Saturday, June 22, 2013

On the triumph of the lumpenproletariat

Here Owen White scores a number of hits, and at least here like me appeals to nostalgia.
My mother grew up in a working class steel town neighborhood. She wore a hat and white gloves to church except between Memorial and Labor Days. Her house and yard were clean. Her father wore slacks and a button up collared shirt to his factory job. Families were centered around marriages, and the overwhelming majority of children lived in households wherein all the siblings had the same two biological parents. Today, two generations later, if you go to that same neighborhood you will find among the whites there (Hispanics have moved in but they are more family oriented than the whites who currently live there), that it is relatively rare for a woman to have the same biological father for all of her children, and rarer still for her to be living with the father of all of her children, let alone married to him. The yards are far more unkempt (and it's not like they were manicured 40 years ago), the houses far less clean, and the language used in front of children, and the media children exposed to, of a radically different sort than when my mother was a child. Criminal and anti-social activities, use of hard drugs, unstable sexual relationships, infatuations with more debased and degrading art and media forms, and so forth are far, far more common today in those neighborhoods.
I understand he’s not actually a Marxist, and I’m a nostalgic bourgeois conservative he hates*, but Marx was an expert diagnostician. As Chesterton said, the reformer such as Marx is right about what’s wrong but wrong about what’s right.

That said, tech for the masses can go either way, either soma, drugging the masses, or like Gutenberg’s press, empowering. You have access to all the world’s knowledge better than any library could do it, all in a tiny box in your hand (it’s science fiction to me; I’m writing this from a desk computer), or you can watch porn while the state undermines you (spies on you, takes your rights away, and even replaces you by importing ringers).

*I don’t deny anybody the right to immigrate, go to school or apply for a job so my conscience is clear.


  1. I don’t deny anybody the right to immigrate, go to school or apply for a job so my conscience is clear.

    No it's not. Immigration and Title VII are the primary tools the neo-Left has used to break the backs of the American yeomen and working class.

    1. Leave it to libertarians to make grandiose statements of belief that amount to a hill of beans in the real world. Sort of reminds me of Protestants.

  2. "..or like Gutenberg’s press, empowering."

    During the first century or so after the invention of the printing press, much of what was produced was the same kind of inane, superstitious garbage that people attribute to television and the internet- pornography, astrology, tracts on witchcraft and alchemy, etc. There was, of course, legitimate intellectual production as well, and this is the stuff we remember from the period- Gutenberg's Bible, Caxton's printings of great literature- but these were greatly outnumbered by the garbage. Partly, this is just Sturgeon's law at work- "90% of everything is crud". It took a couple of centuries for a large fraction of the reading public to develop a healthy skepticism toward the printed word. We're still in the nascent phase of the internet, where unsubstantiated nonsense can spread quickly, but still very few users realize that the internet can (and should) also be used for fact-checking all of that nonsense, too. We'll get there eventually, but it won't be nearly as fast as the Silicon Valley prophets think.


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