Lion of the Blogosphere

“The Real Class War”

The Real Class War

Commenter Lowe plugged this article in a comment. It’s pretty good as an attempt to create grand theory of what’s going on and why college-educated people are voting Democratic, but without HBD it doesn’t tell the whole story. Also important and not discussed is the decline of Christianity and its replacement with a religion of climate change and SJWism.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 29, 2019 at 10:14 PM

Posted in Economics

32 Responses

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  1. Also important and not discussed is the decline of Christianity and its replacement with a religion of climate change and SJWism.

    He doesn’t need to discuss those issues explicitly because they are symptoms not causes. For most Americans religion has become a badge of group identity rather than an organizing principle to structure for your life. Most “Christians” have only the most shallow grasp of theology, and obey Christ’s teachings mostly in the breach. On the flip side, most people who profess to believe in climate change do very little in their daily lives to reduce their carbon footprint, reduce immigration or support nuclear energy.

    Say what you want about devout Muslims, Mormons or Orthodox Jews, they do “live” their religions far more sincerely and deeply than most Americans of any professed faith do in the modern world.

    So as Christian identity increasingly becomes hollowed out as a religion, and increasingly labels believers as belonging to the ranks of the economically left behind and uneducated, the professional class feels compelled to abandon it and look for alternative belief systems that make them “morally superior” both to the left behind and the 0.1%. Climate change and SJWism fit that need pretty well. (Buddhism and Yoga are occasionally tried, but the conflict between those beliefs and the comfortable material life of the American elite worker is simply unbridgeable).

    I think that all ties in to Krein’s thesis fairly neatly. What am I missing?

    Peter Akuleyev

    November 30, 2019 at 6:54 AM

  2. What does HBD add to the story of why college-educated people are voting Democratic? Or are you just referring to the fact that demographic change is driving a lot of the political change?


    November 30, 2019 at 9:17 AM

    • Article started out good. But it doesn’t really say much except top 10% are falling behind the top .01% or whatever. The young are following warren and bernie. But I think those are the children of the 10%. The elite 10% will just be taken over by the overachieving asian immigrant class and other white overachievers (jews, the top 10% of wasp and catholics).

      To take an example from wall street, in the 80s, you could come from a blue collar background OR from Harvard and become a trader or salesman at Solomon or Goldman and make $1 million a year. Those equity sales and bond trading job have been automated away. Now you need to be algorithmic trader or machine learning compsci guy – and those aren’t the harvard guys or blue collar guys. Those are PHDs from russia, india and china and even some smart white american from the State universities where IQ matters more than connections.

      In any case the 10% elite may be able to move the country slightly leftward through their positions in policy, but they will be going against their billionaire benefactors.


      November 30, 2019 at 5:55 PM

      • “Those equity sales and bond trading job have been automated away. Now you need to be algorithmic trader or machine learning compsci guy – and those aren’t the harvard guys or blue collar guys. Those are PHDs from russia, india and china and even some smart white american from the State universities where IQ matters more than connections.”

        This is 100% dead on. These roles are almost completely meritocratic, some of the top hedge funds will hire people with no education if those people can prove their IQ. I worked at an equity research shop full of ivy league grads who complained that hedge funds were choosing computer science grads from middle tier schools over them.

        I think the professional class in the United States, i.e. people making from 150k – 400k a year are directly competing with immigrants. Top companies like Google, FB, Apple, Amazon, Basically all of the largest banks, are majority immigrant. The upper class in United States (the top .1%) is still mostly American and White, but below that, there is incredible competition.

        The lower classes are getting squeezed from low skilled immigration and automation, the middle classes from trade and off shoring, and the professional classes like I outlined above, they are competing with all of the highest educated people around the world. Really hard to see these conditions changing unless a president steps in and directly stops it.


        December 2, 2019 at 12:12 AM

  3. Lord, these “professional journalists” are so windy. So many words and they can barely spit out a focused point.


    November 30, 2019 at 9:33 AM

    • The author is a little long-winded, but you know it gets much worse than this. Compared to most of the authors on American Affairs he’s terse. Compared to Moldbug they’re all terse.

      It’s a stretch to call these guys journalists, also. They’re more like think-tank people.


      November 30, 2019 at 12:44 PM

  4. This is why I find a civil war among Democrats to be compelling. The upscale Democrats like to virtue signal but deep inside don’t want economic policies that will hurt them. They will do everything possible to get a centrist to be the nominee and the progressive wing will not like that at all.

    Jay Fink

    November 30, 2019 at 2:09 PM

    • I don’t really see a civil war on the Democrat side, not like the open warfare that’s been going on with the Republicans for the past couple of years. Now there is a civil war! The Democrats have always been this factionalized.

      Mike Street Station

      December 1, 2019 at 9:07 AM

  5. Krein was that Trump supporter who took to the NY Times post-Charlottesville to say, “I’m sorry.” Not judging, just reporting.

    The most important sentence in this article is this: “But it is precisely for these reasons that the working class is unlikely to be decisive in shaping politics for the foreseeable future. However one defines the working class, it has scarcely any political agency in the current system and no apparent means for acquiring any.”

    Isn’t that the situation?

    Then the article forgets about that and rambles into a description of the emptiness of the managerial class. I found it entertaining, but I think it’s been done. Still, it helps for someone to repeat the truth, since every generation forgets it. These people are empty, self-serving boobs, and they don’t deserve their privilege (yes, I used that word) but here we are.

    Best part of the article was the description of the utter degeneracy of our billionaire class.

    Taking his own top-down model of society, isn’t this the real problem?

    Mild digression. In my circle of acquaintances is a woman who came to NYC from a rough, working class background in a Rust Belt state. She’s very bright and talented, thin, and has one kid. I met her sister. Let’s face it, I don’t usually encounter your classic white working class woman or man. This gal was Exhibit A.

    Obese, foul-mouthed, has popped out four kids from different fathers. What struck me most about her was her belligerence and sense of entitlement. She really was no different from the black women that Lion, among others, loves to mock and jeer at, and hold responsible for all our society’s ills.

    In a previous generation she’d have been married and her marriage would have grounded her in reality. She works some, dips into social services some, guilt-trips her baby daddies into kicking in some child support some, and that’s life.

    So, even if they have no agency, they exist, and this is our future. Her kids will be disasters. The oldest boy already has psych issues.


    November 30, 2019 at 2:49 PM

    • I agree that he made a good point about how ignoble many billionaires are. There were several good points, including where he said the admissions scandal illustrated class differences among the 1%. Sailer once said this too, but not with as much detail.

      I did remember Krein’s apology piece in the NYT, after I looked at his bio. He has to do what he has to do, to fit in with the cool kids.

      BRW I read the Politico article on Obama/Warren. It was good. I did not remember what was going on with Warren during TARP, and it gave a lot of detail. I don’t think Obama dislikes her. He responded to her in as measured a way as possible. It sounds like he was frustrated though, maybe because she does remind him of his mother.

      It’s telling that Rahm Emmanuel did not understand why Obama was taking time to deal with her. Emmanuel probably would have told Warren to eat shit, but Obama couldn’t do that.


      December 1, 2019 at 11:15 AM

      • I’m not gonna go back and read the article to prove my point but I remember that Obama seemed to have a personal animus against her, and thus treated her poorly. She was absolutely right not to accept some BS advisory position. That council was her baby, she should have headed it.

        I hate Rahm Emanuel. He’s an example of unearned privilege and everything that’s wrong with our current ruling class. So what he would do is not an example of what’s good to do.

        I just want to add one thing about the working class white woman I was describing. ” What struck me most about her was her belligerence and sense of entitlement. ” Not only that, but her utter cluelessness.

        There’s still a residual feeling in our crowd that women like her feel a bit of shame about producing bastards. Nope. No shame. She thinks she’s supermom. That’s where we are, guys.

        In reality, she is an utterly dependent person with zero ability to stand on her own two feet. If the shit hit the fan, she and her kids would die in two weeks. I doubt she has the brains to figure out how to get water. She doesn’t drink water.


        December 1, 2019 at 1:22 PM

  6. Way too wordy, but some interesting kernels of insight. My daughter has dated several hedge fund guys, and she tells me that they all feel extremely insecure now.

    Also, I have read that the upper-middle and lower-upper classes are far more likely to be regular church-goers than the lower classes. I observe that the people who have abandoned Christianity are working-class Catholics. My take on this is that the Catholic church had huge congregations in the first and second generations of immigrants (through the 50’s), and therefor the Church felt they didn’t have to do much for the people in the pews. Eventually the people in the pews (or their children or grandchildren) returned the favor.

    The Protestants, because each church has to pay its own way, are much better at taking care of their congregants. Also, the Protestants tend to demand more of their congregants — weekly Bible study, etc. The Catholics I know usually have the attitude that if they show up for Mass once a week, that’s all they need to do. Their children observe the hypocrisy.

    The woke (professors etc) get all the publicity, but the group that has really abandoned religion are working class whites.

    Amused Observer

    November 30, 2019 at 3:11 PM

    • Only high income whites can finance a pastor.


      December 2, 2019 at 3:45 PM

    • As a hereditary Papist, the previous post is dead on.


      December 4, 2019 at 7:56 AM

  7. A lot of truth here, but also a lot of naivete, expressed as the unshakeable belief that if only the brilliance of the top 10% elite were re-directed to “social policy” and Making The World A Better Place (rather than developing food delivery apps), we’d all benefit.

    This is the same sort of crap that has percolated through society for at least sixty years now. It started with the “Whiz Kids” of the New Frontier (particularly Robert McNamara and Harold Brown), evolved into the “New Class” of the 70s, animus to which motivated the original neoconservatives of that era.

    What is missing from the story is the impact of feminism in all this, since it seems to me that newly empowered women (mostly single, to boot) make up a sizeable chunk of the people of whom Krein speaks. And if, as he points out, automation and cost-cutting are going to eliminate many of their jobs, that will upset their notion that life must be all bliss, all the time, in a very real sense.

    a bee ee?

    November 30, 2019 at 4:27 PM

  8. “The real class war is between the 0.1 percent and (at most) the 10 percent—or, more precisely, between elites primarily dependent on capital gains and those primarily dependent on profes­sional labor.” Sounds like a cushy war. The professional class is more “woke” because they’d be screwed if they lost their job and so they have to adhere to the totalitarianism of liberalism in the workplace. On the other hand the capital gains class has an ownership stake which is harder to take away AND potentially worth multiple times more. The professional class feels absolutely crushed by the totalitarianism of bureaucracy and liberalism. In the end though, I don’t expect a lot of taking to the streets in this battle. Ultimately both classes are nihilistic hedonists and they’re doing just fine with all their gadgets. As long as the mass media is there to distract them every minute of the day, no one is going to do anything. Meaning of life in 2019 is distraction and attracting attention to yourself on the internet. The loss of God has meant the loss of transcendental values and beliefs that used to give people courage.


    November 30, 2019 at 5:36 PM

  9. Solid article.

    The career prospects of journalists and academics—ironic casualties of the “information economy”—are declining even more relentlessly. When members of these professions write about embittered working-class Trump supporters in declining industries, they may as well be writing about themselves. Indeed the conspicuous embrace of “elite values” by journalists and academics is often little more than an aspi­rational attempt to remain connected to an economically distant elite—just as educated millennials’ conspicuous consumption of “ex­periences” often serves as a necessary distraction from the grim reality that most will never be able to own a home.


    November 30, 2019 at 5:36 PM

    • Does this put the embittered journalists and academics all in on socialism? Their financial fall fuels the embrace of socialism?


      December 2, 2019 at 3:53 PM

  10. The question is, how to guide our kids to do the right thing to be on the winning side, what is even the right thing to do assuming you are not one of those 1%? My feeling is that having your own business and being your own boss gives you a little bit of a way out of the situation described in the article. It is slightly more risky but seems the only viable way to escape this insanity.


    November 30, 2019 at 7:04 PM

    • There’s going to be a fiscal crisis sooner rather than later, most imminently driven by health care costs. There will be wealth confiscation and to some extent a “jubilee year” in political paroxysm. At the same time, credentials and careerism already aren’t worth what they used to be.

      I’d say good advice is to be a lot healthier than everybody else. Every generation since the boomers is having progressively worse health outcomes. Gen-Z is a mess of psychotic fatties with asthma and crohn’s and cancer that will have massive mortality in their 40s and 50s.

      Just by not being burned-out, fat, or mentally ill, you’re going to be way better positioned to navigate what’s coming than by having worked a series of private equity jobs. It’s like when the soviet union fell apart the highest suicide rate by far was high status men (invested in the system) in their 40s. They’d worked hard to get where they were, and it was all for nothing. You want to be in a fit, well-rested mental and physical state to be excited by the new opportunities as things fall apart.


      December 2, 2019 at 7:50 PM

      • I am not an American so health care is not an issue, but what the article is talking about is pretty common in most western countries.


        December 3, 2019 at 2:42 AM

      • The public systems in europe and asia are also on the brink of failure. So roughly the same point holds.


        December 3, 2019 at 1:05 PM

  11. These things you list cannot become any new religion. Religion cannot be built on rational or quasi-rational ideas. Religion has to have lots of magic and suffering. Torture, blood splashing all over would be good. Think something like “The Passion of the Christ”, but in real life.

    My 2¢

    November 30, 2019 at 7:16 PM

  12. Socialism doesn’t work. The fact that elites are being drawn like moths to the flame of socialism means winter is coming.

    Trump will go down in history as all-time-great. A big part of the reason is that those who come after him will crash the car of state. Because his successors will break the system (with the help of HBD-related decline) the Trump era will stand as the all-time pinnacle of American history.


    November 30, 2019 at 8:32 PM

  13. Long article with a lot of interconnected points. But it’s pretty close to the way I view the political landscape.


    November 30, 2019 at 10:22 PM

  14. Good article. Totally on the mark about how the Cucks gather about themselves second rate losers. Cucks carry on like its still 1982.

    Daniel Heneghan

    November 30, 2019 at 10:37 PM

  15. “While a restive working class might provide fertile ground for political upheavals, any fundamental transformation of Western politics will necessarily be led by increasing numbers of the “elite” who defect from the dominant policy consensus and rethink their allegiance to establishment paradigms. Conventional narratives, including many that are critical of the status quo, paint the elite as a unified block aligned with neoliberalism. But the neoliberal economy has created a profound fracture within the elite, the significance of which is just beginning to be felt.”

    This is a classic “overproduction of elite” argument I’ve seen elsewhere, one that is always good to point out. There are too many people with elite skills and backgrounds and knowledge which the system is not capable of fully employing. They remain unemployed and underemployed without being able to raise their status in the world enough to at least duplicate the lifestyle of their parents. Worse, the longer they remain in this condition, the harder it is to recover from it.

    It is a circumstance ripe for revolutionary thinking and a primary reason why many are turning to socialism. After all, even the free market, supply-side Jude Wanniski wrote that “good socialism is better than bad capitalism.” If the current capitalist system is unable to provide, then the people will turn to socialism to do it.

    I highly recommend this short essay.


    December 1, 2019 at 2:17 AM

  16. Very interesting article, thanks!
    I think it is not completely coherent, but have a lot of interesting ideas.

    The one I liked most is the realization that the “real class war” is not between the working class and the bourgeois, but between the professionals the the capitalists.
    It is like in medieval times – the crown didn’t worry about the peasants, he worried about the nobility!

    So all the new democratic policies – heavy wealth tax, Free high education, student debt forgiveness, even medicare for all – are not about helping the poor, they about helping the professional class and crashing the capital class with Taxes.


    December 1, 2019 at 4:30 AM

  17. Krein is heavily influenced by James Burnham and (probably more than he admits) by Sam Francis. “Upper-Middle Class American Radicals” is a play on “Middle-Class American Radicals”, a term that Francis used frequently.


    December 1, 2019 at 11:36 AM

    • I am sure you know this, given you mentioned Burnham, but Krein’s debut article in the first issue of American Affairs was an essay on Managerialism, making the case that the American economy had gone from capitalist to managerialist over the last several decades.

      I think this article was probably discussed in this comment section at the time. At minimum it was discussed at length in other corners of the right-o-sphere. It is also very good, and Krein’s recent essay is a continuation of the same topic, in my view.


      December 1, 2019 at 2:07 PM

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