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Recently a liberal filmmaker (Ron Howard) made a movie with liberal actors about the book Hillbilly Elegy. It has received strong criticism from both sides of the political aisle. But since this is not a conservative movie, and it was made by standard-issue Hollywood leftists, the criticism from the left is more interesting.
The book was written by a man who had grown up in Appalachia with a lot of poor white neighbors. He describes the pathologies of that culture, from drug use, to lack of planning for the future, to lack of interest in education, and so on. But he also mentions some virtues of some of his neighbors, as an increasingly desperate group of people try to cope with plant closures and economic changes that are devastating their neighborhoods. These occasionally sympathetic glimpses into the lives of poor whites are drawing the ire of leftists, and Glenn Reynolds thinks he knows why:
The old Southern Democrats maintained the allegiance of poor whites by making sure those poor whites felt they could look down on blacks. The modern Democratic Party maintains the allegiance of upper-middle-class whites by making sure they can look down on lower-class whites. By humanizing those lower-class whites, Netflix’s “Hillbilly Elegy” calls the whole enterprise into question.
All forms of powerful, centralized governments, which have enormous impacts on people’s lives, require a villain. If you ask for high taxes, increased regulation, and other restrictions on prosperity and freedom from your citizens, you need to convince them that you are protecting them from someone who is evil. “You may get frustrated with us taking your money and your freedoms. But trust us – we may be scary, but the other guys are worse. Vote for us.”
This works a lot better if you can dehumanize the ‘other,’ just like Democrats used to do with blacks, and as Democrats currently do with poor whites.
A group of 400 politicians from around the world, including two ‘Squad’ members US congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, recently wrote a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos criticizing his company’s financial practices:
“In a letter to Amazon’s 56-year-old chief executive — the world’s richest man with a net worth of $185 billion — the leaders say the world “knows that Amazon can afford to pay its workers, its environmental cost and its taxes,” but that the company has “dodged and dismissed [its] debts to workers, societies and the planet,” according to a report in The Independent.”
They continued, explaining that by following the tax laws of various countries with the goal of paying as little tax as possible, he was intentionally hurting governments that were just trying to help people:
“Through global tax dodging, you damage the public provision of health, education, housing, social security and infrastructure,”
So Mr. Bezos is not just selling books and dog food. He’s “damaging the public provision of health, education, housing, social security and infrastructure.”
So they are in the process of dehumanizing this vicious white man who has committed a sin against humanity. The sin of working hard and being successful. So they’re going after him.
Remember that Mr. Bezos is a strident leftist, supporting the same causes as those who accuse him of being evil and selfish. He has done more for leftism than all those 400 leftist politicians combined. He might have thought that would buy him a pass from such attacks. But he was wrong.
Yesterday, he was a darling of leftists. Today, he’s a target of leftists. As I frequently point out at times like this, Robespierre is chuckling somewhere.
The left loved lower-class whites. Until it became more politically convenient to dehumanize them.
The left dehumanized blacks. Until it became more politically convenient to elevate them to near sainthood.
The left loved Jeff Bezos. Until it became more politically convenient to dehumanize him.
And so on and so on.
There are a few facets of this that bother me.
First, the very fact that the left needs a villain to gain the control they desire – that is terrifying, when you think about it. That is a political movement to be feared.
Next, the flexibility of the left, as they change their preferred heroes and villains over time, as the political winds of the day dictate. They apparently don’t believe in anything or anybody, and will destroy anyone, even their own allies, if it will help them gain even a few extra votes. That is a political movement to be feared.
Lastly, the habit of the left to blame individuals on their ‘villain’ list for failures of the governments run by leftists. An extreme example is Hitler blaming the woes of Germans after WWI on the Jews. Another is 400 politicians blaming some guy who sells books and dog food for “damaging the public provision of health, education, housing, social security and infrastructure.”
Guess what, politicians – infrastructure is your job. That guy sells retail. Come on. But no, when government health plans stink and the roads are worse, it’s because of Jeff Bezos. Right.
That is a political movement to be feared.
Jeff Bezos is a smart guy. Surely he understands this.
But do you expect Mr. Bezos to start supporting Republicans, to push back against vicious tyrants like those 400 politicians? Of course not.
I find that very odd.
But I’m not a leftist. I know they hate me. But Mr. Bezos, apparently, still hopes to stay on their good side. Good luck, buddy.
I suspect that if he were around today, Robespierre would suggest that Mr. Bezos visit Appalachia, talk to some lower-class whites, and see if they think that the Democrats will remain as loyal to him as they did to them.
The left is a political movement to be feared.
Robespierre understands this. So do Appalachian lower-class whites.
I don’t think that Mr. Bezos has caught on just yet…Published in