Armpits, White Ghettos and Contempt

  
Via:  bob-nelson  •  3 months ago  •  37 comments

Armpits, White Ghettos and Contempt
Who really despises the American heartland?

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


original“If you live in the Midwest, where else do you want to live besides Chicago? You don’t want to live in Cincinnati or Cleveland or, you know, these armpits of America.” So declared Stephen Moore, the man Donald Trump wants to install on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, during a 2014 event held at a think tank called, yes, the Heartland Institute.

The crowd laughed.

Moore is an indefensible choice on many grounds. Even if he hadn’t shown himself to be extraordinarily misogynistic and have an ugly personal history, his track record on economics — always wrong, never admitting error or learning from it — is utterly disqualifying.

His remarks about the Midwest, however, highlight more than his unsuitability for the Fed. They also provide an illustration of something I’ve been noticing for a while: The thinly veiled contempt conservative elites feel for the middle-American voters they depend on.

This is not the story you usually hear. On the contrary, we’re inundated with claims that liberals feel disdain for the heartland. Even liberals themselves often buy into these claims, berate themselves for having been condescending and pledge to do better.

But what’s the source of that narrative? Look at where the belief that liberals don’t respect the heartland comes from, and it turns out that it has little to do with things Democrats actually say, let alone their policies. It is, instead, a story line pushed relentlessly by Fox News and other propaganda organizations, relying on out-of-context quotes and sheer fabrication.

Conservative contempt, by contrast, is real. Moore’s “armpit” line evidently didn’t shock his audience, probably because disparaging views about middle America are widespread among right-wing intellectuals and, more discreetly, right-wing politicians.

Let’s be clear: There is a real economic and social crisis in what one recent analysis calls the “Eastern Heartland.” This region suffers from persistently low employment among working-age men and has seen a surge in mortality from alcohol, suicide and opioids — “deaths of despair,” in the phrase of Anne Case and Angus Deaton.

What lies behind this crisis? The view of most liberals, as far as I can tell, is that it reflects declining economic opportunity, changes in the economy that have favored metropolitan areas over rural communities. On this view, declining opportunity has led to social disruption, in the same way that the disappearance of urban industry undermined inner-city communities a half century ago.

Many conservatives, however, blame the victims. They attribute the heartland’s woes to a mysterious collapse in morality and family values that somehow hasn’t affected coastal cities. Moral collapse is the theme of books like Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart: The State of White America,” and of innumerable articles. One widely read essay in National Review went so far as to label the troubled Eastern Heartland “the white ghetto,” whose people are too indolent to move to where the jobs are.

So who, exactly, doesn’t respect middle America?

When it comes to politicians, of course, what they say is much less important than what they do. So what do the policy choices of liberal and conservative pols say about how they value the heartland?

Some Democrats, notably Elizabeth Warren, have been offering real proposals to help rural areas. They’re probably not enough to reverse rural and small-town economic decline, which would be hard to do even with plenty of money and the best will in the world. But they would help.

Meanwhile, all that Republicans have to offer are fantasies about bringing back lost jobs in things like coal mining and manufacturing. In reality, coal mine closures have continued and the manufacturing trade deficit has widened since Trump took office.

More important, think about what will happen to troubled parts of America if Republicans manage to do what they tried to do in 2017, and impose savage cuts on Medicaid and other safety net programs.

I always think about West Virginia, where Medicaid covers almost a third of the nonelderly population. And it’s not just about receiving care, it’s also about jobs. More than 16 percent of West Virginians are employed in health care and social assistance, compared with less than 3 percent in mining. Hospitals are the biggest employers in many parts of rural America. What do you think will happen to those jobs if Medicaid is hollowed out?

The point is that if you look at what conservatives say to each other, as opposed to what they pretend to believe, it becomes clear that contempt for middle America is much more prevalent on the right than on the left. And this contempt is reflected in the right’s policy agenda, which would badly hurt the people it claims to consider the only real Americans.

I know that this will be a hard point to get across. Indeed, I’m sure that some people in the heartland will take any effort to convince them that they’re being misled as just another example of liberal disrespect. But all Americans, wherever they live, deserve to be told the truth.

Initial image: An abandoned gas station in East Lynn, W.Va., a coal mining town. Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

Paul Krugman has been an Opinion columnist since 2000 and is also a Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He won the 2008 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on international trade and economic geography.

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Bob Nelson
1  seeder  Bob Nelson    3 months ago
Look at where the belief that liberals don’t respect the heartland comes from, and it turns out that it has little to do with things Democrats actually say, let alone their policies. It is, instead, a story line pushed relentlessly by Fox News and other propaganda organizations, relying on out-of-context quotes and sheer fabrication.

We see this here on NT.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
1.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  Bob Nelson @1    3 months ago

We see this here on NT.

Sure Bob.  If there's one thing that characterizes the liberals on this site its their respect for middle and lower class whites..

Bitter clingers, indeed. 

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
1.1.1  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Sean Treacy @1.1    3 months ago

Hello, Sean.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
1.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  Bob Nelson @1    3 months ago

I would rather live in a smaller city in the Mid-West than in Chicago. I've never cared for big cities.

 
 
 
SteevieGee
1.2.1  SteevieGee  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.2    3 months ago

I think I'll stay in my smaller city in California.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
1.2.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  SteevieGee @1.2.1    3 months ago

I actually prefer really rural living like on a farm, but that's not practical for me. So I found a quiet peace of semi-rural property that makes me happy

 
 
 
Split Personality
1.2.3  Split Personality  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.2.2    3 months ago

except when it floods, lol

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
1.2.4  Trout Giggles  replied to  Split Personality @1.2.3    3 months ago

LOL!

Good point!

 
 
 
Split Personality
1.2.5  Split Personality  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.2.4    3 months ago

Who cuts all that grass?

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
1.2.6  Trout Giggles  replied to  Split Personality @1.2.5    3 months ago

He has a cushy riding lawn mower with a beer holder.

He's fine

 
 
 
Ender
1.2.7  Ender  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.2.2    3 months ago

I am more the opposite. I can't stand being out in the middle of nowhere.

I don't live in a big city but I have everything I need all within a five minute drive.

I guess what would describe me is the name of that country band.

Little Big Town.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
1.2.8  Trout Giggles  replied to  Ender @1.2.7    3 months ago

I live within 5 minutes of Kroger and Walmart so I'm good, too.

When I was a kid we lived 10 miles from Ebensburg and 20 miles from Indiana (PA). When we "went to town" we made a lot of stops. It was fortunate that Dad worked in Ebensburg so he could always stop for milk on his way home

 
 
 
Ender
1.2.9  Ender  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.2.8    3 months ago

When I was a kid, lived in Maryland. It was very rural even though we were close to Baltimore and DC.

 
 
 
Veronica
1.2.10  Veronica  replied to  Ender @1.2.7    3 months ago

That is how I like it.  I grew up in the rural Southern Tier of NY.  Moved to a Rochester suburb 15 years ago and am extremely happy.  Everything I need is 5 minutes away & does not close at dusk.

 
 
 
r.t..b...
1.2.11  r.t..b...  replied to  Veronica @1.2.10    3 months ago
That is how I like it.

Give me the vibrancy of a big city. The best of everything at your fingertips. Even though currently growing into enjoying the sprawling suburb of PHX (due to family commitments) it is much better than just a few years ago. That is until retirement calls, with the promise of a sea-side bungalow with a view from the hammock, a small patch of fertile soil for the garden and a reading room with fireplace, stacks of books to read and revisit, and mrs. r.t..b...

That is how I like it.

 
 
 
Veronica
1.2.12  Veronica  replied to  r.t..b... @1.2.11    3 months ago

Can't fight you there.

 
 
 
r.t..b...
1.2.13  r.t..b...  replied to  Veronica @1.2.12    3 months ago

I guess it all comes down to wherever you feel most at peace; with family, friends and the extraneous things that bring you joy all within reach (or at least a comfortable distance). A lot of personal paradises to be found on this glorious globe. Good health and peace to you, V.

 
 
 
luther28
2  luther28    3 months ago

Hypocrisy and Politicians seem to go hand in hand of late, ignorance seems to be making an attempt to horn in which would make quite the threesome indeed.

Funny that the right always seems to identify the left as elitists, may want to look in a mirror from time to time.

 
 
 
r.t..b...
3  r.t..b...    3 months ago

...armpits, sh!tholes, bleeding from the eyes, tiny hands, etc.... This administration has a difficult time formulating a single thought without stooping to utter the requisite pejorative. 

 
 
 
evilgenius
4  evilgenius    3 months ago
...disparaging views about middle America are widespread among right-wing intellectuals and, ....

In my own limited experience disparaging views about middle America are widespread among intellectuals right AND left. This doesn't excuse Moore at all and isn't about "they do it too" so much as it's about an honest reflection of attitudes of Americans about Americans. We shouldn't have fly-over states.

I know it won't happen, but when the next politicians in the election talks about "armpits" or "deplorables" there should be as much crap news about it as if they were too handsy at a photo opp - FROM the party of the person who made the comment. This isn't the same discussion as shitty comments like Omar and King said, but it still isn't right. I want us to work as a country to make these "armpits" places to be productive, worthy of living in AND I want the "deplorables" to understand they are valued the same as everyone else.

 
 
 
luther28
4.1  luther28  replied to  evilgenius @4    3 months ago

Nice comment, although I would be puzzled why one would think any section or peoples of the Country is any better or worse than another. Every region that comes to my beady little brain has its plus and minuses as does everything. The people, again good and bad everywhere but it is one Country and 375 million (give or take) of us had better find a way to hash it out soon before we become one collective armpit.

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
4.1.1  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  luther28 @4.1    3 months ago
find a way to hash it out soon before we become one collective armpit.

That does seem to be a major part of the problem. We have one side that thinks armpits stink and should be shaved and deodorized. But telling the armpit that it's stinky is embarrassing for the armpit. But is it really better to tell them they smell like roses just to get their vote? Do we really not tell our best friend to take a shower or use deodorant if they reek? Or do you just let them go to the job interview or date smelling like a gym hamper? I guess it comes down to whether you consider each other friends or not to be allowed constructive criticism. If the armpit gets bitter and angry over being told they smell apparently the natural response is to claim they love the smell, they think its the best smell, they love the deplorable stench permeating from them. They use it as another weapon like an older brother shoving their dirty socks in a younger siblings face.

So do we lie and tell the armpit that a high school diploma or GED is good enough, that higher education is all relatively worthless so they should figure out a way to do what their parents did like dig coal or work in manufacturing? Do we coddle them and whisper in their ears about how they're "very fine people" even when they're marching in the streets waving confederate flags and wearing swastika armbands just to get their votes?

Now, I don't think you have to go after any specific individuals or say all Southerners or all Trump supporters are deplorable. That would be a horrible lie. But I don't see any reason why we can't vociferously condemn specific cancerous attitudes such as xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, racism and Islamophobia. By saying these things stink, we aren't calling the armpit stinky unless it is saying "Hey, we know our xenophobic, homophobic, sexist, Islamophobic stench bothers you, but we don't care, we're going to shove it in your face till that stench is all over America and you can't smell anything else!". Sadly, that seems to be the message from some, so do we sit back and say "Well, it wouldn't be nice to point out what total dicks they're being... so I guess we'll just shut up and take it. We'll just let our older brother who dropped out of high school rub his stinky socks in our face because if we say anything it might start a fight...".

 
 
 
evilgenius
4.1.2  evilgenius  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @4.1.1    3 months ago
Now, I don't think you have to go after any specific individuals or say all Southerners or all Trump supporters are deplorable. That would be a horrible lie. But I don't see any reason why we can't vociferously condemn specific cancerous attitudes such as xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, racism and Islamophobia. By saying these things stink, we aren't calling the armpit stinky unless it is saying "Hey, we know our xenophobic, homophobic, sexist, Islamophobic stench bothers you, but we don't care, we're going to shove it in your face till that stench is all over America and you can't smell anything else!". Sadly, that seems to be the message from some, so do we sit back and say "Well, it wouldn't be nice to point out what total dicks they're being... so I guess we'll just shut up and take it. We'll just let our older brother who dropped out of high school rub his stinky socks in our face because if we say anything it might start a fight...".

You said it better than I and go on to make a salient point. To be better doesn't mean tolerating the normalization of hate. 

 
 
 
r.t..b...
4.1.3  r.t..b...  replied to  evilgenius @4.1.2    3 months ago
To be better doesn't mean tolerating the normalization of hate. 

The final word. 

 
 
 
luther28
4.1.4  luther28  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @4.1.1    3 months ago

Nice analogy, I am going out to buy deodorant:)

Yes I agree one should not stand silently in the face of hate of any type. My point is that you cannot take a group of folks from a particular region and lump them in one group or another.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
5  Nerm_L    3 months ago

Yeah, right.  Democrats want to get rid of the Electoral College because they are deeply concerned about rural America.

Does Dr. Krugman understand why West Virginia has become dependent upon medicaid?  The need for all those government programs means that pro-globalist capitalism has utterly failed.  Paul Krugman's economic theories have been extraordinarily destructive.  The academic intelligentsia are too stupid to understand the economics of rural America; economies of scale can not work in rural America.  Yet that does not impair the stupidly intelligent promoting free-money subsidies for parts of the economy they have intentionally destroyed for their own profit.  

Stephen Moore is an extremely far-left liberal that does not believe in capitalism.  Moore is a proponent of open border, free trade, global integration.  Just like Paul Krugman.  They are two heads on opposite sides of the same coin; heads I win, tails you lose.

The decline of rural America is direct, incontrovertible evidence that the United States has replaced capitalism with some sort of centrally planned urbanized collectivism. 

 
 
 
evilgenius
5.1  evilgenius  replied to  Nerm_L @5    3 months ago
The decline of rural America is direct, incontrovertible evidence that the United States has replaced capitalism with some sort of centrally planned urbanized collectivism.

Sped up by Reaganomics and the inception of the Chamber of Commerce as a government lobby for business. The money small towns had received by companies in their own communities was then sent to lobby the government for favorable legislation. As a result small towns died, rural areas got poorer and suburbia blossomed. Today small family owned farms are failing at an ever increasing rate even as corporate farming increases creating geographic monopolies. 

 
 
 
r.t..b...
5.2  r.t..b...  replied to  Nerm_L @5    3 months ago
The decline of rural America is direct, incontrovertible evidence that the United States has replaced capitalism with some sort of centrally planned urbanized collectivism. 

Sell that to all the mom-and-pop shops on Main St. that have shuttered their windows due to the appearance of Wal-Mart on the outskirts of town. 

 
 
 
Nerm_L
5.2.1  Nerm_L  replied to  r.t..b... @5.2    3 months ago
Sell that to all the mom-and-pop shops on Main St. that have shuttered their windows due to the appearance of Wal-Mart on the outskirts of town. 

Mom & pop couldn't compete with the urban collective's economics of scale.  The far left liberals in the Republican Party have traded long term resilience for short term profits.

 
 
 
r.t..b...
5.2.2  r.t..b...  replied to  Nerm_L @5.2.1    3 months ago
The far left liberals in the Republican Party

...your avatar matches your commentary, not exactly sure where you are pointed. Interesting, nonetheless.

 
 
 
Split Personality
5.3  Split Personality  replied to  Nerm_L @5    3 months ago
Stephen Moore is an extremely far-left liberal that does not believe in capitalism. 

the subject is a conservative Republican who writes books about supply side economics

He may be nutz, but far left liberal, That would even make Stephen laugh his ass off...

 
 
 
Nerm_L
5.3.1  Nerm_L  replied to  Split Personality @5.3    3 months ago
the subject is a conservative Republican who writes books about supply side economics He may be nutz, but far left liberal, That would even make Stephen laugh his ass off...

Liberalism political doctrine that takes protecting and enhancing the freedom of the individual to be the central problem of politics.

Those so called conservatives promote liberalized markets, liberalized trade, and protecting economic freedom.  Reagan promote far left, extremely liberal economic ideas. 

There haven't been any conservatives in government since Reagan was elected.  The political imperative for governing advocated by Ronald Reagan was not to govern.  That's an extremely liberal viewpoint.  Republicans aren't any more conservative than Democrats.  When the two parties pursue extreme far left ideology concerning government intervention in economic and social issues what we get is 'today'.

 
 
 
Ender
5.3.2  Ender  replied to  Nerm_L @5.3.1    3 months ago

Free, unfettered capitalism is nothing but greed where we end up with monopolies controlling everything.

IMO where we are now is basically the robber barons at the top, continually growing their wealth at the expense of everyone else.

 
 
 
luther28
5.4  luther28  replied to  Nerm_L @5    3 months ago
The decline of rural America is direct, incontrovertible evidence that the United States has replaced capitalism with some sort of centrally planned urbanized collectivism.

Ours is more along the lines of crony capitalism, the urban collective I suppose would be the big box stores, soon to be shuttered by the internet home shopping.

 
 
 
The Magic Eight Ball
6  The Magic Eight Ball    3 months ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
It Is ME
7  It Is ME    3 months ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
It Is ME
7.1  It Is ME  replied to  It Is ME @7    3 months ago

ON TOPIC !

Read the article !

Hillary "Tripped, Skipped, and IGNORED" !
Trump strolled right through the MIDDLE !
The "Heartland" ……. NOTICED ! jrSmiley_13_smiley_image.gif

 
 
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