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comment by StillWaters
StillWaters  ·  150 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How fear of falling explains love of Trump

A very interesting analysis.

The sad thing is that the Democratic platform would have helped them and Trump / the Republicans will only hasten their fall.

A root problem here is the income inequality. Ensure more menial jobs are adequately paid and at least some of the economic stress will be removed, and perhaps some pride restored. Certainly one needs to deploy better programs to enable people who live in small towns that lose their cornerstone industries to be retrained and to bring in new investment to such places.

I also believe we need to develop a project with Germany to better understand the great success they have in apprenticeship programs - an effort that connects employers, educators and the federal government to enable people to do-learn-do.

There were also a couple statements that stood out to me:

    Adding insult to injury for those with the grit to survive on an assembly line or in a steel mill, the decades-long shift from manufacturing to services is creating the type of jobs that are distinctly unappealing to many men.

    The declining employment and salaries of men without college degrees make them less attractive as marriage partners.

    "I don’t want it to sound bad, but I’ve always seen a woman in the position of a nurse or some kind of health care worker. I see it as more of a woman’s touch."

Do declining salaries make men less attractive as marriage partners? Or is it that lower salaries or less "masculine" jobs make the men insecure, and for that reason they become less attractive? And is this tied to the traditional gender roles of "men work hard so they get good jobs so they can bring home the bacon to their family".

Having lived in northern Europe many years I sense there is a very significant difference in how men define their worth. Equality between genders in northern Europe has lead to men also being more free to define where their worth comes from, and increasingly it is separated from the status of position, the masculinity of the position, and the salary they bring home (compared to what I experience in the US).

Where I live in the US there are so many ex-pat wives who bring along their husbands and children, that these stay at home men have arranged a club. And they love their lives. They see being a good father as an expression of masculinity. Meanwhile, too many of the men described in this article view almost any work in the tertiary sector (service sector) - let alone a stay-at-home dad! - as being "women's work" that is beneath their dignity.

Sometimes I sense that the call for MAGA - harking back to a time when blue collar jobs were readily available and gave a middle-class income, and "blacks knew their place and women stayed at home" - is like some desperate hope that they can avoid needing to change by getting the rest of the world to change. It is like a farmer who hopes fall will come after winter, and refuses to prepare for spring. The ones they hurt the most by refusing to adapt is themselves.




kleinbl00  ·  149 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    The sad thing is that the Democratic platform would have helped them and Trump / the Republicans will only hasten their fall.

A valid criticism of the Democratic platform is that it will not return the working class to the prosperity of the '60s. The current platform is all about the bourgeois and relies heavily on globalism. It lacks any real trade protectionism, worker protectionism or safety net improvements beyond the status quo with the noteworthy exception of Obamacare... and speaking as an middle-class Democrat, Obamacare fucked me. Premiums went from $300/mo to $900 mo; deductible went from $1000 to $10k. And granted - I can afford to pay that (barely) and granted, my union blew the shit out of that as soon as I qualified but Democrats are about as lukewarm on union support as the Republicans were in the '50s.

    I also believe we need to develop a project with Germany to better understand the great success they have in apprenticeship programs - an effort that connects employers, educators and the federal government to enable people to do-learn-do.

They have a civil structure assembled by the United States in the form of the Marshall Plan, as well as historically lower productivity. European society was deliberately reorganized by the United States to support happy workers in subordinate economies and pretty much every time a European country pops up as a trade threat it's because they're enacting market reforms that cause civil unrest and riots in Paris and shit. We deliberately set up Germany and France to make Cartier and Mercedes but never to make TRW or General Motors.

I personally don't have any problem with this: I do not feel that economic productivity is the measure by which a country's worth should be judged but the US was the champion of Capitalism and the USSR was the champion of Socialism and the USSR lost so of course the US has gone hypercapitalist. The real question is whether that "win" was steady state (I don't think it was).

    Do declining salaries make men less attractive as marriage partners?

Yes. Declining socioeconomic status causes declining desirability signalling. The Atlantic can't help but write about this five or six times a year.

    Having lived in northern Europe many years I sense there is a very significant difference in how men define their worth.

There are vast cultural differences between Scandinavian culture and American culture that are gobsmackingly bad for American well-being. Nick Reding argues that it's due to a Protestant work ethic combined with a frontier mentality that creates a uniquely American view that hard work, no matter how unfocused, is not only the key to success, it's also the key to Heaven and that un- or underemployment is a personal, moral failing.

    Sometimes I sense that the call for MAGA - harking back to a time when blue collar jobs were readily available and gave a middle-class income, and "blacks knew their place and women stayed at home" - is like some desperate hope that they can avoid needing to change by getting the rest of the world to change.

This article, and the article I linked above, argue for the Mencken maxim: "success is earning a thousand dollars more a year than your wife's sister's husband." White working-class people aren't truly poor so long as black working-class people are poorer. We don't choose our anchors, society does... and when those beneath us are no longer beneath us, we have fallen.

bfv  ·  149 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Nick Reding argues that it's due to a Protestant work ethic combined with a frontier mentality that creates a uniquely American view that hard work, no matter how unfocused, is not only the key to success, it's also the key to Heaven and that un- or underemployment is a personal, moral failing.

Max Webber got there a hundred years earlier

kleinbl00  ·  149 days ago  ·  link  ·  

And Reding is quick to point out that of COURSE it's the Germans and Americans that abuse amphetamines.

StillWaters  ·  149 days ago  ·  link  ·  

> Nick Reding argues that it's due to a Protestant work ethic combined with a frontier mentality that creates a uniquely American view that hard work, no matter how unfocused, is not only the key to success, it's also the key to Heaven and that un- or underemployment is a personal, moral failing.

The defect in this reasoning is that "Protestant work ethic combined with a frontier mentality" are key traits of Scandinavia.

Scandinavians work hard, but they prefer working in a focused manner and return home. To me a culture shock moving back to the US was how much time was wasted in the office or during working time.

I also believe Scandinavians are at least as frontier people as Americans.

    White working-class people aren't truly poor so long as black working-class people are poorer. We don't choose our anchors, society does... and when those beneath us are no longer beneath us, we have fallen.

Well said.

kleinbl00  ·  149 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Would you care to point to the historical Scandinavian frontier? The argument is that the United States, during its formative years, had unorganized, non-competitive land surrounding it which it could tame and dominate. Scandinavia, on the other hand, were the raiding barbarians upon the civilized forces of the Holy Roman Empire until they became a pernicious pocket of Lutheranism. Americans, on the other hand, were still homesteading in Model Ts.

StillWaters  ·  149 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Much of Scandinavia is frontier land, and that is where Scandinavians go for vacations.

The mountains where you ski or hike for miles without seeing anyone. The coastline where people explore and go fishing. I've had friends who were almost killed by a moose. Another who as a kid had many close calls with polar bears. Many of us grew up taking the boat out by ourselves from the age of 6 onwards, to go exploring. And many of us experienced mishaps where we had to rely on ourselves to get home safely.

To me frontier is venturing forth alone or in small groups to stake a place to live or explore. My grandfather did just that as a frontiersman in the US about a 100 years ago. The same experience is alive in much of Scandinavia. Many families have cabins in remote areas that were built by the family. This is where we go to recharge our batteries and get back to nature.

kleinbl00  ·  147 days ago  ·  link  ·  

There's a world of difference between "wilderness" and "frontier." I freely acknowledge that there are mountains where you ski or hike for miles without seeing anyone. At the same time, they're the same mountains where your ancestors have been skiing or hiking for miles since before the advent of written language. The culture of Scandinavia has been Scandinavian since before the Etruscans; neither the Romans nor the Mongols so much as set foot there. By contrast, I grew up in a place where the houses were built on the roaming lands of nomadic tribes that were kicked out for once and for all at a time when their leaders were studied by anthropologists from Washington and their artifacts were shipped to the Smithsonian.

Your definition of "frontier" is not the definition of "frontier" and that parameter mismatch is important.

StillWaters  ·  146 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Well, frontier means the end of settled land. Yes, being a pioneer exploring the new land to the west in North America was different, but then that happened long ago in the US, and by a small proportion of the population.

My grandfather was among them, and he loved telling tales from that time. Just as he loved telling tales of his experiences of challenges in the wilderness in Scandinavia. The tales didn't seem qualitatively different.

kleinbl00  ·  145 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Israel was founded by Ashkenazi Jews whose culture had been a part of Europe for two thousand years. They settled in a place that had been civilized for ten. Yet theirs is a frontier mentality simply because they are inflicting their culture on a place that hasn't had it in the memory of anyone in their culture.

I'm unaware of any Scandinavian ghost towns. I could be mistaken. On the other hand, I could drive to a dozen within half a day of here and I am almost under the shadow of the skyscrapers of Los Angeles. More than that, I watched them emerge in Arizona between two road trips ten years apart. No shade on your grandfather but "wilderness" and "frontier" are different things, and they lead to a different mentality.