The Right & The Unnecessariat. Rod Dreher quotes a reader:
If I had to diagnose the difference between “Conservatives” versus the “Alt-Right” set, your Conservative grows up in an intact nuclear family and attends church on a weekly basis in a community that is relatively ethnically homogeneous. Think Salt Lake City or small-town Kansas.
In contrast, the “Alt-Right” experience, I suspect, is a result of growing up in dysfunctional families in dying, de-Industrializing cities and towns, who, thanks to the gift of the diversity, gets the opportunity to get beaten up by children of all different creeds and colors, only to be told that he or she actually deserves to have his or her face stamped in due to some invisible and/or ancestral blood curse.
To put it differently, conservatism exists in those regions of the country relatively untouched by “Progress”, whereas the kind of punk rock rightist stance requires feminism, mass immigration, rising inequality, de-industrialization, rising suicide rates, secularism, and, of course, a thriving drug culture, to provoke a kind of political gag reflex.
I believe there is a divide on the right based on whether people grew up in the last bastions of a culture of life, or whether someone grew up in the center of the culture of death. Further, I suspect that the future belongs more to the Alt-Right than the conservatives, because it is a consequence of “Progress”, the more America “progresses”, the stronger the Alt-Right will grow.
The term “unnecessariat” is coined:
In 2011, economist Guy Standing coined the term “precariat” to refer to workers whose jobs were insecure, underpaid, and mobile, who had to engage in substantial “work for labor” to remain employed, whose survival could, at any time, be compromised by employers (who, for instance held their visas) and who therefore could do nothing to improve their lot. The term found favor in the Occupy movement, and was colloquially expanded to include not just farmworkers, contract workers, “gig” workers, but also unpaid interns, adjunct faculty, etc. Looking back from 2016, one pertinent characteristic seems obvious: no matter how tenuous, the precariat had jobs. The new dying Americans, the ones killing themselves on purpose or with drugs, don’t. Don’t, won’t, and know it.
Here’s the thing: from where I live, the world has drifted away. We aren’t precarious, we’re unnecessary. The money has gone to the top. The wages have gone to the top. The recovery has gone to the top. And what’s worst of all, everybody who matters seems basically pretty okay with that.
The new bright sparks, cheerfully referred to as “Young Gods” believe themselves to be the honest winners in a new invent-or-die economy, and are busily planning to escape into space or acquire superpowers, and instead of worrying about this, the talking heads on TV tell you its all a good thing- don’t worry, the recession’s over and everything’s better now, and technology is TOTES AMAZEBALLS!
Middle-class and upper-class people look at these wrecks and think, “Well, I wouldn’t live like that, so I wouldn’t get into that kind of trouble.” But that’s blindness, says Sam Quinones:
The book is full of sad stories, but the saddest is the tale of Russian Pentecostals in Portland, Oregon. Massive number of these persecuted Christians emigrated from the Soviet Union to the US, and settled mostly on the West Coast. They were religious, conservative, and strict churchgoers. But their kids went to school with other Americans, and came to see church life as boring and too restrictive. They tried OxyContin, and moved into heroin. Hundreds of these Russian Pentecostal kids became addicts. Their parents did not know what to do. In one family’s case:
Two decades after Anatoly and Nina left the Soviet Union for the freedoms of America, each of their three oldest children was quietly addicted to black tar heroin from Xalisco, Nayarit. … [T]heir American dreamland contained hazards they hadn’t imagined. Remaining Christian in America, where everything was permitted, was harder than maintaining the faith in the Soviet Union where nothing was allowed. Churches were everywhere. But so were distractions and sin: television, sexualized and permissive pop culture, and wealth.
Think of it: these Pentecostals were better off in the USSR than in America, because American freedom led to extreme decadence.
hat-tip Stephen Neil