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June 07, 2010

Violent potential and instrumental physicality

Joel Kotkin argues white, working-class of England offers a potential warning to the United States regarding the future of white, blue-collar America (via A&L Daily).

With better-paid jobs disappearing and the prospects for home ownership diminished, the traditional culture of hard work has been replaced increasingly by what Dick Hobbs describes as the "violent potential and instrumental physicality." Urban progress, he notes, has been confused with the apparent vitality of a rollicking night scene: "There are parts of London where the pubs are the only economy."

London, notes the LSE's Tony Travers, is becoming "a First World core surrounded by what seems to be going from a second to a Third World population." This bifurcation appears to be a reversion back to the class conflicts that initially drove so many to traditionally more mobile societies, such as the U.S., Australia and Canada.

Except this time, we have run out of new worlds we can escape to.

Consider if you will the Left's technical term for young men with violent potential and instrumental physicality: Revolutionary army. I expect for the "Labour" party none of this was intentional. It was just bread and circuses for the mob and the wholesale importation of voting blocs with the next election as the only horizon.

But for the community organizers on the Left it could very well be a revolutionary army was the whole idea all along. If so, I do not believe it is not going to work out the way they planned.

Closely related: The children of middle class intellectuals also stage revolutions. Not to worry though. Back in the day this would have meant engineers and such, people capable of assessing the world as it is and responding accordingly, people capable of organizing themselves and others (if only to smuggle box-cutters onto the plane).

Try imagining a revolution run by cultural studies students and despair.

Some might say that she deserves it -- who borrows $100,000 to finance a degree in women's and religious studies that won't make you any money? She should have wised up, and others should learn from her mistake, instead of learning too late, as she did: "I don't want to spend the rest of my life slaving away to pay for an education I got for four years and would happily give back."

But bubbles burst when people catch on, and there's some evidence that people are beginning to catch on.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at June 7, 2010 06:48 AM