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[This piece has been adapted from Thomas Frank’s new book, Listen, Liberal, or What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? (Metropolitan Books).]

When you press Democrats on their uninspiring deeds — their lousy free trade deals, for example, or their flaccid response to Wall Street misbehavior — when you press them on any of these things, they automatically reply that this is the best anyone could have done. After all, they had to deal with those awful Republicans, and those awful Republicans wouldn’t let the really good stuff get through. They filibustered in the Senate. They gerrymandered the congressional districts. And besides, change takes a long time. Surely you don’t think the tepid-to-lukewarm things Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have done in Washington really represent the fiery Democratic soul.

So let’s go to a place that does. Let’s choose a locale where Democratic rule is virtually unopposed, a place where Republican obstruction and sabotage can’t taint the experiment.

Let’s go to Boston, Massachusetts, the spiritual homeland of the professional class and a place where the ideology of modern liberalism has been permitted to grow and flourish without challenge or restraint. As the seat of American higher learning, it seems unsurprising that Boston should anchor one of the most Democratic of states, a place where elected Republicans (like the new governor) are highly unusual. This is the city that virtually invented the blue-state economic model, in which prosperity arises from higher education and the knowledge-based industries that surround it.

The coming of post-industrial society has treated this most ancient of American cities extremely well. Massachusetts routinely occupies the number one spot on the State New Economy Index, a measure of how “knowledge-based, globalized, entrepreneurial, IT-driven, and innovation-based” a place happens to be. Boston ranks high on many of Richard Florida’s statistical indices of approbation — in 2003, it was number one on the “creative class index,” number three in innovation and in high tech — and his many books marvel at the city’s concentration of venture capital, its allure to young people, or the time it enticed some firm away from some unenlightened locale in the hinterlands.

Boston’s knowledge economy is the best, and it is the oldest. Boston’s metro area encompasses some 85 private colleges and universities, the greatest concentration of higher-ed institutions in the country — probably in the world. The region has all the ancillary advantages to show for this: a highly educated population, an unusually large number of patents, and more Nobel laureates than any other city in the country.

The city’s Route 128 corridor was the original model for a suburban tech district, lined ever since it was built with defense contractors and computer manufacturers. The suburbs situated along this golden thoroughfare are among the wealthiest municipalities in the nation, populated by engineers, lawyers, and aerospace workers. Their public schools are excellent, their downtowns are cute, and back in the seventies their socially enlightened residents were the prototype for the figure of the “suburban liberal.”

Another prototype: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, situated in Cambridge, is where our modern conception of the university as an incubator for business enterprises began. According to a report on MIT’s achievements in this category, the school’s alumni have started nearly 26,000 companies over the years, including Intel, Hewlett Packard, and Qualcomm. If you were to take those 26,000 companies as a separate nation, the report tells us, its economy would be one of the most productive in the world.

Then there are Boston’s many biotech and pharmaceutical concerns, grouped together in what is known as the “life sciences super cluster,” which, properly understood, is part of an “ecosystem” in which PhDs can “partner” with venture capitalists and in which big pharmaceutical firms can acquire small ones. While other industries shrivel, the Boston super cluster grows, with the life-sciences professionals of the world lighting out for the Athens of America and the massive new “innovation centers” shoehorning themselves one after the other into the crowded academic suburb of Cambridge.

To think about it slightly more critically, Boston is the headquarters for two industries that are steadily bankrupting middle America: big learning and big medicine, both of them imposing costs that everyone else is basically required to pay and which increase at a far more rapid pace than wages or inflation. A thousand dollars a pill, 30 grand a semester: the debts that are gradually choking the life out of people where you live are what has made this city so very rich.

Perhaps it makes sense, then, that another category in which Massachusetts ranks highly is inequality. Once the visitor leaves the brainy bustle of Boston, he discovers that this state is filled with wreckage — with former manufacturing towns in which workers watch their way of life draining away, and with cities that are little more than warehouses for people on Medicare. According to one survey, Massachusetts has the eighth-worst rate of income inequality among the states; by another metric it ranks fourth. However you choose to measure the diverging fortunes of the country’s top 10% and the rest, Massachusetts always seems to finish among the nation’s most unequal places.

Seething City on a Cliff

You can see what I mean when you visit Fall River, an old mill town 50 miles south of Boston. Median household income in that city is $33,000, among the lowest in the state; unemployment is among the highest, 15% in March 2014, nearly five years after the recession ended. Twenty-three percent of Fall River’s inhabitants live in poverty. The city lost its many fabric-making concerns decades ago and with them it lost its reason for being. People have been deserting the place for decades.

Many of the empty factories in which their ancestors worked are still standing, however. Solid nineteenth-century structures of granite or brick, these huge boxes dominate the city visually — there always seems to be one or two of them in the vista, contrasting painfully with whatever colorful plastic fast-food joint has been slapped up next door.

Most of the old factories are boarded up, unmistakable emblems of hopelessness right up to the roof. But the ones that have been successfully repurposed are in some ways even worse, filled as they often are with enterprises offering cheap suits or help with drug addiction. A clinic in the hulk of one abandoned mill has a sign on the window reading simply “Cancer & Blood.”

The effect of all this is to remind you with every prospect that this is a place and a way of life from which the politicians have withdrawn their blessing. Like so many other American scenes, this one is the product of decades of deindustrialization, engineered by Republicans and rationalized by Democrats. This is a place where affluence never returns — not because affluence for Fall River is impossible or unimaginable, but because our country’s leaders have blandly accepted a social order that constantly bids down the wages of people like these while bidding up the rewards for innovators, creatives, and professionals.

Even the city’s one real hope for new employment opportunities — an Amazon warehouse that is now in the planning stages — will serve to lock in this relationship. If all goes according to plan, and if Amazon sticks to the practices it has pioneered elsewhere, people from Fall River will one day get to do exhausting work with few benefits while being electronically monitored for efficiency, in order to save the affluent customers of nearby Boston a few pennies when they buy books or electronics.

But that is all in the future. These days, the local newspaper publishes an endless stream of stories about drug arrests, shootings, drunk-driving crashes, the stupidity of local politicians, and the lamentable surplus of “affordable housing.” The town is up to its eyeballs in wrathful bitterness against public workers. As in: Why do they deserve a decent life when the rest of us have no chance at all? It’s every man for himself here in a “competition for crumbs,” as a Fall River friend puts it.

The Great Entrepreneurial Awakening

If Fall River is pocked with empty mills, the streets of Boston are dotted with facilities intended to make innovation and entrepreneurship easy and convenient. I was surprised to discover, during the time I spent exploring the city’s political landscape, that Boston boasts a full-blown Innovation District, a disused industrial neighborhood that has actually been zoned creative — a projection of the post-industrial blue-state ideal onto the urban grid itself. The heart of the neighborhood is a building called “District Hall” — “Boston’s New Home for Innovation” — which appeared to me to be a glorified multipurpose room, enclosed in a sharply angular façade, and sharing a roof with a restaurant that offers “inventive cuisine for innovative people.” The Wi-Fi was free, the screens on the walls displayed famous quotations about creativity, and the walls themselves were covered with a high-gloss finish meant to be written on with dry-erase markers; but otherwise it was not much different from an ordinary public library. Aside from not having anything to read, that is.

This was my introduction to the innovation infrastructure of the city, much of it built up by entrepreneurs shrewdly angling to grab a piece of the entrepreneur craze. There are “co-working” spaces, shared offices for startups that can’t afford the real thing. There are startup “incubators” and startup “accelerators,” which aim to ease the innovator’s eternal struggle with an uncaring public: the Startup Institute, for example, and the famous MassChallenge, the “World’s Largest Startup Accelerator,” which runs an annual competition for new companies and hands out prizes at the end.

And then there are the innovation Democrats, led by former Governor Deval Patrick, who presided over the Massachusetts government from 2007 to 2015. He is typical of liberal-class leaders; you might even say he is their most successful exemplar. Everyone seems to like him, even his opponents. He is a witty and affable public speaker as well as a man of competence, a highly educated technocrat who is comfortable in corporate surroundings. Thanks to his upbringing in a Chicago housing project, he also understands the plight of the poor, and (perhaps best of all) he is an honest politician in a state accustomed to wide-open corruption. Patrick was also the first black governor of Massachusetts and, in some ways, an ideal Democrat for the era of Barack Obama — who, as it happens, is one of his closest political allies.

As governor, Patrick became a kind of missionary for the innovation cult. “The Massachusetts economy is an innovation economy,” he liked to declare, and he made similar comments countless times, slightly varying the order of the optimistic keywords: “Innovation is a centerpiece of the Massachusetts economy,” et cetera. The governor opened “innovation schools,” a species of ramped-up charter school. He signed the “Social Innovation Compact,” which had something to do with meeting “the private sector’s need for skilled entry-level professional talent.” In a 2009 speech called “The Innovation Economy,” Patrick elaborated the political theory of innovation in greater detail, telling an audience of corporate types in Silicon Valley about Massachusetts’s “high concentration of brainpower” and “world-class” universities, and how “we in government are actively partnering with the private sector and the universities, to strengthen our innovation industries.”

What did all of this inno-talk mean? Much of the time, it was pure applesauce — standard-issue platitudes to be rolled out every time some pharmaceutical company opened an office building somewhere in the state.

On some occasions, Patrick’s favorite buzzword came with a gigantic price tag, like the billion dollars in subsidies and tax breaks that the governor authorized in 2008 to encourage pharmaceutical and biotech companies to do business in Massachusetts. On still other occasions, favoring inno has meant bulldozing the people in its path — for instance, the taxi drivers whose livelihoods are being usurped by ridesharing apps like Uber. When these workers staged a variety of protests in the Boston area, Patrick intervened decisively on the side of the distant software company. Apparently convenience for the people who ride in taxis was more important than good pay for people who drive those taxis. It probably didn’t hurt that Uber had hired a former Patrick aide as a lobbyist, but the real point was, of course, innovation: Uber was the future, the taxi drivers were the past, and the path for Massachusetts was obvious.

A short while later, Patrick became something of an innovator himself. After his time as governor came to an end last year, he won a job as a managing director of Bain Capital, the private equity firm that was founded by his predecessor Mitt Romney — and that had been so powerfully denounced by Democrats during the 2012 election. Patrick spoke about the job like it was just another startup: “It was a happy and timely coincidence I was interested in building a business that Bain was also interested in building,” he told the Wall Street Journal. Romney reportedly phoned him with congratulations.

Entrepreneurs First

At a 2014 celebration of Governor Patrick’s innovation leadership, Google’s Eric Schmidt announced that “if you want to solve the economic problems of the U.S., create more entrepreneurs.” That sort of sums up the ideology in this corporate commonwealth: Entrepreneurs first. But how has such a doctrine become holy writ in a party dedicated to the welfare of the common man? And how has all this come to pass in the liberal state of Massachusetts?

The answer is that I’ve got the wrong liberalism. The kind of liberalism that has dominated Massachusetts for the last few decades isn’t the stuff of Franklin Roosevelt or the United Auto Workers; it’s the Route 128/suburban-professionals variety. (Senator Elizabeth Warren is the great exception to this rule.) Professional-class liberals aren’t really alarmed by oversized rewards for society’s winners. On the contrary, this seems natural to them — because they are society’s winners. The liberalism of professionals just does not extend to matters of inequality; this is the area where soft hearts abruptly turn hard.

Innovation liberalism is “a liberalism of the rich,” to use the straightforward phrase of local labor leader Harris Gruman. This doctrine has no patience with the idea that everyone should share in society’s wealth. What Massachusetts liberals pine for, by and large, is a more perfect meritocracy — a system where the essential thing is to ensure that the truly talented get into the right schools and then get to rise through the ranks of society. Unfortunately, however, as the blue-state model makes painfully clear, there is no solidarity in a meritocracy. The ideology of educational achievement conveniently negates any esteem we might feel for the poorly graduated.

This is a curious phenomenon, is it not? A blue state where the Democrats maintain transparent connections to high finance and big pharma; where they have deliberately chosen distant software barons over working-class members of their own society; and where their chief economic proposals have to do with promoting “innovation,” a grand and promising idea that remains suspiciously vague. Nor can these innovation Democrats claim that their hands were forced by Republicans. They came up with this program all on their own.

Thomas Frank is the author of the just-published Listen, Liberal, or What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? (Metropolitan Books) from which this essay is adapted. He has also written Pity the Billionaire , The Wrecking Crew , and What’s the Matter With Kansas? among other works. He is the founding editor of The Baffler .

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. biz says:

    I see it more like Massachusetts (and other blue state) liberals are just working with what they have. They don’t control national trade policy, so there is nothing they can do to bring back good paying blue collar jobs. All they can do is help their states to be winners in getting a larger slice of the only economic pie that is left, which is the knowledge economy pie.

    What can the Massachusetts state government do to improve the lot of the people in Fall River and other blue collar areas? They can’t bring back the unionized factory jobs. All they can do is hope that the good fortunes of Boston trickle out to Fall River.

    Is there liberal hypocrisy and disdain for working class white Americans? Definitely! Is this economic development pattern in Massachusetts evidence for it? I don’t think so.

    • Replies: @Historian
  2. Priss Factor [AKA "Dominique Francon Society"] says: • Website

    All economics, no morality, and no responsibility, esp if ‘victim group.’

    • Replies: @Santoculto
  3. Yes, a heartwrenching tale.

    But does anyone seriously think that the political system could solve such a problem in a million years?

    The prosperity of the last 200 years, the Great Enrichment in which per capita income went from $1-3 per day to $100 per day after inflation, happened in spite of politicians and university professors and gentry liberals.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  4. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    You do realize that the famous ‘tech corridor’ – home to Digital Equipment Corp., Data General, et al. – has largely been emptied out over the past 20 years?

  5. Priss Factor [AKA "Dominique Francon Society"] says: • Website

    It’s like this.

    Thomas Frank makes some good points, but like all leftists, he has no understanding of human agency and values.

    He just sees people as a mass of dependents. Or as victims. People have no individual agency, responsibility, or mythology. They must be taken care of, provided with jobs, and etc.

    Now, I agree that elite policies are important in shaping the future of the people.
    But it is misguided to see people as blameless victims of the rich and powerful.

    This is why PC is so useless. Its moral logic just treats certain peoples, such as Negroes, as victims. So, it doesn’t matter what Negroes do. They are never to blame, never at fault. Even if blacks burn down a city, we must understand them, make excuses for them, do them favors, and etc. It never inspires Negroes to look in the mirror and face up to their own failings.

    True progress must be give-and-take, with mutual goodwill. The powerful and privileged should try to help the masses, but the masses should try to make an effort on their part and admit their own failings.

    But according to leftism, the People are never to blame. All the blame goes to the elites.

    I agree with Frank that US elites are a bunch of hypocritical liars. But look at the masses. They deserve blame too. If anything, people like Frank have made things worse by telling the People that they are all just hapless victims of elites.

    Such won’t do. The people must to informed of the bad things done by elites, BUT they also need to be criticized for and made self-aware of their own failings. The people must be made to clean up their own acts as well as demand better leadership.

    Frank and his ilk will say the people can’t fix up anything because they are soooooo poor and demoralized. Bullshi*.

    Americans in the past suffered much worse poverty. Just read GRAPES OF WRATH. Read the immigrant tales of people who arrived with nothing but rags on their backs.
    But they had family. They had values. They had morals. And why? They had cultural identity and heritage. They had family. But of course, people like Frank have no use for identity and heritage since such might be ‘racist’ and ‘reactionary’. And who cares about core family values in the age of man-hating feminism and decadent homo privilege.
    In the past, morality came by the way of controlling individual lusts. Sexual behavior was controlled so that people chose marriage and family instead of the kind of sexual lifestyles that lead to out-of-wedlock births, slut behavior, pimp behavior, and other destructive ugliness. And control of sexual appetite and family values meant defense against stuff like mindless hedonism and drug use. Most serious druggies are from broken families. These are kids weaned on TV as their parents. TV and pop culture prior to the 50s weren’t so corrupting. But look at TV today. It encourages trashiness among the young.

    I agree with Frank that economics matter. But all through history, people still maintained morals even in hard times, and that truth was far more important. And it was because they maintained morals that when good times returned, they went to work to live better material lives.

    But leftists have no use for culture, identity, heritage, and etc. It’s all about permissive libertine hedonism and demand for jobs and wages. (Try hiring idiot youths weaned on permissive trash culture.)

    Massive immigration from the Third World has been bad for the US.
    With so many non-whites and with PC dogma, white identity has been weakened in the US. With whites discouraged from having a racial/cultural identity, many turn to trash culture to find identity. Thus, they ruin their lives by emulating degenerate celebrities.
    And all the rise of immigrant numbers means more competition for blacks who’ve been shunted to the side.
    But it’s also bad for immigrants since they lose their culture and identity. They all become a mass of MTV-addicted trash culture youths whose idea of morality is waving the homo-and-tranny flag. Immigration turns immigrant youths into MTV trash youths. Everyone loses.

    Racial/cultural identity is important, especially for the masses.
    It is the most meaningful, stable, and firm basis for identity and sense of belonging. Diversity undermines identity.
    People like Frank may prefer class identity, but class identity is unstable, especially among the working class and middle class. Just think. Imagine there is a working class Jew in Israel. Does anyone think he’s gonna(or should) feel affinity with working class Palestinians, Iranians, Brazilians, South Africans, Japanese, Chinese, Turks, Russians, and etc? NO, he’s gonna feel closer to rich Jews and poor Jews. Why? He’s Jewish like rich Jews, middle class Jews, and poor Jews. Jewish identity with its history, culture, heritage, and ethnicity is more rewarding as a class identity that’s about ‘what kinds of job I have’.

    And this is only right. A Chinese working class should first and foremost see himself as Chinese. He should feel more affinity with rich Chinese, middle class Chinese, and poor Chinese than with non-Chinese working class.
    Also, class is far more fluid than race and culture. A working class man can have a child who becomes rich. Should a working class Jew see his rich son as a class enemy? Should a working class Jewish father feel closer to the working class son of another family than with his own rich son? Of course not. He should love his rich son or poor son cuz family ties are deeper than class ties.

    (Class identity can be more powerful among the rich and affluent since rich folks can have fun globe-trotting all over the world and rubbing shoulders with other privileged. It’s different with the working class. A British working class is stuck in Britain. So, he has no reason to feel an affinity with working class in Turkey, Russia, China, Iran, South Africa, Brazil, and etc. A British working class person would prefer to identity with fellow Brits, be they poor, middle class, or rich. But a rich British person can travel around the world, schmooze with the comparably rich elites in Asia-Arabia-Africa-Australia-Canada-US-Latin-America, etc. Globalism is about cosmopolitan identity of privilege among the elite classes. Their class identity is stronger cuz it feels so sweet to have all that wealth and privilege. Since wealth is addictive and pleasurable, they prefer the company of other rich around the world while sneering at the have-nots of their own kind. This is why elite class identity is damaging to nations. We need something like the French Revolution that overthrows the globo neo-aristocrats and replace them with national elites who identity with and care for their own people. Indeed, the reason why elites love diversity is because it undermines the power of their own masses. British elites need fear less from British middle class, working class, and poor class IF the British nation is all mixed up with immigrant population. That way, white masses will be at loggerheads with immigrants while the elites enjoy all the fruits.)

    Leftism is not wrong to be concerned about economic matters. They are important, but as Jesus said, man doesn’t live on bread alone. A man with racial, cultural, and historical identity has meaning whether he is poor, working class, middle class, or rich. Corleones in THE GODFATHER had cultural sense, a sense of identity and heritage. But look at the deracinated scum in SOPRANOS: the couch-potato hoodlums.

    A lot of rich Jews had to leave Europe and start all over in America from scratch. But what gave them meaning? Their Jewish identity. Many Chinese lost everything due to war and communism and had to start all over in America or some other country. But what gave them meaning? Cultural and historical identity. Leftists seem to totally overlook the importance of culture and history and morality.

    If economics is everything, a rich man who loses all his wealth should be lost and poor forever. But, in fact, even a poor man with identity, culture, and values can rise again — or his children, imbued with identity and values, can rise from the bottom.

    Also, identity and culture imbue even poor people with a sense of values and self-criticism. Culture teaches right and wrong. Every culture — Jewish, Islam, Chinese, German, Russian, etc — has lesson on virtue, honor, responsibility, etc.
    In contrast, leftist ideology offers no such lesson. It just says, “If you’re poor or working class, you’re always right. If you’re affluent or rich, you are wrong.” It just encourages the have-nots to easily feel righteous and cry ‘victim’ and demand stuff from those who have more. It spoils and rots the souls of have-nots.

    Many Jews were once on the Left, but how did most of them rise in the world? Because they were given free stuff by rich folks? Or because, despite their leftist ideology, they had work ethic, studied hard, applied themselves, and were self-critical when they messed up? Was it politics of victimhood or culture of virtue that helped Jews rise economically?
    Working class Jewish parents didn’t let their kids off the hook cuz they were part of the ‘proletariat’. If Jewish kids did bad, the parents punished them and taught them right from wrong. So, even though many Jews were on the Left, it wasn’t Leftism that was the key to their success. It was identity, values, and discipline.

    Economics is important, but economism isn’t going to save the working class in America. Even as the working class need to demand better economic policies, they also need a new culturalism and identitarianism.
    Why are Mormons better off? Because their identity and sense of values direct them to leading cleaner lives and abstaining from vile ones like drugs and loose sex. Of course, not all Mormons adhere to such principles, but Mormons are more likely to make an effort because of their identity and values.

    So, each racial and cultural community in America needs to be more like Jews and Mormons. They need to shore up their identity, sense of history, culture, and values. Without such an outlook, their demand for ‘economic justice’ will ring hollow.
    After all, what is the point of offering jobs to a bunch of people addicted to trash behavior, drugs, tattoos, piercings, childish antics, and etc? People who say ‘gimme jobs’ but don’t want to apply themselves are only fooling themselves.

    It’s like black demands ring hollow since the black community is so corrupt and hideous. Offer them nice schools and blacks ruin everything. Offer them opportunities, and blacks just steal and plunder. Blacks need to work in the spirit of give-and-take. If they are given nice stuff, they need to make an effort to apply themselves properly and feel remorse if they fail at it.

    What Americans need is neo-fascism. Neo-fascism would be a kind of National Humanism. It would combine heritage, modernity, enterprise, some socialism, morality, responsibility, discipline, a balance of community and individuality.

    • Replies: @Jeff77450
  6. Stogumber says:

    The innate idea of “progressivism” is that you have to support the progressive forces in economy and society. White mill workers were a progressive force in the 1930s, but are no more so nowadays. So from a progressive point of view it is reasonable to throw them under the bus, as has happened with farmers or shopkeepers.
    It’s only we reactionaries who weep over the fate of losers.

  7. Hepp says:

    Here’s the problem with using measures of inequality as a guide. Are the poor people in Massachusetts really poorer than those in other states? Or is there more inequality because a lot of people do really well? I suspect it’s the latter. The poor in Massachusetts are probably still way better off than those in Mississippi and Alabama.

  8. Jeff77450 says:
    @Priss Factor

    Very well said. A phrase like neo-fascism is “off-putting” for what should be obvious reasons. (Would you consider calling it paleo-nationalism)? But except for the socialism I like the component-parts. Some people mistakenly believe that services & infrastructure which are unique to government are “socialism.” Not true.

    Adam Smith, the author of _The Wealth of Nations_ and considered to be the father of economics, said that government has three necessary & legitimate functions: national defense; a criminal & civil justice-system to protect people & property; services & infrastructure that the public wants & needs but which isn’t profitable or practical for private industry to provide. The early canal-system, government assistance to the early railroads & telegraph, sewer-systems, parks, roads, the air traffic control system, the Center for Disease Control, police & fire protection, public school systems, record-keeping like birth & death certificates, titles & deeds are all examples of services & infrastructure that are unique to government (and valid). Food (SNAP), housing (section-8), healthcare (ACA), phones (whatever that “free” phone program is called) can be better and more efficiently provided by private industry.

  9. If you want a more economically egalitarian society, then you need to have a relatively closed system – offshoring and large-scale immigration make that impossible.

    I guess the US could have a similar system to countries like Canada and the UK, which are in between the US and Scandinavia in terms of economic equality, but even that would require cutting back on legal and illegal immigration and keeping corporate taxes low (which Frank probably opposes).

  10. @Priss Factor

    Victims are fragile, need protection, nurture the eternal baby and you will have a parasite.

    they can to do what they want,

    yes,

    ”we can”

    BUT,

    there are a diversity of (socially) ”liberals” , then, some-to-lot of them are very naive, (macchiavelian) stupid but good people.

    liberals are or tend to be very word-emotion-leaning, why they hate Trump****

    why many them don’t hate Killary**

    Specially because Trump is like the bully of high school. They understand the or some truth if you show for them via polite euphemisms, my tip or hope.

    there are other ways to say ”blacks tend to have lower intelligence than whites”

    cultural differences, for example.

    But i think that neo-left is just a neo-”religion”, the same way most of christians believe in all story of jesus ”life”.

    leftism is a globalist ”religion” (re-ligare with divine** not so, re-ligare with the mundane power), no roots, no races, no countries, all (human beings) are equal, why**

    their master minds love humankind***

    no, just global domination champs!!! 🙂 🙂

    i think many highly sensitive people tend to be liberal. Liberalism in their vague surface talk about nurture and many people who have over-sensorial or emotional issues tend to look for this ideology as much better for them than conservatism, a classical male/don’t care ideology.

  11. Sean says:

    Business has always been intolerant of organised labor , after https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._FEC union money was replaced by other sources. He who pays the piper.

  12. Glad to see Thomas Frank here at Unz. He’s been a personal favorite of mine ever since his book What’s the Matter With Kansas came out.

    “we in government are actively partnering with the private sector and the universities, to strengthen our innovation industries.”

    Ahhh, yes. The good ole public-private ‘partnership’ … or as Mussolini called it, fascism.

    On some occasions, Patrick’s favorite buzzword came with a gigantic price tag, like the billion dollars in subsidies and tax breaks that the governor authorized in 2008 to encourage pharmaceutical and biotech companies to do business in Massachusetts.

    Lots and lots of corporate welfare going around. Tell me again about those food-stamp ‘moochers’ just trying to survive.

    After his time as governor came to an end last year, he won a job as a managing director of Bain Capital, the private equity firm that was founded by his predecessor Mitt Romney — and that had been so powerfully denounced by Democrats during the 2012 election.

    Strangely enough, as I recall, the first one to call out Mitt Romney on his days at Bain was–drumroll please–Newt Gingrich: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBvbJNlKeUs

    Innovation liberalism is “a liberalism of the rich,” to use the straightforward phrase of local labor leader Harris Gruman. This doctrine has no patience with the idea that everyone should share in society’s wealth.

    To an extent, ‘innovation liberalism’ makes me think of the old Rockefeller Republicanism of the 50s and 60s, except that the guilty consciences of the rich are directed more at identity politics than the working class.

  13. Incidentally, Thomas Frank recently did a rather sympathetic write-up on Trump’s supporters, though not, perhaps, Trump himself: ‘Millions of ordinary Americans support Donald Trump. Here’s why’ (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/07/donald-trump-why-americans-support%5D

  14. Boris says:

    Apparently convenience for the people who ride in taxis was more important than good pay for people who drive those taxis.

    Let’s rewrite this sentence to illustrate the thinking here:

    Apparently convenience for the people who type on computers was more important than good pay for people who build typewriters.

    So of course the convenience is more important–and it’s not close.

    Frank can mock innovation all he wants, but people who build typewriters were always going to lose their jobs. That sucks for those people, but it does not suck for society. Convenience and cheaper fares for rides makes everyone more productive and gives them more money to spend elsewhere.

    The answer isn’t to prop up outdated and inefficient business models with government regulation. The answer is to redistribute wealth to the people who are pushed out by technology and to provide training for them so that they can find a more productive job. I suspect Mass. does that better than most states, but probably doesn’t do enough.

    • Replies: @No_0ne
  15. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Groovy Battle for Blair Mountain"] says:

    Thomas Frank’s battle plan for fighting the Capitalist Pig Class:give the Capitalist Pigs an unlimited supply of high fertility…highly racialized, nonwhite legal immigrant scab labor so that the Democratic Party Voting Bloc can vote fucking Whitey into a racial minority within the borders of the US as quickly as possible.

  16. map says:

    It’s truly amazing how a liberal gets it wrong every time, even when he is correctly observing the problem.

    Let’s clue Thomas in: the Democratic Party was always the party of the rich. Their ideal president was Franklin Roosevelt, a rich, blue-blooded Yalie from an old, aristocratic family. Led by rich people like Franklin Roosevelt, the Democratic Party has always successfully corralled the chaos of the poor and the underclass to benefit the rich. There was never any serious attempt to benefit workers outside of a necessary, short-term bribe to get them to vote for rich assholes who would be granted even greater power.

    The Great Depression was largely engineered by the Democrats, when the Federal Reserve refused to prevent bank runs that destroyed local economies. In the ensuing chaos, rich people under government consolidated their power. To hold onto it even further, they got Americans involved in a completely unnecessary war that killed off a huge surplus population. When the remaining Americans got a breather during the peace to make some money and build families, the Democrats then triangulated against those people by initiating the Civil Rights movement. Democrats reasoned that it was much cheaper to bribe a black sharecropper at $2,000 a year than a white union guy at $8,000 a year. To prevent blacks from enjoying at least a couple of decades of their civil rights like whites did after the war ended, the Democrats immediately passed the 1965 Immigration Reform Act a year after the 1964 Civil Rights, slamming the wage structure and collapsing any further economic opportunity for both blacks and whites.

    This triangulation strategy has been the modus operandi of Democrats ever since, even when they controlled local government, the House of Representatives and the Presidency. This sort of value transference is how Democrats (rich people) make their money and increase their power.

    You want to know why that pill costs a thousand dollars and why education is thirty thousand dollars a semester? Because government subsidizes these costs. They are paid for through the granting of medical monopolies and through non-dischargeable student loans, all that come at the expense of the shlubs who kept voting and defending Democrats for decades.

    You want to know why Uber exists? Because corrupt politicians like Deval Patrick refuse to enforce the law and crack down on a gypsy cab service.

    You want to know why Eric Schmidt can make his “let them eat cake arguments” about creating more entrepreneurs? Because government grants an automatic property right of your private data to companies like Google.

    And on and on….

    Frank really needs to do a lot more soul searching and finally realize that he has been a dupe all of his life. He fell for the image of the Democratic Party and ignored the reality. Now all he does is pen screeds about mercy, like James Joyce begging on behalf of the Irish.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  17. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Arkansas and Mississippi would like to have Massachusetts problem:

    AR:
    GDP per capita $39,107
    Population below poverty line 19.7%
    Unemployment 5.7%

    MS:
    GDP per capita $31,551
    Population below poverty line 24.1%
    Unemployment 6.2%

    MA:
    GDP per capita $63,005
    Population below poverty line 11.9%
    Unemployment 4.7%

  18. Priss Factor [AKA "Dominique Francon Society"] says: • Website
    @map

    but was the GOP any better?

    • Replies: @rod1963
    , @map
  19. rod1963 says:
    @Priss Factor

    Most assuredly not.

    The GOP is quite anti-white blue collar and middle-class in terms of economic policy – they’ve never a met Wall Street approved, job destroying Free Trade agreement they didn’t like. Which has resulted in the death spiral of the middle-class in this country. All the hard core GOP can talk about is killing off Social Security(they never talk about throwing all the illegals and other frauds off the rolls) while providing socialized support for the super rich when they screw up.

    The only reason the white blue collars and middle-class even bothered to vote GOP was on social issues which they have now ceded to the Democrats. There is in fact no reason to vote GOP anymore. They don’t stand for anything other than enriching the political elite and Wall Street types.

    Still there is absolutely no reason why any white blue collar or middle-class type should vote Democrat either. They Democrats have proven themselves to be vile anti-white racists who are anti-family, anti-Christian, anti-American as well. Economically they are identical to Republicans, they support open borders, amnesty, globalization, free trade, increasing H1-B visa workers, etc.

    If I had my way I’d put the top party bosses and their MSM hacks from each party in a building and burn it down for the good of the country.

  20. MarkinLA says:
    @Christopher Chantrill

    But does anyone seriously think that the political system could solve such a problem in a million years?

    Maybe not, but a political system did the most to create the problem.

  21. Agent76 says:

    April 2, 2016 33 STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTIES LAUNDER $26M FROM MILLIONAIRES FOR HILLARY

    The Supreme Court’s 2014 McCutcheon v FECruling eliminated aggregate caps on individual campaign donations, and this paved the way for the DNC and the Hillary Victory Fund to collaborate with 33 state-level Democratic parties to accept $10,000 donations from the millionaires and billionaires who back Clinton, kicking them back up to Hillary, allowing each couple to donate up to $1.32M to the Clinton campaign.

    http://www.blacklistednews.com/33_state_Democratic_parties_launder_$26M_from_millionaires_for_Hillary/50189/0/38/38/Y/M.html

  22. Massachusetts is home to the Biotech/Big Pharma cabal?

    That would explain whose sponsoring the relentless attack on female natural rights and their safety via the ‘transgender’ cult:

    https://gendertrender.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/massachusetts-state-education-board-issues-unprecedented-gender-guidelines-enforcing-legal-sex-stereotyping-in-all-public-schools-across-the-state/

  23. sund says:

    They aren’t democrats. And the red state politicians aren’t republicans. They are all financial oligarchs.

  24. map says:
    @Priss Factor

    Is the GOP better?

    The GOP is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party. It’s basically a controlled opposition, designed to distract Democrat dupes into thinking that every engineered problem that happens on their watch is due to the dastardly Republicans.

    It’s the Harlem Globetrotters vs. The Washington Generals played in the field of politics.

  25. Historian says:
    @biz

    Massachusetts is pursuing a beggar thy neighbor policy.

    When they give subsidies to GE to move to Massachusetts, they are taking the headquarters away from Connecticut. When they buy subway cars from CNR on the condition that they build them in a factory in Massachusetts, they are taking work away from the Siemens plant in California.

    No new wealth has been created. GE has to have a headquarters somewhere. The subway cars are falling apart after 40 years, so someone has to build new ones. All of this economic activity would have happened anyway. All they did was to make sure that it would happen in Massachusetts.

    What happens when another state outbids Massachusetts on the relocation subsidies? What happens when California starts insisting that all trains running in California be built in California?

  26. edNels [AKA "geoshmoe"] says:

    I read some of your book Thomas… about what went wrong over there in … flyover land… aka Kansas… lol..

    Don’t let me be snarkky or whatever… I don’t know how to live in Kansas… I wouldn’t last two minutes…. trying to scythe an acre…. I have a scyth.. I know how to use it… I even know that the main thing is tokeep the blade sharp…. sharpen the blade always.

    Thomas, you have ventured far from the planes of Kansas… but you have hit on some pay dirt… you have made some important stuff and blablabla…

  27. edNels [AKA "geoshmoe"] says:

    I read your books, and I like you man!

    I read your books… I try to understand some of the stuff that is too much…

    One of the best things about authours such as you, is: that you guys are actually tring to make better or to do something to increase understanding and educating etc… not that Me woudd know much… haha

    I am not much of a fan of… so called ”educfucation”… I am a fan of the educator from New York thatt wrote a good book… Oh well I just ttried to connect wiith John Taylor Gatto… and he is no longer around maybe… he was the guy that made sense… so, if JTG isn’t there anymore to back up the thing… well ok here I am… Here I am! I will say it.. The bastards are the bastards are… lol

  28. Anonymous [AKA "ConservativeMind"] says:

    Liberals don’t identify with the working class. The last time they did was in the 1970s. The plutocratic GOP have never really identified with the working class. Liberalism is the ideology of the higher bourgeois class and has always been an ideology which promotes the ideals and material interests of the wealthy. What we see in contemporary societies is that the alliance between socialists (the Sanders) and liberals (Clinton) is still intact just as it was in the beginning of the 20th century – when they fought reactionary protectionist national-conservatives.

    The left (socialist and liberals) has become left-wing libertarians. They are radically pro business on the economic side and radically pro nihilism on the cultural side. Contemporary leftism is fussed with post-marxism and post-liberalism. The progressive upper-middle class in San Francisco, Boston, New York, Washington DC and Seattle cannot care less about the dying white working class or for that matter impoverished African-American communities.

    For the progressives; feminism, multiculturalism and LGBT-rights are much easier to grasp as they believe it will not cost them anything. Feminism is about getting rid of men from higher management so these hipsters’ women with liberal art degree can get that cushy PR-executive or get on the tenure track. Multiculturalism is about open borders with no financial responsibility. It gives the progressive hipster the opportunity to visit exotic restaurants and ethnic neighborhood – and maybe even get the opportunity to buy services for their apartments. LGBT-rights are just allowing people to marry whom they want and of course about an annual festival. The contemporary left is about “identity” than politics. It is about being on the side of the righteous and tolerant.

    The white working class rejected the left long-time ago. Just they didn’t jump on the communist locomotive in the beginning of 1900 or the cannabis smoking hippie debacle in the 1960s. In the end the progressives of our time will always side with their own social class and reject any “socialist scheme” to reduce socio-economic inequality – as it does not benefit them. They love to talk about “giving everything to everybody” – but that is so long they don’t have to sacrifice their way of life.

    • Replies: @Santoculto
  29. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I wonder why Frank keeps his focus off of Liz Warren – I’m calling a fake for what it is, Warren symbolizes “Roosevelt” – the key is symbolizes. Otherwise she’s great friends with the folks who drove the wonderful housing/financial crisis that introduced so many Americans to unique forms of desperation they never dreamed they would experience.

    Not a fan of Liz Warren, not a fan of the useless agency she created, not a fan of the DNC which is just as bad as the GOP, unless of course, you are one of the so-called entrepreneurial class, which includes the biggest welfare recipients of them all like General Dynamics who gave permission for Liz’s senate post.

  30. @Anonymous

    ”The white working class rejected the ‘left’ long-time ago”

    Since always.

    • Replies: @AmericanaCON
  31. AmericanaCON [AKA "ConservativeMind"] says:
    @Santoculto

    Well, the white working class rejected communism and post-marxism/post-liberalism but not socialism as such an as long it worked for their interests. The greatest mistake of the post-war left was to desert the working class. The only reason why Democrats can continue to govern is that they offer handouts every election. Vote for me and I give you a free lunch once a year. Even Hugo Chavez deserted old guard socialism and full employment for liberal schemes. Vote for me and I give you a free lunch he said.

    In Europe the Social Democracy turned on the working class four decades ago and became committed to give out handouts – while not create jobs and opportunities. In the late 1980s the party was over (Greece borrowed instead) and they begun to buy voters with small handouts instead. The last years they have simply not been able to buy voters because the money has run out. The only working and middle class people want is an abundance of good paying job. The rest they will be able to handle. What they don’t want is handouts and transactional schemes to cover up that jobs and opportunities are shipped overseas.

    However, most of have no clue and when the Clintons of the world offer them some minor handout they take it because it is better than nothing. From 1850 to 1920 the conservative aristocratic elites in Europe destroyed opportunities for working people forcing them to moving to Canada, United States, Australia, New Zeeland, South Africa and parts of Latin-America. This is going on right now but Europeans have nowhere to escape – which include Americans as they also see their societies declining. The European aristocratic elites lost their political influence to socialists and liberals who offered something. Socialists and liberals had their time from 1950 to 1970 but there time seems to come to an end. The future in western civilization seems to be national-conservatism. Hobbes got it right from the very beginning.

    • Replies: @Santoculto
  32. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    When Frank writes about Boston, I immediately think of Silicon Valley. The parallel is tangible. The scraps of tech entrepreneurship in Mountain View for example are supposed to be a totally steady wifi access throughout town, as compensation for Google’s presence.

    There’s no signal strength there however. So if you’re stuck in a role supporting the tech Titans’ dominance you can expect to pay a grand a month for a room. This is while your employee cuts you off at part time hours bringing in ten an hour before taxes. You’re on your own for health insurance and retirement plans too.

    I’m pretty sore about illegals reducing the value of native labor but fuck me again if gray collar is doing any better after expenses.

  33. @AmericanaCON

    I’m talking about cultural differences.

  34. Apparently convenience for the people who type on computers was more important than good pay for people who build typewriters…

    Frank can mock innovation all he wants, but people who build typewriters were always going to lose their jobs. …

    … The answer isn’t to prop up outdated and inefficient business models with government regulation.

    Typewriters? Frank’s unspoken but obvious wish is gooberment subsidies for good ol’ liberal newspapers and book publishing, something like National Public radio.

  35. On still other occasions, favoring inno has meant bulldozing the people in its path — for instance, the taxi drivers whose livelihoods are being usurped by ridesharing apps like Uber. When these workers staged a variety of protests in the Boston area, Patrick intervened decisively on the side of the distant software company. Apparently convenience for the people who ride in taxis was more important than good pay for people who drive those taxis. It probably didn’t hurt that Uber had hired a former Patrick aide as a lobbyist, but the real point was, of course, innovation: Uber was the future, the taxi drivers were the past, and the path for Massachusetts was obvious.

    What’s fair is fair. Those taxi drivers after all are partially responsible for the collapse of the horse and buggy industry.

    Have you ever read a basic economics book?

  36. No_0ne says:
    @Boris

    Apparently convenience for the people who ride in taxis was more important than good pay for people who drive those taxis.

    Let’s rewrite this sentence to illustrate the thinking here:

    Apparently convenience for the people who type on computers was more important than good pay for people who build typewriters.”

    You’re not really clear on how this “analogy” thing works, are you? Or (more likely) are you just engaging in deliberate sophistry?

    So Uber invented some kind of special, technologically advanced taxi? No, they were allowed to run a taxi business while dodging the usual regulations, thus giving them an unbeatable cost structure– crony capitalism at its finest. Software that allows you to book a taxi is hardly a quantum leap in technology…

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