National Review Writer: Blue-Collar Workers Have ‘Status Anxiety’

For anyone keeping a running tally of those who learned absolutely nothing from President Donald Trump’s victory in the general election, it’s time to add the National Review’s Kevin Williamson to the list.

Appearing Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Williamson attacked working- and middle-class Americans for daring to commit the thought crime of believing that the American government should actually serve Americans’ interests.

Working-class and middle-class Americans don’t have any legitimate complaints about the modern world — they’re just bigots expressing “status anxiety,” according to Williamson. “I think it’s status anxiety. You have a situation in which you have men, particularly blue-collar men, looking at the myth of what working-class life was like in the post-war era, 1950s and 1960s … this story, that’s not entirely true, that you could just get out of high school and go to a factory, make enough money to support a family and buy a house,” Williamson said.

He continued: “The new competitive pressures that people feel from globalization, for the integration of worldwide financial markets and production chains, has put those American workers in a much more competitive position then they probably have been in a long time, much more than they have expected to be.”

Williamson’s comments did not go over well with conservative populists. “This is globalist nonsense,” Eddie Zipperer, a political science professor at Georgia Military College, told LifeZette. “Working in a factory and making enough money to buy a house is not a myth. I live in a factory town and have a number of friends who live the life Williamson alluded to as mythical.”

“These are the people Democrats used to protect,” he continued. “By entering into free-trade deals that allow giant corporations to manufacture in developing countries, we’re creating a middle class in those countries at the expense of the middle class in America. Similarly, allowing illegal immigrants into the job market drives down wages across the board, not just wages in the jobs they’re performing.”

“It’s not uncommon to see this sort of contempt for working-class Americans who don’t have college degrees from elites in government and media,” said Zipperer. “Working-class Americans get in the way of their political agendas by doing things like voting for Trump, so they lash out at an easy target whose only real voice comes around at election time,” he said. “They need to wrap their minds around the fact that not everybody in this country lives in one of the little blue dots on the big red election map.”

LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Laura Ingraham was also critical of Williamson and the attitude he represents. “Another person who got it wrong in 2016, now sitting on the set of MSNBC getting all the accolades because he’s once again saying, ‘Oh the middle is just too stupid to realize how good they have it under globalization,'” Ingraham observed Monday morning on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”

“It’s not really true, that’s just kind of fantasy that things were better when you actually could get a decent job and support your family without working three jobs, including fast food and everything else you do even though you’re a grown man with a skill,” Ingraham said sarcastically. “The time before they shipped your job overseas, you shouldn’t want that back, you shouldn’t want that era back,” Ingraham continued in her best impression of a typical National Review writer.

In addition to dismissing the legitimate concerns of millions of hardworking, patriotic Americans, Williamson also implied that Donald Trump won by exploiting those Americans’ allegedly racist instincts. He also called them lazy.

"And so I think this does drive a lot of anxiety and there is a lot of political juice to be gotten out of, 'Well, it's not our fault, it's these scheming Chinese or these sneaky Mexicans coming across the border and stealing our jobs' — because we all know that guys in Long Island want to be out and picking avocados. So I think there is a connection there that has to do with that kind of anxiety about not just their economic place but their place in society," Williamson said.

"I don't think people have status envy, I think they just want the government to work for them and not just merely the interests of these big global corporations or the few who have profited off America's decline," said Ingraham.

"I found that exchange to be revealing," Ingraham said. "The condescension. Kevin Williamson ... he does represent a certain mindset that has infected politics in both parties, the establishment politics in both parties," she said. "This is why Trump won. That's what they don't understand, Trump won because of condescending snots like Williamson."

Last Modified: August 1, 2017, 9:01 am

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