Why the GOP Seeks to Destroy the Middle Class and New Deal

Cross posted over at kos. . .

Ok, I'm not a historian, and I'm interested in comments to the following theses:

  1.  The New Deal laid the social and economic foundations for the rise of the American Middle Class.

  2.  Following World War II, butressed by favorable national and tax policies to support G. I. education and home ownership, the Middle Class began to take off and to fuel the engines of consumerism and economic prosperity.

  3.  At the same time, more disposable income in families created greater opportunities for financial independence among women, leading to a realignment of the power relationship between the sexes.

  4.  Similarly, greater family disposable income allowed Middle Class teens to spend their parents' money on entertainment items.  The creation of American youth culture, ushered in by Elvis, changed family structures further.  Kids had money to spend and no longer listened to Lawrence Welk with their parents.  

More on the flip. . .
  1.  The 1960's saw these cultural and economic trends expand to the point of challenging the cultural establishment directly.  Drafted youth did not unanimously support their fathers' war policies, and women demanded equal pay for equal work.

  2.  The gay rights movement was the logical extension of a cultural movement based not on patriarchal male control, but of individual equality regardless of sex, whereby people create intimate bonds based upon the suitability of partners, and not based on the religious ideologies of patriarchy.  Similarly, the civil rights movement on behalf of African Americans is based on notions of inviduual equality and equality of fundamental worth.

  3.  All of our politics since the 1950's have obviously been fought along these fault lines.  But for the forces of patriarchal control to reverse these long term cultural trends, they must recreate the conditions of financial dependency of  women on men to support their notions of traditional, sanctioned by God family structures.

  4.  In this project, religious fundamentalists and wealthy men agree:  to consolidate their power they must undo the New Deal, which provided the foundations for the development of the Middle Class and all of these cultural changes I have outlined.

  5.  Ergo, the GOP is the enemy of the New Deal, which makes it by definition the enemy of the Middle Class, of women and of civil rights.

Is this an argument we should make more clearly in the public sphere?  Does it hold up to historical scrutiny?  Does this narrative, if adopted, offer an alternate vision and interpretation of American history that Democrats need to present in order to clarify "what we are for?"

Please comment.

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Comments

7 Comments

I think
it's more an economic war than a cultural war. The "culture war" is just a way to get people to support the wrong side in the economic war.

A system that protects people against abusive exploitation -- one that guarantees a secure retirement, requires that workers be paid adequately and treated fairly, and provides education to all its citizens without respect to their ability to pay -- such a system is the enemy of individuals who care only about securing as much money and power for themselves as is possible. Those people -- our own aristocracy -- will do anything in their power to dismantle the welfare state, because it interferes with their ruthless practices.

Fundamentally, these people hate democracy, because democracies tend toward socialism. They are corporatists, promoting a hierarchical system ruled by money. Bigotry and cultural warfare are just means to that end.

by catastrophile 2005-08-29 12:08PM | 0 recs
Some people have different values
The hick-town bible beater and the country club republican have a strong and enduring alliance. The country clubber wants dominion and power in the material plane, the bible beater in the rhetorical plane. One does not trump the other, they have coevolved into a symbiotic relationship.

The left used to have something like this between the intellectuals and the workers. The workers wanted good wages and benefits via the welfare state, and the intellectuals wanted to run the welfare state.

I'm not sure who sold out who first, but especially since the 60s, the average worker began to feel culturally alienated from the intellectual. The intellectuals were demanding things of the worker that workers just didn't want to do; get along with blacks, and not destroy the environment among other things.

So the bible beaters and the country clubbers promised them pretty much the same welfare state without those pesky moral restrictions like loving your neighbor. The workers said "heck yeah!" and that is pretty much were we are today. The welfare state is as large or larger than ever, except the rich don't have to pay for it anymore. New Testament morality of such passages as Acts 2:44 and 2:45 are now being replaced with the primitive theology of the the Old Testament.

by Paul Goodman 2005-08-29 03:41PM | 0 recs
Racial and sexual bigotry
seem to have been useful in driving the wedge between the brains and the brawn; this is less of an issue for the chosen and the elite, since both groups are used to feigning tolerance for their inferiors.

"The welfare state is as large or larger than ever, except the rich don't have to pay for it anymore."

True enough, but in the long term the goal is to either transform it into a wealth-concentration apparatus, or destroy it completely. That goal can't be stated outright, since it would cost the elite most of their popular support, but it's definitely on the agenda.

The Medicare drug benefit, for example, is basically a massive funnel to drain the program's funds into the coffers of the pharmacorps. Any benefit individuals might see from the program is incidental to its central purpose.

by catastrophile 2005-08-29 04:03PM | 0 recs
Its an ECONOMIC and philosophical war..
The reality is actually quite good.. Because of science, we are closer to realizing the dream of an abundant and healthy future for all than ever before.. Within the next ten or twenty years, it is highly probable that energy will become free, that science will discover the key to aging, and that we will be able to feed, clothe and house all of mankind without much trouble. Also, machines will eliminate most drudge work, making it POSSIBLE for almost everybody to pursue education, research or the arts in a vastly more fulfilling world.. one free of the incredibly destructive tensions that killed so many millions of people in the 20th century..

A WORLD OF ABUNDANCE..

NOT A WORLD OF SCARCITY...

The problem, as I see it, is that a tiny group of people, less than 1% of the world's people.. see their 'dominance' (of course, this 'dominance' is somewhat illusory, because most people simply don't care or know enough about them to care - but will if/when these people threaten their very existence, which they eventually will in their greed..) as being threatened by this INEVITABLE rise in global empowerment and apolitical technical knowledge, and they are doing their very best to destroy all of the hope and dreams generated by it, and beat us all back into fearful and cowed submission by any means possible..

Has it worked? Will it work? Well, it seems to have worked very well with most of the posters here...

The fascists are doing their job of spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt well..

:o

by ultraworld 2005-08-30 08:20AM | 0 recs
'Destroying the middle class'
If the 'global GOP' is to succeed in destroying the middle class, it will have to be done on a global scale.. not just here in the US.. And they will have to kill people.. not just take away their means of sustanance.. and bankrupt them, throwing them and their families to the wolves, so to speak..

And it would have to happen very quickly..

Not very likely.. Why, because they would need an army to do this, and I don't think that that army exists or if it could exist, would be as mindlessly loyal to them as they think...

Nomatter WHERE they locate their bases..

A more likely scenario, if you look at history, would be so alienating the former middle classes that they would provide an otherwise nonexistent opportunity for a COMMUNIST dictatorship to arise.. Through their uncontrolled GREED..

They don't remember, but this almost happened here in the 30s.. The man they all hate, FDR, saw this and saved their butts..

You would think that they would be smarter or more grateful.. But no, their narcissism makes them blind.. as it always does with the pathologically narcissistic..

by ultraworld 2005-08-30 08:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Some people have different values
They exist in two different planes and have few conflicts, especially after the Republican primaries are over.

The country clubber doesn't give a damn where the Ten Commandments are, what is taught in the public schools his kids don't go to, or whether two men can get married. He will go along with the bible beater's position on these issues in order to get votes. If the positions are too unpopular, such as the case for some "blue state" Republicans, the bible beater's positions are easily negotiable.

Likewise, the bible beater doesn't give a damn about corporate law, trade issues, or tax policy. He may raise a protest, but his concerns are elsewhere. Even if the country-club Republican ships his job to god-knows-where-istan, he will still vote Republican in order to "save all those babies" or something like that. (That and most of these people are so politically naive that they are quite easily fooled into believing that shipping jobs to god-knows-where-istan is a good thing for the US economy.)

The Republican Party is far more bible-beaters than country-clubbers. Even so, the it is the country-clubbers control the party. Corporate Democrats help the country-clubbers because if the bible-beaters ever win a primary in a "swing" election, the country-clubbers will find a blue corporate whore they can use for a term or two.
"Electablity" becomes the magic word that keeps the country clubbers solidly in control of the Republican Party. (This is how Arlen Specter beat Pat Toomey, even though the Republican base hates Specter.)

by wayward 2005-08-29 04:10PM | 0 recs
So, bible beaters are all independently wealthy?
And they don't need jobs? Or customers?
by ultraworld 2005-08-30 08:30AM | 0 recs

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