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The Class Struggle Comes Back, Part II

There are some on the left (like Kevin Drum at Mother Jones) who are having second thoughts on the American obsession of racial racial equality over class equalisation:

Class/income-based affirmative action has long struck me as an alternative that ought to get more attention than it does…Class-based program programs might, in the end, provide modestly less help for ethnic minorities than current policies — though well-designed ones might not. But they have some advantages too. For one thing, they help poor people. That’s worthwhile all by itself.

I commented a little over a week ago that class equalisation is something that, for a number of reasons, the left’s elitist leadership isn’t well positioned to deal with.  But at least there’s some “out of the box” thinking going on about this problem.  Americans have traditionally let their civil rights struggles be driven by just about anything else than class–race, gender, sexual orientation, you name it.  (The LGBT’s struggle for “equality” would take a serious hit in a class-based equalisation effort, but that’s another post.)

But, in a parenthesis to Drum’s article, James Joyner shows that the left’s new thinking about this has his limits:

But, surely, we don’t want to create new categories, such as “Scotch-Irish Sons of Confederate Veterans,” for special treatment.

Ah, now we’re getting to where the rubber meets the road: the Scots-Irish are at the very core as to why this country has struggled with class-based equalisation.  Their sociological system poses some unique challenges because a class-struggle paradigm is based on workers being exploited, and if there’s one thing that Scots-Irish are masters at getting around, it’s work, which is why exploiting them is a real trick.

P.S. I did read Sen. Webb’s piece that Drum refers to.  It’s an interesting piece with some good observations, but his idea that Southern upper classes set the whites and blacks against each other is absurd.  The War Between the States effectively decapitated Southern society and ruined its upper classes, which put the poor Scots-Irish in the driver’s seat for a century.  In many ways postbellum Southern society was one of the most “bottom-up” driven societies in history, but the blacks bore the brunt of that “egalitarian” result.


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