Monday, March 26, 2018

It lacks (damn the word!) empathy

Another Blast From Kevin D. Williamson's Past Remember how he took on the white working class Trump supporter in March 2016 as "whelping human children with all the respect and wisdom of a stray dog"? That's the kind of spirit they need at The Atlantic!

Mr. Trump Potato Head, by Hannah Rothstein. Via Time.
Kevin D. Williamson of the National Review, a day or two ago, telling us how he really feels about those white working class Trump voters (rearranging slightly):
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.... 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.... nobody did this to them. They failed themselves.
You seem nice, Kevin.

And now he can't believe everybody's so pissed off with him! Well, I guess he remembers it a little differently, because he doesn't wonder if he was wrong to compare people to dysfunctional, negligent, incomprehensibly malicious stray dogs who are 100% to blame for whatever suffering they may endure. What? No, he thinks it's about the advice he gave them; he's
enduring lectures, from self-proclaimed conservatives, that my prescription for struggling people in economically stagnant communities — leave — offends Burkean sensibilities, or that it lacks (damn the word) empathy.
And, heck, it's St. Patrick's Day.
people all over the country, including many of those self-styled Burkeans, are celebrating the cultural traditions and history of Irish-Americans, who today, for some mysterious reason that a detailed and scholarly exegesis of economic history surely would illuminate, outnumber Irishmen in Ireland. 
Like he said something bad? All he said was that the meth-addled child-whelpers of Garbutt, New York and Dog's Butt, Texas should abandon their dead villages:
get off your asses and go find a job: You’re a four-hour bus ride away from the gas fields of Pennsylvania.
And how is that any different from what our Irish friends did when they came to this country with their parades and green beer and corned brisket, which we all cherish so much in our land of tolerance and multicultural good feeling?

Well, Kevin, I guess one difference would be that in Ireland they did have a famine and a foreign occupation, as you might have heard from your extensive studies in history, that's two out of four horsemen right there, and another one that they had someplace to go, with not only zero restrictions on immigration (everybody who says "My ancestors followed the rules when they came to America" needs to remember that the only rules in those days were that you had to have relatively pale skin, and that you couldn't get to work right away if you had tuberculosis) but an extraordinary wealth of jobs to be done.

Not Pennsylvania exactly, where
from December 2014 to December 2015, a period that closely tracked the rapid decline in oil prices, Pennsylvania's employment growth ranked it 39th out of all 50 states. Employment in the state's mining industry, which includes oil and gas extraction, declined by nearly 11% in 2015
(I guess Kevin's too busy over at the venom factory to look at the boring parts of the newspaper.)

Of course in 19th-century Ireland there wasn't any of that awful welfare dependency. But then that's what it's all about, isn't it? That's what gave those Irish lads the nerve to pull up stakes and abandon their starving parents! And it could be the same thing out in Trump-voter country, if Kevin D. Williamson and his friends had their way. Nothing wrong with those oiks that a good potato famine wouldn't cure!

Update: Krugman on this is even greater than usual.

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