To the surprise of virtually no one, Courtier to the Elitists (the elitist class lets him pretend he’s one of them because of that purty way he uses his tongue) David Brooks is quite taken with Charles Murray’s “Oh Great. Now The Fucking White Trash Is Acting Like The Coloreds” :
I’ll be shocked if there’s another book this year as important as Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart.” I’ll be shocked if there’s another book that so compellingly describes the most important trends in American society.
Murray’s basic argument is not new, that America is dividing into a two-caste society. What’s impressive is the incredible data he produces to illustrate that trend and deepen our understanding of it.
It is important that Murray’s “incredible data” excluded the duskier races because, fuck it, they’re animals anyway so what are you gonna do? Am I right?
What concerns Murray and fanboys like Brooks is that outside instigators and rabble rousers have begun to reach the poor whites and are successfully refocusing their inchoate rage at the 1% instead of their traditional enemies: brown people who affirmative action take their jobs and then impregnate their daughters with chocolate babies. This must not happen:
Murray’s story contradicts the ideologies of both parties. Republicans claim that America is threatened by a decadent cultural elite that corrupts regular Americans, who love God, country and traditional values. That story is false. The cultural elites live more conservative, traditionalist lives than the cultural masses.
Democrats claim America is threatened by the financial elite, who hog society’s resources. But that’s a distraction. The real social gap is between the top 20 percent and the lower 30 percent. The liberal members of the upper tribe latch onto this top 1 percent narrative because it excuses them from the central role they themselves are playing in driving inequality and unfairness.
It’s wrong to describe an America in which the salt of the earth common people are preyed upon by this or that nefarious elite. It’s wrong to tell the familiar underdog morality tale in which the problems of the masses are caused by the elites.
The truth is, members of the upper tribe have made themselves phenomenally productive. They may mimic bohemian manners, but they have returned to 1950s traditionalist values and practices. They have low divorce rates, arduous work ethics and strict codes to regulate their kids.
Why can’t they be like we
were are? Perfect in every way. What’s the matter with kids these days?
Inspired by Murray’s call to arms, Brooks takes it one step further to suggest shock troops made up of slightly-below-the-top-1% elitists (armed with Bibles, gifts of Franklin/Covey day-planners, and protected by family-sized bottles of Purell) put their lives temporarily in escrow and volunteer to go amongst the great unwashed and un-latte’d to preach the Jesus Gospel of Trickle Downing & Bootstrap Pulling Upping:
I doubt Murray would agree, but we need a National Service Program. We need a program that would force members of the upper tribe and the lower tribe to live together, if only for a few years. We need a program in which people from both tribes work together to spread out the values, practices and institutions that lead to achievement.
The Poors could learn the proper care and feeding of their betters BMW’s (old clean diapers are best for buffing and don’t move the seat, please) and the Rich could learn the joy of drinking PBR’s unironically until one day the Great Awakening arrives and they once again link arms in brotherhood as they celebrate the eternal verities that make America great: faith, free enterprise, family, and hating on the coloreds.
Purell for everyone!
Charlie Pierce takes this to a different fucking level.