dThe Party Of Aspiration - Road to the Middle Class - by Christopher Chantrill
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The Party of Aspiration

by Christopher Chantrill
November 08, 2008 at 12:26 am

THE NEW Republic was nosing through the election results earlier this week, and discussing the long-term trend in party affiliation.

Over the last several decades, the country has seen two swing groups move in opposite directions: Working-class whites exiting the Democratic Party, and more affluent, educated voters leaving the GOP.

But in this election the working-class white trend bifurcated.

Among all whites without college degrees (40 percent of the electorate), Obama lost by a whopping 18 points. But among whites making $50,000 per year or less (a quarter of the electorate), he lost by a mere 4 points.

Which makes sense, if you ask me. Because the Republican Party is the party of aspiration. It is the party of people who are aiming to improve their lot in life. That is why aspirational working-class whites are exiting the Democratic Party and non-aspirational working-class whites are not.

The Democratic Party is the party of credentials. Get the right credentials, and get a government job (as a union worker, a teacher, health worker, or professor) and you get set up for life.

You often learn more about yourself when you fail than when you succeed. In the greatest failure in modern Republican Party history, the election of 1964, the party faithful found out that they had a rising star in Ronald Reagan. For the next twenty years, Democrats sneered at him as a lightweight and a B-movie actor. But he still became president of the United States.

The standouts of the recent election were, obviously, Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber. Both of them are aspirational Americans, in the process of improving their lot, or at least dreaming of improving their lot. So we may look back at the election of 2008 and say: that was they year that the Republican Party as a Middle America party of aspiration was truly born.

Maybe not. You can never tell. The sky is always full of portents. But most of the portents signify nothing.

The telling part about it all was the viciousness of the liberal attack on Palin and Joe. There was obviously something profoundly offensive in Sarah and Joe to the liberal mind.

It’s not hard to understand why. Liberals don’t like aspirational people. They don’t like them because they don’t fit in the liberal plantation. In fact you could say that aspirational people look like troublemakers to the overseers of the liberal plantation.

But it is still astonishing to realize that, for our liberal friends, people like Sarah Palin and Joe Wurzelbacher are an offense to all good-thinking people, and must be destroyed.

I’m still finding it a bit hard to get my mind around that.

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Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.  His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.


 TAGS


Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.”
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990


Mutual Aid

In 1911... at least nine million of the 12 million covered by national insurance were already members of voluntary sick pay schemes. A similar proportion were also eligible for medical care.
Green, Reinventing Civil Society


Education

“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State


Living Under Law

Law being too tenuous to rely upon in [Ulster and the Scottish borderlands], people developed patterns of settling differences by personal fighting and family feuds.
Thomas Sowell, Conquests and Cultures


German Philosophy

The primary thing to keep in mind about German and Russian thought since 1800 is that it takes for granted that the Cartesian, Lockean or Humean scientific and philosophical conception of man and nature... has been shown by indisputable evidence to be inadequate. 
F.S.C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West


Knowledge

Inquiry does not start unless there is a problem... It is the problem and its characteristics revealed by analysis which guides one first to the relevant facts and then, once the relevant facts are known, to the relevant hypotheses.
F.S.C. Northrop, The Logic of the Sciences and the Humanities


Chappies

“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison


Democratic Capitalism

I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all. In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


Action

The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness... But to make a man act [he must have] the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action


Churches

[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm


Conversion

“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh


Living Law

The recognition and integration of extralegal property rights [in the Homestead Act] was a key element in the United States becoming the most important market economy and producer of capital in the world.
Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital


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©2007 Christopher Chantrill