This is an interesting bit on the ongoing culture war, and echoes some thoughts I’ve been having of late. Excerpt:
Extremes aside, the one culture war that truly matters is the battle between “equality of opportunity” versus “equality of outcome.” The former is a narrative that aims for success and values meritocracy, while the latter frowns upon success and dismisses meritocracy. One side focuses on achievement and aspiration, rather than nihilism and zero-sum thinking.
It’s impossible to not see this trend in both politics and economics. The politicization of income inequality is perhaps the clearest example, in which a static picture of inequality vies with a more dynamic picture of social mobility. Causally (and incorrectly) linking income inequality to social mobility is an idea already very entrenched in our public discourse. In truth, the latter is basically a luxury belief.
When Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders picked a fight with Time magazine’s “person of the year” Elon Musk, the culture war flared up again. Although Musk has shown leadership on so many issues that liberals support, such as climate action, the zero-sum narrative refuses to go away. The rich prosper, you see, at the expense of the poor.
It’s vitally important to note here that Fauxcohantas Warren and the daffy old Bolshevik from Vermont are both economic imbeciles. In fact, I can probably leave out the qualifier; they are both imbeciles, period. The article continues:
The war on excellence can also be seen in states and cities that are discontinuing gifted & talented education programs. Ditto for the decision by Harvard University (among other schools) to discontinue SAT scores as a requirement for entry, regardless of the fact that doing so hurts minorities the most. Other examples include the guillotine placed outside of Jeff Bezos’ apartment last year, or the egregious case of the “Whiteness” chart displayed at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which framed achievement, hard work, and planning as exclusively “white” characteristics.
This narrative may be partly responsible for Hispanics and other immigrants moving across the aisle. According to Equis research, after the 2020 election Latino voters are now more likely to be “American dream voters” who believe that hard work pays off. The same can be said of another important immigrant group, Indian Americans, who place values like achievement above much else and for whom the American dream of earned success is alive and well.
Hispanic voters may well be a major deciding factors in the next few election cycles, and they are increasingly leaning towards the GOP. Plenty of them are from families that have been in the U.S. or in territory that is now the U.S. for a long time – sometimes hundreds of years – while others are recent, legal immigrants. The de facto open borders crowd on Team Blue isn’t appealing to those folks.
But here’s the onion:
People — Democrats and Republicans — primarily care about living better, richer, and fuller lives. That is the essence of the American dream — a dream of higher social mobility and people improving their lives, despite obstacles and regardless of where they started. But that dream is based on a positive-sum narrative of equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome.
Let’s promote a culture based on a belief that we are agents in our own destiny — to paraphrase William Henley, masters of our fates and captains of our souls. For that, we need to continue fighting for the values of freedom, responsibility, and hope. What better goal for 2022 than that?
Look, though, at that first sentence: People — Democrats and Republicans — primarily care about living better, richer, and fuller lives. Aye, and that’s the rub – a majority (or at least a strong plurality) of Republicans want to be left alone to achieve those better, fuller, richer lives on their own, while a majority (or at least a strong plurality) of Democrats want someone else to provide them with those better, richer, fuller lives with no effort on their part.
That, True Believers, is the root of the whole thing.