On May 4, 2011, Sherle Schwenninger at The New America Foundation spoke of the sorry state of the American middle class, which in his view provides “…the stability and the heart and soul of… society…” (h/t Gateway Pundit and Yahoo News). His concern is the the USA is becoming a “barbell society” – great concentration of wealth at the top, a great thinness in the middle and then too many people in fear of falling downward.
The Yahoo article lists the reasons for Schwenninger’s claim, and they make sense to this non-economist’s mind. But the Gateway Pundit article makes an additional point that is very interesting, namely that this slow demolition of the American middle class might be by design (or at least partially so). It provides a quote usually ascribed to FDR:
This is a question worth asking nowadays. Here is my perspective.
1. To a professional community organizer, destabilizing a society is of the very first importance because he, as Mao Zedong’s proverbial revolutionary fish, can swim better in the turbulent waters that ensue.
2. If you destabilize the most stable (and largest) element of society, you will have gone a long way toward your goal.
3. Destabilization of that element must of one of your primary goals.
In advanced societies, the middle class tends to be the largest and most stable element. Moreover, the middle class tends to reflect the values of that society, will have the most to lose from its destruction and will therefore defend it most stubbornly. If the middle class is neutralized, societal instability, which offers all kinds of possibilities for community organizers, is not a long way off.
All revolutionaries know this, and extreme parties will often cooperate in their attacks on the middle. Classical example: the Nazis and Communists frequently worked together to destroy the German Weimar Republic. (Both these parties knew that only one of them would survive to lead Germany, but to prepare the ground for their confrontation, the inconvenient bourgeois middle had to be smashed first.)
The economic troubles that the United States is experiencing these days are, I am sure, partly unforeseen results of unpredictable events. But, as FDR noted, politics can induce all kinds of societal troubles, and the current White House régime has excelled at this. It is amazing how much economic destruction this wrecking crew has wrought by either doing the wrong thing or by doing nothing at all. The typical recipient of these “blessings:” the middle class.
Parenthetically, apart from rejoicing over the turmoil that is full of possibilities for “change,” a community organizer will surely also see the plight of the middle class as a form of “social justice,” since the middle class has traditionally been “white,” “Caucasian,” “capitalist,” “patriarchal,” “bourgeois-democratic” and whatever other ideologically significant label you want to attach to it.
In any case, ruin the American middle class, and you’ve ruined the country’s heart and soul.