Mickey Kaus Sees American Social Tension Rising
Kausfiles: The Most Important Chart
It’s not just that wages for many have been stagnant. It’s that their increase or decrease has taken on a vicious meritocratic bias. Well-educated Americans are still doing well. Uneducated Americans are actually doing worse — they’re dropping out of the bottom of the pack.
It’s hard to see how traditional American-style social equality — everyone’s equal, not only in the eyes of God or before the law but in the eyes of each other — can survive many more decades of this chart. It’s one thing if the rich get richer — I’d argue there isn’t a hard, Marxist connection between income tables and a sense of social superiority. (Would you let any of these guys but in front of you in line?) It’s another if a whole group of Americans — increasingly identifiable by dress, appearance and language — keeps getting tossed into the economic trashcan. *** I’ve had more than one conversation out here in West Los Angeles in which the topic of heartland working-class decline comes up and the explicit response from one of my friends is, “Fuck ’em.” (The only-sometimes-explicit rest of the response is “… if they’re too stupid to move or go to school.”)
…True, each educational class might develop its own associational life, the way ethnic groups traditionally developed their own groups (Knights of Columbus, etc.). But it might take a long time. It’s also the stuff of neo-feudal dystopias. (When will the Betas and Zetas revolt?)