Strangers in Their Own Land (Anger and Mourning on the American Right)

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Shorty
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Strangers in Their Own Land (Anger and Mourning on the American Right)

Postby Shorty » Fri Dec 23, 2016 8:19 pm

Interesting book trying to understand the South and red states.

A Rick Steves Book Report: Strangers in Their Own Land (Anger and Mourning on the American Right)
http://blog.ricksteves.com/blog/how-to- ... europeans/

"This year, along with the standard “Merry Christmas” greetings I’m receiving from my European friends, I’m getting a lot of nervous questions about our next president. Europeans are struggling to understand the anger and energy coming from the slice of America that voted for Trump. And I am, too. From my point of view, working class Americans voted against a candidate who supported things that would seem to benefit them — like higher minimum wages, affordable health care, and free community college. But clearly, those voters see things differently.

Strangers in Their Own Land is an attempt to better understand the frustrations and perspectives of people in deep-red America who just made Donald Trump our president, I read Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild. She’s a sociologist from California who spent five years researching communities in America’s deep South and trying to better understand their context and why they think the way they do politically. Here’s my rough, unapologetically stream-of-consciousness “book report” on what I took away from the book — a loose collection of ideas, summaries, and quotes that I found enlightening:
The mighty Mississippi River sends the spoils and waste of America’s industrial heartland south into the delta lands of Louisiana. While a visitor may see fields of green, locals see a bygone world. They remember a time when you stuck out your thumb and you got a ride, and when someone was hungry, a neighbor fed them. Now that is gone and “big government” is butting in. People tend to shoehorn new information into ways we already think. “I’m not anti-government. I’m pro-gun, pro-life, pro-freedom. Pro-the freedom to live your life the way you like. Our government is too big, too greedy, too bought, too incompetent, and not ours anymore.” The “Big Sort” is the nickname for a demographic shift in our country that is the clustering of like-minded Americans…and it’s tearing us apart. The more we cluster together, the more extreme we become.

In 1970, not a single American senator opposed the Clean Air Act. Today, 95 Republican congressmen have joined Congressman David Vitter of Louisiana (representing one of the most polluted states in the USA) to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) entirely.
Across the USA, red states are poorer, have more teen mothers, are more obese, worse health, trauma-related deaths, and lower school enrollment than blue states. They die five years younger than people in blue state America (that’s the same longevity gap as between Connecticut and Nicaragua). They have the worst industrial pollution. And these states get more federal help than blue states (44% of the state budget in Louisiana comes from the federal government). People who need Medicare and food stamps in these states don’t vote. And lower-middle-class whites, who don’t need this help, do vote…against public dollars for the poor.

A third of the population of the USA lives below the Mason-Dixon line (the former Confederacy), and nearly all the growth in red/conservative power recently has occurred there. In his book What’s the Matter with Kansas?, Thomas Frank argues that a rich man’s economic agenda is paired with the bait of social issues. Through appealing to abortion bans, gun rights, and school prayer, the working class is persuaded to embrace economic policies that hurt them. “Vote to get government off our backs, accept the greater power of corporations and monopolies. Vote to strike a blow against elitism, accept a social order in which wealth is more concentrated than ever before in our lifetimes.” The poor are being misled."

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Re: Strangers in Their Own Land (Anger and Mourning on the American Right)

Postby Cadfael » Fri Dec 23, 2016 8:37 pm

Image

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Re: Strangers in Their Own Land (Anger and Mourning on the American Right)

Postby Bwis53 » Fri Dec 23, 2016 9:12 pm

I did apologize to my German cousins and they sent their sympathies.

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Re: Strangers in Their Own Land (Anger and Mourning on the American Right)

Postby gargantua » Sat Dec 24, 2016 7:28 pm

I often wonder what life would be like if we'd just let the South secede. Not good for the slaves obviously. I wonder if the Confederacy would have ended slavery on their own by now. I doubt it.

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Re: Strangers in Their Own Land (Anger and Mourning on the American Right)

Postby PaleoLiberal » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:52 am

gargantua wrote:I often wonder what life would be like if we'd just let the South secede. Not good for the slaves obviously. I wonder if the Confederacy would have ended slavery on their own by now. I doubt it.


The odds of slavery having ended on its own by now are about 100%.

There have always been bubble economies, from Dutch tulip bulbs to the current Chinese real estate bubble (which threatens to take down Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Vancouver, New York, San Francisco, etc. when it crashes).

In the 1850s and early 1860s, slavery was a bubble economy. The wealthiest people in the US were plantation owners, and almost all of their "wealth" was the hyper inflated value of their human "property". At some point the slave prices would plummet. Part of the reason slave prices were so high was the expansion of slavery into new US territories. Remember, after 1808, importation of slaves into the US was forbidden by law. That means, had the CSA been permitted to secede, the markets in the USA would dry up. No more slaves sold to Missouri, Maryland, Kentucky or western territories. It is possible the slave price bubble in the remaining slave states in the USA would continue, but would drop in the CSA.

The bubble would crash much faster, because now CSA cotton would be subject to import duties. There would still be a market for CSA cotton in both the remaining USA states and the UK, but the remaining slave states in the US would probably step up cotton production, even if they didn't have the best conditions.

The next step would be the eventual banning of slavery in the remaining USA. With slave states a distinct minority, the free states could easily pass the 13th Amendment. The slave states could threaten to leave for the CSA, but they wouldn't want to face the import duties. More likely the US government would've bought the slaves from their owners as part of a compromise to end slavery in the US,

Finally, at some point there would be a boycott of CSA cotton by the USA and the UK. Just as sanctions against South Africa helped to end Apartheid, sanctions against the CSA would probably eventually end slavery.

After slavery ended, the question would be: would the old CSA states ever rejoin the Union, or would they continue on as a separate nation? I honestly have no idea. The ties between the USA and the CSA would be closer than the US-Canadian ties, so at least there would be some sort of NAFTA involving USA, CSA, Canada and possibly Mexico. Or the CSA and the USA might rejoin at some point.

I can't say if this scenario would be better or worse than what has happened. Remember, it was the massive reduction in immigration in the 1920s that spurred the Great Migration. The immigration restrictions did not exclude Mexico, which was sparsely populated in those days. It is possible that the immigration restrictions would not have excluded the CSA. As it was, lots of southerners either headed north or to California. Not just the southern blacks in the Great Migration. There were massive movements of white southerners as well, including to California.

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Re: Strangers in Their Own Land (Anger and Mourning on the American Right)

Postby gargantua » Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:58 am

Interesting. Another thing that may have ended slavery is automation, if the issues you cited hadn't taken care of it already.

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Re: Strangers in Their Own Land (Anger and Mourning on the American Right)

Postby PaleoLiberal » Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:16 pm

gargantua wrote:Interesting. Another thing that may have ended slavery is automation, if the issues you cited hadn't taken care of it already.


At some point, yes. Slavery had gotten so expensive that machines would be cheaper.

The very strange thing is, automation actually extended slavery. The amount of work needed to separate cotton form the seeds was so enormous that slavery was seen as dying. It was the Cotton GIn, invented by somebody and attributed to Eli Whitney, that made cotton more profitable. King Cotton extended slavery.

What is really sad is that there is still slavery in the US. In some cases, illegal aliens are held as de facto slaves in order to work on farms, especially tomato farms. The pesticides used on the tomatoes are killing the workers (slaves or otherwise), which means they are probably not safe to eat.

Also slave workers are used in factories world wide, even if it is illegal.

The good and bad news: there is a smaller of percentage of people in slavery than in the past, but more slaves than at any other time in the history of the planet.


Just as a note -- part of my objection to the system of winking at illegal immigration in this country is that illegal aliens are often used as slaves, either temporarily to pay off their debts to the smugglers, or in some cases permanently. Much of the indentured servitude is in horrible conditions, such as in the toxic tomato farms or else in "oriental massage parlors".

Some of the way we can fight modern slavery is to eat only organic and/or local tomatoes (such as wonderful heirloom tomatoes from the Farmers' Market), abstain from visiting "oriental massage parlors", and generally avoiding any product or service that is likely obtained by slave labor.

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Re: Strangers in Their Own Land (Anger and Mourning on the American Right)

Postby Cadfael » Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:35 pm

PaleoLiberal wrote:What is really sad is that there is still slavery in the US. In some cases, illegal aliens are held as de facto slaves in order to work on farms, especially tomato farms. The pesticides used on the tomatoes are killing the workers (slaves or otherwise), which means they are probably not safe to eat.

Also slave workers are used in factories world wide, even if it is illegal.

That is my thinking too. I believe if the south had been allowed to secede they'd still have slaves; whether it was right or wrong to them as individuals, almost all of them saw it as part of their identity.

They would still have slaves today but would have modified the trade to fit in with the rest of the world; color wouldn't be as important; they'd be trading in almost every other color as well, and they'd be part of the sex trade too.

Rich white men can justify anything that turns a profit.

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Re: Strangers in Their Own Land (Anger and Mourning on the American Right)

Postby PaleoLiberal » Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:58 pm

Many, probably most, of the people involved in the slave trade are not white, and some are not male.

The actions of Chinese and Korean and Mexican gangs are not always due to white men. Nor the factory owners in Asia.

Whether the Arab men who exploit Asian laborers are white is a matter of definition.

Evil and greed know no race.

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Re: Strangers in Their Own Land (Anger and Mourning on the American Right)

Postby Cadfael » Tue Jan 03, 2017 1:00 pm

True, but white guys are much better at rationalization.

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Re: Strangers in Their Own Land (Anger and Mourning on the American Right)

Postby Roy » Tue Jan 03, 2017 3:22 pm

PaleoLiberal wrote: It was the Cotton GIn, invented by somebody and attributed to Eli Whitney, that made cotton more profitable.

Eli is a great, great, great (perhaps another great or two) uncle on my mothers side.

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Re: Strangers in Their Own Land (Anger and Mourning on the American Right)

Postby PaleoLiberal » Tue Jan 03, 2017 4:01 pm

Roy wrote:
PaleoLiberal wrote: It was the Cotton GIn, invented by somebody and attributed to Eli Whitney, that made cotton more profitable.

Eli is a great, great, great (perhaps another great or two) uncle on my mothers side.


Nobody's THAT great!


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