Why the war on the middle class is a war on the family
An often-overlooked aspect of demography is class, a socio-economic measure of human affairs that hugely affects the family.
A strong middle class is important to social harmony and economic security. There is plenty of money in places like Nigeria, but their middle class is a tiny fraction of the population. A major distinction between the developed first world and the lesser developed third world is a strong middle class.
The Pew Research Center defines middle class as:
… households that earn between two-thirds and double the median U.S. household income, which was $65,000 in 2021, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Using Pew's yardstick, middle income is made up of people who make between $43,350 and $130,000.
With today’s inflation, the numbers change before the ink is dry.
America's middle class is being hammered. This is the result of a long process begun by left-wing intellectuals and could very well lead to America's ruin if not reversed.
Today’s corrosive class warfare was ignited by Karl Marx, the father of Communism. Marx was fixated on class and believed a revolutionary class war of impoverished workers versus the capitalists was inevitable and that the workers would win worldwide:
Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other -- Bourgeoisie and Proletariat.
Marx favoured a “Dictatorship of the Proletariat,” by which he meant rule by the working classes as opposed to the bourgeoisie, which owned the means of economic production. The bourgeoisie were the bad guys. They included persons within a wide range of socio-economic classes, including the upper and upper middle class along with the petit-bourgeoisie: shopkeepers, civil servants, farmers, white-collar employees and so on. The petit-bourgeoisie weren’t big money, but they were homeowners, thus part of the propertied class. The first “plank” in Marx’s Communist Manifesto:
Abolition of Property in Land and Application of all Rents of Land to Public Purpose.
Taking away people’s property is a sure route to equality, aka levelling. People didn’t buy it.
Why not? Capitalism. (Note: For purposes of discussion, here we’re talking about industrial, or productive, capitalism rather than globalist finance capitalism. The latter feeds on a rentier economy [i.e., one where most income is derived from rent on assets instead of labour or production], which savages the middle class. This is a critical distinction to understanding what ails us.)
Under industrial capitalism, Western societies prospered; workers were becoming homeowners and getting ahead in the world and thus were not interested in proletarian revolution. Marxists believed the workers had been bought off by the bourgeoisie and duped into relying on institutions such as family, faith and the profit motive, thus rendering them of no use to the revolution. They were no longer poor but were joining the middle class.
By the 1930s, it was obvious that Marx’s theory of a worker’s world revolution wasn't working.
So a “New Marxism” was devised by the infamous Frankfurt School, which had been founded in Germany in the 1920s. This version ultimately abandoned the proletariat as a vehicle of revolution, crafting a more plausible way to divide and rule: slice and dice the masses along cultural lines. This is “Cultural Marxism,” aka “political correctness.”
Instead of Marx’s bourgeoisie-versus-proletariat paradigm, the new oppressors were the “patriarchy” -- the traditional family and its foundation, Christianity. The patriarchy back then was mostly White males. The oppressed? Just about everyone else: women (gender gap), gays (homophobia), youth (authoritarianism), third world immigrants (xenophobia), racial minorities (racism), etc.
The Frankfurt School moved to the US in the 1930s. In what was then a free society, they spread their ideas with abandon. Over time, they succeeded. The Frankfurt School’s ideological descendants have completed a “long march through the institutions.” Woke ideology rules the West.
But that pesky petit-bourgeoisie -- the American middle class -- is in the way. How so? Consider:
The adjective middle-class:
… characterized by a high material standard of living, sexual morality, and respect for property. (Merriam-Webster)
Self-discipline? Sexual morality? How awful! This middle class, if it must exist, should at least get woke. PC indoctrination is the solution. As the US middle class is still mostly White, the PC party line is that White Americans should feel guilty for everything. Reduce US history to a series of malicious racist, bigoted and homophobic misdeeds. Interpret everything as exemplary of White patriarchal oppression of everyone else.
Today’s elites aren’t Marxist, though they harness the Marxist dialectic to consolidate their power. They’re globalists, a hybrid of predatory finance capitalism and social liberalism. (Under Communism, wealth was consolidated in the hands of the state, and whoever controlled the state got rich. Under Globalism, wealth is increasingly consolidated in the hands of elites, and the government does their bidding. Both preach woke ideology, and their elites are thoroughly secular and anti-Christian.)
That is why there is outsourcing that boosts share prices while destroying millions of middle-class jobs. Massive cheap labour immigration depresses wages. The middle-class standard of living has been declining since 1979, while the globalist elite thrives.
Professors William J. Quirk and Randall Bridwell spelled it out in Abandoned: The Betrayal of the American Middle Class Since World War II (1991), where they cite
… the sense on the part of the broad middle class of having been abandoned and its values betrayed by its “betters,” the nation’s political, financial, academic and judicial elites.
So the American middle class is being bludgeoned. Two incomes are required to support the average middle-class family. Wasn’t always that way.
A permissive woke judiciary frees offenders to offend yet again. The “New Morality” and its promiscuous “anything goes” attitude have corroded American family life.
A Byzantine system of racial preferences and affirmative action has dispensed with merit as a basis for success. When equality of opportunity didn’t assure equality of outcome, the PC narrative shifted to “equity and inclusion.” This utopian mania to “fix” class and racial disparities, to make everyone alike in the name of diversity, is turning out to be a rather expensive fool’s errand.
If anyone is wondering how Donald Trump got elected, look no further than the besieged middle class. They are Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” and Barack Obama’s people that “cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them.” Bigots!
According to the Pew Research Center, middle-class households fell from 61% of America’s population in 1971 to 50% by 2021. The middle class accounted for 62% of US aggregate income in 1970; that decreased to 42% by 2020.
Before the onset of the Great Recession, the median wealth of middle-income families increased from $95,879 in 1983 to $161,050 in 2007, a gain of 68%. But the economic downturn eliminated that gain almost entirely. By 2010, the median wealth of middle-income families had fallen to about $98,000, where it still stood in 2013.
Middle-class wealth then recovered somewhat, only to be hammered again by Covid. During the pandemic, big businesses such as Wal-Mart, Target and casinos remained open, while churches, small business, mom-and-pop shops and diners had to close. Millions were wiped out in the most devastating hit to the middle class since the Great Recession. With the highest inflation in 40 years, complete recovery is nowhere in sight. We’re moving backwards.
The Claremont Institute’s Joel Kotkin recently posted a penetrating essay titled “The Looming Extinction of the Working Class”. He accurately describes the elites presiding over the US as an “oligarchic class” whose actions and interests “are more and more opposed to the prosperity of the working and middle classes: this oligarchy is making them poorer, weaker, and their lives less stable.”
Perhaps the most perfidious Clerisy assault focuses on the value systems that underpinned the rise of the middle class. Many in these elites despise the traditions of country, religion, and family. Their hatred increases the conflict among cultural and racial identities. Once normal bourgeoise success is defined as mere “privilege” for males and whites, the idea of merit and rewards for work are destroyed.
Then there is the rise of “post-familial” attitudes, where single-parenting becomes the norm, and it is common for children to be born out of wedlock (25% of children in the US are raised in single-parent homes; 40% of children in the US and UK are born out of wedlock). Kotkin:
Such attitudes about the family are increasingly common in the media. The rise of bohemianism in the twentieth century emphasized individual empowerment over family obligation and thus elevated the status of single households. These views are widely embraced by many feminists, as well as the leaders of Black Lives Matter. To even mention that having children may be good for society, as Hillbilly Elegy author J. D. Vance did, was enough to lead the ultrawoke Salon to spot “dog whistles for white nationalism and misogyny.”
Something else that Globalism and Communism share? Demonisation. If you oppose the woke/globalist agenda, you’re a “Fascist,” racist, etc., etc. Take your pick. Sounds like old times in Eastern Europe. Orwell nailed it in his prescient novel 1984. Woke ideology is simply a mechanism of control. It’s all about power.
So there we have it. The war on the middle class is a war on the family. Like Communism of old, globalism values flesh-and-blood humanity solely based on economic utility. It is wreaking havoc on American society. Homes become dormitories because at least two incomes are needed to keep the family afloat. Bearing and rearing children has become prohibitively expensive. The state persecutes practising Christians. This top-down class warfare is taking a grim toll on the family. As goes the family, so goes the civilisation. Little wonder that the West is weakening and that people are having fewer children.
Something’s got to give. You can’t fool Mother Nature forever.
Get the Free Mercator Newsletter
Get the news you may not get anywhere else, delivered right to your inbox.
Your info is safe with us, we will never share or sell you personal data.
Have your say!
Join Mercator and post your comments.