Conservative organ The National Review published a scathing attack on poor white communities [paywall], part of its general disgust at Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump's support base. If you ever wanted to understand the enraged contempt in which conservatives hold the poor — especially now many of them are voting for Trump instead of them — here's a fabulous primer!
It is immoral because it perpetuates a lie: that the white working class that finds itself attracted to Trump has been victimized by outside forces. It hasn’t… If you spend time in hardscrabble, white upstate New York, or eastern Kentucky, or my own native West Texas, and you take an honest look at the welfare dependency, the drug and alcohol addiction, the family anarchy — which is to say, the whelping of human children with all the respect and wisdom of a stray dog — you will come to an awful realization. It wasn’t Beijing. It wasn’t even Washington, as bad as Washington can be. It wasn’t immigrants from Mexico, excessive and problematic as our current immigration levels are. It wasn’t any of that.
Nothing happened to them. There wasn’t some awful disaster. There wasn’t a war or a famine or a plague or a foreign occupation. Even the economic changes of the past few decades do very little to explain the dysfunction and negligence — and the incomprehensible malice — of poor white America. So the gypsum business in Garbutt ain’t what it used to be. There is more to life in the 21st century than wallboard and cheap sentimentality about how the Man closed the factories down.
The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap. Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs. Forget your goddamned gypsum, and, if he has a problem with that, forget Ed Burke, too. The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isn’t analgesics, literal or political. They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.
Beyond the shopworn arguments about welfare culture or whatnot, it's important to note that the poor are not to blame for Trump's success.
Saladin Ahmed puts it sharply…
media elite's been giving trump a free platform for months and months and now you fuckers want to blame him on poor people? fuck you.
— Saladin Ahmed (@saladinahmed) March 15, 2016
And besides, poor whites were always smart enough to understand the contempt they received from political elites and the media, which is part of why they skip election day.
That "get in the u-haul" rant about poors is from a writer who suggested that women who have abortions should be executed. The National Review got nasty about the time Obama was elected president. As I wrote a few years ago:
"As political failure sank in, sententious contempt oozed out… This is American conservatism's immune system going into anaphylactic shock. Fun to watch, while it lasts!"
It's not fun to watch anymore.