The middle class was always spoken of in near sacred terms by my father. Perhaps you can get this from a lot of cold war era conservatives. It was a validation of the American way of life because, by every indicator, the American family (and in a broader sense, the Anglosphere family) lived head & shoulders above anyone else. The Europeans, of course, are (were?) included right up to the Iron Courtain in these considerations — we had rebuilt them and aided them because, after all, the North Americans are the sons of Europe & we are Europe beyond Europe. The middle class was the important difference between us & our enemies and it represented the fruit of our system: to be able to live free and live with great means, with a permanent sense of upward movement.
Le petit bourgeoisie was vital to our success– in order to have a good society, you had to have an Americanesque middle class which was highly educated and capable of not just managing the large scale production and having their members become the innovators of technology, industry and culture, but also competent participants in the society as a whole. For even the Americans of the sixties were not naive enough to think that good society happened in a vacuum, and that the economic circumstances alone were enough for them to be considered successful.
The Soviets were daily reminders of what happened if the people were sucked into a Leftist narrative: a spiral of degeneracy. The Fascists were representatives of those brought into some classic Traditionalist & Fascist ideology: a culture of jingoism, murder and racism in their own right. In my father’s time, it would seem quite clear that the happy medium was reached and the delicate balance was unlikely to be screwed up.
And it is the destruction & dismantling of this middle class, and its ruin through egalitarianism & social degeneracy which marks the decline of the West as a whole. We can see it in the rise of household debt, the ever increasing amount of illegitimate births and divorce, the general rise in divorce and its substantial decline being partly explained in the lack of marriage and, of course, who can look at the rise of LGBTQ as its own set of indicators as the decline of a moral consensus let alone a moral consensus with a meaningful posture. While some of these numbers do not add up to a sense of the world falling apart around us and there is no real sense of doom in the now, we can see that the US has massive political divergence & polarization, and while ironically the pessimistic attitudes of conservatives towards the state of the society are nearly always firmly rebuffed by optimistic liberals who saw their perspectives triumph over the last decade these are the same people who ultimately were weeping openly on November 8th.
While there is no sense of imminent doom, there is a sense of drift. We can explain away the doom simply: do we imagine that the economic infrastructure of Rome or the Ottomans began collapsing overnight when the leading citizens became increasingly incapable, childless and decadent? Of course not. Rome would go on to fund mercenary armies and the Ottomans would be able to raise massive forces from their human tributes and vast stretches of land. Just as such, the Americans hold in their hands the reigns of limitless capital and possess the petrodollar. No one can afford to turn their backs on them because they hold the practical means of production — whether or not it is in the hands of a capable Stoic who steers the ship towards success or it is in the queer hand of an anemic wastrel, people are going to do business with the people who have businesses.
The drift is what is worrisome because it represents an internal negation. America ceases to represent a method of doing things, a collection of values, a way of life. It comes to be associated with the political crisis of this negation. While the economy might continue to function it will do so in diminishing form simply because, without direction, without a projection of interests, the spheres of influence will naturally wane and competitors will eat up portions of the Empire (con ti partiro…).
Is this about gay marriage & transgender restroom use? The trend is to diminish these things and say that they are issues too small to be relevant, and to also energetically gesticulate and point out how there is no conceivable direct connection between mah gay frands & their cute baby. In reality, though, it is all about gays at the altar & crossdressing men in the women’s locker room — it simply isn’t entirely about gays & bathrooms. These are merely symptoms of society’s drift apart through which we get society’s self-negation and thereby the diminishment and decline of the American state & people.
The proper framing of social degeneracy has to encompass more than just the things we immediately do not like because it is outside of our 1990s comfort zone. Without the increase in illegitimacy rates, divorce rates and the arrival of the open society and the concept of openly indulging in whatever impulses we would have never come to the point of equating the open relationship and the gay marriage with the traditional family, nor would we have come to a point where whites feel so guilty they feel somehow obligated to bring in the totality of Syria and excuse the illegal immigration of unskilled workers. The list would go on — but the point stays the same: the drift started far earlier, and just like all things it must have seemed slower or as if it was some natural conclusion of the decisions that people had made before.
And it is only with this drift that we open up the potentiality of a great dissolution, and while a civilization-ending moment isn’t on the immediate horizon it isn’t difficult to see America as a divided place with significant amounts of our people more interested in the dismantling of our tradition and belief than in carving out a future in an increasingly challenging world.
But let’s be entirely fair: many are simply more interested in playing video games & getting drunk which is its own kind of self-destruction.