Monday, November 21, 2016

The Man on a Horse, Poor Folks and Morale

1.IMHO Richard Rorty made good predictions for the wrong reasons. If I understand the review's synopsis Rorty predicted that the poor and working classes would become alienated from a Republic run by elites for economic reasons - Nafta, the decline of unions, etc. First of all only the white working class became disaffected. Other identity groups stuck with the 'ruling class'. Second of all, while there was economic suffering, the drivers of the 'revolt' were more cultural. New gender norms, environmental purity standards and a general elite denigration of whites as well as the working class persuaded them that they were its victims.

2. Rorty predicts a strong man or "The Man on the Horse" will lead these disaffected to overthrow the constitutional order. But the last time a strong man overthrew the legitimate constitutional order in an Anglo Saxon country (UK, Ireland, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand) was in 1066 when Duke William of Normandy beat King Harold at Hastings. Our culture doesn't do dictatorships and there's no indication that it's going to happen now. We're just seeing human nature play out. It's a bit like say a man...yeah...a man who when his affections are rejected by a woman walks off muttering darkly "she'll be sorry she blew me off" fantasizing about dread scenarios to make himself feel better.  Eventually the loser, I mean losers will get over themselves.

3. The US Does have a strong history and tradition of successfully defying attempts to impose tyrannical rule by King George (13 original states) and by Santa Ana (Texas and California). Indeed when Santa Ana demanded that the Texas National Guard give back their cannon (preparatory to his invasion to subjugate texas) this was the first revolutionary flag of the Republic of Texas - we've always been gun nuts. And people in places like TX are far better armed today as well has having the loyalties of a significant share of the military's experienced combat arms.

4. Rorty is partially right about poverty. But there are two approaches in the US towards poverty: the California High-Low Materialist approach and the Texas favor the working classes Morale approach. They differ as to what they think the poor's primary problem is. I'd be happy to bore you about it if you like.

Thanks for sending me the piece, it was interesting.

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