class is filled with low-level people who don't make much money -- but they do consider themselves socially superior to the Working Class.

In fact, there's a whole concept of "Genteel Poverty" -- poor people working as Kinko's copyboys and waitresses and such who are actually from/of the "Upper Middle Class." They come from wealthier middle class families, they have college degrees (an important signifier for the class) -- and they work crappy jobs, but still call themselves, at least in their minds, Upper Middle Class.

Why, they even might work crappy jobs like blogging!

Class is simple and hierarchical at the very top and very bottom; but in the middle, there are a lot of horizontal or diagonal relationships.

Now the Upper Middle Class's top is higher than most of the other middle classes, both in income and social position. But that class is filled with mere aspirants -- those who are not really Upper Middle Class based on income of social position, but who aspire to such. And so that class is led by those at the actual top, and those at the top have the support of all the aspirants. So it's a bit higher than the other middle classes -- but mostly in a diagonal sort of way, not directly on top.

Bandersnatch said my terminology is causing consternation because people don't like the word "class." I guess Americans have been taught, quite falsely, that there is no class in America.

Well, there is. Just not a pronounced as in England or other places. But it's here.

He says I should just speak of "tribal signifiers." Well, class is mostly a collection of tribal signifiers, plus an input based on what kind of work you do and what kind of work your dad did.

Yes, this is an archaic idea; but human nature has not changed, I swear, for 100,000 years, so archaic ideas still accurately depict archaic humanity.

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posted by Ace at 04:31 PM

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