I believe the ‘it’s not race, it’s class’ argument often becomes a center-Left fallback position from points further Leftward. Having endless such discussions conceptualizes our relative positions, along with our deep need to know where we stand in a hierarchy, towards a more center-Left platform in America.
I also believe this corrupts some of what’s genuinely possible here in America.
Of course, the telos of liberatory Marxism lurks very much behind such discussions (never achieved, because it’s ‘no-place’), in its old and nieuw-school variations (identify injustice–>blame the class to be overthrown–>organize the ‘oppressed’ towards political action, with violence if necessary–>(E)quality!
A big and active comment section (unlike the solo warbling of this site) can be fascinating: ‘Highlights From The Comments On Class-From Fussell to Muscle.’
The old and new media pulpit jockeying is also interesting, and I feel a twinge of envy, crusting over into mild disdain, picked at with sweet regret, when I read how much money David Brooks has received from Facebook.
Isn’t this a kind of new money bet-hedging in the opinion and influence market?
A wise bet?
Let’s check in at the Club, where all these problems are being worked out in real-time:
Martin Gurri via Marginal Revolution: ‘Notes From A Nameless Conference:’
‘The dilemma is that this present is defined by a radical distrust of the institutions of industrial society, and of the elites that control them, and of their statements and descriptions of reality. The conference organizers got our predicament right. At every level of contemporary social and political life, we are stuck in the muck of a profound crisis of authority.’
Roger Sandall from ‘Guardianship: The Utopia Of The New Class‘ finishes with:
‘One remembers Weber’s epitaph for the Protestant Ethic, as he contemplated a devitalised bourgeoisie spiritlessly tending the petrified mechanism their ancestors had raised. Adapted, without apology, it might also be used to depict that petrified Utopia of the New Ruling classes of the East.‘
‘Rulers without honour, administrators without heart, priests without conviction, this nullity imagines that it has attained a level of civilisation never before achieved.’
Previous ‘elite’ links on this site, arriving at some yet predictable, unrealized truths: Via Marginal Revolution via American Affairs: ‘The Western Elite From A Chinese Perspective:’
Kenneth Anderson At Volokh: ‘The Fragmenting of the New Class Elites, Or, Downward Mobility
Two Kinds Of Elite Cities in America?
There are people with careers writing about elites, becoming somewhat elite themselves, which haven’t fared too well
2 thoughts on “There’s Nothing Funny About Class, Race & Your Relative Status At Bushwood, Dear Reader-David Brooks & All That”
Goods thoughts. Here’s another angle. It might be faulty to align “it’s race” vs “it’s class” (let’s say Woke vs Marxist paradigms) along a linear spectrum with an eye on who’s further left. The Marxist paradigm (broadly speaking — class as an analytic category for working toward a more ideal union) can be activated from a moderate (traditional Democrat) or a more extreme point of view. Taking the case of class, it’s hard to argue that class is irrelevant to success (do 100 ghetto kids on average really have the same odds of material success as 100 millionnaire kids?), and or that the government cannot play some role — through health care, public education, etc. — to create at least a somewhat more equal shot for all. But I think you’re onto an interesting split on the Left: liberals (who favor free speech and less racialization in our judgement of others) vs wokes (who favor limiting dissent and increased racialization in our judgement of others). Also interesting is that “liberals” thus broadly defined brings together moderate Dems, along with lots of Bernie voters, as well as many conservatives, all of whom align on these issues against the Critical Race Theory of the wokes (though the wokes have strategically placed themselves in universities and newsrooms).
I think one way to think about 100 relatively poor kids and 100 wealthier kids is as broken into two groups within a stratified hierarchy.
One other way: 200 individuals with their own thoughts, natures, particular talents and lack of talents relative to others. In a world of limited resources, access to resources is pretty important, but it’s a wicked problem getting the right thing at the right time to keep an individual going. I mostly think family, kin, friends and peer groups, neighbors, teachers is how it goes longitudinally
In the worst casss, (the most broken people) you tend to have no touch, love nor basics during early childhood, and then anti-social, disruptive and violent behavior later on. Every now and again you need your guys’ anti-social, disruptive and violence developing into particularly useful skills (combat, boxing, protection, security etc) but it always comes with costs, and you’re mostly trying to have such folks pissing outside of whichever tent they’re in, even if it’s in prison where many end up.
In the best cases, particular talents are cultivated with basic love, then learning, knowledge, courage, fortitude etc later on. Glory in military leadership, success in the synthesis of the creative arts, knowledge and mathematics, the long study and courage of advancing a field etc.
I can sign on to some forms of voluntary and consent based arrangements to aim for Equality of Opportunity for as many as possible. I’d prefer rough kids get a few more breaks than they would otherwise, and pampered kids get a few harsh lessons from time to time, as most actionable knowledge comes from direct experience.
But what I’d really want is for talent and what’s good in people to get as far as it can. I still believe in this vision for America.
Kinda late here. That’s the one alternative option I’ve got for tonight (no surprise)