Why a Non-Judgmental Populism Could Win America
I am a liberal forest worker and I get along better with conservative rural America than I do the professional meritocracy. These folk have real skills and values and get it when an overeducated elite looks down on them. Often the overeducated lack the self awareness to see the bigotry of the meritocracy. I also find it easier to disagree with conservatives on issues like abortion and guns then to disagree with liberals on gender creationism and grievance hierarchies. Thanks Abigail
Slightly off topic, but what happened to the Atlantic is sad. It is probably the worst example of media properties that spent 100 years building their brand and then flushed it down the toilet. Toilet is a good symbol for the kinds of stuff the Atlantic publishes now. I had a subscription to the Atlantic in the '90's. It leaned left on its articles about the economy or politics, but it was mostly very well written, long-form, general interest articles. The editing was also first rate. I haven't read anything on the Atlantic in years. Giving space to faux conservative grifters like Tom Nichols is a good reason why. I think Dems are scared shitless of people like Vance who move into politics, so they and their media allies are doing a preemptive campaign against him. They don't have a sustainable coalition if the working class fully abandon them, so attacking Republican politicians who appeal to working class is a top priority.
Good piece. The last paragraph says it all:
"We don’t need or even want smart cities. We can live without autonomous trucking or delivery-by-drone. No app will save America. Helping us recover a “normal life” will be the great project of the next generation of political winners."
Great essay! I do have one bone to pick with it. When Vance says that conservatives must hold two thoughts together (personal responsibility & circumstances matter) I am of the belief that if you polled many conservatives, you would find that they already hold those two thoughts. The loud voices get the most attention. Ted Cruz doesn’t speak for me directly, but I agree with him far more than I do AOC. I am an immigrant that has worked hard to get an education and rise above my circumstances. This was partly due to my father’s conservative views. I have empathy for the rough situations of some of my students. I do not, however, counsel them to cry on my shoulder and blame “the man.” I help them problem-solve a solution that works best for their circumstance. It would be a disservice for them if I didn’t point out how their poor choices have led them to the predicament they’re in. That said, it’s always done with love and compassion. It seemed to me that Vance was vilifying all conservatives based on those loud voices. We’re all complex and not a monolith.
This is the most inspirational piece I've read in a long time. I can't remember how it was I found your Substack in the first place, but now I'm sure glad I did. I want to go find more of your work. Please keep churning out such greatness. (And such fine examples of the writing craft, too.)
Straight to the heart of the matter.
So many people I know don't want to vote either Democrat or Republican. If someone who was a common sense centrist came to the fore, all these disaffected folks and independents wold propel him or her to victory. We're all sick of the ultra-left and the ultra-right! I hope Vance does well, and I hope, Abigail, you'll be his VP!
Biden wags his finger at America all the time with his moralizing about all the current moral piety's of the left. What else can his talk on white supremacy etc be called besides judgmental?
I agree and disagree with a bunch of stuff in this article. The main thing I disagree with is that the article seems too milquetoast fence sitting.
The current infrastructure bill which they are claiming to be bipartisan defines gender identity as a protected class.
“American Medical Association’s (AMA) Board of Trustees kept busy during the summer crafting a resolution in favor of removing the terms “male” and “female” from birth certificates, claiming evidence of an individual being born is the only information necessary."
Women rights have gone backwards half a century, terms like mother, breastfeeding etc are no longer allowed.
All this is because the “conservatives” aren’t conserving shit and liberals ain’t liberal. This all occurred because of too many spineless incompetent Republican who keep trying to please the left and giving up ground. Speaking out against all this insanity can be used against the main premise of your article - “Non-Judgmental”. Leftists will simply claim that speaking out against men in women sports or bathrooms or prisons is judgemental, speaking out against injecting kids with hormones is judgemental etc. Leftists know how to wordsmith and exploit people’s emotions. Sitting on the fence may not be the best idea.
ASIA FOR THE ASIANS, AFRICA FOR THE AFRICANS, WHITE COUNTRIES FOR EVERYBODY!
Anti-Whites say there must be no White Countries.
Anti-Whites say there must be no White Towns.
Anti-Whites say there must be no White Neighborhoods.
Anti-Whites say there must be no White Anything.
Anti-Whites say there must be no White People.
Immigration = Colonization – “Diversity” = Fewer White Children
“Multiculturalism” = WHITE GENOCIDE
Anti-racist is a code word for anti-White.
I don't know Tom Nichols. I do read his Atlantic pieces and follow him on Twitter. I honestly think that none of his other beefs with J.D. Vance would've moved him to condemnation, had Vance not recently thrown in his lot with the Divider-in-Chief, aka The Former Guy.
I'm a leftist. But I too yearn for a sense of common purpose again. We won't get that as long as Trumpism rules the GOP. We need more Liz Cheneys, Jaime Herrera Beutlers, and Adam Kinzingers. We won't get them as long as Trumpism continues to suffocate the party.
And yes, I can hear people countering: but what about The Squad? The left-wing of the Dems is unelectable in the vast majority of districts, even in the primary, whereas Trumpists are ascendant in virtually every safe GOP district and state.
Like Nichols, a Republican never-Trumper, I see Trumpism as a clear and immediate threat to democracy. Perhaps the common cause going forward will be a coalition of those who wish to preserve democracy. I will hold hands with my Republican friends, tightly, until democracy is safe and we can get back to squabbling about ordinary policy differences.
great article, right on target
Brilliant. Thank you. I've often wondered how people can so quickly judge others without knowing a stitch about their lives. You go, Vance!
I'm conservative but don't relate to your accusations about how they judge those who are gay or not religious, etc. Not everyone is Shaun Hannity.
Excellent piece, thank you. Our issue as a nation, a society, I believe has been that we believe all of us should achieve some "normal" life. A life is defined by one's values and the goals and tactics that support achieving that normal life. For the last several decades we have created and funneled a vision to our children that there is but one way, which is a college education and a high paying services job in the professional class. We pumped money into people's hands not necessarily through economic growth but by drowning ourselves, collectively, in debt. Along the way we have confused what a human being's basic right truly represents. Our Declaration holds the key: that man has a Right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It does not mean that those values will be achieved. That is every man, woman and child's responsibility, regardless of circumstances.