28 Feb 2017

VDH On the 2016 Populist Revolt

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Victor Davis Hanson explains the 2016 Populist Revolt to his professional associates in elite Coastal California.

What America watches on television and on the silver screen is created either in Los Angeles or New York. The nation’s world-ranked Ivy League and West Coast universities are almost all in blue America. Wall Street, Silicon Valley and the preeminent financial institutions are likewise centered in urban corridors. The federal government operates in the progressive culture of Washington, D.C. The reasons for this lopsided concentration are part historical and part geographical, but not necessarily a referendum on either contemporary competency or character.

The result nonetheless is an abyss, in which power brokers who shape the way America is entertained, educated, financed and governed are often unaware of how half the country lives — or the effects of their own tastes and policies upon them. Yet the hinterland is no cul-de-sac, but rather the proud generator of most of the nation’s fuel, food and manufactured goods — the traditional stuff of civilization.

The Trump revolt was also a push back against winner-take-all globalization that enriched the populated coasts far more than the open spaces in between — that made London spiritually closer to Manhattan than to upstate New York, and Tokyo or Bangalore more attuned to the Bay Area than to the Central Valley a hundred miles away.

People outside of New York and San Francisco seemed to have the strange idea that the wheat they grew or the oil they fracked were just as important to Facebook and Goldman Sachs employees as the latter’s social media pages and stock portfolios were to farmers and oil drillers.

In part, the rural backlash was fueled by a sense that half the country — the quieter and more hidden half — did not like the cultural and economic trajectories on which the cities were taking the country. It was not just that they saw a $20 trillion debt, the slowest economic growth since the Hoover administration, a federal takeover of the health care system, offshoring, outsourcing and open borders as part of their plight.

Rather, they cited these as symptoms of a blinkered elite that had lost its bearings and was insulated from the reality that governs life elsewhere: debt really does have to be paid back rather than doubled in eight years. Something like the Affordable Care Act that is sold as offering more and costing less simply cannot be true. The cyberworld still does not bring food to the table, put fuel in the gas tank or produce wood floors and stainless steel appliances.

Urban elites seldom experience the full and often negative consequences of their own ideologies. And identifying people first by race, tribe or gender — by their allegiance to their appearance rather than to the content of their characters — has rarely led anywhere but to tribalism and eventual sectarian violence.

The result was that when Trump, the outsider without political experience, appeared as a hammer, rural America apparently was more than happy to throw him into the glass of the bicoastal establishment, without worrying too much about the shards that scattered.

Read the whole thing.

2 Feedbacks on "VDH On the 2016 Populist Revolt"


I can’t really disagree with most of the points made but I think some things are left out. It is like the classic joke that democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner. For most of the middle class in flyover country we are what’s for dinner. When our federal government brings in a hundred thousand refugees and plunks them down in the forgotten middle America our property taxes and state taxes must go up to pay for these people. And this is aggravated even more because we are right there and watch as they exploit the system and get more from the government for doing nothing than we get from working 40 hours a week. You can multiply all of this times ten to pay for the illegals and the welfare class. And we haven’t even discussed the increase in crime that accompanies creating a class of people who get money for nothing and have 24 hours of free time to wreck havoc on the community. Our government created this problem to buy votes, they rob us blind with ever increasing taxes to pay for creating the problem and they ignore us when we speak up. Obamacare was the last straw. Essentially it was a naked ponzi scheme mandated by an out of control federal government. It was obvious to anyone with an IQ above 80 that Obamacare was intended to fail and force the government to install something worse and more expensive and we all knew who was going to pay for it. Speaking of naked schemes where government no longer even tries to hide their robbery of the middle class California wants to create a single payer health care system and include illegal aliens in it. So who is gonna pay for it? Not the illegal aliens. Not the Hollywood elite. Not the H1B and other foreign workers. The Middle class is being strangled and I can’t help but believe that some in government intended for this to happen all along.

Seattle Sam

Now if we were French and it was 1789 . . . .


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