An interesting essay in Quillette by Rob Henderson who is a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge. He obtained a BS in Psychology from Yale University and is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.
Published on Nov 16, 2019
If you’d like to read the full essay, the link is https://quillette.com/2019/11/16/thorstein-veblens-theory-of-the-leisure-class-a-status-update/
Just read an interesting essay in Quillette that explains political correctness, social justice ideology and “wokeness” in socio-economic terms. Basically, “progressive” beliefs are just playthings and status-markers for the rich. The writer calls them “luxury beliefs”. It is based on Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class.
The Theory of the Leisure Class (Oxford World’s Classics) Reissue Edition
can be found at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0199552584/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=quillette-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=0199552584&linkId=d7da5ae6a075082256ec1e9da11a74c2
As the writer explains, the problem is that it’s the rest of us who suffer the implementation of these beliefs. The elites themselves don’t live by them and are immune to their consequences.
I’ve included some extracts from the essay below.
“In the past, people displayed their membership of the upper class with their material accoutrements. But today, luxury goods are more affordable than before. And people are less likely to receive validation for the material items they display. This is a problem for the affluent, who still want to broadcast their high social position. But they have come up with a clever solution. The affluent have decoupled social status from goods, and re-attached it to beliefs …
The chief purpose of luxury beliefs is to indicate evidence of the believer’s social class and education. Only academics educated at elite institutions could have conjured up a coherent and reasonable-sounding argument for why parents should not be allowed to raise their kids, and should hold baby lotteries instead. When an affluent person advocates for drug legalization, or anti-vaccination policies, or open borders, or loose sexual norms, or uses the term “white privilege,” they are engaging in a status display. They are trying to tell you, “I am a member of the upper class.”
Affluent people promote open borders or the decriminalization of drugs because it advances their social standing, not least because they know that the adoption of those policies will cost them less than others …
The affluent do not want to be seen with “common” goods. They view them as distasteful. Today, it’s not just common goods they view as distasteful—it’s beliefs too. The affluent, dreading an “odious” designation, resist displaying commonplace beliefs. Those beliefs are for the little people. Instead, the upper class want to be seen displaying luxury beliefs …
The economist and social theorist Thomas Sowell once said that activism is “a way for useless people to feel important, even if the consequences of their activism are counterproductive for those they claim to be helping and damaging to the fabric of society as a whole.” The same could be said for luxury beliefs.”
One example of the damage to society from another book
The following figure was published in a book called “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010” by Charles Murray
It can be found at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12031563-coming-apart
Children living with both biological parents is another of the traditional institutions indermined by the elites in the west as no longer being necessary for the wellbeing of children.
Affluent families in 1960: 95%
Working class families in 1960: 95%
Affluent families in 2005: 85%
Working class families in 2005: 30%
It seems to many of us that we don’t have the ‘luxury’ of these newly constructed ‘beliefs’, and any others driven by misanthropic respectability cults.
Rob Henderson also published in the NY Post
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