May 30, 2018

Mudsills, part 4 — the problem with the rich

NOT the superrich, the rich.

"The Birth of a New American Aristocracy" is about the 9.9 percent of the rich below the 0.1 percent super-rich. Near the end of the piece, looking at the 2016 election, it talked about how the 0.1 percent helped stoke angers of the 90 percent at the 9.9 percent in between, while also looking down and "kicking down," which the piece exactly says. 
Did I mention that the common man is white? That brings us to the other side of American-style resentment. You kick down, and then you close ranks around an imaginary tribe. The problem, you say, is the moochers, the snakes, the handout queens; the solution is the flag and the religion of your (white) ancestors. According to a survey by the political scientist Brian Schaffner, Trump crushed it among voters who “strongly disagree” that “white people have advantages because of the color of their skin,” as well as among those who “strongly agree” that “women seek to gain power over men.” It’s worth adding that these responses measure not racism or sexism directly, but rather resentment. They’re good for picking out the kind of people who will vehemently insist that they are the least racist or sexist person you have ever met, even as they vote for a flagrant racist and an accused sexual predator.
The piece goes on to connect today’s mudsill history to past mudsill history.
Where were the 90 percent during these acts of plunder? An appreciable number of them could be found at Ku Klux Klan rallies. And as far as the most vocal (though not necessarily the largest) part of the 90 percent was concerned, America’s biggest problems were all due to the mooching hordes of immigrants. You know, the immigrants whose grandchildren have come to believe that America’s biggest problems now are all due to the mooching hordes of immigrants.
That's mudsillism to a tee — the middle class envying the rich while letting them, and even more the super-rich, believe their problems are all due to inferiors.

The author notes that Calvin Coolidge passed a big tax cut for the rich and super-rich in 1926. The 9.9 percent became more hopeful, while the 0.1 percent looked for more separation. They, too, kicked downward.

And, he connects that with the origin of the mudsills, too.
That gilded, roaring surge of destruction was by no means the first such destabilizing wave of inequality to sweep through American history. In the first half of the 19th century, the largest single industry in the United States, measured in terms of both market capital and employment, was the enslavement (and the breeding for enslavement) of human beings. Over the course of the period, the industry became concentrated to the point where fewer than 4,000 families (roughly 0.1 percent of the households in the nation) owned about a quarter of this “human capital,” and another 390,000 (call it the 9.9 percent, give or take a few points) owned all of the rest. 
The slaveholding elite were vastly more educated, healthier, and had much better table manners than the overwhelming majority of their fellow white people, never mind the people they enslaved. They dominated not only the government of the nation, but also its media, culture, and religion. Their votaries in the pulpits and the news networks were so successful in demonstrating the sanctity and beneficence of the slave system that millions of impoverished white people with no enslaved people to call their own conceived of it as an honor to lay down their life in the system’s defense.
Mudsills both disliked and envied their "betters." Many talked about a rich man's war but a poor man's fight," but, until the end, in most of the South, undercutting the hopes of Lincoln, few opted out.

Per the "white" part, this is why, although I reject the idea that every individual white is at this time privileged over every single minority, I accept white privilege as a generalization with at least 50 percent validity, and not a stereotype.

Sadly, Matthew Stewart believes the best revolutions — which he rightly notes are what it takes to lessen inequality — are by the 9.9 percent, citing the American Revolution as an example.

So, we have an elitist, who recognizes that financially, his socioeconomic class is part of the problem, not the solution, but yet, believes that his cohort is part of the solution for good governance.

Methinks he's still too self-gilded. Certainly self-delusional, made worse by pretending to not be self-delusional.

Any wonder that people like this, who are presumably neoliberal Democrats, infuriate today's mudsills?

Part 1, and part 2, about Trump and mudsills have more background, as does part 3, about the myth of Irish in America being slaves and related things.

Here, I explain vs Adolph Reed and Doug Henwood, and the likes of Jacobin why mudsillism is a real thing and needs to be treated as such.

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