“Wealth - any income that is at least $100 more a year than the income of one's wife's sister's husband.”
- HL Mencken
I'm thankful my wife didn't die in childbirth, like 1 in 5 women used to. I'm thankful my daughter didn't die before reaching the age of 6, like 1 in 4 children used to. But I'm not really thankful for this most of the time. I take it for fucking granted. You see, my social contract is not with Victorian England, it's with modern America. Cholera is off the table.
Nobody risks la migra and coyotes in order to live better than their buddies in Honduras. They stake it all to live like Americans. Sure - 99.8% of the planet would kill to be up to their eyeballs in debt in a 1700 sqft house with two Priuses they can't afford in the driveway. Shit - I'll bet a block away there's a guy arguing with the voices in his head about what he'd do if he could afford a tent and a sandwich. You're making the "kids are starving in China" argument - sure they are, but we're not in China and I don't want to eat my fucking peas. Yer goddamn right that if I'd been living under a tarp and licking the insides of c-ration cans for two weeks I'd chow the fuck down on your freezer-burned, mealy-ass Birds Eye TV dinner but I'm not. And neither are you. And neither are those poor fuckers in West Hartford. They sat down at this gaming table, not the Honduras table, not the Yemen table, not the Lesotho table. Hey let's grab those guys from the Norway table and let 'em know that they'd earned the right to spend their lives servicing debt and hoping against major medical bills in exchange for 16 years of schooling. How do you think they'd feel about that?
Who is middle class at 25? Fuckin' three quintiles, bitch. Who can buy a house at 26 or 28? Fuckin' everybody 20 years ago. That's the point.
You're making the Brexit argument - sure it might be hard but we survived The Blitz. Yeah ya did. But there are no Nazis in the skies. Freedom does not face an existential crisis from totalitarian populists with a hankering for genocide. It's not about winning - nobody with a fuckin' Prius thinks they won. They just think they aren't falling behind. 3-0 is a great soccer score, a terrible football score and an unbelievably bad basketball score. Surviving to ten was a masterful accomplishment once but here in the place where we used to celebrate our constant upward mobility, it's a fucking given.