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May 2 2017

Marie Antoinette Lives!

by Charlotte Hays

Quote of the Day:

In seeking to tame their political inferiors, the blue bourgeoisie are closer to the Marie Antoinette school of political economy than any traditional notion of progressivism. They might seek to give the unwashed red masses “cake” in the form of free health care and welfare, but they don’t offer more than a future status as serfs of the cognitive aristocracy.

--Joel Kotkin in "The Arrogance of Blue America" in the Daily Beast

The most important article you must make time to read this week is demographer Joel Kotkin's "The Arrogance of Blue America," published in of all places the Daily Beast. It deals with a disturbing phenomenon: the turning of blue state elites against the Americans who live in parts of the country that handed the presidency to Donald Trump. The hatred is so intense that Kotkin applies the word oikophobia--defined as fear of one's fellow citizens (from the Greek oikos--home--and phobia).

You probably don't need fresh examples of the blue elites manifesting hatred of the ordinary Americans whom they see as deplorable. And how do the blue aristocrats intend to make their case and win these citizens over to their values. They don't:

The fondest hope among the blue bourgeoise lies with the demographic eclipse of their red-state foes. Some clearly hope that the less-educated “dying white America,“ already suffering shorter lifespans, in part due to alcoholism and opioid abuse, is destined to fade from the scene. Then the blue lords can take over a country with which they can identify without embarrassment.

And, interestingly, the blue aristocracy no longer needs for the rest of the country to thrive for their own wellbeing:  

The blue bourgeoisie, notes urban analyst Aaron Renn, are primary beneficiaries of “the decoupling of success in America.” In blue America, he notes, the top tiers “no longer need the overall prosperity of the country to personally do well. They can become enriched as a small, albeit sizable, minority.”

As noted above, they tend to give the unwashed masses social programs but no real effort is made to lift those they regard as their social inferiors out of poverty. Kotkin didn't cite the $15 minimum wage so beloved by the blue aristocrats, but it is the perfect example: it might cushion being a low-earner for some but overall it prevents people getting the entry-level jobs that allow them to move up. Does the blue elite fear that they would move up and vote for socially unacceptable candidates? I bet on some level they fear this.

Kotkin points out that the sections of the country in which blue policies have been applied are faring the worst and that people tend to move from these regions to red state regions, where there is more upward mobility. For the blue elite, this is just one more example of how crummy they are:

Of course, for the blue cognoscenti, there’s only one explanation for such moves: Those people are losers and idiots. This is part of the new blue snobbery: Bad people, including the poor, are moving out to benighted places like Texas but the talented are flocking in. Yet, like so many comfortable assertions, this one does not stand scrutiny. It’s the middle class, particularly in their childbearing years, who, according to IRS data, are moving out of states like California and into ones like Texas. Since 2000, the Golden State has seen a net outflow of $36 billion dollars from migrants.

The political implications are vast:

These mundanities suggest that the battlegrounds for the future will not be of the blue bourgeoisie’s choosing but in suburbs, particularly around the booming periphery of major cities in red states. Many are politically contestable, often the last big “purple” areas in an increasingly polarized country. In few of these kinds of areas do you see 80 to 90 percent progressive or conservative electorates; many split their votes and a respectable number went for Trump and the GOP. If the blue bourgeoisie want to wage war in these places, they need to not attack the suburban lifestyles clearly preferred by the clear majority.

Blue America can certainly win the day if this administration continues to falter, proving all the relentless aspersions of its omnipresent critics. But even if Trump fails to bring home the bacon to his supporters, the progressives cannot succeed until they recognize that most Americans cannot, and often do not want to, live the blue bourgeoisie’s preferred lifestyle.

I'd like to add a thought: Oddly enough, a weapon in the blue arsenal is snobbery. Many affluent people in red states see themselves as socially superior to those around them and would like to self-identify as blue elites. But maybe they ultimately will be put off by the sheer nastiness of the blue elites.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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