Erranter, a new and great commenter who is very smart and is also an excellent writer, writes about the death of the middle class:
While the economic loss of the middle class is indisputable and lamentable, I think that the loss of certain middle class values is of even greater concern. Some of these values can be quite inhibiting and it’s understandable that so many impulsive, lively intellectuals of the last century wanted to crush them, but they had to realize what they’re going to supplant them with for the mass of men.While a select few may be able to go it alone and survive by their wits and be their own moral guide, most people need guidance. Hell, even the select do. The simple values of self-restraint, merit, playing by the rules, forward thinking – all middle class values – are necessary to everything we currently think of as civilization.
I get annoyed being around them for too long, but I wouldn’t really want most kids to grow up bohemian or hick. It helps give me “structure” and the middle class on the whole is rather open to change and new ideas, which the lower classes aren’t. I still get annoyed, but I’ve got to admit there isn’t yet much of a better option I can think of, because hardly anybody’s born rich.
Basically, I went to the part today and I saw a bunch of pregnant 16 yr olds, various hicks of all races, the usual romp of morons and sluts, making you horny for no good reason and then going over to the guy in board shorts with tats all over his back. In my mind I felt like a whiny geezer but I couldn’t help it.
These people have a crappy culture. I was the only one with a book and was afraid as I walked over the bridge I would get insulted for it. It’s like middle school all over again. It’s some sort of lower class mishmash culture that all the races are adopting. They probably hang their walls with beer banners and babe calendars. Anyway, a lot of these people were probably “middle class” economically.
But big F-ing deal. All that really means is they can afford to drive SUVs and eat out. If you spread the money to them and they don’t grow up and ascend to a reasonable level of civilization then what’s the point of them having money?
Maybe I’m just getting pissed off by American culture. I love America, I tell myself. But do I? Maybe it was flawed from the start. Has this always been our general level. And isn’t the truth that this country was set up for businessmen, landowners, lawyers, moneymakers of all kinds?
We don’t name cities or roads after writers or artists. Industrialists, statesmen we adore, but mention you like to read and write at a family reunion and everyone will stare at you, then somebody will say, “but how are you going to make money with that?”
I can only speak from the POV of White culture. Yes, an intellectual and non-trashy White middle class culture used to exist. My father’s family grew up in it (Actually, they were poor!), and so did I as a boy. It still exists in the upper middle classes and the rich. Poor Whites have always acted pretty bad, and the middle classes have always looked down on them, I would say appropriately so.
But even working class Whites used to have a decent culture. My neighbor growing up was a working class Greek man married to a Mexican woman. I was best friends with their kids, especially their oldest son. I still am.
This guy immigrated from Greece and had a high school education at best, but he could talk your ear off about any intellectual subject under the sun. He was basically an autodidact. I remember once I loaned him a copy of Catcher in the Rye (on request!) and he returned it a while later with a slight knowing smile. He got it. How many ordinary people get that book, I mean really, really get it? His sons told me that he liked to read too.
I worked a lot of White working class jobs growing up, and it was not unusual to find bright working class men of all ages who liked to read and were frankly intellectuals of sorts. White society has always respected that sort of things, even if they were seen as a little odd or even quaint. They didn’t look down on it, instead they were sort of mystified by intellectuals.
I can’t comment on middle class Black society.
Asian society in the US has always respected intellectual pursuits, as do the East Indian Punjabis around here.
The Mexicans really don’t, but if you go down to Mexico, there is a thriving intellectual culture. There is a huge respect for intellectuals in Peru, Colombia, Brazil and Argentina, a legacy of their Spanish colonial past. It’s an honor to be a man of letters down there. Same in Russia, France, Germany, the UK, Italy, Turkey, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, the Netherlands and even in the Arab World. Intellectuals are respected in almost all Asian countries, even SE Asia, the Philippines and Indonesia.
Only in the USA is this sort of thing scorned upon!
What’s happened is the mass dumbing down of middle class White culture to the worst of White culture, as in poor Whites, and also the worst of Underclass Black and Hispanic culture. It’s Idiocracy World.
The White middle class has been proletarianized in the worst way. They aren’t stupid, but they are pitifully ignorant. I knew business owners and pharmacists who never read the paper or watched the news. They didn’t know the slightest fucking thing about current events, or much of anything else.
I just came off 18 years in a White working class small town in the Sierra Nevada. The Idiocracy was deep rooted and pervasive there, even among the middle classes. At the same time, the uptight values of the White middle class along with lunatic Christian fundamentalism were everywhere. It’s the worst of the Old White Middle Class (the uptight part) combined with the worst of the New White Middle Class (the dumbed down crap part). There’s almost literally nothing of value there.
You don’t have to be all that bright to develop a world-class intellectual and civilized culture. A recent survey put France’s IQ at 94. That’s all you need. Ours is 98. We have no excuse.