Tuesday, November 16, 2004

How To Misunderstand The Class Thang

I apologize for the fact that this isn't totally current, but it dovetails nicely with our new commitment to talking about class. New Donkey claims that it's "palpably, demonstrably wrong" to assert that "economic issues, if you scream about them loudly and abrasively and "populistically" enough, will trump cultural issues, which are essentially phony...". He then goes on to quote from Brad Carson in The New Republic, who lost a Senate race in Oklahoma to a "conservative wild man". Donkey agrees with Carson on the point that the "values voters" really do care more about restraining the more amoral aspects of our culture and thus vote with the party they think will perform that function. Carson even claims that:

Pace Thomas Frank, the voters aren't deluded or uneducated. They simply reject the notion that material concerns are more real than spiritual or cultural ones.

ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME? The voters are delusional and uneducated if they think voting Republican is going to get them what they want. The values side of the Republican party is only the public face. The heart of the Republican party is uninhibited markets, and the act of its pumping is the flow of money from wherever possible to a small group of people. I remember back in the heydaze of the DotBomb when I lived in its very throng and worked just peripheral to the industry that spawned it, we were all encouraged to vote Republican. We were told by various publications: "Hey, don't worry about that family values crap, you want all forms of market restraint gone so YOU TOO can make your millions at a startup. Once you're rich, you can buy your way out of family values anyway..." That is the real Republican party.

And btw, these guys clearly missed an important part of Frank's argument. He lays it very plain, at least in the audio version. He says that "people are right to hate this culture, people are right to be angry with the coarsening..." He agrees with the values voters on the issues - he just disagrees with who they choose to vote for. Personally I disagree to a large extent. I don't think there's much wrong with our culture, but then again, I make my living serving it in its degraded state, so...

There's a very simple way to talk about economic issues without screaming and without being condescendingly populist: You can have open markets and deregulation all you want, but the more of that you have, the more you'll get Grand Theft Auto, internet porn, and everything else you hate. Only a fool would stop making GTA, unless there were consequences for making it. In a system devoid of regulation of any kind, there are none. If you really value values, stop buying the lie.
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