Sunday, March 1, 2020

The Two Middle Classes - Quillette

As America prepares for its quadrennial presidential marathon, these divisions are painfully evident. No president has ever incurred the wrath of the clerisy—the media, the entertainment industry, academia—more than Donald Trump. But Trump retains record support among the small business people on Main Street, particularly in the manufacturing and energy-dependent parts of the country. The climatistas’ appeal is not likely to improve as they increasingly advocate the elimination of ownership of single-family houses, preferred by most middle class people, in order to promote an allegedly climate-friendly density regime.

The struggle between the two middle classes is not just a matter of wealth and power, but also of retaining the social basis for democracy itself. Without a strong, independent middle class operating outside the control of large institutions, be they tech giants or governments, we may be heading towards a technocratic future, that as one Silicon Valley wag put it, resembles  “feudalism with better marketing.”

An independent and assertive property-owning middle class that can thrive remains the only force able to challenge ever-growing centralization. Without them, there is likely no way to prevent a new feudal order from emerging in the future. As the radical social theorist Barrington Moore suggested a half-century ago, “no bourgeoisie, no democracy.”7


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