Peter Brimelow writes:
I know some
readers get annoyed,
but I was going to block off
home page again tonight with
a new fundraising appeal. After a few hopeful days, our
current campaign has once again stalled. And nothing
else seems to work.
But then I got this piece from Steve Sailer, which is a
case study in the influence of VDARE.COM writers. Steve,
in his serene way, doesn`t seem to mind that
the authors of the book he reviews
have ripped him off. He thinks it`s all for the
good of the cause, and he`s right. But to do the
pioneering work that causes the MSM to steal their
ideas, our writers need to be paid.
Please give generously.
Two young Atlantic
Magazine editors, both fairly conservative,
Ross Douthat (email
him), and Reihan Salam (email
him), have written a much-discussed book, Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream.
argue, sensibly, that the Republican Party should focus
on policies that
strengthen families, financially and morally.
"The American dream is ultimately a dream of home, of
a place to call your own, earned and not inherited,
and free from the petty tyranny of landlords,
bureaucrats, and bankers. It`s a dream of a country in
which ownership is available to everyone, provided that
they are willing to work for it, rather than being
handed out on the basis of
caste, brains or beauty."
Less poetically, they want the traditional high wage,
cheap land America that
Ben Franklin endorsed in his 1751 essay showing that
"When Families can be easily supported, more Persons
marry, and earlier in Life."
Of course, Republicans have been winning the family vote
recently. In 2004,
George W. Bush carried
25 of the top 26 states grouped in terms of white
“total fertility rate”
(number of babies per woman per
lifetime), while John Kerry was victorious in the bottom
But Republicans haven`t actually delivered much to
deserve the family vote, other than
some good judicial nominees. What has the Bush
Administration`s policy, now endorsed by John McCain, of
Invade the World/
Invite the World/
In Hock to the World done to build the human capital
of average American families?
Douthat and Salam argue that the GOP`s commitment to
tax-cutting has hit electoral diminishing returns. It`s
no longer 1980, when the
"animal spirits" of
businessmen desperately needed to be jumpstarted by
cuts in marginal tax rates.
Instead, they offer a long list of creative, if wonkish,
reforms that Republican politicians might consider.
"But making credentialing dependent on four years of
college sets the barriers to entry so high that it
limits competition and shuts out ambitious Americans who
lack the time and money to acquire a four-year degree."
And, let`s be frank, it`s not just time and money.
Plenty of Americans are smart enough to earn a decent
living at a job for which they`ve been well-trained who
aren`t ever going to be smart enough to fulfill,
Cardinal Newman`s vision of what a well-rounded
university-educated gentleman should know: hence today`s
enormous college dropout rate.
Ross and Reihan continue:
"A far fairer system would assign credentials on the
basis of examinations, either national or state-level,
that evaluate students on the basis of the actual skills
they`ll need to do their jobs well."
A benefit they don`t mention: this would reduce the
amount of time Americans at impressionable ages are
leftist indoctrination on college campuses.
In general, the youthful authors aren`t cynical enough
to note that policies don`t endure just on their
merits—they have to grow their own constituencies.
As a mirror image of Democratic immigration policy,
Republicans should focus on programs that raise the
marriage and birth rates among Republicans. As
Stanley Greenberg noted, in 2004 when all else was
held equal, being single made a voter 56 percent more
likely to vote Democratic.
Randall Parker has long emphasized the importance of
getting competent people through the education system
and into the workforce faster.
"Turn kids into taxpayers sooner",
Parker trenchantly suggests.
The partisan benefit to Republicans is that this gives
their kind of people more years to get married and have
Stop handing young people over to
educrats to be indoctrinated in the assumptions of
the Democratic Party for an ever-increasing numbers of
When Grand New Party arrived in the mail, I
opened it at random to page 160 and read:
"What`s happening isn`t that second-generation
immigrants are assimilating to American norms; rather, a
portion of the immigrant population, frustrated with
stagnating wages and an economy that`s less favorable to
high-school graduates than fifty years ago, ends up
dropping out of the system and
assimilating downward, toward the behaviors
associated with the poorest native-born whites and
I thought. "I couldn`t have put it better if I said
so myself. Come to think of it, I have been saying that
in VDARE.com since
On the next page, I
"But we might start to look more and
more like Great Britain, where the working class is
exposed to the same pressures as their cousins in the
United States, but with darker consequences. The process
of family breakdown, in particular, is far more advanced
in Great Britain than it is here: The illegitimacy rate
is 41 percent in England and Wales, and it`s 46 percent
among native-born women; England`s heavily Asian
foreign-born population actually brings the rate of
out-of-wedlock births down.
"Hey, wait a minute",
I exclaimed a moment later. "I did say so
myself! This is a summary of one of my VDARE.com
In my April 10, 2005
How Much Ruin in a Nation? UK vs. US White Working Class,
"Crime`s sister, illegitimacy, is also high in Britain.
In England and Wales 41 percent of new babies are born
to unmarried women. And it`s even worse —46 percent …
among women born in the U.K. (The high illegitimacy rate
Caribbean immigrant women is more than balanced by
the very low figures for South Asians.)"
Ross and Reihan go on:
"The epidemic of fatherlessness goes a long way toward
explaining why the crime rate in Britain resembles the
dark days of crack-epidemic America: There are more
murders in today`s United States, largely because we
more guns, but the crime rate as a whole is some 40
percent higher in the United Kingdom …
My 2005 article had
"Why have the morals of the white
working class in the U.S. proven more resilient than
those of their white counterparts in Great Britain? Last
week, I discussed the
high crime rate in the United Kingdom—by
one estimate about 40 percent worse than in the U.S.
… While the rate of assault has been higher in England
than America, angry Americans are more lethal because of
our hundreds of millions of guns.”
Similarly, in their
Introduction, Douthat and Salam offer this majestically
"If the Left sometimes seems to want
to turn the United States into Europe by swaddling
working-class voters in a cradle-to-the-grave welfare
Bush-era GOP`s mix of
neglect and crony capitalism too often appeared bent
on pushing the United States toward
Latin America—where the
rich are rich, and the poor are poor, and there`s no
independent, self-sufficient working class in between."
And there are many other
such examples of the VDARE.com Touch throughout the
For instance, Douthat
and Salam are relatively sound on immigration. In their
subchapter "The Trouble with Immigration", they
"… mass immigration threatens to
pull the working class downward. … The
college educated have reaped the benefits of a steep
decrease in the price of labor-intensive services, while
low-skilled Americans, exposed to increasingly stiff
competition, have seen their earnings stagnate and even
dwindle. African Americans, in particular, have suffered
as immigration has risen: A recent study suggests that
immigration accounts for roughly a third of the overall
decline in the
black employment rate over the last forty years."
New Party has no footnotes or endnotes. That`s
reasonable these days, because notes belong online, with
live links to source materials.
Yet the book`s notes
don`t appear to be on the web either. No VDARE.com
writers are mentioned in the book`s index. But regular
readers of this website will have no trouble identifying
every few pages in Grand New Party ideas that
first surfaced on VDARE.com.
plagiarism, of course—it`s influence.
Grand New Party
is pervasively influenced by VDARE.com.
Indeed, the VDARE.com
effect is largely what makes Grand New Party much
more sophisticated than other recent political books.
That`s one of
VDARE.com`s roles—to serve as the Research & Development
lab where important ideas can be
frankly, and thus fully, discussed.
Other writers can then
try to make them more palatable for the world of
But there`s an
inevitable downside of adapting your writing to
accommodate the taboos of the age, though. It`s that
even when you start from a point of clarity, your
thinking gets murkier the more you try to conform to
mainstream media norms.
Consider the book`s
emphasis on class and voting.
When thinking about who
votes for whom, allegedly the subject of Grand New
single most important factor is one that gets little
mention in the book: race.
By the final 2008
Democratic primaries, for instance, Barack Obama was
defeating Hillary Clinton 90 percent to 10 percent among
blacks, purely due to race. On class issues, Hillary`s
campaign was aimed slightly more toward the median black
voter`s class than was
Obama`s. Yet blacks didn`t care.
Racial solidarity ruled.
Race is fundamental in
elections—because people tend to vote like their
Fortunately, Ross and
Reihan do a good job of avoiding writing about it
unintelligently, and even say some brave things. Still,
the book is vaguer than it had to be because of the
authors` perceived need to avoid talking too much about
ethnicity—the building block of American politics.
Class, on the other
Karl Marx`s imprimatur. So, by definition, it`s okay
to talk about it in polite society.
Yet, a century and a
half after Marx, class remains a hazy subject, lacking
in insightful definition. If race is who your ancestors
were, then perhaps
class could be usefully thought of as
who your descendents might be, whom your children
are likely to marry.
I`m amused by how people
will tell me with great confidence that
Race Does Not Exist because nobody can allocate
every individual into a precise category. "What race
is Barack Obama?" they`ll ask with a presumption of
intellectual triumph in their voices.
What class did
Obama grow up in?
I know his life story
well, but I couldn`t give you a definitive answer. I
doubt if Obama could, either. And, yet, nobody claims
that Class Does Not Exist.
Similarly, although the
subtitle of Grand New Party indicates the book is
"the working class", I remain unsure whom
exactly the authors consider "working class". At
one point, they refer to "America`s working class,
our democracy`s natural political majority" which
seems awfully expansive. America has usually proudly
claimed for itself the title of
"a middle class country."
More Americans describe
themselves as "middle class" than "working
class," but many Americans would use both terms to
describe themselves. In a recent
Pew poll that didn`t even bother to offer the
response "working class", a full 91 percent of
the public self-identified as some form of middle class
(19 percent upper middle class, 53 percent middle class,
and 19 percent lower middle class).
Douthat and Salam
explicitly state that their definition of working class
blue-collar workers to many office employees. That`s
reasonable, but makes drawing the occupational line
At other times they
define working class as "not a college graduate".
Does that make the famous dropouts Bill Gates
(Microsoft), Steve Jobs (Apple), Michael Dell (Dell),
and Larry Ellison (Oracle) working class?
Finally, where does race
fit in to their definition of "working class" for
the purpose of targeting by the GOP?
My impression is that
Douthat and Salam are writing primarily about
whites, with some nods toward Hispanics, but, being
electorally numerate, are largely ignoring blacks,
for racialist reasons, aren`t going to vote
Republican no matter how perfectly the GOP crafts policy
proposals to meet their class`s needs.
None of this is to say
that class isn`t a reality. But the book`s discussion is
more ambiguous than it would be if they`d laid all their
cards on the table.
But, hey, that`s what
VDARE.com is for.
Let me propose a way to
segment the electorate that can provide a more useful
conceptual basis for Ross and Reihan`s thinking than the
increasingly outmoded term "working class".
The Democrats are the
natural party for two kinds of people—those with more
money than children (e.g.
childless urban professionals); and those with more
children than money (e.g.,
welfare mothers). The former can afford to insulate
their limited number of loved ones from cultural decay,
while the latter need the handouts.
The Republicans, in
contrast, ought to be the natural party for those in the
middle, with about enough money for the number of
children they have. As Ross and Reihan aptly point out,
drawing upon my
Affordable Family Formation:
"Given the impact of familial
dissolution on the working class`s prospects, the
talking point that social conservatism represents an
attempt to distract working-class voters from their
dramatically misses the point. Indeed, social
conservatism, with its emphasis on stable, traditional
families, is a perfectly rational response to the
economic consequences of atomization."
People with roughly
enough money to raise their families don`t need or want
Swedish welfare state.
Yet, because they have
kids, they don`t like excessive risk, either. In
particular, the American health care finance system, in
health insurance is tied to jobs, strikes many
parents as a needlessly worrisome double-or-nothing bet.
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