31 March 2023


"... members of labor unions, and unorganized unskilled workers, will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. Around the same time, they will realize that suburban white-collar workers—themselves desperately afraid of being downsized—are not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else.

At that point, something will crack. The non-suburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for—someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and post-modern professors will no longer be calling the shots...

One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion . . . All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet."
That passage was written 25 years ago.  Discussed at Harper's.


  1. Those who do not pay attention to history are doomed to repeat it. Those that do pay attention to history have to sit here and watch the other idiots screw up while we say 'I told you so' and they ignore us.

  2. Well, doesn't that just trump all.

  3. Paragraph one and two, spot on. Paragraph three, not so fast. The "gains" mentioned will remain intact, as the upper quarter of Americans--the most affluent, regardless of gender, race and sexual orientation--will wall-off their position from those in the bottom two-thirds. In our present political culture, class war can happen perfectly well without regression to phenotypical stratification. In fact, the entire focus on non-economic "identity" is distracting as hell, as the poor become, ever more, the criminalized scapegoats and financial victims in a new version of oppression on the basis of means. Much depends on unknowables: economically catastrophic debt bomb/environmentally catastrophic GHG bomb. Crisis will accelerate "cracking." All to say, we are headed for fascism with pronouns.

    1. Old age is hell--and English majors are generally not mathematical rock stars. How about the upper quarter and the bottom three-quarters?

    2. (or just postulate a middle one-twelfth who will be permitted inside the cultural gated community...)