Atlantic Magazine: Woke University Progressives ‘Broke America’

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Americans’ society is being wrecked by the self-centered and status-seeking class of university-trained, woke progressives, according to the Atlantic magazine.

Since 2000, the progressives “have coalesced into an insular, intermarrying Brahmin elite that dominates culture, media, education, and tech [and] Worse, those of us in this class have had a hard time admitting our power, much less using it responsibly,” says the September article by David Brooks, a New York Times columnist who recognizes his own ties to the woke mob. 

“Over the past two decades, the rapidly growing economic, cultural, and social power of the bobos [Bohemian Bourgeosie] has generated a global backlash that is growing more and more vicious, deranged, and apocalyptic,” says Brooks.

Politics has shifted from a focus on money toward “a struggle for status and respect—over whose sensibility is dominant, over which groups are favored and which are denigrated,” he wrote under the headline, “How the Bobos Broke America.”

Brooks coined the “Bobo” term in 2000 to describe the class of comfortable, Ivy League progressives who have shifted the Democratic Party away from a focus on working class Americans. Other authors describe them as the “X people, or the creative class.”

The Bobo group is powerful and deeply resented by the vast majority of Americans, Brooks writes:

The creative class has converted cultural attainment into economic privilege and vice versa … it possesses the power of consecration; it determines what gets recognized and esteemed, and what gets disdained and dismissed. The web, of course, has democratized tastemaking, giving more people access to megaphones. But the setters of elite taste still tend to be graduates of selective universities living in creative-class enclaves. If you feel seen in society, that’s because the creative class sees you; if you feel unseen, that’s because this class does not.

The Bobos’ preening self-regard has made them the easy target of a political backlash in the United States and many other countries — regardless of underlying economic issues, Brooks says.

This shift from economics to status helps explain why the GOP thinks it can ignore the very real economic concerns of its own base. “Right-leaning parties don’t need to have a policy agenda. They just need to stoke and harvest the resentment toward the creative class,” Brooks writes.

For example, Breitbart News reported July 31 on the reluctance of  GOP leaders to challenge the Democrats’ immigration policy. That policy is extracting millions of foreign consumers, renters, and workers from poor countries for the benefit of U.S. corporations in Americans’ workplaces and housing markets:

The surprising passivity on immigration is directed by top GOP leaders, one source told Breitbart News. He continued:

“I found that there is a really interesting, aggressive core of freshmen House members. They have told me that their [GOP] leadership has essentially pulled them aside and said ‘Shut up.’ In other words, don’t do anything aggressive [such as] oversight letters and hearings. They said, ‘Leadership has, in several different ways, ranging from explicit to implicit, said, “Stand down, be quiet, let the Democrats sink themselves.'”

But the hated Bobos are not the actual leaders of the Democratic Party, Brooks warns:

Atop the Democratic-leaning class ladder sits the blue oligarchy: tech and media executives, university presidents, foundation heads, banking CEOs, highly successful doctors and lawyers. The blue oligarchy leads the key Information Age institutions, and its members live in the biggest cities …

And the GOP is dominated by its own class of wealthy people who are outside the “blue oligarchy,” according to Brooks:

Atop the red hierarchy is the GOP’s slice of the one-percenters … Some are corporate executives or entrepreneurs, but many are top-tier doctors, lawyers, and other professionals who aspire to low taxes and other libertarian ideals. This is the core of the GOP donor class, men and women who feel that they worked hard for their money, that the American dream is real, and that those who built wealth in this country shouldn’t have to apologize for it.

The GOP’s “1 Percenters” have their money-minded allies in the GOP, he writes:

One step down are the large property-owning families, scattered among small cities and towns like Wichita, Kansas, and Grand Rapids, Michigan—what we might call the GOP gentry … This gentry class derives its wealth not from salary but from the ownership of assets—furniture companies, ranches, a bunch of McDonald’s franchises.

… Below them is the proletarian aristocracy, the people of the populist regatta: contractors, plumbers, electricians, middle managers, and small-business owners. People in this class have succeeded in America, but not through the channels of the university-based meritocracy, from which they feel alienated.

But the vast majority of the GOP’s voters are not wealthy, Brooks notes:

A level below … you find the rural working class. Members of this class have highly supervised jobs in manufacturing, transportation, construction. Their jobs tend to be repetitive and may involve some physical danger. As the Princeton sociologist Robert Wuthnow notes, many people in this class have an identity rooted in loyalty to their small town. They are supported by networks of extended family and friends, who have grown up with one another. Like the poorer members of the blue hierarchy, they value interdependence and are less individualistic.

Brooks tactfully sidelines the deep impact of immigration on American politics. This blind spot makes sense because the magazine that posted his Bobo takedown is pro-migration because its owner, Laurene Powell Jobs, is also pro-migration.

Since 1990, the rising inflow of foreign workers, consumers, and renters has allowed the U.S. elites to focus their moral energy on the betterment of foreigners. This moral shift has helped the elites to ignore the rising poverty, the flat-lined wages since 1990, the shift of wealth from the heartland to the coasts, the K-12 failures, the loss of jobs to China, and the 92,000 drugs deaths in 2020.

This shift also allows the elites and their progressive sidekicks to demote ordinary Americans into the role of a modern-day KKK, or a mob of quasi-racist xenophobes who must be sidelined precisely because they demand that their own government favor them over the Fortune 500’s imported workers.

Read it all here.

Overall, businesses want to import more migrants — even impoverished, ill, aging, or criminal migrants — because the migrants spike consumer sales, boost rental rates, cut wages, minimize management hassles, and so raise profits and stock values. They also serve as clients for welfare agencies, and eventually, as voters for Democratic candidates.

But migration damages ordinary Americans’ career opportunities, cuts their wages, raises their rents, curbs their productivity, shrinks their political clout, and fractures their open-minded, equality-promoting civic culture.

In general, legal and illegal migration moves wealth from employees to employers, from families to investors, from young to old, from children to their parents, from homebuyers to investors, from technology to stoop labor.

Biden’s decision to restart the economic extraction of valuable consumers, renters, and workers from poor countries also helps move wealth — and social status — from heartland red states to the coastal blue states. The extraction policy also helps move wealth and status from GOP rural districts to Democrat cities within each state.

 

 

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