Examining the roots of the culture war
Enjoyed the article! Looking at your content, I think you might get something out of The TransAtlantic. Have a look at these recent posts and maybe consider subscribing, because I think there will be a lot of crossover with your work in the coming months.
> Elites ask “what do you do?” Non-elites ask “where are you from?”
Note to self: never in a million years, in a public cocktail party ask "what do you do". Nobody wants to be outed as being working or middle class.
> Elites mark themselves by... what “spiritual but not religious” belief system they follow — in short, they define themselves through active and deliberate demonstrations of their “sophistication”... A professor who makes $50K a year is an elite while a plumber who makes $200K is not.
Isn't there a line that says on the lines of "taste are for people who can't buy jewellery" or something like that? Or is this just the "working rich" denying the importance of the educational elite? https://alexdanco.com/2021/01/22/the-michael-scott-theory-of-social-class/
> According to Teixeira, democrats have gone far left on social issues, but they’ve moved right on economic issues that the working class actually cares about
Did a shift happen between 1970s (peak of wellbeing and low elite overproduction, educated rich vs masses) and 2010s (elite overproduction out-shining public wellbeing, working rich vs educated class) in what Turchin expect? That the "right" is always the party of the wealthy (thus economic rightism is a constant), but that money has been moved from the educated class out to the industrial and technocratic class, making the educated class move left (cultural left incongruity hinges on if the educated are poor or not)? https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1468-4446.12834
About a year ago I moved from a large southeastern city to a city--a suburb-sized one, in my ranking--in North Carolina. I work in tech, largely at my own bidding. There is no doubt whatsoever that I am educationally and culturally elite. I am elite in some measures even compared to other elites.
One of our double-paned windows broke on our rental. This was odd; there was no apparent cause, but it was shattered pretty well. We got the landlord to replace it; eventually a guy showed up, measured, and then went away. A few days ago two of the landlord's crew were outside the front porch of the house. "Whatcha up to?" I asked. They were measuring the two beds in front to do some hedge planting--"we're trying to figure out stuff for our guys to do over the winter, you know." I nodded. "And about that winder," he said. (It's been about three and a half months since we noticed the break and it's still broken.) "We're sorry but it's hung up. I tell you, you can't get 'em, and that was a $20 pane when we put it in and now it's $100. Whole thing was $135, now they're asking $300." I said, "So what...is it the supply chain?" He looked at me. "It's gouging is what it is. It's greed." I realized that he was about to cry or scream and was trying to decide which, or whether. "I tell you...this country...this country has gone over the edge."
So today I read this. I had no idea that there was a guy whose job it was to maintain and build properties around the city--I mean, of course, but how often do you think about that? Also, and this is more subtle...how many mysteriously broken windows have you had in the past couple years? Or ever? Isn't it, just, something that doesn't happen anymore, like house fires in your neighborhood? And I know more about the economics of an $8 blue check, quite a bit more actually, than what a window costs, or that it's five times what it was a couple years ago, or what his payroll must look like. He is not a college-educated person and I suspect he does not have the time or capacity for much scenario planning. And I know that inflation is owing to at least four major causes, some of which are Biden's fault, some of which are Russia's, and some of which are Trump's, and "fixing it" is on the order of figuring out what to do when we're contacted by aliens (a classic wicked problem, in other words).
What does HE think, and what's he going to do about it? Say, with his vote, for the local guy who's running on anger and who has worse than no idea what to do about it? And doesn't this imply that people like me should be in charge of thinking about this? And isn't THAT a pretty gross place to be in?
And finally: I went to a really hard-core alternative liberal arts college (not one of the usual suspects) that at the time, late 80s, was fifth in the nation OVERALL for placing graduates in grad programs. It was founded on the Boomer ideal of bringing elite education to non-elite kids. It...it didn't work. It's still around, but I wouldn't send my kid there. It's not like the Harvard 1985 grad--"I couldn't get in today." (Probably true.) It's I wouldn't *want* to get in there (and it would be easier...). Not in today's ecology.