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Wednesday, December 5, A.D. 2012
Sailer Our Hume

Steve Sailer has been criticized for reducing politics and social issues to petty vices and concerns, but I find his writing anthropologically insightful. He makes candid observations of the human condition and of American life, though he may shy from panoptic theorizing and the “big questions.” In this way, he is like a contemporary American Hume. Materialist and nominalist though he be, Hume is a treasure of wisdom for his keen analysis of man.

Last month, Sailer posted a theory about the elite’s understanding of and relationship to Mexican immigrants: “What pundits really mean when they say Mexicans are ‘socially conservative.’” The whole article is worth reading, though the end interests me most, wherein Sailer opines why upper class whites welcome the ethnic displacement of working class whites:

I’ve been trying to figure out why upper middle class white people in, say, Marin County, people who are extremely concerned about optimizing the aesthetics of their lifestyles, like it when illegal immigrants push out the indigenous working class from their region. We’ve been through the cheap-labor aspects of this a million times, but I’m interested here in the pure psychology of why else you’d also support policies that drive out natives that speak your language and look like yourself.

Say you live on that lovely winding road in Marin County where George Lucas tried and failed for 15 years to get permission to convert 5% of his vast ranch into a movie studio. As a moderately wealthy homeowner, an average of three times per week you have male blue collar service workers come by to do work in your house and on your grounds.

Back in the Bad Old Days a couple of decades or so ago, the workers were third generation Californian Okies, real Grapes of Wrath types, or maybe some assimilated American-born Chicanos, or maybe some Okie-Chicano mixes. Now, they are all Mexicans or Central Americans, six inches shorter, and only the foreman speaks English.

Leaving aside the cost issue, why is that an improvement in your lifestyle?

I can imagine several reasons.

First, your workers now look poorer. That’s reassuring. That suggests they aren’t ripping you off by charging too much. In the old days, your workers were strapping big guys, and it gnawed away at you that you were paying them more than you had too. Sure, you could afford it, but, still ... it bothered you.

Second, the new guys don’t speak English, so you can’t understand them when they talk to each other, so they don’t get on your nerves as much when they talk about whatever low class things yard workers talk to each other about.

Third, most of your new workers don’t try to talk to you because they don’t speak English. Remember the plumber with the biker sideburns who always wanted to talk to you about the Raiders? Well, he moved to Idaho. Good riddance.

Fourth, you can’t understand the lyrics to their songs. Granted, the newcomers’ musical tastes are pretty dire, but at least it’s not Country, with all those Blue Collar Pride lyrics crafted in Nashville by Vanderbilt English majors to annoy people like you.

Fifth, their bumper stickers aren’t as obnoxious as the American proles’ bumper stickers were. Remember the pickup truck with all the NRA bumper stickers? It just drove you crazy. Well, maybe if you could read the Spanish bumperstickers you’d be offended, but you can’t, so you’re not.

Sixth, now you aren’t worried anymore about your wife or daughter taking a shine to some guy with a tool belt. (Look what happened to Larry David. Let that be a lesson to us all.) But it’s not going to happen if the guy with the tool belt is 5’2” and speaks Mixtec.

In summary, your service workers used to be real people to you, and that was a major hassle. Now, they are just The Other, and you like it like that.

Such ideas from Sailer upset more philosophically minded members of the Right, like Lawrence Auster, who attribute Americans’ insane political and social opinions to underlying leftist principles. However, I think that Sailer’s “lowminded” explanations hold much explanatory power. For most people are blind to and unconcerned with political, ethical, and metaphysical principles. Of course, the Zeitgeist and prevailing currents of thought affect the masses, but I am not confident that they truly undergird the opinions of the average man. A normal human being does not have a systematic understanding of the world. Joe Schmoe rather maintains a mess of contradictory opinions that he has inherited, gathered, or formed throughout life from his community, experience, and reflection, however meager it may be. These various forces ensnare ideas in the tangles of his mind, and he never bothers to unravel them to put them in order. So, ideologies move him just as his shortsighted drives to fulfill his appetites and to avoid unpleasantries. We should therefore pay attention to the observations of an honest, oxyblepsic man like Sailer.

Posted by Joseph on Wednesday, December 5, Anno Domini 2012
Philosophy | AnthropologyPolitics • (2) Comments
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