I am marginalized.
I am a victim.
I am the “other” who serves a singular purpose for the majority: the feeling of moral superiority to assuage their stagnant lives.
We’ve seen this before, so many times in history and, sadly, it still plays itself out today. It is a fundamental part of the human condition and until the Second Coming, the Great Singularity, or the arrival of the Xenons, we are doomed to repeat this drama again and again. The Founding Fathers recognized it too; they put in some safeguards, but, unfortunately, I feel those rails are being dismantled as we speak.
Looking at our own troubled history with slavery, we see a unique social dynamic that took place in the South: two-pronged elitism.
The first prong is made up of a ruling class. Their portions in society are, by definition, precarious. They require some form of a mandate to extract power from the masses. The easiest way to accomplish this is by forming a culture. As I have mentioned before, a culture requires two essential components. First, there needs to be a common language; second, there needs to be a perceived existential threat to the culture. Without the ever-present threat to cultural dilution, the “culture” is really nothing more than a collection of hobbyists. When that threat emerges they circle the wagons to fight off the “others”. Membership in the culture is the use of that common language. It is, in effect, the “membership card” that each adherent uses to proclaim they are part of the club.
In the Antebellum South there was a definitive cultural identity. The language spoken and the accent heard was unique and geared towards perpetuation of an established class system. For the second prong, the South needed to find that existential threat. They found it in the abolitionist movement, then the entirety of the North. Ever present throughout their reign, though, was an internal existential threat: blacks themselves.
Derision of blacks helped maintain social controls of the elites in the South. They created an animating principle for continued existence of the Mandarine Class. They also released an inherent tension between them and the other end of the social spectrum: the rest of the culture.
Poor whites had nothing of material value for the Mandarine Class. They were poor, they were uneducated, they were bores at parties, and the Mandarines certainly did not want to socially interface with them. But they did have one thing that was quintessentially important for the Mandarines’ continued existence: en masse political clout.
Treat them wrongly and the political careers, and, by extension, lifestyles of the Mandarine Class would come to an abrupt end. Hence, the Mandarines needed to keep the hoi polloi happy. They were not empowered to really give them anything… but they did have something they could foster among them: membership in the elite majority.
The poor white farmer might not have much, but he did have one thing: he wasn’t black.
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The Nazis did essentially the same thing. This time “blacks” were replaced with Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, et al.
What we see in California (and for that matter, the rest of the United States and many places in the “civilized” world) is something, sadly, similar. Now, instead of race, color, or gender, the Mandarine Class uses political philosophy to create a marginalized class.
During the recall I saw invectives being offered by people who were supporting Governor Newsom. They were not really supporting the Governor, they were deriding the opposition to the Governor.
These screeds being screamed at proponents of the recall usually involved the term Republican as a word of abject derision.
For Republicans are rubes, fools, uneducated, Trumpian, anti-vaxxers, are they not? They have this fetish for individual liberty, they own guns, they listen to country music, and they are jingoistic. They are all white males! (When they are not, then they are simply apologists for all white males.)
Republicans, Conservatives, Libertarians, Classical Liberals… they are all “The Other”.
I witnessed a discussion between two people online. One was a college professor of philosophy (Conservative), the other a college drop-out (Liberal) who has been couch surfing for the last few years and living off of COVID Relief for the last year. The Liberal ended the conversation by calling the Conservative an “F-ing idiot Republican fascist”.
He is on that “other end” of the ruling social class spectrum. He may be a loser in life’s intellectual and financial lottery, but he has one thing going for him: He is not a Republican.
The Founding Fathers were deeply concerned about the tyranny of the majority over the minority. To that end they recognized rights that were immutable. Regardless of which faction held the controls of government, there were certain sacred points of contact with individual citizens that were fundamentally off limits.
If the majority decided that Judaism was to be banned, they simply could not do it. The First Amendment took that odious policy choice off the table.
The Bill of Rights is on life support right now. Both Republicans and Democrats have sought to obviate, or in many instances, completely eliminate the rights it recognizes.
Without that adherence we are doomed, not just as a country… but as a people.