The Bizarre Civil War-Stoking Impulses of the Professional-Managerial Class in the US

Love your enemy, for you will become him.

-Israeli saying

A couple of years ago, when Lambert would talk about professional pundits and official Democratic spokescritters behaving as if they were trying to stoke civil war in the US, I thought he’d been spending too much time on Twitter and might benefit from a dose of smelling salts. It now looks like he was correct, albeit so early it was still possible that the impulse could have fizzled out or moved in another direction.

One of the reasons it’s hard to talk about this obvious yet diffuse and multifaceted development of actively fomenting class hatred is that it doesn’t fall tidily along demographic lines, as much as some factions would like to have you believe otherwise. It’s psychographic.

Hatred of The Other was supposed to a hallmark of the uneducated, provincial, and intolerant. Yet we now see bloody, vicious fantasies about what should happen to Them for being wrong-thinking and wrong-acting being not just voiced freely, but even applauded.

The immediate manifestation is open hatred for the unvaxxed. The Othering of them takes the form of depicting them as white Trump voting Bubbas, when vaccination rates happen to be relatively low also among blacks, Hispanics, and curiously, PhDs. In a belated admission that the media stereotyping of the unvaxxed is too narrow, minority vaccine-shunners are being rebranded as “vaccine deliberate.”1

One of the new big ways to despise The Bad (Presumed White) unvaxxed is to depict them as unworthy of receiving medical care for Covid because it’s supposedly their fault that they are in this fix. Yet no one bats an eye at treating smokers for cancer and COPD, or STD victims who presumably couldn’t be bothered to use a condom, or the overweight for heart attacks and diabetes or drunks who smash themselves up with their cars, or attempted suicides. If we’re going to go strong form “only the deserving get treated,” we could probably shrink the size of the medical industry by two-thirds.

And this sentiment is getting a following. Our IM Doc practices in one of the bluest counties in the US. A recent report:

During lunch in the doctor’s lounge word came that an unvaccinated patient had died at the tertiary center he was sent last night. 3 MDs sat at the table next to me and out loud something like this – “WELL THAT DUMB ASS HAD IT COMING”. I sat for a moment and no one else said a word. I could not believe it. I finally had to say something – “My Chairman [a superstar of academic medicine and renown medical ethicist] would have fired my ass on the spot for even thinking something like that about an AIDS patient. That is completely unprofessional and inappropriate to say that out loud.” THAT IS YOUR OPINION, THESE DUMB BUTTS HAVE IT COMING – was the reply.

They are getting meaner and more brazen by the day – as the whole vaccine narrative continues to become unhinged more every day.

I am feeling that I am getting the idea what it was like to watch normal happy German citizens turn into the SS.

Admittedly I wasn’t there, but particularly coming from a clutch of doctors, this line of talk sounds a bit too much like Lebensunwertes Leben for my comfort.

The other justification for punishing the yahoos is that they pose a contagion threat. The problem is that’s now hard to support with the fact that the vaccines were never approved based on preventing infection, but severe cases. We pointed early to data out of Israel, which has since been confirmed, showing that case levels were proportional among the vaccinated and unvaccinated as of July. That’s 5-6 months after most got a Pfizer jab, and appears to be a combo of diminishing protection over time plus Delta somewhat evading the vaccines. Other studies have confirmed diminishing vaccine efficacy.

The CDC found that nasal viral loads were pretty much the same for the vaccinated and unvaccinated. One study argued that the virus in the vaccinated was nevertheless somewhat weakened; our GM wasn’t impressed: “Yeah, it got 2x more contagious, the vaccinated are only 1.8x more contagious, we are winning…”

And it’s not as if all that many of the vaccinated can claim much of a moral high ground now that it’s become popular to abandon masks and social distancing (which would have to be way more distant given Delta’s much greater infectiousness) and go to restaurants and events.

It may seem over the top to depict vengeful vaccine enforcers as proto Nazis. Yet one reader who was a leader in his state’s Asian American Alliance reports that the Chinese who remember the Cultural Revolution are abandoning the Democrats “in droves” due to tech censorship, cultural purity in the form of wokeness and now stoking of hatred over Covid that are all too reminiscent of what they fled.

But at the same time, the fury of self-designated members of the elite towards people they don’t know or know only as stereotypes comes off as a parent or authority who is enraged that they are being defied. It’s not as if many or any are angry that hospital workers are being driven to the breaking point, for instance, It’s because their sense of how things should work is being defiled.

And that goes back to 2016. A big chunk of the folks who think they are in charge by virtue being deserving had their collective Great Chain of Being upended when Trump won. Trump then compounded his sin by having a revolving collection of incompetents and loud-mouths in his Administration. What was remarkable is that rather than coolly plotting their comeback, the out group spent four years whining at the loudest warble imaginable and focusing tremendous energy on the supposed Trump show-stopper, Russiagate, that delivered a big fat squib.

Mind you, as we and others have pointed out repeatedly, Biden has continued nearly all of Trump’s policies, intensified China-poking, and executed the Trump plan to leave Afghanistan. He also embraced the Trump Covid program of placing all his bets on the magic vaccines that Trump funded and even eventually trashed masking by including getting rid of them as a major feature of his May “Mission Accomplished.”

So why the visceral hatred? It goes back to a phenomenon that Thomas Frank so skillfully described in his book Listen, Liberal. He wrote up a conference. A regular, grating feature was that everyone who was mentioned was praised in the most fawning, over the top terms…and no one reacted as if that was odd. In fact, it was treated as normal and expected.

Now who needs or wants to be praised to the skies as a matter of course? Narcissists and other deeply insecure individuals. And some of that insecurity is genuinely founded. In a highly unequal, stratified society, the loss of income doesn’t just mean giving up on this year’s ski trip or a house renovation. Among other things, it often results in the loss of your social circle, since you can no longer afford the country club membership, heading a committee at your charity, serving on the board of your kid’s private school. Social relations are shallow and very much class dependent.

Steve Waldman described this psychology long form in his post, Predatory precarity:

There are people at the top of the American food chain who are stupid rich, for whom questions of making ends meet and financial security are laughably distant. People like that, they are easy to deal with. If it was “us” (whoever the fuck we are) versus only them, politics would be easy. We’d have taxed the billionaires to pay their fair share a long time ago.

But most of the people towards the top of the American food chain are not stupid rich, but stupidly rich. They “make” sums of money that by any fair reckoning, obviously in a global context but even in an American context, are huge. But they plow that affluence into bidding wars on incredibly (if artificially) scarce social goods. Nobody “needs” to live in Arlington (or my own San Francisco). No one’s kid “has” to go to private school (or for the more woke among us, notionally public schools rendered exclusive by the cost of nearby housing). If you make price your first priority in, say, shopping for preschool or daycare, perhaps you can find something reasonable….

The point of this is not that you should have sympathy for the Arlingtonians (or San Franciscans). Fuck ’em (er, us). But you are missing something important, as a matter of politics if nothing else, if you don’t get that the people who are your predators financially are, in their turn, someone else’s prey. Part of why the legalized corruption that is the vast bulk of the (dollar-weighted) US economy is so immovable is that the people whose lobbyists have cornered markets to ensure they stay overpaid are desperately frightened of not being overpaid, because if they were not overpaid they would become unable to make all the absurd overpayments that are now required to live what people of my generation (and race, and class) understood to be an ordinary life. It’s turtles all the way down, each one collecting a toll and wondering how it’s gonna pay the next diapsid.

I strongly urge you to read the entire post, particularly the discussion of the position of doctors.

So even if the rise of the Trumpistas didn’t break all that many PMC ricebowls (and actually gave a big shot in the arm to the news biz), it was a huge raspberry to playing the meritocratic game. And it was also a blunt reminder that their belief in the inevitability of their rule was not at all a given.

Now what I don’t understand is what these hatemongers think the end game is. To be crass, even though the Jews in Germany were very well educated and on the whole providing highly valued services, they were still only 1% of the population. Even if one believes that Bubba-hatred is limited only to the Trump loyalists, or the only 1/3 of Trump loyalists that say they won’t get vaccinated, that’s still a big chunk of the country. And they also have a strong propensity to own guns and maybe even know how to aim.

Put it another way: When Mark Blyth said that the Hamptons are not a defensible position, you can say that of Blue America generally. Let’s use 2016 results as a proxy, since Hillary was the more pure and unabashed professional-managerial class candidate than Biden:

If push comes to shove, the professional-managerial class cannot rely on the support of the police. Look at how New York City’s finest openly dissed De Blasio. The military are not supposed to operate domestically and would likely use that prohibition to stand aside. The professional-managerial class does not control the ports, trucking, or rail operations. The crop-growing areas of California are under conservative control. Etc.

So the members of the professional-managerial class are correct to be insecure about their authority and claims of legitimacy. But going authoritarian when they lack adequate control of supply lines and enforcement mechanisms is an exceedingly risky wager.


1 It is remarkable that no where do I see a mention reason I’ve repeatedly heard, first hand: they have friends or co-workers who had reactions that cause them to miss a day or two of work, and they can’t afford that.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. DJG, Reality Czar

    Many thanks, Yves Smith. And, yet, I would offer that the U.S. upper-middle class (or professional managerial class) has always, always gotten what it wanted, backed up by articles about its virtues in The New Yorker, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune (conservative PMC wing), and so on.

    There were amusing memes going around yesterday about how “liberals” brought us the eight-hour day. Yes, the delusion is that thick. The upper-middle-class brought us the eight-hour day? Labor law? [The reason that the U S of A is so weak on wage&hours laws, employment protections, and a jobs policy is that doing so inconveniences the upper middles. Don’t expect the Trumka PRO bill to make it through the Congress. Strikes are just so taxing–and so early 20th Century, don’tcha know?]

    Given how long this sort of pointed, pained, gratuitous class warfare has gone on in the U.S, I’m not sure that the breaking point has arrived yet.

    1. hunkerdown

      The PMC and capital divide the alienation of the primary producer from their surplus between themselves. Capital gets the material surplus, PMCs get the superstructural surplus (a certain form of interpersonal power, one might say).

      Acceptance of narratives is also a social relation, as the post itself shows. One interesting definition of Fascism is government by mythmaking, which I tend to read as running on brand fumes, and which powered the Mussolini regime for several years. This is why I favor Johnstone’s “Societies are built of narrative” narrative. The old stories can be discredited. The katcina’s masks can fall, exposing the mere man behind them. The emperor’s clothes protect him naught from a hostile grab or grope or shiv. The valorization of scarcity, at the root of so much Puritan thought, can be dispensed with as the sham it is more effectively now than ever. You need only declare it, Your RIghtness Mr. Czar. :)

        1. Samuel Conner

          I speculate that hd has in mind something along the lines of “the occupational niches that come into being in a larger and more complex economy.” Not sure that that’s a “surplus,” though.

          Or perhaps it is. For example, there’s a lot of PMC niches in the NGO sector, and that is arguably an unnecessary surplus.

          My apologies to the many good-hearted people working in the lower reaches of NGO world.

        2. eg

          I think maybe he or she means “places within the superstructure” which give them positions of authority over wage-slaves, as well as pulpits from which to lecture them?

        3. hunkerdown

          Generally, the right to determine and enforce the subjective conditions on top of the more base-adjacent relations they were charged to reproduce (wage, market, debt, etc.). That includes hard sumptuary norms like the vax pass, or softer norms like an occupationally appropriate level of conspicuous consumption, or gratuitous complexity as a tax on time (see Lind’s “changing the passcodes every six months”).

        4. Mike Elwin

          Capital gets the power to take the money provided by the producers’ labor, the PMC gets the power to make the myths/narratives/religions/ethics/etc. by which the producers manage/tolerate their lives. Straightforward Marx, right?

          My personal experience of being a PMC is that capital’s money and greed can cap our ability to dominate/design the superstructure. Capital plays whack-a-mole with us, though it’s not at all playful, of course.

          In the meantime, while capital and PMC, as well as creatives, struggle with each other, labor trundles along clinging to its paychecks, doing the best it can with too little.

          1. JBird4049

            >>>Capital gets the power to take the money provided by the producers’ labor, the PMC gets the power to make the myths/narratives/religions/ethics/etc. by which the producers manage/tolerate their lives. Straightforward Marx, right?

            Was does this sound remarkably like the prison guards or the prisoner trustees ruling over the general population?

            Although seeing how the usually white, upper class customers treated myself and my fellow workers, it might be thought of as we are the inmates and the they the custodians of the insane asylum. I am a white male with the proper accent and words, which gave some, not respect, acceptance maybe. That, and being fawning as you can with a poker face works wonders. Some of the others who were women and/or a different hue, as well as accent, got treated like they were dumber than a box of nails. Very aggravating to see, let me tell you.

            It is status most of all that the PMC and the adjacent crave. People might not realize it consciously, but getting the right degree or position gives them emotional protection; it is getting mighty cold out there in America, and looking down at the common people, those who did not do the “right” things, is gives them a nice, thick, warm emotional blanket.

      1. clarky90

        The Story of my Grandpa

        Vladimir Brovkin

        “This is a story of my Grandpa (a member of the Soviet PMC) and how he escaped Stalin’s Great Terror. Dr.Brovkin is a Russian-born American Professor of History now retired, used to serve as An Associate Professor of History at Harvard University.”

        An interesting, 8 minute, family narrative from a troubled time. (1930s USSR).

    2. Nikkikat

      Very good comment DJG, the professional managerial class is the buffer between US and THEM. They get all they need. They live fat and happy and stand between Us and them.
      I refer to them now as the work from home crowd.

      1. Alphonse

        the professional managerial class is the buffer between US and THEM. They get all they need. They live fat and happy and stand between Us and them.

        In short, they’re cops.

        I think that’s the answer to whether they (we) are capital or labour.

        1. Samuel Conner

          > In short, they’re cops.

          IIRC, Howard Zinn in his “People’s History of the United States” called them the “guards”.

          Lambert calls them the “gatekeepers” — a kind of “guard”

        2. Mike Elwin

          One foundational crisis here is that the PMCs’ children are not expecting a fat and happy future, and they’re righteously pissed about it. If the PMCs are fomenting revolution, they’re doing it by sacrificing their children’s and grandchildren’s lives.

        1. philnc

          If only we could reach the point where those “damned blue collar tweekers” got to the point where they had the confidence they really could “do it better” and were willing to act on it. I think that would bring a smile to Prof. Woff’s face.

        2. Big River Bandido

          This is true. I worked in pharma advertising in NYC for 5 years, calling in lunch orders and making plane reservations for people who truly had no clue how to do it themselves.

          *Real* work? PMCs are absolutely helpless.

        3. IMOR

          May I third or fourth this? I spotted it in myself about 22 years ago after losing a legislative/lobbying position. Sure, I KNEW more than anyoneelse you’ve met, but what did I know how to DO, apart from research, write, and edit? A couple warehouse work summers and some poorly done housepainting? Heck, despite excellent situational/contextual instincts and the liberal arts and historical background to know which language someone was speaking, I was monolingual!
          So I… got busy and learned some practical real-life skills? No – but I became a LOT friendlier/kinder and focused much more of that on the skilled/working class people I encountered! Joined in some projects, asked questions, perforce changed where I drank, et At least now the question, “Who you gonna call?” isn’t purely rhetorical for me.

        4. redleg

          Where’s Graeber when you need him?
          Y’all need to read his “Bullshit Jobs” and lament that he isn’t around to continue the study.

          1. Rolf

            @redleg I can’t agree with your comment enough. Graeber knew. I’m so sad he’s gone. For that matter, Christopher Lasch too.

  2. scarnoc

    If you are looking for largely pure and unadulterated celebration of the deaths of the unvaccinated, check out r/HermanCainAward. It combines the somewhat normal human impulse to laugh at ‘Darwin Award’ style catastrophic results with the class/culture hatred that has been stoked by USA media.

    1. TBellT

      As I said below, hatred is an American value. You can see it from some of these posts, one deceased calling the unemployed lazy, another making crude jokes about marginalized communities, another calling for genocide in Afghanistan. It’s certainly not confined to the gloaters of the subreddit.

      You would have thought the major level of death we’re going through would have instigated some humility and major reconciliation but apparently even this is not enough. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.

      1. larry

        Such hatred is not confined to the US. It can be seen also in England. I can’t speak for other places.

  3. Anthony K Wikrent

    Thank you, Yves, for this excellent summary and important reminder of Frank’s, Waldman’s, and other’s insights into our ruling elites. A question I often posed while blogging when Obama was President was whether his policy choices, such as protecting the banks and Wall Street instead of ordinary homeowners, was a result of malicious intent or not. Having read the two books Obama wrote before becoming President, I argued that the cause was not malicious intent so much as Veblen’s “trained incapacity” [remarkably, there is no mention of Veblen at this link], arising from Obama’s thorough college indoctrination in neoliberalism. This was especially clear from what Obama wrote in his two books about trade policy, and his experience working with politically opposed conservatives while editing the Harvard Law Review.

    Along these lines, I would highly recommend adding Ian Welsh’s explanation of how cost benefit analysis came to totally dominate economic, political, and social decision making.

    The only antidotes I see are a return to a thorough grounding in the great classics of Western Enlightenment humanism, such as Plato’s Republic, St. Augustine’s City of God, Machiavelli’s Discourses on Livy, and Milton’s Paradise Lost (in which MIlton has Satan explain that it is better to “reign in hell than serve in heaven” which is, I imho, the best one line summary of our elites’ thinking at this point).

    1. Susan the other

      I think the antidote might be much simpler to grasp, across all classes. Waldman’s “The people who are your predators are in their turn someone else’s prey.” Picketty puts it delicately to the rich – they really can’t expect to make an extra 5% forever. But that is still the system. It’s a system based on extracting your profit from anyone you can. Even if it requires you to be exceedingly immoral – as long as the law allows it. And the big lie of meritocracy was really the last bastion for the pontificating class. Not because they’re beginning to see the light, but because they themselves are driving their own destruction. And one of the big questions is why? What on earth for? Just to stay in the squirrel wheel? An equal society is the only thing that will save everyone. So, next step: legislation. Equitable legislation.

      1. ambrit

        “An equal society is the only thing that will save everyone.”
        Your mistake in the above is in ascribing to the PMCs your own level of empathy and morality. Most of the PMCs I have had encounters with over the last few years don’t care about anyone else but themselves and theirs.
        Noblesse Oblige is a dead letter.
        So, legislation. As long as the PMCs retain their hold on the voting process, the default strategy for true “progressives” is extra-legal action.
        Remember the history of the Labour Wars of the Robber Baron Era. The elites of the day conceded nothing until they were faced with the destruction of the society they preyed upon.

      2. Anthony Noel

        Legislation? Who is going the legislate for you? The squad? I’m sorry but legislation didn’t stop this s**t last time around. It was the Bonus Army marching on and occupying DC, (Hmmm, I wonder how that’ll work out with the newly empowered and funded capital police, almost like they thought with them creating tens of millions of newly homeless people just before winter hits in the U.S might, I don’t know cause people to maybe take a stroll down Capitol way to voice their displeasure.) It was the Ludlow Massacre, it was the Great Steel Strike of 1919, it was the Battle of Matewan, it was the Battle of Blair Mountain.

        You can’t legislate your way out of this because these people are your legislators. They are not going to slit their own throats to make you whole.

        1. Big River Bandido

          While I don’t disagree with the general thrust of your comment… the Bonus Army was incredibly unsuccessful. MacArthur crushed them.

          1. Anthony Noel

            Didn’t say they won, most of those examples were not victories in any sense of the word for anyone involved. But they put pressure on the people in power and look at what happened, the 1932 bonus army had Hoover sent out MacArthur with infantry, calvary and 6 tanks. In the 1933 bonus army came and Roosevelt sent his wife.

            1. ambrit

              Most squarely blame MacArthur, but his two “right hand men” were Patton and Eisenhower.
              MacArthur was the perfect PMC type. In the later 1930s, he was hired by the Philippine Government to be their head military advisor. By all accounts, he lived like a king. Why wouldn’t he want to go back?
              What is edifying about the successive ‘waves’ of the Bonus Army is that the treatment offered by the two politicos shows the difference between how a professional businessman handles a “problem” and how a professional politician does.
              I have a theory that the Reactionary Wing of the Republican Party had an inspired moment when they hired the actor, Ronald [family blogging] Reagan, to play the part of President in 1980.

            2. hunkerdown

              So? People need to die to get a policy win? What kind of sick sacrificial larp is liberalism, anyway? One designed to protect elites, as cynical and useless for the mass as any other.

      3. Daniel LaRusso

        Equity is a horrible thing. Equality … and only opportunity not outcome is something I would get behind

        1. JTMcPhee

          That sounds like the voice of one who has seen his opportunities and taken them. Current outcome = 1. Because markets + 2. Just die (quietly.)

          IIRC Jesus was all about equity, but hey… Paul fixed that pretty darn quick.

          Our nation of temporarily embarrassed millionaires is only “behind” extracting wealth from those who have had less “opportunity,” no?

    2. Bazarov

      Three alternative volumes more likely to offer insight on how we might get “out of this” (“we” here being not the educated elite but the vast majority of everyday Americans) are also descended from enlightenment thinking:

      “Capital” by Marx
      “The State and Revolution” by Lenin
      “The Little Red Book” by Mao

      Americans should especially be reading Mao. After all, the conservatives have brilliantly executed a Maoist strategy (demonstrated by the territorial map in Yves’ post)–the cities are surrounded. What would follow a true civil conflict, I think, would be a “Cultural Revolution” wherein the elites would be disciplined and humiliated by the masses, and the symbols of high culture would be attacked in a kind of nationwide bonfire of the vanities or burning of the Library of Alexandria.

      This would, of course, be mourned by future elites (just as the French Revolution is) because they were the victims, but the Cultural Revolution has a nuanced legacy inflected by class–it is warmly remembered among the rural Chinese and the downtrodden. In fact, recent research suggests that the Cultural Revolution was a boon to rural areas, which saw significant economic development during this period. See especially “The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village,” which argues:

      “In Shandong Province, Han shows that the Cultural Revolution helped overthrow local hierarchies, establish participatory democracy and economic planning in the communes, and expand education and public services, especially for the elderly. Han lucidly illustrates how these changes fostered dramatic economic development in rural China.”

      You can buy it here:

      Even among the urban Chinese proletariat, the Cultural Revolution is resonant, as its slogans appear often in graffiti applied to factory walls and in factory dormitories during worker struggles.

      Anyway, here’s a pithy encapsulation of Mao’s strategy from the man himself. It can tell us more of how the civil war in America would resolve than any of the pre-modern volumes you’ve listed (except, perhaps, the insights of Machiavelli):

      “(1) Attack dispersed isolated enemy forces first; attack concentrated strong enemy forces later.

      (2) Take small and medium cities and extensive rural areas first; take big cities later.

      (3) Make wiping out the enemy’s effective strength our main objective; do not make holding or seizing a city or place our main objective. Holding or seizing a city or place is the outcome of wiping out the enemy’s effective strength, and often a city or place can be held or seized for good only after it has changed hands a number of times.

      (4) In every battle, concentrate an absolutely superior force (two, three, four and sometimes even five or six times the enemy’s strength), encircle the enemy forces completely, strive to wipe them out thoroughly and do not let any escape from the net. In special circumstances, use the method of dealing the enemy crushing blows, that is, concentrate all our strength to make a frontal attack and an attack on one or both of his flanks, with the aim of wiping out one part and routing another so that our army can swiftly move its troops to smash other enemy forces. Strive to avoid battles of attrition in which we lose more than we gain or only break even. In this way, although inferior as a whole (in terms of numbers), we shall be superior in every part and every specific campaign, and this ensures victory in the campaign. As time goes on, we shall become superior as a whole and eventually wipe out the entire enemy.

      (5) Fight no battle unprepared, fight no battle you are not sure of winning; make every effort to be well prepared for each battle, make every effort to ensure victory in the given set of conditions as between the enemy and ourselves.

      (6) Give full play to our style of fighting – courage in battle, no fear of sacrifice, no fear of fatigue, and continuous fighting (that is, fighting successive battles in a short time without rest).

      (7) Strive to wipe out the enemy when he is on the move. At the same time, pay attention to the tactics of positional attack and capture enemy fortified points and cities.

      (8) Concerning attacking cities, resolutely seize all enemy fortified points and cities that are weakly defended. At opportune moments, seize all enemy fortified points and cities defended with moderate strength, provided circumstances permit. As for all strongly defended enemy fortified points and cities, wait until conditions are ripe and then take them.

      (9) Replenish our strength with all the arms and most of the personnel captured from the enemy. Our army’s main sources of manpower and materiel are at the front.

      (10) Make good use of the intervals between campaigns to rest, train and consolidate our troops. Periods of rest, training and consolidation should not in general be very long, and the enemy should as far as possible be permitted no breathing space. These are the main methods the People’s Liberation Army has employed in defeating Chiang Kai-shek. They are the result of the tempering of the People’s Liberation Army in long years of fighting against domestic and foreign enemies and are completely suited to our present situation . . .. our strategy and tactics are based on a people’s war; no army opposed to the people can use our strategy and tactics.”

      A coda: Among educated Americans, Plato’s Republic is revered. When I was a young man, devouring works of philosophy and literature, I was extremely excited to read it, only to find that Plato’s Republic is a ghastly, eugenic dystopia. No wonder the PMCs adore it! I certainly hope we find a better “way out” than that prescribed by Socrates’ most uptight student.

      1. Baby Gerald

        Great recommendations, Bazarov. An excellent audiobook version of State and Revolution can be found on Librivox and It’s a nice short listen that will open ones’ eyes. The Condition of The Working Class In England in 1844 by Engels is another excellent title found there.

        Audiobooks of Plato are on there as well, so one can compare and contrast.

        Readers of Capital can find video lectures covering the first two volumes chapter by chapter by CUNY professor and noted Marx scholar David Harvey on YouTube and elsewhere.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Diogenes showed the way by telling Alexander the Great to go pound sand. For some reason the elites never seem to invoke old Diogenes…

      3. QuicksilverMessenger

        I wrote this a number of months back and will share here in case anyone wishes to hear a completely different take:
        The real meaning of the Republic, and of Socrates, as is often the case, is hiding in plain sight. It has nothing to do with an actual city, nor is it a political treatise, nor an argument for ‘elitism’. It is meant of course as an analogy to the actual structure of the human being- a tripartite complex: psychic/intellect, emotional/ spirited element, instinctive/ like and dislike- as it is usually constituted, and what it can, and indeed, is meant to be.
        And of course, Socrates is always vindicated: We human beings are quite literally ‘upside down’, ruled by like and dislike (the ‘lower’ nature), fortified by the emotional element, of which the intellect only can serve and be blinded by. There is no harmony between the elements- they are all performing the wrong tasks. We need only to look around at ourselves to see this is so.
        But it can, and rightly should, be otherwise: The state of “Justice” (the Greek dike, which funnily enough is the word used in Matthew in the Sermon on the Mount for ‘righteousness’- the who hunger and thirst after righteousness) a true life outside of the cave, a human being ‘right side up’. It’s funny because Socrates says over and over (I once kept a count of how many times he says it) that we are building this city only to look at man writ large; as an analogy so to study the structure of the human organism. The building of the Republic is only a cover story to hide a real teaching from a master- a master of inner work

        1. DJ

          Thank you for this. I missed your comment a number of months back, but am glad I caught it this time. Your reading of Plato seems so obviously correct. Plato’s Rebublic is a grand analogy. It was not meant to be a prescription for the perfect state. Interpreting it as a political treatise misses the point.

        2. hunkerdown

          “Is” is a very strong word for philosophers to be waving around so casually. Plato’s original purposes are irrelevant now. He is dead. His will no longer responds to the world. He is an ex-philosopher.

          What is important is whether The Republic, whether by chance, extraordinary foresight, or esoteric craft, also: serves as an allegory to the actual structure of the emergent intelligences of institutions, could be used as a narrative model for capturing and exploiting masses, and is an efficient vector for transmitting (i.e. reproducing) elite rule. I don’t see how assertions of private opinion that cannot be meaningfully interrogated rule out any of these possibilities, any more than “respect for the Great Ones” prevents me (mis/ab)using Plato’s collected works as a doorstop.

      4. workingclasshero

        well Bazarov,i have spent the last 20 years as a marxist and Monthly Review subscriber and i was cured by the George Floyd riots,socialist feminist inspired BLM and the anarchists in Portland,Oregon.Your three recomendations for inspirational reading i’ve read to death and currently find nauseating.This reminds of the fever pitched yammerings of a 20 something college lefty at a D.S.A. meeting i went to about 6 years ago.In allot of ways trump was kind of a fool,but i’ll pick a right wing populist who is’nt out to cut the the social safety net any day over a over serious commie spoutimg on about hegel and the dialectic and smashing all “oppressive” social relations.

        1. Bazarov

          I’m sure you own a beautiful home!

          As for “I’ll take a right wing populist who isn’t out to cut the social safety net over a serious commie” well–that sure does sound like the usual bourgeois “party of order” prattle you always hear from the middle classes and the petite bourgeois strivers when the going gets tough.

        2. blep

          Kinda hard when the entire thing about being right-wing is cutting the social safety net. We just had the biggest benefits cliff in the history of the welfare state, didn’t see Hawley/Carlson/whoever even care. Because their brief dalliances into skewering “woke capital” is purely rhetorical when the word and deed of their legislating/propagandizing is still beholden to capital.

      5. The Rev Kev

        A lot of Mao’s strategy which you showed sounds like what happened in Afghanistan but I would disagree with his 4th point of ‘encircle the enemy forces completely, strive to wipe them out thoroughly and do not let any escape from the net.’ Sun Tzu warned how this can badly backfire as the troops may give in to despair or – they might decide ‘We’re going to die anyway. Let’s take as many of the b******* with us as we can.’ The encircling army can then suffer heavy casualties and lose some of their best line troops then. Sometimes the encircled troops can even make a breakthrough and escape. Sun Tzu counseled to leave one path open to the enemy, even if it was illusionary.

        1. Bazarov

          Interesting observation about Mao’s departure from Sun Tzu!

          And yes, I think you’re right about Afghanistan. Mao’s strategy, if you have committed fighters and the sympathies of the rural people, seems generally sound.

          1. Procopius

            Interesting story at the New Yorker. The title was something like, The Other Women in Afghanistan. The author went down to Kandahar and managed somehow to find some women who would talk to him. According to the women he talked to, the rural people considered the Taliban “the lesser of two evils.” The Americans wanted to destroy their way of life, and killed ordinary people wherever they went.

        2. Big River Bandido

          In any offensive maneuver (military or political), the importance of sparing no enemy capable of rising up against you is one of Machiavelli’s core tenets. Perhaps Mao was channeling Machiavelli in that passage instead. OTOH, one could interpret Sun Tzu’s admonition as a reminder to allow your enemy to save face (“leave one path open…even if it was illusionary”) if you are going to allow them to survive.

          1. redleg

            If you leave your enemy one way out, you can predict where they are going to go and prepare for the next battle while the current one is still being fought.

      6. Fritzi

        The Chinese Communists built a functional, modern state, that after all kinds of difficult developments in the end was absolutely instrumental in lifting hundreds of millions Out of poverty (even if at horrendous human and ecological cost).

        It bred it’s own elites, who, despite massive flaws, seem to be fundamentally more capable than their current American counterparts.

        I can’t see the “populist” rightwingers of the US do Something remotely similar.

        They wouldn’t be capable, and they sure as hell would not want to.

        A lot would probably create local societies closer to a Jim Jones type dealio.

        Some would definitely act out their Talibanesque urges.

        There’d probably a LOT of local and regional variety.

        Plenty of it absolutely horrifying, plenty not.

        But surely there’d be a LOT of conflict.

        Quasi permanent warlordism does not seem implausible.

        But it surely would not be big goverment at least.

        Or capitalism, even though as far as I can discern most heavily armed US rightwingers still see themselves as rebels FOR capitalism (at least some mythic, idealised, impossible version of it), instead of against it.

        Certainly there does not seem any sort of plan or programm (except horrific ones, on the hard right).

        That MIGHT turn out advantagous for some, but it sure has it’s drawbacks.

        I guess a massive population dieoff is a given, even if the mass murdering were by some miracle kept to a minimum.

      7. hunkerdown

        Are you seriously advising us to take military advice from some Great Figurehead whom the West has had 70 years to game out and neutralize? The elite could wish for no better outcome than the reduction of the worker’s movement to a millenarian cult with no working OODA loop. Much easier to hijack, gaslight, scam, sham, and keep waiting for the Rapture and wondering after their own Elect status.

    3. Nce

      Nobody likes to remind us that Obama worked for a CIA front (Business International Corp), his parents (including his stepfather) worked for the CIA (assisting Gen Suharto) and his maternal grandparents had CIA connections, too. Timothy Geitner’s father was Obama’s mother’s employer, so why was it a surprise that TG was appointed as Secretary of the Treasury? Let’s remember how truly awful Obama, the ultimate PMC rockstar, actually was.

    4. Fattigmann

      Hear hear! I came to this conclusion years ago. An enduring society will embrace and repackage, if necessary, its foundational texts. No growth without roots. Classic by definition means enduring, timeless. Plato is the bedrock, St. Augustine builds on Plato. Etc.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Augustine was the one who wanted to do the right thing, just later. Sounds like today’s PMC…

  4. diptherio

    People in my immediate circle who have not been vaccinated (that I know of): lower middle-class, middle-aged, African American woman who doesn’t trust the pharma companies or the gov’t to tell her the truth; middle-class millennial white woman, research scientist with a PhD, who doesn’t trust the pharma companies or the gov’t to tell her the truth; low-income, white millennial hippie-types who are way into natural medicine and don’t trust the pharma companies or the gov’t to tell them the truth; lower and lower-middle class white folks in my small town who don’t trust the pharma companies or the gov’t to tell them the truth.

    Which is just to say that I think anyone trying to relate demographic groups to the vax/no-vax divide is not being serious, or honest.

    1. Screwball

      I know some of the same. The key word(s) in your paragraph are trust/truth.

      This country has a trust/truth problem, and it’s getting worse. That isn’t a good recipe for our future. I don’t know about the big cities, but here in Cornhole, Ohio, the natives are getting restless. People are getting more and more pissy.

      I don’t have a good feeling about what happens next.

      1. Pate

        Cornhole Ohio. This narrows my search for your garage. (Thoroughly enjoyed your anecdote the other day.)

    2. Baby Gerald

      Excellent point, diptherio. If I could suggest a corollary to your determination that people without vaccines do not fit into one neat clean demographic, so too do those not wearing masks on public transit.

      My commute involves 40ish minutes on an MTA subway car each way. Since returning to my workplace at the end of July last year I have been stating to anyone who asks that the ones who aren’t wearing masks on the train cannot be nailed down to any type of person. Old, young, affluent or not, any shade of skin color, male, female– it can be anyone.

      As to their reasons for not wearing a mask in probably the most enclosed space of prolonged exposure to strangers one can find, I won’t be the one to ask. Forgetfulness? Obliviousness? Fearlessness? Stubbornness? I’d surmise that it’s a different reason for every person. In their sneering and sanctimonious tone the media thought leaders have done and will continue to do their best to dial any mask debate into the same frame as the vaccine, aiming their collective ire at red-state bubba types wanting freedom at the expense of us civilly-minded obedient science believers on the coasts and in the universities who just want to get back to brunch already. The reality is much more complicated and doesn’t easily fit into a comfortable us/them binary structure.

      1. Objective Ace

        I think at this point masklessness is just a status “in group” symbol. It demonstrates you dispise the PMC/Fauci/lying public health officials. Even if you know masks work, it’s a tax some will pay to not be associated with what they and everyone else in their group hates.. perhaps not unlike Ivermectin for the left

        1. Christopher Horne

          The specifics of hatred are relatively unimportant in terms
          of what ‘sets them off’. The smell of foreign cooking, the wearing
          of a fez (or zoot suit!), long hair. My favorite is Transubstantiation. Does the wafer contain Jesus’s holy spirit
          on not? Imagine a nation torn apart by a cookie! But the gist
          of the debate was- if the King believes the Spirit is there,
          and you want to bring down the King….. I leave it you
          to complete the logic of Power.

        2. fajensen

          There is absolutely some of that: In Sweden people often wears a mask in public to announce ones mistrust in “Folkhälsomyndigheten” in general and that deranged idiot Anders Tegnell in particular.

      2. KMD

        The fully vaccinated were told they didn’t need to wear masks anymore. Many of the stores and restaurants here in Arlington have signs at their entrances that ask only non vaccinated to wear masks.

  5. Glossolalia

    Parents are also deputizing their kids. My (vaccinated) son’s best friend is a 14 year old girl whose parents elected to not vaccinate her. She was saying that she’s anxious and stressed because she sees her classmates posting on social media about how its the unvaccinated that are keeping us from getting back to normal. I’m pretty sure they’re just parroting what their parents are saying at home. Apparently online bullying about vaccines is perfectly acceptable.

    1. Late Introvert

      Parents who allow 14 year olds to access social media aren’t credible in my view. As a father of a teen girl, it is not healthy at all, sorry! She agrees with me by the way, but laments her social status has been diminished over that garbage.

      And this targeting of young people for the failings of their parents is also, IMO, distasteful at best.

  6. Zamfir

    Can I ask where people would draw the (approximate) boundary of the “PMC”? I seem to encounrer 2 somewhat different concepts.

    On the one hand, there a concept where the PMC is a fairly small group. In the linked Waldman article, he lists
    “[…] “peer” professions [of doctors] like lawyers, management consultants, middling corporate executives, and the employees of surveillance monopolists. […]”
    I think this list has the flavor of “PMC” as used in some contexts, let’s call it the “narrow” version. Not masters of the universe ™ by any stretch, but still in the top few percent of being rich and powerful.

    But in other contexts, I have seen people reference the original idea from Ehrenreich. Here the group is much larger, the concept is somewhat similar to people with a college degree, or white-collar workers. She includes social workers, nurses, teachers. Perhaps as edge cases but still within the PMC. Such a “wide” version covers a good chunk of the adult population. The narrow version is only tiny subset of it.

    I am interested, is people’s idea of the PMC closer to the narrow version, or the wide version, or something different yet again?

    1. Pelham

      The dividing line in my mind is much closer to Ehrenreich’s idea. When I was a teen, my dad made sure I was employed during my summers in the worst possible physical (now essential) jobs, often working for hours in 100-degree heat with no shade. I think the purpose was to ensure that after I went to college I would appreciate by contrast the kind of job that would allow me to sit at a desk in an air-conditioned office, no matter how trivial the work.

      While it’s true that many white-collar office workers exercise no managerial authority and may not qualify as professionals in any meaningful sense of the term, if they’ve experienced anything like the little work-world welcome mat rolled out for me in my youth, I suspect they may at least identify with the PMC, even if they don’t qualify as a functioning part of it.

      1. Glossolalia

        This opens up a whole other issue, that of training our kids to be office drones from a young age by directing them to internships in offices instead of jobs like retail, food service, or outdoor work.

        1. anon y'mouse

          if you work in any of the hells (ok, perhaps not outdoor work) you mentioned, unless you are a garrulous extrovert, you will soon long for a boring office job of nearly any type.

          paid like utter crap and treated like it by both employer and customer is a good lesson for what? that people are generally displacing their anger onto a target of lowly status, and that emotional labor is taxing to the psyche.

          1. Christopher Horne

            I worked with a guy at one of the better upper lower middle
            class jobs at Boeing (official title: Rivet Jockey). One of the
            last of the good Union jobs. He had been a car salesman,
            and couldn’t stand the stable if repetitive work.
            So he went back to hawking ‘tin’. The excitement of using
            his powers of persuasion to make a big score fed his ego
            in a way that mere stable income and benefits could never

      2. Objective Ace

        >I think the purpose was to ensure that after I went to college I would appreciate by contrast the kind of job that would allow me to sit at a desk in an air-conditioned office, no matter how trivial the work.

        I have similar plans for my son encouraging taking on some blue collar summer jobs. My reasoning isn’t so he appreciates his desk job if/when he gets one, but so that he knows just how full of crap and incompetent much of his PMC peers are, I also suspect it will come in handy during the climate wars in 3 or 4 decades

      3. fajensen

        I my opinion, having tried working some “menial” job builds up resilience.

        One learns that: “If everything goes to hell, and I fall from The Grace of Management, I can still do this thing to time me over. Even though it sucks, it wasn’t so bad in reality as I imagined it would be”.

        Academics sometimes have an unreasonable fear of “ending up in a dead-end / menial job” and they will put up with much abuse and misery just to keep that illusion that they are not actually standing right now on that platform, even boarding that train to that soul-killing career within Process and Compliance, – that their guts is frantically warning them about :).

      4. sj

        if they’ve experienced anything like the little work-world welcome mat rolled out for me in my youth, I suspect they may at least identify with the PMC

        My parents did a similar thing but at a younger age than a teen. It had the opposite on me and my siblings. Consequently, although I absolutely would be categorized as part of the PMC my mind set is 100% working class.

    2. GERMO

      For me, I favor the most literal definition of PMC. I assume “Professional” isn’t a modifier for “Managerial,” but rather that PMC is shorthand for that class of affluent folks who are either credentialed professionals like doctors or lawyers, or who control the work of others at higher than immediate supervisory level, like managers, directors etc.

      I think it’s clear that there is a well-defined and pretty affluent class — PMC as used in the Naked Capitalism sense — career-proud phonies, bemused with facile identity politics and Bubba-punching, but there is also an equally affluent class who prefer suburbs to cities, have lots of money, and are perfectly capable of being reactionary jerks, taking paid time off and flying to DC to indulge their fantasies. (Not to put too fine a point on it.) The contours of an actual civil war following these divisions are harder to see than a lot of facebook memes would have it. But if the PMC-liberals are in conflict with the Affluent Suburban Jerks, as must surely be the case, then we have at the very least an interesting wrinkle in the class war. The utter disorientation up til now of the working masses, in my opinion, has yet to line up all that neatly though.

    3. AndrewJ

      Once I grokked the “PMC worldview”, I began to understand my social circle a little better – we’re the children of, and in some cases are, the professional-managerial class. Even if we don’t have the jobs, we’ve inherited the aspirations, the love of symbol manipulation, and the politics. Maybe “white collar workers” would have been accurate at one point, but since many of these people don’t wear collared shirts and work in cubicles any more, it doesn’t quite suit the purpose. I prefer the wide view, and a nebulous, “I know it when I see it” sort of definition, as it’s been the more useful bit of language to understand my reality and the people I’ve known over the years.

    4. Lambert Strether

      Class is dynamic and context-dependent.

      The great dividing line is between those who own the means of production (bourgeoisie, though there are gradations, as globalist, American gentry, self-exploiting small businessperson) and those who do not (gradations again, based on how exactly their labor power is sold to those who own the means of production).

      “In between,” not working class, not bourgeois, but functioning to maintain each of those two classes, the PMC. I think many years ago, “social workers, nurses, teachers” would have been solidly PMC, but the board is being tilted, as it were, and more and more these one-time professions are being proletarianized. An adjunct professor, in their precarity, is certainly working class, doing piecework. And soon enough all academics except a few stars will be adjuncts. So I would say something alone the lines of “once large, now shrinking.” And here of course there are gradations as well, as between professors who really retain their tenure, management consultants, financial advisors, pastors, and so on.

      We hardly ever think to ask “How do they make their living?” But it’s surely a key question. And there are only so many ways to do that. So answer that question is to classify a person in a far more interesting and, well, material way than identity politics.

      Adding, I think we should also consider the idea that capital is undergoing enormous and rapid change globally, and restructuring itself, partly in response to the pandemic, and partly because of what seems to be an overproduction crisis at the end of the neoliberal era (too much capital sloshing about and no place to invest it). Hence all other social relations are being restructured as well, something at which the more powerful factions in the PMC are taking point. So we can expect class relations to become overly dynamic.

      1. fajensen

        The board is indeed being tilted.

        What I think is happening, or just about to happen at scale, is that most of the office / desk type work in “symbol manipulation” and “information management” work will be automated, whereas it is all of the “menial, robot-type work” will still be done by people – however, people that are being recruited and ordered around by task-master robots!

        I think there will be some back-pressure against the kind of society that allows that to happen. But not before the whole thing seriously cooks off. That will become “The Singularity” as it really is, not as The Church of The Machine God imagined it.

    5. Yves Smith Post author

      I said it was psychographic, hence there are not tidy boundaries. You can be a grad student and recognize you are a member of the precariat, or have the prospect of enough family money (they own an expensive house and have enough saved to cover elder medical care) that to identify with the PMC because they are well educated and hang with members of the PMC (profs and well paid uni administrators).

  7. Toshiro_Mifune

    It is remarkable that no where do I see a mention of the reason I’ve repeatedly heard, first hand: they have friends or co-workers who had reactions that cause them to miss a day or two of work, and they can’t afford that.
    I just got my first shot on Friday. This is precisely the reason I waited so long. I had to find a time when I could potentially be out of work for 3 days if I got sick.

  8. The Rev Kev

    In reading this I gave thought to a post by John Michael Greer on his old ‘The Archdruid Report’ site where he predicted that Donald Trump would win. This he said in January 2016 which back then was unbelievable. He did so by analyzing America as seen through the lens of the four classes and saw the enormous resentment that the wages class had against the salary class. In re-reading that article I can see a direct line between it and this one and have found it to be very clarifying.

    The actions of the professional-managerial class are bleeding America dry and many of them know that their jobs are not really necessary anyway (bulls**** jobs). Think for example of how many administrators there are in a modern university which leads to the impoverishment of both students and the actual teaching staff and apply that across the board. Add in an American ideal of ‘winner takes all’ and there is not much of a margin of safety for them.

    And there is the suspicion that the removal of these people may actually lead to a revival of American fortunes at home which may or may not be true. As an example, reducing University admin staff by 50% and using the money saved to pay teacher salaries. And firing the football coach who costs a coupla million a year as another PMC would also be a good idea. But as I always say, tap-dancing in a mine field is never a recommended activity so perhaps they should stop-

    1. TBellT

      How are the teachers not part of the salary class? They get plenty of resentment too, look at the school board debates with respect to masking and “CRT”.

      Hatred is an American value, certainly not confined to just those with degrees.

      1. PHLDenizen

        Hatred is a universal value. It manifests itself at different times across all cultures, but I’ll concede a certain brand of vileness that’s uniquely American in its magnitude and intransigence.

        One of the most useful tomes on hatred I’ve ever read was Peter Gay’s The Cultivation of Hatred. He surveys the Victorian age convictions that humans are greedy, wicked, aggressive monsters. And how those undercurrents feed the modern breakdown of civilization’s constraints on nationalism, eugenics, racism, etc.

      2. chris

        Academics are a perfect example of the precarious class Yves is describing. And many (most?) these days are adjuncts who barely make minimum wage for the time they spend teaching classes. They may have vicious things to say about the troglodytes who can’t afford to send kids to the institutions they teach at, but they’re just as likely to have problems making rent as your average worker. They just paid a lot more in time and effort for the privilege of being previously precarious.

        1. howseth

          You talking to me?
          Yeah, the life of an Adjunct (well, for 5 years or so. I taught Photo. Art.) I was not even allowed use of the college gym.
          I thought we adjuncts should be unionized.
          Are artists PMC? I think so – basically. Except – most artists – (the ones I know) can’t afford to live in a nice neighborhood – unless, like I did, we manage to find a ‘special situation’ (Thank you Tax Credit Housing!)
          However, I don’t get to manage anyone but myself .
          But –
          I can look down on people with the best of them! I don’t care for those in the tent camp across the river. The Poor Bastids!

          1. chris

            No no, you’re part of the creative class. You’re supposed to be the fertilizer for future gentrification in areas that are “up and coming” and “cool”. Like well groomed megafauna, artists are supposed to wander our cultural savanna and foster ironic growth that can be monetized by the PMC. As such, artists do us all a great service! Which we reward them for handsomely after they’re dead…

            1. howseth

              I doubt I (or most of my artist friends) will be rewarded after death… as was Van Gogh (who had a ‘photographic eye’ – in my opinion).
              I never intended my art as a service to anyone, but I do really like it when someone notices ‘my work’ though. (If you rarely get paid for your art. is it work? Are you a Professional? or just a cursed amateur?
              In my case it did not seem to be much of a choice – to live – the way I do – though I did get decent, even excellent, grades in school (for a while)- I just could not last – or concentrate long at any job – whether as a delivery man, security guard, hospital orderly, – or – as a substitute teacher – or as a college level teacher.

              I don’t come from a family background of artists – most of the artists I know do not.
              Artists entrepreneurs come up from nowhere – like Jeff Koons, or Beyonce, or Jay Z, or George Lucas – are fascinating creatures to me – as remote in their splendid abodes as financial tycoons on Wall Street.

              Most artists Worry their mothers, I suppose

      3. c_heale

        Many school teachers in public schools are from working class families as are nurses, it’s a typical way for blue collar people (especially women) to advance themselves. They also see, and have to deal with the problems children face as a result of living in deprivation. So I would say this class of teachers are not PMC. But many university academics definitely are.

    2. d w

      doubtful that firing the head coach will get much support of the wages class, since so many of them set their schedules so they go to as many of those games as they could possibility ever do.

      1. The Rev Kev

        The games would go on. But the millions saved could be used to pay those college athletes. When you think about it, who decided that a head coach was worth millions? PMCs perhaps?

  9. d w

    odd, all the numbers from the US (even though we know that there are more than a few instances where the numbers……were fudged at best)

    say the exact opposite of what the Israeli numbers are

  10. David

    This hatred and contempt for ordinary people is not, alas, limited to the US, but pops up in different ways in different places. In France, for example, it very much formed part of the elite reaction to the Gilets jaunes a couple of years ago.

    There are a number of possible analogies here, based around political or religious cults relatively recently come to power. What counts there is fidelity to the identity of the group. Promotion is by perceived ideological commitment and readiness to criticise others violently, in order to keep the favour of those in your group. But in this as other things I tend to think of Orwell’s 1984. You will remember that the Inner Party, which was secure and powerful, used security panics, ever-changing party lines and incessant demands for loyalty, not only to control the people (who they despised) but the Outer Party as well, to which Winston Smith belonged. The OP was subject to loyalty checks at any moment, to relentless ferocious discipline, and was required to believe several conflicting ideas at the same time. You’ll recall O’Brien telling Smith that the Party had no actual ideology at all: it was only interested in power.

    It’s not hard to see most of these people who so openly show contempt for the masses, in every country, as members of the Outer Party, desperately trying to keep that status, and horribly afraid of having missed the latest twist or turn in the Inner Party’s cynical ideological games. Their own loyalty is to those above, and their only tactic is too show how thoroughly they have internalised the propaganda lines of the moment. And logically enough, the IP actually feels secure, with its wealth, its power and its total lack of ideology. If they decide its in their interest to change the party line on Ivermectin tomorrow, they will change it, and the OP will obediently fall in line, or risk exclusion from the Party, or worse.

    1. AndrewJ

      On your last line – ah, yes, they’ll say they were “following the Science”, no further thought required.

    2. Carolinian

      Thank you. It’s also not limited to our time since contempt for the peasants and claims of social superiority through breeding, education etc a running theme of all those 19th century English novels I used to read.

      At any rate the above an excellent post and one does wonder how Biden thinks he’s going to boss so many deplorables into submission. Perhaps the Dems believe their control over most of the propaganda levers will be enough.

  11. Capitol Hill Loner

    To be fair to the people mocking or disparaging unvaccinated Covid victims, look at recent data comparing vaccinated vs. unvaccinated rates of infection and hospitalization from my neighborhood, King County, WA State here-

    The latest daily case rate for the unvaccinated vs. vaccinated is at 10.6 vs. 77.2, a nearly exponential differential. The hospitalized case rate differential between the vaccinated and unvaccinated is much higher than even the case rate, here it is 0.2 vs. 7.3, higher than exponential.

    Given the hard data coming from King County, Darwin Award cracks aren’t really that far off base. Unvaccinated people are being hospitalized and dying at rates vs. the vaccinated in these data that make clear many of the people in the hospital with Covid are there unnecessarily and only by dint of bad choices they made. Berating doctors venting among themselves about having to clean up the mess left by people deliberately making bad personal health decisions seems to me a little hard on them. It’s obviously not great but it’s also pretty understandable given the mess those doctors have found themselves in because of those bad decisions.

    1. IM Doc

      You could not be more incorrect in your assessment of medical ethics.

      And FYI – the numbers in my part of the world very much resembled those you quote about King County above. That is absolutely no longer the case. The worm has turned. I hope you are a bit more introspect when it is Seattle’s turn in the Delta cannon.

      There is a foundational aspect of medical ethics that ALL deserve to be treated.

      Albert Schweitzer – the only individual physician to ever win the Nobel PEACE Prize – (not talking about medicine & physiology) – had plastered at the entrance to his compound in Africa – WE WILL TURN NO ONE AWAY. And God only knows what many of those patients brought into the compound.

      And just FYI – I had the honor of taking care of multiple VACCINATED inpatients this weekend – Should I and the nurses and RTs have turned them down for care as well – because they are literally just as high risk to spread the disease to me and the nursing staff as the unvaccinated patients. The very foundation of this whole conceit is absolutely imbecile.

      The whole conceit that someone does not deserve care in this country is preposterous. And just really scary to me that our morals have fallen so.

      And people like yourself feel it is perfectly OK to share these sentiments online.

      I was an intern during the AIDS pandemic. I saw one haunting dying face after the other about to die. It literally changed my life. There were doctors and dentists, etc early on in those years who refused to treat those patients as well. And all over this country, they were immediately ostracized by their peers. And rightly so. What has happened to the moral fiber of this country that this kind of stuff is OK? It is very scary to contemplate.

      Furthermore, venting about poor choices the AIDS patients made to end up like that was if I recall correctly – was done constantly by Jerry Falwell, et all but was NEVER DONE by MDs or RNs. To do so would have made you a Neanderthal to your peers. And Yves is right, if I quit taking care of patients because of my moral superiority in determining what bad choices they have made – I would have no work. Every one of us is a human being and make mistakes. It is in our very nature.

      What mistakes have you made SIR in your life?

      1. Make Natural Selection Great Again

        @IM Doc,

        The post you replied to gives us the exact county and a link (King County, WA) on which the poster makes his or her argument. You simply assert that “That is absolutely no longer the case. The worm has turned.” What are the data on which you base your argument? Show us the data, please.

        1. IM Doc

          Sorry – somehow this got replied incorrectly – I wanted to make certain it was in the correct location…………………..

          I have never done so before – and will not be putting anything personally identifying online. The numbers have really been shifting over the past few weeks in my area, however. Still the majority of patients are in the hospital are unvaccinated – but not near the preponderance that it was before. I was clear in my statement that “the King County situation” is no longer the case in my area. It clearly was just weeks ago – but things are beginning to change here as more and more get sick. We will see what happens in other parts of the country as Delta takes hold there.

          I would like nothing more than to identify where I am. However, in our current culture – that would lead to immediate cancellation. I have never before ever felt so constrained sharing data, observations, and hypotheses with my colleagues. Many of them feel the same way. Time and time again, I have seen colleagues removed from Facebook and Twitter this past 18 months – for saying things that were uncomfortable to the narrative but then turn out to be the truth. I have had colleagues put on probation at corporate medical centers for saying and doing things that were not appreciated by those spinning a different narrative. Yet another side effect of this whole situation. Someday I may be able to reveal who I am to all. What I have been attempting to do in my posts here is to discuss exactly what is going on in my world. I would suggest that you should ignore anything I write if you feel I am not being honest.

          I agree – it is anecdotal. Certainly not optimal. But I would make sure that all have examined truly what is going on in their country when people like myself have to hide behind a mask to discuss their truths with their fellow citizens. If I did not have children – I would be out and loud. Since their lives depend on me, I just cannot afford that luxury. Very very shameful commentary on “the indispensable nation”.

        1. IM Doc

          I very much agree with GM – People who caught HIV by most of the manners it was catchable – are people who are making very bad mistakes. Mistakes which I point out to them all the time AS I AM TREATING THEM.

          The same can be said of the diabetic who eats 4000 calories a day of processed carbs. Or the COPD patients who continue to smoke 2 packs a day.

          I will continue to treat them all – all the while discussing and pointing out their habits and choices. Some of which are reversible – unfortunately in the case of HIV irreversible.

          It would be the ultimate failure for me not to engage any of my patients in a discussion in an attempt to treat or help them just because I disagree with their choices.

          1. TBellT

            Then there is no difference between that and the doctor in your anecdote ““WELL THAT DUMB ASS HAD IT COMING”, unless the doctor withheld treatment?

            1. IM Doc

              I will allow GM to talk for himself.

              As I have said repeatedly – it is entirely inappropriate for any physician to withhold treatment because of mistakes made by patients – whether that is vaccine issues, diet, sexual or smoking or whatever. For example, I have been around flu epidemics in the US in the past 20 years that were just hideous in their own right – but absolutely no one said anything about vaccine status – it never came up. Why now? – and the flu vaccine has the benefit of actually working much better than these COVID vaccines.

              I constantly do what I can to get patients to understand the consequences of their actions. I have learned over a long career that calling them names and denigrating them in the doctor’s lounge does nothing for them – and actually makes those doing the name-calling cheapened. I have spent years of my life getting students to understand this – being a physician is completely different than being a god, a parent, or a superego. I do not let any of my students or nurses or whoever I work with at any time get away with this kind of stuff.

              However, I have been willing to give colleagues a break during this incredible time – because the fatigue and exhaustion is indeed causing the frustration to come to the fore. And with it anger. The line has to be drawn though with behavior like I witnessed that day.

              These kinds of things were very unusual when I was younger. Back when there was no corporate medicine, and nuns ran most of the hospitals – not MBAs. And believe me – if a nun had heard anything like what I witnessed that day – an immediate complaint would have been filed with the medical staff.

              1. Felix_47

                As a trauma surgeon you can imagine the remarks some of us make as we do a chest tube or run the bowel of some of our more gun happy young men….at 3 AM….for no insurance and no money. But they get the same surgery as a lawyer or finance person. Sadly we can’t charge the lawyer extra as we could before Medicare. And our evening shooters don’t demand much. One postop visit and they vanish.

            2. Yves Smith Post author

              Expectancy theory has a big impact on patient outcomes.

              And do you think MDs trash taking patients won’t lead to neglect by nurses? Nurses are the backbone of hospital care, Not MDs.

              1. TBellT

                In both cases a doctor is name calling a patient behind their back for decisions the patient could have made to avoid their illness. I’m failing to see the difference.

                I don’t think it’s right that doctors do this and it probably does harm patient outcomes but I’m not sure it’s some new phenomena that presages a new civil war. I imagine doctors have been doing this since the advent of medicine. They reflect the societal values of the culture they grow up in as much as anyone else.

                1. Basil Pesto

                  Sorry, I’ve lost track of which of the two you were referring to in the post I replied to. If it was GM, though, I don’t believe he’s a Dr namecalling his former patients, though, yes, should
                  probably speak for himself. If it was IM Doc, what he described was not namecalling a patient behind their back for their decisions.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          I disagree. In Australia, tattoos became popular with the middle class before the US. Dirty tattoo needles were the biggest cause of Hep C transmission and also had some HIV transmissions attributed to them, at least when I was there (early 2000s). That may have been due to piercings, not just tattoos, plus my impression in Oz was that a fair bit of tattooing had done outside tattoo parlors.

          And condoms tear and people lie about sex as in their HIV status. Andrew Sullivan, for starters…

    2. bob

      To be fair to the people mocking or disparaging unvaccinated Covid victims

      Blaming the victim. Or rather, one more step down into the muck, mocking and disparaging them.

      You are trying to consider both sides and come down in the center. You are clearly superior to all of us. Wow.

      If you were born in nature, your mother would have eaten you.

    3. chris

      Can we perhaps stop and take a minute to remember that the early superspreader events were people at fancy conferences in places like Boston? Or people with passports traveling to Asia and Europe?

      Your average wage slave didn’t bring delta to the US. Your stereotypical blue collar worker didn’t import the original strain either.

      Given all that…isn’t class solidarity the minimum we should expect here? And some amount of compassion as described by IM DOC? To the extent that the PMC is not doing any of that they deserve whatever comes next…

      1. Lambert Strether

        > Can we perhaps stop and take a minute to remember that the early superspreader events were people at fancy conferences in places like Boston? Or people with passports traveling to Asia and Europe?

        As I wrote at the time [lambert blushes modestly]. “In the United States, #COVID-19 began with globalization and globalizers.”

        If we had ever been serious about eliminating Covid, our air travel restrictions would have been 14-day quarantine for international travel, no exceptions. Of course, we never were.

    4. chris

      It’s also a little rich for the PMC to criticize working people who largely don’t have paid time off for not being able to afford taking time off to get the shot and recover from the shot. The PMC are the ones who are driving the policies that don’t allow the proles the ability to take the hit in time or money to get the shot!

      1. marym

        These polices that fail the working class are driven by PMC liberals (and their elected officials and institutions) who won’t do enough; and their counterparts on the right who would prefer to do even less.

        1. Milton

          Liberals are the right. ID politics is non-directional. Only economic and gov’t policies can be measured on the spectrum and with that in mind, Liberals are not even close to the center (living wage, universal healthcare, some gov’t run companies, reduced military spending, free college, expanded retirement benefits,…).

          1. marym

            OK the PMC, blue team, IDpol branch of the anti-working class right and the MAGA, red team, IDpol branch.

            1. ambrit

              Great catch.
              I love how these “disputes” start to look like lists of schismatic sects deriving from some formerly “Holy and Universal Church.”

    5. Eric377

      One thing to ponder is how is it possible that so many do not vaccinate. I have said it elsewhere, but lots and lots of people don’t do fractional credibility well. They sense that a pretty coherent group of people (especially including most of the American news organizations) spent a lot of energy obscuring/lying about the origins of this, are in the process of obscuring/lying about the utility of treatments like invermectin, and also lied about Russia, Joe Biden’s neurological health and the like, well they lean heavily toward not trusting vaccines promoted ceaselessly by a very similar group. It is unfortunate that vaccine advocates overlap so extensively with folks clearly known to lie about important things, but they certainly do at the most public levels.

    6. Pate

      “The latest daily case rate for the unvaccinated vs. vaccinated is at 10.6 vs. 77.2, a nearly exponential differential.”

      I believe you mean “not fully vaccinated (10.6) to fully vaccinated (77.2)”?

          1. campbeln

            > Not fully vaccinated

            In Israel, this is the double-vaxxed now and per recent reports, soon the triple vaxxed as well.

            It’s almost like it’s a deliberate moving target. Or, the vaccines have such a narrow window of efficacy (between day 15 and short of end-month 6) that “vaccinated” is definitionally arbitrary.

            So long as you have your 8 month, er… I mean 5 month, wait 6, no 8 month booster… then you’re “good”.

  12. dcblogger

    it isn’t the Professional Managerial Class who is pushing civil war, it is the billionaires

    they have been at it for quite a while

    it really is quite shocking the people would respond to Trump’s open appeals to hatred, no euphemisms, just straight up hate. If people are getting a little hot under the collar in the face of the constant barrage of hatred and destructive politics we can hardly wonder. You have conservatives physically attacking school boards and others calling for mask mandates, so we can hardly be surprised if popular response is less than measured. Thousands of people are dead because a bunch of conservative bullies can’t comply with a mask mandate and get vaccinated.

    1. m sam

      This seems more more fair assessment. TBH I don’t watch much “mainstream” news so I might not be exposed to all this “bubba bashing” that is supposedly going on. But nonetheless it seems pretty facile to completely blame the PMC for social tensions in the US around vaccination.

      Should the PMC be responsible for their “hatred of the Other?” Of course. But you know what? The PMC are nowhere near the only ones who need to take such responsibility in America. All of us do, and I would go as far as saying the PMC “hatred of the Other” is the least of it.

      1. praxis

        PMC’s generally make a claim of being educated and liberal. So when the class collectively goes conservative (in delirium) it is alarming.

      2. ambrit

        I’ll add that, in our society, the PMCs, as a class, have immense power. We lowly “deplorables” do not, because we are not organized. We are siloed through manipulation of the media and education systems.
        If the PMC classes “other” you, you cease to exist. Then, your only recourses are to either quietly slink away and go die somewhere unobtrusively, or resist “vigourously.”

          1. ambrit

            I dunno about that. Before the financialization craze swept the nations, doctors had professional associations that helped “maintain standards” and the like. So did many professions that required advanced schooling to achieve competency. To control credentialing was to control the profession.
            Now, those “professionals” who see themselves slipping back into proleterian status are beginning to seek unionization. A hybrid economic class is being born; the educated union class.
            As Herbert stated, (as Lambert quores him,) “The power to destroy a thing is the absolute control over it.” That is the ultimate source of the power of any union.

          2. hunkerdown

            Capital can’t produce anything on their own anymore. Capital can’t even reproduce their own relations via Jay Gould-esque thuggery anymore. Capital would not have created the PMC if police violence and rough material forming were enough to preserve capitalist culture and relations.

            The problem is, if you naturalize capitalism, which is what liberalism is for, you also naturalize the PMC as a consequence. Naturalization is mystification and therefore not good analysis.

    2. dcblogger

      one the one had we have right wing nuts taking zip ties and attempting citizen’s arrest of a school board over mask requirements

      on the other hand we have liberal PMC types making tasteless remarks on social media. There is zero equivalence. the right wing has wanted a civil war at least since Patrick Buchanan’s speech to the 1992 Republican National Convention. They hate us. They want to kill us. They are not shy about saying so. so yeah, some liberal types are getting a little hot under the collar.

      1. Anthony Noel

        And you have liberal PMC types taking away unvaccinated peoples children via the courts.

        Both sides have plenty of bad faith scare stories to spread about the other.

    3. chris

      I can believe that all purveyors of stakeholder capitalism would hold to the idea if someone is making bad choices their agency should be limited. Unless they made poor financial choices, in which case we need to protect them. But an awful lot of what I see on FaceBorg and hear in my circles isn’t coming from billionaires. It’s coming from frustrated upper middle class people who have nice homes and think that it’s awful so many can’t make good decisions. Maybe the right thing for them would be to take away their ability to make big decisions like this. Since it’s clear they don’t understand the science and their choices could kill people! It’s all for the best really…

      If that’s coming from something the billionaires are serving to the masses then it’s found fertile soil in the upper classes who have wanted to deny the poor choices for a long time.

  13. California Bob

    This article completely (intentionally?) ignores the most obvious/selfless case for getting vaccinated:

    – Vaccinated: Get covid, stay home, take it easy, self-isolate if possible, take OTC drugs, (probably) get well in a few days.

    – Unvaccinated: Get covid; maybe you survive it but, more likely, you get VERY sick, get an ambulance ride to the ER/ICU, expose EMS personnel, doctors, nurses, occupy a scarce bed, require intubation and constant attention, incur massive hospital bills (maybe your insurance/Medicare covers it; i.e. ‘socialize the losses’). Selfish to the Nth degree.

    Getting vaccinated is the contemporary implementation of ‘flatten the curve,’ which was valid two years ago and still valid today.

    1. d w

      unfortunately its also the greatest demonstration of how much we care about others. course there are many others that are just about as glaring. there are CINOs (Christian in name only) as while they do one part of what Jesus said, and ignore the rest, such as take of the poor (odd isnt it?) and more than a few others. many i am guessing are ignored because that would end the preacher/pastor’s job….if not that church )

    2. Laura in So Cal

      Not my recent experience with several
      Vaccinated friends. They have a known exposure, get tested and its positive. BUT they feel fine so they go about their normal business (as in go to work, shop, eat out, etc). The only reason we know they were positive is that they knew we were un-vaccinated and gave us a warning so we could avoid them.

    3. IM Doc

      Vaccinated: Get covid, stay home, take it easy, self-isolate if possible, take OTC drugs, (probably) get well in a few days.

      I will say that is the route for the majority of the vaccinated (as it is for the majority of the unvaccinated as well by the way – your suggestion that “more likely” the unvaccinated will get sick and end up taking up beds is not really the case. The vast majority of COVID patients in general (vaccinated or unvaccinated) never seek medical care when they get ill. Large swaths of the unvaccinated are typically younger and more healthy and just do not come in). I am telling you that unlike your dichotomy above – being unvaccinated does not automatically consign someone to being sick in the hospital. Maybe you survive is a gross overstatement of what you are trying to say. I understand what you are saying – but I have swarms of unvaccinated who do just fine.

      Currently, the unvaccinated make up more of the very ill – the 1% we were being given before has now slowly changed to more like 20-30%. And slowly but surely, the vaccinated are becoming more sick.

      I am 100% certain that this is also being picked up on by our agencies – and is at least one impetus for the boosters.

      But for everyone reading this – take care of yourselves – just because you are vaccinated is not a guarantee that you will not get very sick with this. The same risk factors still apply – obese, diabetes, smoking, immunocompromised, sedentary. I know that this “easy illness for the vaccinated” is in some degree how it is being portrayed in the media. To the vaccinated – take nothing for granted – you may not end up in the hospital – but you can definitely end up very ill and vaccinated patients do end up in the hospital.

      And with regard to “Flattening the Curve”. I was at a lecture on Zoom done by an epidemiologist the other day. The best data we have right now about the vaccine efficacy is coming from Israel because they are a few months ahead of us and do much better at tracing than we do. He pointed out that their “case number” curve is indeed flattening – it is however unfortunately flattening on the Y axis. The case numbers are going parabolic in the wrong direction. With a population that is 80% vaccinated and about 20-30% boostered. So far the hospitalizations and death are behaving – and I hope it stays that way. We will see. It is still way too early to know exactly what is going on there – but that is indeed how the curve is being flattened there when you look at their case numbers.

    4. Basil Pesto

      What? The article clearly explains why this is a false dichotomy; the vaccinated can become infected asymptomatically and carry a high viral load. Why would they stay home if they feel fine and don’t even know they’re carrying the virus? Everyone is exposed.

      Meanwhile, as has been documented in NC for a couple of months now, more people who are “fully vaccinated” are presenting in hospital. Such an outcome, as I understand it a consequence of both waning immunity and immune escape, has been predicted all year. Who, exactly, is doing the willful ignoring, here?

      So by all means get vaccinated, but scolding those who aren’t as though they are the only reason we haven’t woken up from this nightmare? It makes no sense.

      Meanwhile, the first, best and as far as I know only way to reduce the R0 to less than one by protecting both yourself and others (edit: though I think IM Doc may disagree with me on this), is with a focussed campaign of lockdowns and good masking (in Australia we have lockdowns, but the masking is laughably inadequate and we’ve failed to adapt our defences to the more transmissible delta, hence we have no chance of keeping the R0 down or getting it back to zero as we did last year. The fix is easy and has to come from the top down, but we seem to have given up). Any community that does this will reduce the R0, and that can be extrapolated to the local, state, national scale. This was valid two years ago and is still valid today. It’s technically possible, I believe (and at the very least worth seriously trying): War Keynes the shit out of good masks and masking “do’s and don’t’s” fridge magnets, as well as adequate pecuniary support for those who need to stop work, and watch the R0 go down. But politically? Well, that’s up to the people, all the people. If not, that’s a failing of all of us. Far easier to get two jabs, dust your hands and say “well, I’ve done my part”, though.

    5. Yves Smith Post author

      Adding to the snorts above, “Stay home”. Seriously? Are you a member of the independently wealthy? You are so disconnected that you don’t get that most hourly workers cannot take a single day off from work, between risking getting fired and not being able to afford any income loss.

      The failure to provide income support and require quarantine leave is part of what is making this disease endemic…and endemic with a high level of morbidity is a very bad place to be.

      1. Basil Pesto

        Adding to the snorts above, “Stay home”. Seriously? Are you a member of the independently wealthy? You are so disconnected that you don’t get that most hourly workers cannot take a single day off from work, between risking getting fired and not being able to afford any income loss.

        This is the thing; I am, and none of this is hard to understand. None of it. What’s good policy for everyone is good policy for… everyone. Vice-versa.

        I don’t think it takes an independently wealthy person with a lot of time to read to understand that historians will be reading the primary sources of this era wide-eyed and agape.

      2. I

        From the start it has been fiscal vs physical death for a large chunk of the population.

        The odds of fiscal death are astronomical when one can’t work. The odds of physical death??

        1. hunkerdown

          Most work is simply captured to keep it away from other uses. None of that Protestant prosperity cosmology, please. Food is still a use-value and rents are ultimately a social choice.

  14. a fax machine

    The intentional fire stoking makes a lot of money, and will continue to do so until it doesn’t. That point will eventually come: either the bubble economy supporting this collapses on it’s own or some populist actually acts on these violent impulses, putting the dirty liberals, vax doctors and divorce attorneys to the wall. Brazil’s imminent self-coup is a good example of this, as was Hitler in the last century. The people behind these media campaigns have no concept of history or past, and because of this they’ll quickly become victims when the right decides to not comply. They have no reality outside their own twitter bubble. They also have no concept of nationalism or civil society except when it suits them (such as oil wars, mandatory gun buybacks or vaccine mandates), which is hugely infuriating to people who trust the state to provide them with welfare or safety.

    Consider the rise of “ecofascism” as a political concept. What started as a joke is now serious enough to have a formal (albeit weak) media campaign against it. As climate change becomes more severe, so will ideas demanded by citizens – meanwhile the international trade that finances liberal society inevitably recedes as the planet’s weather dramatically changes. The right recognizes this but (particularly younger ones) views it as their future growth strategy rather than something to be avoided. The current crop of pseudo-left liberals keep giving up their tools (everything from real guns to class coalitions and being able to eat at mcdonalds withuot a vaccine card) to fight such battles for meager social acceptance. The right has no desire for social acceptance, and once that bank busts the current system built on trust and mutual respect will completely dismount and collapse as it did in the 1930s.

  15. canyon lark

    Something is hiding in plain sight here:

    One of the new big ways to despise The Bad (Presumed White) unvaxxed is to depict them as unworthy of receiving medical care for Covid because it’s supposedly their fault that they are in this fix. Yet no one bats an eye at treating smokers for cancer and COPD, or STD victims who presumably couldn’t be bothered to use a condom, or the overweight for heart attacks and diabetes or drunks who smash themselves up with their cars, or attempted suicides.

    What is obvious / not obvious is that the unvaxxed pose a threat. This is not the same as treating smokers for cancer. There was an unvaxxed teacher in Marin who infected a bunch of kids in her class for example. Equally important in the long term, the unvaxxed are a reservoir for mutations that can harm everyone.

    The issue isn’t attitude, in this case looking down on the unvaxxed for some class reason. The issue is health. Vaxxed people resent the threat the unvaxxed are posing. I know many people who are furious at the unvaxxed. They are not going to get unfurious because they are accused of class bias.

    1. Massinissa

      “There was an unvaxxed teacher in Marin who infected a bunch of kids in her class for example.”

      A vaxxed carrier could have done the same thing. Taking the vaccine doesn’t prevent spread of the virus. The vaccinated spread this similarly to how the unvaccinated do. Vaccination mostly prevents ill effects to the health of the one vaccinated, and little more.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > Taking the vaccine doesn’t prevent spread of the virus.

        I may be behind the curve on this, but I believe what we know is that infected vaxxed and infected unvaxxed can have similar loads of virus in their noses. I don’t think that we know whether the duration of the infection is the same, and I don’t think we have studied actual transmission, as in a careful epidemiological study of “Bear Week” at P-Town, for example.

        If you had said “doesn’t prevent eliminate spread of the virus” I would agree with you.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Putting the spotlight on ” the unvaxxed ” has allowed the camera to slip away from the violent and vicious no-mask-freedom rebels, such as the no-mask rebels who deliberately on purpose created enough of a climate of violence and danger in Michigan that our Governor has given up on the public health mandating which she was doing for a while, in the teeth of a strictly one sided conservanon effort to make masks ” about individual freedom and rights and identity”.

    2. saywhat?

      Equally important in the long term, the unvaxxed are a reservoir for mutations that can harm everyone.

      The false assumption you make there is that the current vaccines are sterilizing; they are not.

      Moreover, ala Marek’s Disease in chickens, the vaccinated may be more dangerous breeding vessels for varients.

    3. Lambert Strether

      > The unvaxxed pose a threat. This is not the same as treating smokers for cancer. There was an unvaxxed teacher in Marin who infected a bunch of kids in her class for example.

      You seem not to have read this post on the Marin superspreader event*. It’s really shoddy epidemiology that does not take ventilation into account.

      Also, the vaccinated can become infected and infect others, as is well known by now. Also, the unvaccinated teachers took off their mask in front of the class; this should never be done, vaxxed or unvaxed. The situation is not as binary as you would have it.

      NOTE * I assume we are talking about the same event. Since you don’t add value with a link, assuming is all I can do.

      1. canyon lark

        My original claim: unvaxxed people pose a threat.

        The responses above fall along the lines of: sometimes vaxxed people can transmit, and can be the host for mutations, therefore my claim is wrong.

        But clearly my claim is not invalidated by the fact these things happen sometimes.

        My claim is only invalidated if vaxxed and unvaxxed transmit and host mutations at identical rates.

        There are studies that show vaxxed people transmit for a shorter period of time, and host the virus in large amounts for a shorter period of time. For example:

        New data was released by the CDC showing that vaccinated people infected with the delta variant can carry detectable viral loads similar to those of people who are unvaccinated, though in the vaccinated, these levels rapidly diminish.


        1. Lambert Strether

          Your claim is supported by the following claim to which I responded:

          There was an unvaxxed teacher in Marin who infected a bunch of kids in her class for example.

          It’s a shoddy study. See the post. There may be other evidence to support your claim, but that’s not it.

          If you want to believe that “the unvaxxed pose a threat” = “vaxxed and unvaxxed pose a threat” = “the unvaxxed pose a greater threat than the vaxxed”, well, have at it, is all I can say.

          As far as “there are studies that show,” I asked you, politely, to give links. Do you wish me to ask less politely?

          1. cnchal

            Canyon Lark did provide a link within his or her previous comment.


            It is in the form of questions and answers using “updated” guidance from the CDC and after reading it I am disturbed at that guidance.


            New data was released by the CDC showing that vaccinated people infected with the delta variant can carry detectable viral loads similar to those of people who are unvaccinated, though in the vaccinated, these levels rapidly diminish. There is also some question about how cultivatable—or viable—this virus retrieved from vaccinated people actually is.

            While this sounds discouraging, it’s important to keep three things in mind:

            Vaccines remain highly effective at preventing severe disease.
            Breakthrough infections among vaccinated individuals remain uncommon.
            The majority of new COVID-19 infections in the US are among unvaccinated people.

            So, what does all of this mean in terms of risks for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people? And what might data like this suggest for public health guidance going forward?

            Amesh Adalja, MD, of the Center for Health Security, answers a few questions about our evolving understanding of immunity and COVID vaccines.

            The new data says that a fully vaccinated person who experiences a breakthrough infection can spread the virus just as much as an unvaccinated person. Is this only for symptomatic infections?

            It’s expected that symptomatic breakthroughs are more contagious than asymptomatic breakthroughs.

            When extrapolating, it is critical to understand that this study is derived primarily from one major site in which the activities and the settings that were leading to infections are not necessarily representative of the day-to-day life of a fully vaccinated individual.
            What does this mean for fully vaccinated people who have a known exposure? Do they need to get tested and quarantine themselves?

            The CDC updated its guidance to say that fully vaccinated people who are exposed to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should be tested three to five days after exposure. They should wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.

            This advice is garbage.

            What is known about the rate of breakthrough infections vs infections among unvaccinated people?

            There’s a difference between breakthrough infections and breakthrough disease.

            Breakthrough infections occur when a fully vaccinated person tests positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Breakthrough disease occurs when a fully vaccinated person experiences symptoms of COVID-19 disease.

            Vaccines remain highly effective at preventing severe disease, breakthrough infections and disease among vaccinated individuals remain uncommon, and most of the new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are among unvaccinated people.

            Still, the exact rates of breakthrough cases are unknown at this time because cases may be asymptomatic and, until recently, the CDC didn’t recommend that vaccinated people be tested following exposure. For this reason, updated guidance states that vaccinated people should resume wearing a mask in indoor public areas, especially where there is high transmission of COVID-19.

            Moar garbage, and FFS the CDC insisted that vaccinated people not be tested after exposure in a deliberate attempt to fly blind and declare the disaster over.

            What should vaccinated people do to protect themselves and those around them?

            Breakthrough infections are still uncommon, and breakthrough disease is rare.

            The vaccines are designed to stop serious disease, hospitalization, and death and they are doing that to an extremely high degree—even against the delta variant.

            Immunosuppressed individuals for whom the vaccine might not be as effective may want to wear a mask in high risk situations and/or in areas where vaccination rates are low.

            Even moar garbage.

            Amesh Adalja, MD, is a senior scholar at the Center for Health Security and an adjunct professor in Environmental Health and Engineering. He is also an affiliate of the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health.


        2. Basil Pesto

          My original claim: unvaxxed people pose a threat.

          My claim is only invalidated if vaxxed and unvaxxed transmit and host mutations at identical rates.

          How? This literally makes no sense! If vaxxed people transmitted at identical rates, with all else being equal, then your original claim would still be absolutely correct, just incomplete. If they’re at different rates, your statement is still correct, and still incomplete. Vaccinated people would still be a threat. Everyone is a threat. The extent to which people are a threat (or, more passively, present a risk to others) will depend on various factors: masking, ventilation, vaccination status, other treatments they may be taking, and so on. All kinds of variables, that we only partially understand.

          If you mean by your claim: “only unvaxxed people exclusively pose a threat”, then it’s flatly wrong.

          I believe it’s verging on common knowledge that deployment of a non-sterilising vaccine in a population leads to positive conditions for viral mutation, for eg the flu vaccine. To put this in the simplest terms possible, as long as the virus continues to have sites to latch on to and infect, it’s going to keep mutating, whether they’re vaccinated or not (with the currently available vaccines). Hopefully I’m not out over my skis in saying this.

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      Come on. The vaxxed with breakthrough cases are also “a reservoir for mutations”.

      And the Israel data above showed infections were proportional by early July, meaning that for Pfizer, 5-6 months out from getting the shots, they were not preventing getting infected.

      Your righteous posture is not supported by facts.

  16. Michael Ismoe

    Look at that Red/Blue map. Can someone explain to me how the PMC expect to win when 98% of the guns are in the red areas? I guess they are counting on our vaulted military to drive the Amazon trucks trhough their neighborhood They will soon find out that that trillion dollars a year we waste on our military was just a joke.

    Isn’t Goldman Sachs headquarters on the 37th floor? I wonder how they intend to get up their without electricity?

    1. Milton

      Maps like that shown above are misleading and give the impression that blue is surrounded by blood-thirsty red areas, hell-bent on retribution for their constant disrespect and lifestyle debasement. This map: Presidential election 2016: dasymetric dot density, gives a much truer representation of voter distribution and by extension, political and social affiliation.

      1. Pelham

        Thanks for that map. I hadn’t seen it.

        I think you’re right, to some degree. But I wonder whether a map showing relative numbers of Afghan and allied troops across Afghanistan by comparison with the distribution and small number of Taliban would have shown something similar. Supply and logistics are vital to maintaining a perimeter. The density of the blue areas shown suggest a whole lot of people requiring lots of material support just to stay alive, while the thinness of the red areas suggest resilience in the midst of material abundance.

        1. KLG

          “The density of the blue areas shown suggest a whole lot of people requiring lots of material support just to stay alive, while the thinness of the red areas suggest resilience in the midst of material abundance.”

          In another context, a perfect restatement of the central conclusion of Eugene Odum’s Fundamentals of Ecology and his later, more general works demonstrating the material dependence between country and city that went in that direction only: country –> city. Professor Odum was well aware of the bidirectional cultural interdependence between city and country, but the current PMC misses the previous point entirely. A perfect example of that is in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle IIRC by Barbara Kingsolver. Ms. Kingsolver asked her Upper Westside host where she had gotten a food item that was ridiculously out of season and the response was, “Zabar’s has everything!” Indeed, and grits probably goes by polenta. It goes without saying that the current PMC completely dismisses any cultural affinity with the country.

  17. PlutoniumKun

    Of course, this type of hatred exists in most societies historically, its just that the wealthier elements are usually pragmatic enough to hide it. In the post war years, one of the major drivers for improved conditions for the poor and working classes was the realisation by the professional and business classes that it was in everyones interest to avoid inequalities and class hatreds that were too glaring. This has to be seen as the basis for the enormous success of the ‘centre’ (i.e. social democrat/christian democrat, various centrist groups) in maintaining control in nearly all western European countries for more than half a century. In other countries, such as the UK or Spain, the priviliged classes have been much more skillful in building up coalitions with other groups, such as what used to be called the lower middle classes or the elderly, in order to maintain control.

    I’m trying to think of historical or contemporary examples of the sort of class/geographical hatreds that now appears to be developing so overtly in the US. In Central and South America there has always been what seems to have been a very deep and overt hatred among the upper middle classes (the ‘blondies) aimed at the poor. This was most obvious recently in Brazil when a large builk of the professional/business classes when presented with the choice of a pragmatic, practical leftist government and a fringe lunatic quasi fascist, chose Bolsonaro. This is maybe an uncomfortable indicator of where the PMC might go if they keep on the route they’ve chosen. Except maybe they’ll only be comfortable if their Bolsonaro is female and a person of colour, it will be all fine then.

    Although as Yves alludes in her post, the situation in the US seems unique in that there is a controlling class that seems entirely unaware of its own vulnerability. South and Central American elites have always made sure they controlled the guns and heavy armour. If it all goes wrong in the US, the billionaires will be on their private planes to New Zealand, and the police and military will be…. well, thats the question.

  18. Eustachedesaintpierre

    By coincidence herself is watching Frasier & at the point when Niles has to drive a hatchback, can’t afford his swanky apartment, club etc due to divorce proceedings. It’s obviously only a TV show but perhaps they based their attitudes & snobbishness on something very real.

    I know people who despise the Right, but in terms of using stereotypes & generalisations there does not seem to be any difference, although the Right have it appears the good sense to pick on minorities.

  19. Basil Pesto

    I am feeling that I am getting the idea what it was like to watch normal happy German citizens turn into the SS.

    Yeah it is getting a bit that way and I am generally very suspect of such comparisons. The vaccinated vs unvaccinated schism is truly, vacuously demented. My hope is that it won’t get any more traction than it already is, but who really knows.

    I stan for ‘Eichmann in Jerusalem’ though and while ‘the banality of evil’ is a cliché that oversimplifies an extremely elegant piece of work… well, if the shoe fits. Arendt describes thoughtlessness, albeit at its criminal apotheosis. In that sense, her piece is essentially Flaubertian (and has a similar irony). But it’s criminal thoughtlessness, mediocrity, vapidity and, consequently and ultimately, cruelty refined and unleashed at a national scale. Does that mean death camps in the near future? Of course not. But all of this foolishness is having a real human cost. I can’t believe people don’t realise how fraught and fragile everything is right now, or lack complete self awareness about the mistakes they’re making. At some point in the future, there is going to have to be a serious reckoning about all of this. If there isn’t, more and more horrible shit is going to keep happening. Everything has a distinctly early 20th century vibe about it at the moment.

  20. Mikerw0

    Bowling, the answer is bowling and bowling leagues. Our various institutions have learned either explicitly or implicitly that dividing out their group against other groups works. Hence, negative political ads, churches, the issues cited above. Yet, on most issues we are societally in agreement than apart. What we seem to have lost are the social encounters to remind us of our sameness. We need to spend time together, not playing video games, watching TV, etc.

    1. KLG

      My parents, working class and union (my father) to the core, bowled in several leagues (e.g., Monday Night Mixed, Scratch Men, Scratch Women) with a local general surgeon, several local business owners/leaders, and assorted other members of what became the PMC — 15 years before Barbara and John Ehrenreich defined the term in 1977…We had a Chevrolet, they drove an Oldsmobile or Buick and lived in slightly larger houses, perhaps brick veneer, 4BR-2BA. Those seemed to be the only differences. Yes, they had more money but not that much more.

    2. Basil Pesto

      Your stereotype on videogames is a few decades out of date. They can be a very social and community-building activity, both locally and nationally. Same as any hobby really, bowling included. Have a look at a stream of any Awesome Games Done Quick event to see an example (although at a much bigger scale than a local bowling alley). I admit, that’s not really how I play games myself (and in the same way, of course, I could go to a bowling alley all by myself. Because it’s a fun game.) but there’s definitely a big social… something going on there. Far less atomised than you might expect.

    3. Soredemos

      Nah, sorry, but online video games are intensly social activities. Genuine, long lasting friendships often come out of them.

      They don’t really help in terms of local level community building though.

  21. Gulag

    It may be that we are dealing with a phenomenon that is primarily cultural at its origins.

    Would a healthy culture countenance or nurture the claims of white fragility or the more and more explicitly articulated rhetoric of intolerance, hatred and rage from factions active across the political spectrum?

    Certainly this emerging ideology seems to have no series program for change, nor is it about debate since real debate is largely suppressed with increasing threats and intimidation.

    Maybe we are dealing with something closer to a kind of pseudo-religion or an irrational cult–as John Gray has argued.

    These tensions ( violent language, polarization, deepening anger and attempts at cancelation) also appear to be pushing us toward increased authoritarianism–laying the foundations for new Caesar (representing which political faction is still being played out).

    Collectively we seem to be involved in a type of cultural self-immolation.

    This largely incoherent new cultural/ religious movement seems to mostly consist of the upper middle class, many, many intellectuals, as well as the extremely wealthy and comfortable–the very economic groupings that have benefited the most from wealth extraction.

    It is conceivable that what may going on now is a profound loss of cultural self-belief–a kind of cultural self-loathing leading not to greater progress and enlightenment but only accelerating decline.

  22. IM Doc

    I have never done so before – and will not be putting anything personally identifying online. The numbers have really been shifting over the past few weeks in my area, however. Still the majority of patients are in the hospital are unvaccinated – but not near the preponderance that it was before. I was clear in my statement that “the King County situation” is no longer the case in my area. It clearly was just weeks ago – but things are beginning to change here as more and more get sick. We will see what happens in other parts of the country as Delta takes hold there.

    I would like nothing more than to identify where I am. However, in our current culture – that would lead to immediate cancellation. I have never before ever felt so constrained sharing data, observations, and hypotheses with my colleagues. Many of them feel the same way. Time and time again, I have seen colleagues removed from Facebook and Twitter this past 18 months – for saying things that were uncomfortable to the narrative but then turn out to be the truth. I have had colleagues put on probation at corporate medical centers for saying and doing things that were not appreciated by those spinning a different narrative. Yet another side effect of this whole situation. Someday I may be able to reveal who I am to all. What I have been attempting to do in my posts here is to discuss exactly what is going on in my world. I would suggest that you should ignore anything I write if you feel I am not being honest.

    I agree – it is anecdotal. Certainly not optimal. But I would make sure that all have examined truly what is going on in their country when people like myself have to hide behind a mask to discuss their truths with their fellow citizens. If I did not have children – I would be out and loud. Since their lives depend on me, I just cannot afford that luxury. Very very shameful commentary on “the indispensable nation”.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      You are our Batman, our Lone Ranger — but real and actual. Keep your mask on. We have no need to know more than what we already know. Truth speaks for itself.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I understand exactly what you are saying. Now is not the time to stick your head above the parapet by identifying anything more than the country that you live in.

  23. Swamp Yankee

    Another stimulating post — a few thoughts.

    1. David is, I think, entirely correct to compare the PMC to the Outer Party in 1984. I think particularly the ability to switch on and off certain lines (memes today, I suppose) is remarkable. I remember the same people who were wroth with the Iraq invasion supporting Hillary Clinton 110%, and if you were for democratic socialism, why, you were a racist mysogynist bro; the same people who castigated Bush’s warantless wiretapping turn bloodthirsty in their hatred for Snowden (a “traitor,” they called him) for exposing the fact that Obama was doing the same thing. “We have always been at war with Eastasia.”

    2. PlutoniumKun asks for historical analogues to the class-geographic differences emerging into the open in the US. I think that Revolutionary France is the closest example. As Lynn Hunt showed three decades ago in her wonderful book _Politics, Culture, and Class in the French Revolution_, France in the 1780s-1810s divided up along both axes of class and geography, and cultural symbolism — think the Cult of Reason, e.g. — was a critical vector of that division. Generally the further south you went, the stronger the support for the Revolution, the further north, the stronger the support for the Ancien Regime (thus the moniker of Red Toulouse, though there were certainly Royalists in places like Provence; the Ile de France was Royalist, but the Parisian slums were Revolutionary).

    The class gradient was also important, albeit complicated: the original PMC, the 18th c. bourgeoisie, of course critically side with the Revolution, as do the impoverished sans-culottes. But both high aristocrats and lowly Vendee peasants view the Revolution with a kind of holy horror — I think there is some historical rhyming going on here.

    3. Because of local environmental activism I’m involved with, I monitor many community Facebook (ugh) pages here in Southeastern Massachusetts. What I’m seeing more and more is that the two sides in this seemingly ready-made, ersatz civil war, seem to increasingly be adopting wholesale both an almost ethnic sense of identity relating to politics/social values; and to find a whole repertoire and vocabulary of other-hatred prefabricated for their use by media organs like MSNBC or FOX, or the NYT or OAN.

    Thus the local Right and even far Right, both of which are quite strong in this red section of a blue state, will use a discourse of “libtards” and “snowflakes,” castigate sexual and ethnic minorities and the poor, while the local Liberals (we really don’t have a Left in these parts, sort of on Cape Cod, but not on the “mainland”) — who have gotten far more prominent locally in the last decade plus — rely on a discourse that maligns those who are uncredentialed, who are from supposedly backwards states or regions like Mississippi, and have adopted wholesale the Wokeist Ideology in the least possibly self-aware fashion.

    Of course I will share a lot of, or at least some, policy preferences with the Liberals, but they have become unbearable, an echo of the 1980s-1990s Religious Right in their sacerdotal, hectoring moralizing and scolding, screaming at people to “educate yourselves!”, having forgotten that politics is the art of persuasion at a fundamental level in a democracy (cf. Mark Fisher, “Exiting the Vampire’s Castle.”)

    Meanwhile the Right is becoming — and I think we must be careful not to ellide or underestimate this here at Naked Capitalism — increasingly and overtly reactionary and full of what Reinhold Niebuhr, in his discussion of 20th c. fascism, called “synthetic barbarism,” the phenomenon of people raised in a civilized society endorsing the moral codes and practices of Attila the Hun. There is a lot of overt nature-hatred, “rolling coal,” “plovers taste like chicken,” clear-cutting for the sake of it, in this social-political stratum.

    4. All of this leads me to believe we are in for something like Italy’s Anni di Piombi, Years of Lead, in the late 1960s through early 1980s. A civil war diffused across the entire continent and body politic, just as climate change really starts to hit the fan. I worry for my friends and family who have children, but all I can do is to cultivate my own garden.

    1. UG Railroad

      I agree with all points whole-heartedly. Between the Hun and the Inquistion we are. Evil against evil is as good as it gets in our dystopia.

      All I do is read, keep a lot of essentials on hand, stay in good enough shape to work or fight, keep it real with the ‘hood, and make sure those who need to know how to shoot.

      1. Swamp Yankee

        Thank you, UG Railroad. I am doing precisely the things you describe. It’s important to create islands of sanity and humanism — I defer in this endeavor to Amfortas, il miglior fabbro (“the greater artist”).

        1. UG Railroad

          Dmitri Orlov’s “The Five Stages of Collapse: Survivors’ Toolkit” is extremely helpful in this regard. No libertarian’s ultimate warrior .223 fever dream, Orlov provides heart-felt guidance informed by personal and extended family experience with a touch of “beware of gangsters” thrown in to dispel naivety.

          We only have each other Yankee – and that’s all we ever really had.

  24. Mac na Michomhairle

    I think the points made in the article are entirely accurate, in my experience.

    In terms of an explanation for the hatred (which is pretty clearly PMC at this point, at least in my experience,), it might be worth mentioning again the need for an outlet for fear and confusion; herd instinct finding release in a scapegoat; increasing social isolation in daily life of the PMC from people with different life experience and ideas, leading to an inability to believe that anyone who sees the world differently from the “Correct” perspective is not simply stupid, deranged or evil — all inflamed almost every moment by immersion in the echo chamber of the internet and media.

    There’s a certain maturity that many, at least older working people have that comes from being forced most days to notice that the supervisor group will do you in whenever it is useful to the bottom line, all the while pontificating like a teacher to a class of first-graders. Gives you a perspective.

  25. Nikkikat

    IMDOC, I both appreciate your truth and your courage. You have struck me as a very caring person. Ethics and honor is difficult to find these days. Whether it is covid, global warming or the corruption in our politicians. There are plenty of people with their heads in the sand.
    Please do not let these people get to you. I think the majority of people commenting here are intelligent and value the truth. Thank you for your knowledge and for keeping us informed.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I strongly agree with your comment. Truth, Courage, Ethics, Honor — of the True, are part of my measure of Humankind. I hope we might ‘deserve’ to continue our troubled existence.

  26. Joe Well

    Imagine you are 40 years old, sacrificed years of earning (not to mention precious youth) to academics and then student debt learning something that was supposed to make you highly employable (no English lit or physics for you!) but for your generation that is not really a thing.

    And now imagine you see financial security being enjoyed by all manner of un-credentialed from plumbers and construction contractors to Bitcoin boosters and internet “influencers”. Who, when they vote, trend Libertarian-Republican and even Trumpist.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Learn and become credentialed in HVAC, one choice of many. I intuit that there are many many great discoveries hidden in HVAC and similar trades. The practitioners must explore beyond their credentials and the immediate practice of their trades. I tell this to my son over-and-over. Learn a skill needed here that cannot … be easily replaced … over there or brought here from over there to replace you.

      Also take a closer look at the ‘comfortable’ lives of plumbers and construction workers — many of whom are credentialed and bonded.

  27. Jeremy Grimm

    I am appalled by the horrific declines in Ethics and Morality that seem like hallmarks of the decay afflicting our Age. I suppose the Age of a Market for All Things should be added as an Epoch within the Anthropocene — an Epoch directly preceding the Age of Collapse and Decline. I can only hope the times After might bring an Age of Wisdom. What status, what true status can a person attach to the markers described in this post — “…this year’s ski trip … house renovation … loss of social circle … country club membership … heading a committee at your charity … serving on the board of your kid’s private school”? ‘Status’ as measured by wealth and credential, and their trappings, can not measure the Status conferred by Wisdom. There is no certificate for Wisdom.

  28. Mongo

    If you invert one major point in this article — that the professional / managerial class doesn’t control much of the supply-chain real world, or enforcement — then we’re left with an America that’s closer to a successful authoritarian, theocratic, Oligarch takeover than we think.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Who does control the supply-chains in the real-world? Neither the oligarchs nor the professional / managerial class control the supply chains. Those who do may yet have their say — one terminal, one truck stop, one truck load at a time.

    2. hunkerdown

      It’s also closer to direct democracy than most bourgeoisie are quite comfortable with, and I’m here for that.

  29. .Tom

    I have simply assumed that the purpose of this culture war is to prevent development of a broad-based political movement that seeks to discipline the extractive and finance capitalists and regain some power and standing for working people.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I have assumed this culture war reflected, all too well, how tone-deaf and clueless, those who rule us truly are.

  30. Tim

    I am empathetic yet resent antivaxxers. I am both empathetic that the less critical thinking nature of people that work with their hands is more easily taken advantage of to the extent it has been, yet resent them for it.

    They made a decision based on a mishmash of truthful and false information that now makes them fill our hospitals, and due to ER protocols jump to the front of the line, ahead of others needing other types of care. Having a heart attack? We’ll be with you in about 20 minutes when a bed becomes available. (happened to my neighbor when my wife drove her to the ER last week in San Diegeo where COVID isn’t that bad relatively speaking).

    Hospital administrators confirm people are dying from non-COVID causes waiting for their turn after the covid antivaxxers. Pretty much all voluntary surgeries (anything not immediately life or death) are being put on hold, creating a massive backlog of required care.

    Yes Vaccination doesn’t do much to prevent transmission as clearly stated in the article, but that’s not the issue here. Getting the vaccine does significantly reduce the odds you’ll be sucking up our medical resources and funeral homes.

    And with that perspective I could see doctors getting morally indignant with antivaxxers to the point of feeling they deserve to die from covid if they get it. Even coming from liberals that always hate the personal responsibility angle from conservatives.

    The vaccines are working extremely effective at the point of need: Keeping people out of hospitals, and with shocking little risk. Get vaccinated!

    That being said, I don’t want to defend the PMC defending their turf to act like they are always right.

    Every side is wrong most of the time. Without the opposite side, nobody would ever call each other on it.

    1. Anthony Noel

      Sorry, but the “less critical thinking nature of people who work with their hands”, really tips yours.

      And, if you got vaccinated then you did so based on a mish mash of truthful and false information just like the people who didn’t.

      1. tegnost

        Has this commenter “Tim” never heard of TDS? An affliction largely suffered by people who don’t “work with their hands”. Somehow I don’t think tim is referring to computer workers who use their hands to type code, but he should be…

  31. Anonymous

    like LOL seriously. Crying about doctors whose empathy has been pushed to the breaking point venting in a break room on their own about the demise of people who refused to listen to them about vaccines succumbing to a virus for which the vaccine is the most effective preventative treatment possible? That is nothing at all like HIV/AIDS which has no vaccine, and the only way for homosexuals to have the same risk level as everyone else is to avoid the sexual contact that their minds and bodies crave – that is nothing at all like a willingly unvaccinated person.

    Give me a fucking break, you pussies. Death comes to us all, and the (willingly) unvaccinated don’t deserve to take ICU beds from people with pancreatic cancer, liver failure, crohn’s disease, or any number of hospitalizing illnesses. They wouldn’t be in these fucking beds if they cared for themselves or society – they are selfish, untrusting, ignorant twats.

    On the other side, there are people who are unwillingly unvaccinated (children, those for whom vaccination is a health risk in its own right – based on actual doctors assessments of their health, not their own opinions) – those people are being put at much greater risk by the willingly unvaccinated. The willingly unvaccinated are a blight on our economy, our healthcare system, and, sadly, our empathy. It’s not that they deserve to die – it’s that they deserve to be isolated and kept apart from the rest of society so that we can continue to function.

    These doctors know that if the willingly unvaccinated would merely get the jab, they would stop having to work hellish hours trying to save their stupid lives. It’s pathetic, and it has nothing to do with the PMC. It has everything to do with the embrace of ignorance.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Your faith in vaccinations and those who rule us is truly … appalling. Your views on who should receive medical treatment more fittingly belong in some much earlier age of Humankind.

      “It has everything to do with the embrace of ignorance.” That is indeed true of your comment. Read more, and think for yourself much much more.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Might help if you actually read the post as opposed to put your own prejudice and bile on display.

      Vaccinated people are getting breakthrough infections NOW. It was 20% of total infections in LA and that number is almost certainly low due to asymptomatic cases not being tracked. There are also cases in the hospital NOW. The vaccines are not a magic bullet.

      Israel which was leading the world in vaccinations now is in the midst of its biggest wave of outbreaks. That alone should prove the vaccines do not prevent contagion.

      And the vaccines do have side effects. The swine flu vaccine was yanked at a tiny fraction of deaths compared to the ones for the Covid vaccines. One of our aides had to go to the ER and the ER docs said her symptoms had to come from the vaccine, there was not other possible cause. We also know of multiple women who haven’t had a period since they got the vaccine, and that was months ago, and their specialists have no clue as to what to do. So they aren’t risk free either.

      Make shit up much? Have you never heard of a condom? Straight people use them to prevent STDs. Are you telling me gays are such fragile flowers that they can’t? That hasn’t been my experience (I have had sex with gay men, as in plural). Oh, and to clear matters up further, the HIV risk is to the sperm recipient.

    3. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

      “Give me a [ ] break, you pussies. Death comes to us all, and the (willingly) unvaccinated don’t deserve to take ICU beds . . . .”

      Your screed is a failure in applied reasoning, is it not?

      Since it is true that, “Death comes to us all”, why waste any time and/or resources in the effort of trying to prolong the inevitable for any individual who is going to die anyway? That is, in a pointless, meaningless universe [“The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless,”—-Theoretical physicist & Nobel laureate, Steven Weinberg. Noting also, for the sake of a somewhat informed argumentation, that the following development of a ‘poetic naturalism’ is supposed to act as an intellectual balm or salve acting to alleviate that same acknowledgement of meaninglessness and the consequent despair that might arise. Where, “Poetic naturalism strikes a middle ground, accepting that values are human constructs, but denying that they are therefore illusory or meaningless.” Why would that necessarily have to be the case? So, perhaps, the entire exercise is all just more of an intellectual game, that is, the luxury and amusement involved in intellectual windmill tilting. ], the situation is illustrated by the following:

      “I used to get a big kick out of saving people’s lives. Now I wonder what the hell’s the point, since they all have to die anyway.” “Oh, there’s a point, all right,” Dunbar assured him. “Is there? What’s the point?”
      “The point is to keep them from dying as long as you can.” “Yeah, but what’s the point, since they all have to die anyway?” “The trick is not to think about that.”—-Joseph Heller, Catch-22

      Do I need to add a “like LOL seriously.”, also?

    4. Basil Pesto

      succumbing to a virus for which the vaccine is the most effective preventative treatment possible?

      No, it isn’t. It is certainly the most effective at leading people to assume that that is the case. They’re a failsafe, something there to protect you when the myriad other mitigation steps fail. But USA recklessly abandoned those in May when it declared Mission Accomplished.

  32. Tom Stone

    Not all guns are owned by conservatives.
    My choice of “Thomas Paine” as a registered alias is a clue.
    From my observations we are very close indeed to coming apart as a society, it could happen in the next few months.

    1. ambrit

      You are spot on in that observation.
      People tend to forget that Trotsky saved the Communist Revolution from the White Russian Counter Revolution by organizing the Red Army. That was a lot of leftists with guns. America has it’s share of Leftists with guns.
      It has been argued that MLK was much more successful with his Civil Rights movement because there was the Black Panthers organization hiding just inside the shadows, backing him up.
      The famous Frederick Douglass quote is used here from time to time.
      “Power concedes nothing without a demand.”
      To make a demand that is taken seriously, one needs a credible threat to deploy.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        You don’t even have to go so far as looking at the Panthers; there were also the Deacons of Defense, armed black men who acted as bodyguards for King when he was staying in towns and cities with local desegregation struggles.

  33. Glen

    Where I work, those who are truly the PMC can use performance bonuses to seriously enhance their income. They can take a $250K yearly income and turn it into a $500K income, but they generally have to make very short term decisions to get the bonus and get the heck out of Dodge before the blow back shows up.

    It’s typically along the lines of – if I do this the company will save 2% per widget, but the engineers say it will kill someone in a year or two so I have to do this, get the bonus and a promotion to a new position before someone gets killed. Or, I’m going to get rid of all the senior engineers because they are expensive and mouthy in meetings (i.e. point out how people will get killed if we do that), and so I did, but now I have to get a promotion to a new job because we’re starting to have serious problems building the widgets.

    And so it goes…

  34. flora

    Thanks for this post. One startling new thing about much PMC pronouncmentia is willfully discarding the long held belief there can be multiple issues for consideration in any story or decision; examining in an open minded attempt to assess and weigh competing social issues isn’t even on the mental menu. Have most of the PMC become “new school post modernists” where the only thing that counts is power, the decree from the powerful is all that matters, agreeing with power is all that matters, shutting off any other consideration?

  35. John

    Read the lyrics. He wrote it in 1966. Pretty accurate depiction of PMC in a song in the mid sixties.
    The late Weimar comparisons are also appropriate in a lot of ways. The teevee version ain’t far off:
    All we need is a competent Trump. Our haut bourgeoisie will fall in line pretty quickly. (see Ochs lyrics)
    Weimar fell apart in 1933 rather quickly. Germany united and stayed pretty united until 1945.

  36. Scottso

    You site reports out of Israel showing diminishing vaccine effectiveness. A much more careful analysis of the same data here does not support that conclusion.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Israel does not agree with that analysis. Well connected sources told me Pfizer was all over the Israel health ministry after they published their data showing that the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine was down to 37%. They refused to walk it back or issue a qualifying statement. In fact, they are so convinced of declining efficacy that they are already talking about needing a fourth shot:

      Israel’s findings have been confirmed by Mayo finding Pfizer efficacy to be down to 42% (the US wasn’t as fast out of the box as Israel), Imperial College, plus real world results like highly vaxxed Iceland being in the midst of its worst Covid wave.

  37. Tom Stone

    This discussion would have been inconceivable not that long ago.
    And considering how things are going I doubt that NC will last much longer than I do.

      1. Tom Stone

        Thank you.
        It was pretty clearly an adverse drug reaction, something I have had to deal with in the past.

  38. ChrisRUEcon

    “A couple of years ago, when Lambert would talk about professional pundits and official Democratic spokescritters behaving as if they were trying to stoke civil war in the US, I thought he’d been spending too much time on Twitter and might benefit from a dose of smelling salts.”

    What an opening! ;-) Hahahahaha!

    As a denizen of that #Hellverse known as #Twitter, I have on more that one occasion diagnosed myself in likewise fashion.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      Beneath The Bizarre And Bifurcated Civil/Culture War

      Firstly, thanks for this post … I have thoughts.

      The Civil/Culture war, in my estimation has two aspects.

      The first is what I – and others here, including our esteemed editors – see as little more than impotent tribal virtue signaling.

      During non election years, there is little real potency to the screeching, This amazing banger (via Twitter) has been recirculating lately in lefty #Twitter feeds. It’s so typical of blue-check, liberal Twitter. But nothing, absolutely nothing meaningful ever comes of it. As Lambert might say, no tangible material benefits. The hatred is all part of the horse race – politics as sport. Sport can get pretty hateful! I have among my friends and acquaintances, people who know what it’s like to get “chibbed” (stabbed) after a football match between Rangers and Celtic (Scotland). While I whole heartedly renounce this kind of violence, the PMC’s thirst to posterize-dunk on #Twitter can ne’er be quenched. For them it is mere sport – the gloating, the holier-than-thou pontificating. It’s all part of the spectacle – that amazing distraction that lures in the #MSNBC, #NPR and #CNN-addled crews – lulling them into that false sense of superiority, but more importantly getting them ready for the real battle … primaries!

      The second aspect of the war is the PMC’s crucial role in propping up the liberal klepto-plutocrat duopoly.

      If you believe as many including Chris Arnade do (via American Compass), that poor people don’t vote, then the PMC plays an outsized role in primaries. They can be counted on with metaphysical certitude to be the ones carrying the banner for some sad sack, liberal establishment miscreant against any and all grassroots left upstarts. The most distinct feature (not a bug) of the PMC is its unremarkable goldfish-brained-ness which provides cover for liberal malfeasance, negligence and violence. Did the kids in cages suddenly get freed?! Noooooo … goldfish brains can’t remember that! How convenient. Remember when Biden said we had to pursue a lockdown strategy unlike Trump?! Of course not! Gold fish brains can’t quite recall this! No more #OrangeManBad they say! #IceCreamManGood they scream!

      From the predatory, George Carlin nailed this years ago (via You Tube). Things have changed a bit since that performance was recorded. The PMC is sandwiched between the stupid rich and the quickly eroding into poverty “middle class” and the poor/working-poor beneath. The PMCs role is to stop themselves from falling into the abyss – now the “middle class”. They prefer to hitch their wagons to the class pulling the strings above them as opposed to joining the struggle from beneath. It’s why punching down is really a thing.

      1. hunkerdown

        Good, just a little point that it has nothing to do with an incapacity to remember their last story line. In one sense, Management is the process of repeating lies until material facts converge on them. What they are doing is much closer to Rovian reality-creation, or the speaker in Nineteen Eighty-Four transparently switching enemies in the middle of a report, than any defect of cognition.

        1. ChrisRUEcon

          Correct. If I could peel back one more layer of the onion, there would be PMC influencers and PMC followers sandwiched next to each other. The influencers manufacture consent and the followers – the real goldfish brains – amplify the alternative reality.

  39. RPF

    None of you get it, because you’re wedded to the American context. These people don’t want a civil war, they want a military coup to bring the great unwashed to heel.

    Born in Latin America, this pattern is familiar to me. There also elites view the common people as stupid, lazy vermin who frighten them. An old pattern in Latin America, where small European elites ruled over large indigenous and imported African slave populations. It’s not at all reassuring to me to see such attitudes growing here.

    1. Bazarov

      How armed were these large indigenous populations? The difference here is that every American “Bubba,” to use NC’s recent parlance, that the PMC despise is armed to the teeth. There are enough guns and ammunition splayed around American living rooms to support an insurrection that would dwarf the Taliban.

      Our Fail Army, which probably knows this, would not come a-coupin’ at the call of the elites.

      They might, however, support an armed people’s uprising if only because they could not defeat it. In that case, you’d have more of a military led people’s revolution–perhaps something like what happened with Chavez (who, if I remember correctly, got his start as a minor coupster in military).

      1. RPF

        If you think the brass – who are fully paid up members of the Blob, as Ben Rhodes so artfully put it – would hesitate to deploy close air support by B-52s and AC-130s against an insurrection I don’t know what to tell you.

        No, they won’t interfere in an election, but I think you’d best rethink your assumptions before thinking Air Force officers – college-educated narcissists who already think they’re Olympian gods – won’t unleash hell on the yeomanry.

        1. hunkerdown

          But the people are still in charge on the ground, and can cause much pain in the civil infrastructure on which internal counterinsurgency would depend. They aren’t bound by the Constitution not to issue bills of attainder among themselves, not work corruption of blood among themselves, or otherwise define treason to their communities among themselves. People remember who were excited about enlisting out of high school. Disinheritance might be the wages of counterinsurgency. Besides, other countries would have interests in the outcome and some would not refrain from steering resources, intelligence, or materiel here or there to serve their needs of the moment. It is not clear they would all come in on the side of the regime.

      2. Pamina

        Every American “Bubba” is armed to the teeth? That is actually one of those assumptions that those snotty coastal PMC types make about all of flyover that really pisses me off the most. It seems to me that in the past 25 years or so there is this growing trend to lump all of the US that lies outside of major metropolitan areas as one homogeneous backwards zone of gun toten, right wing religious bigots. If anything, this essentialist red/blue characterization has only amped up during the Trump years and gone into overdrive with COVID. In this sick culture war pissing contest the conservatives, such as they are, absolutely relish their persecution at the hands of the big city libruls. But most people I know from where I come from are totally checked out from politics since it is nothing but hand-ringing virtue signalling by a bunch of know-it-all, left and right, that does nothing to improve the material conditions of their lives. The real winner of the past two presidential elections in the county that I grew up in wasn’t Trump, it was actually “none of these dumb f*****s”. Voter participation has steadily hit an all time low, not that it was ever that high since people in my area have never been very political, especially if their income is or was under the median.

        As for the gunz, maybe everybody in the Old South, or, Idaho or the Michigan UP has them, but that hasn’t been a part of my family experience of farming in Iowa. Clearly, the fond memories that I have of riding around with my dad in the Massey Ferguson MF750 combining corn on chilly autumn afternoons are just a figment of my imagination since clutching a semi-automatic rifle and rubbing my ammo magazine wasn’t part of the experience. My father, one of the smartest guys I know, was and is a pacifist through and through. He managed to flunk fourth grade back in the 1960’s, so a few years later when he should have been drafted to go to Vietnam he was still in high school. Thank the heavens, because he’s always held the military in contempt. He says that he didn’t like the military because he didn’t want to be bossed around by a bunch of bully boys. As far as he’s concerned all of these gun fetishists are a bunch of bully boys. None of my brothers or cousins or nephews who all still live in Iowa are interested in gunz either. They just want to farm or drive semi-truck. There’s too much work to be done on the farm to waste time ogling at an arsenal and fantasizing about hunting down the libs in the imminent civil war. My one brother, who leans conservative but is totally apolitical, did have to finally get a gun a few years ago when he started raising cattle. The first time he had to shoot a downer calf, he couldn’t do it. He had to get my other brother, the one who thinks that all the farmers should band together and form a cooperative, to finally kill the calf. Maybe I’m not, and my family are not authentically rural since we don’t conform to the cultural signifiers. Better raise the alarm, because not everyone in flyover got their secret MAGA decoder ring.

        1. Bazarov

          “Every” here was hyperbolic. I did not mean it literally–I know that a lot of people don’t own a gun (I don’t, and I live in a rural area). Here, I’ll be literal for you:

          Gun ownership is common among everyday people in the United States. Doubly so in rural areas (which makes sense since hunting is popular).

          I grew up in Iowa. Most of my friend’s families had guns, especially my farmer friends, who used to talk about shooting varmints (including cats, disturbingly) all the time.

          My immediate family didn’t own guns, but most of my extended family did and does.

          And it’s just the reality that gun ownership in America is normal. Both my brother in laws have many guns–not just for hunting; they keep hand guns on their person–and my sister keeps a gun in her purse.

          By the way, Iowa is 33rd for gun ownership–with 43.6 percent of adults having guns in their home! (

          So don’t gaslight me about this “WTF you talkin’ about, we don’t do guns out here! That’s all political hoopla!” nonsense. I know my country.

          1. Pamina

            I like your link. The ranking of Iowa doesn’t surprise me at all. That’s under half of the adult population that have guns in what is supposedly a quintessentially rural state. That was my point. It isn’t the majority like the PMC would have everyone believe. If these “deplorables” did conform to the stereotype, I would have expected that number to have been like 80 percent, with the majority owning tactical assault rifles, plus training that at least pretends to try to instruct people how not to shoot each other in a fire fight. To me that’s what “armed to the teeth” means. In that scenario, one must be prepared for the onslaught of city slickers from Cedar Rapids and heck even Waverly, etc. All I have to say is good luck eating the field corn and just hope the piggies in confinement don’t get the swine flu. On the other hand I am sure that lots of people lie on surveys, so who knows what the real figures are. Plus the survey doesn’t say what age the gun ownership skews. But I think that the PMC in their construction of the “other”, particularly since Trump, have basically painted the middle of the country regardless of regional variations as a monolith of gun-obsessed fascists. Like many people I have lived in a few locations in the country and while I don’t pretend to know them very well, I just honestly think there are both differences and similarities between places like Arizona, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, for instance and Iowa. I am not saying that any place is better or worse, just that there are variations among them and that includes attitudes about guns and their predominant usage. As far as I can tell the number that are probably ready to use them anywhere in armed conflict may not be as overwhelming as the ownership figures might indicate. The interesting thing that I notice is that CBS plays right into the PMC stereotypes of rural people by selecting an image for each state that mostly paints everyone who owns a gun as a fanatic hell-bent on shooting brown people with their assault rifles, and not people who go out to the sweetcorn field to shoot raccoons or hunt deer in season. Lest one thinks I’m anti-gun FWIW, I was rather fond of my M-16 with the M203 attached in the days of yore when I did the army thing for 8 years. Fortunately the military wanted me for my Russian skills and not my tactical acumen. Also, in our home in the MD suburbs of DC, we have a Ruger and a hunting rifle, both legally acquired by my not-white lefty husband (also army guy), as well a supply of $ammo$ (which one should remember before having grand fantasies about the imminent civil war, in which the PMC finally gets its comeuppance, will not last indefinitely once the supply from the arms manufacturers run out, yes, yes I know there are ammo hoarders). So yes, I can look in the closet safe to see that gun ownership is common. I can handle the 9mm fine. I carried one when I was in an aviation unit, but in spite of the army I have no idea what to do with the hunting rifle and even when I do figure it out I fear that whatever I do manage to shoot will have COVID.

            1. Bazarov

              An excellent comment–I agree with what you say here. Your insight about the PMC choosing the pictures on that article I linked to is spot on, as is your point about rural areas in different parts of the country having real cultural divergences (very true from what I’ve observed as well; for example: Iowa farmers and Indiana farmers come off as very different).

          2. Fritzi

            People, at least the non psychopaths, don’t go on fighting and killing and dying forever.

            They get tired of it, they reach the point where they will prefer submission to pretty much any authority, no matter how cruel, as long as there at least a semblance of peace, stability, normality.

            How many guns there are is probably Not the most important factor.

            More guns may very well have only one effect, drawing out the slaughter.

            With the same endresult.

            1. hunkerdown

              In other words, people stop before they solve the psychopath problem, and they get ruled, yet again. At least the Inuit took care of theirs instead of bowing to them.

          3. Weekend Warrior

            My question whenever I hear these fever dreams about civil war and the Trumpers grabbing their guns off the rack to wage a new Taliban insurgency is: have you seen most Americans?

            We are so fat and unhealthy that it’s near-impossible for military recruiters to get enough able-bodied youth to meet basic fighting shape requirements. For a military of 4 million active/reserve personnel out of almost 330 million people.

            Now turn your mind’s eye to the far-right “3%” gang you increasingly see on TV, LARPing for the cameras with all their tactical everything. I see a lot of potbellied men in their mid-50s armed to the teeth just …standing around. The most exertion they indulge in is shouting at a Leftist. This ruthless specimen is your future insurgent?

            And that guy’s the tip of the spear. Insurgencies need warm bodies. They need some casuals, too. So, you’re expecting me to believe that any decent share of us would have the extreme stamina and iron-will to keep fighting a multi-year, bloody civil war against each other when we throw a fit that Amazon Prime didn’t deliver our Family Pack of paper towels fast enough so that we could wipe up the ice cream off our bellies while watching Disney+ or Fox News?

            Get real.

            I don’t care how many guns or bulletproof vests or night-vision googles a third of Americans owns. Guns aren’t an army. And even a well-equipped, disciplined fighting force has a very hard time subduing a population in a huge territory.

  40. Louis Fyne

    War Nerd, if you’re out there….someone (you) needs to do some mock war gaming on how Team Blue chose the absolute worst locations from which to build their glass houses and throw stones.

    Whether it’s geography, water, logistics, etc.—– urban modern civilization (food, power, trash removal, etc.) requires access to the hinterlands.

    There was a reason that end-stage Western Roman emperors ran way to Ravenna and the folks within the Paris Commune started eating the zoo animals.

    Oh wait, Biden says I need nukes to beat the US army

      1. Louis Fyne

        then I may have to respectfully disagree w/War Nerd.

        If the poop ever hits the fan, the pro-DC forces and anti-DC forces have entirely asymmetric political goals—it is easier for Bubba to smash and run into the darkness than Team Acela Corridor to maintain the status quo.

        Every soldier/mercenary Manhattan/Beltway needs to protect a powerplant or a natural gas pipeline is one less body asserting federal control over the Deep Red states.

        Bubba’s goal in that type of conflict isn’t to walk up Capitol Hill and seize power, but merely smash and stay alive until the anti-Feds gain self-governance.

        1. Somerville Sadness

          I think Dolan is entirely correct on two points:

          1. It depends mostly on how the military chooses sides.

          2. An American civil war would instantly become a global conflict and China would come out on top.

    1. Weekend Warrior

      As per my Comment above, discussions about American Civil War 2.0 are rendered completely ridiculous the minute you imagine the median American actually being fit or focused enough to fight a ruthless insurgency.

      As one very simplistic proxy indication: 43% of us are obese. Fully 66% are overweight or obese.

      The percentage is far higher among the third of Americans who own guns or are the Trumpers in question. A state like Oklahoma with a high percentage of both is also the most obese in the country.

      Spewing violent fever dreams from the plush SuperCab of your truck into your iPhone held by your puffy, arthritic fingers is one thing. It doesn’t take much exertion to pose with all your buddies and their kewl gunz. Actually fighting a war is another thing, entirely.

      The American Taliban this crew is not.

      1. fajensen

        Lesson from Syria: If one wants to put down an American insurrection, one has to go hard, right at the start, while those fighters are still mostly unhealthy lard asses in tacticool!

        The “freedom fighters” in Syria started out pretty much as a graphic clown show. In the beginning they were blowing themselves up, doing team kills, doing a Rambo impression (and get shot up). They made good ratings on the gore sites, that was about it.

        With time, hardship, and attrition of the most incompetent, they became a seriously hard to put down force. They are still busy mopping them up now.

  41. Soredemos

    One aspect I particularly pay attention to is the apparent push to antagonize race relations. Whether that’s the intention or not, that’s effectively what is happening when absolutely everything is reduced to racism and white people are blatantly vilified. Call it CRT or whatever you’d like (the right has seized on that label for something they can seemingly only vaguely define, and much of their definition doesn’t line up with reality, but they aren’t completely wrong), but endeavors like the 1619 Project serve little function other than stoking a race war. They make racism the central element that drives all of American history. The problem becomes ‘white people’, especially white men.

    In reality ‘white people’ is not a meaningful group identity. No one in the US, other than maybe a few thousand actual, literal neo-Nazi types, thinks of themselves as part of a ‘white race’. But keep hammering into the public consciousness the idea of a uniform ‘white people’, and over time that is how more and more people, feeling vilified and embattled, and their often very real suffering ignored or ridiculed, are going to start self-identifying. And then they’re going to start organizing based on that. If you don’t want Nazism in America, maybe stop actively pushing people towards it with your rhetoric.

    Just to be clear, racism absolutely exists in the United States. But it’s subordinate to class dynamics, and also often highly regional. Just chalking something entirely up to racism seldom actually has the explanatory power many people think it does.

  42. Delina

    “Yet no one bats an eye at treating smokers for cancer and COPD, or STD victims who presumably couldn’t be bothered to use a condom, or the overweight for heart attacks and diabetes or drunks who smash themselves up with their cars,”
    Or homosexuals that suffer from AIDS,
    how you forget that?

    As Bazarov says above, the problem for fomenting a civil war, based on demographics, and class, is that the Fomentees have the guns. You can bet that people are making local lists. The uber wealthy are already avoiding the society pages and are buying Chevrolets to try and go Grey.

  43. VietnamVet

    A half century ago I spent three years in former European Colonies in Southeast Asia. The ethnic, political, and economic situation is quite similar today in the USA.

    Before WWII, when just a North American Empire, to avoid further civil wars, an accommodation was made, since there was a need for workers, to let European descendants have a middle class, stability and build court yard statues to old soldiers.

    With end of the gold standard and the end of the draft after losing the colonial war to occupy South Vietnam, the middle class was dumped. Ronald Reagan started the counter-revolt but Bill Clinton codified it. The old USA no longer exists, it is now the North American colony for the global Western corporate state. This Empire needs Imperialists. Barrack Obama and Kamala Harris are good examples, they speak English but they are globalists not Americans. They and the corporate Republicans are one and the same. Making more money is the sole goal. To rule they must divide and conquer. So everyone is bombarded with propaganda. “War is Peace.” We listen to the band play. Dance with those who got us here. Meanwhile, walls of water are pouring, unaddressed, into the basement and ground floors beneath our feet.

    The unvaccinated are blamed instead of acknowledging the utter corruption and incompetent of globalists and their overseers. Scapegoats are needed since the global elite simply could care less about the US public health. COVID Vaccines are profitable. US life expectancy is plummeting.

  44. Louis Fyne

    Pre-Tiger Mom fame, Prof. Amy Chua worked on economically-dominant, ethnic minorities (eg, those of Chinese descent in SE Asia, economically powerful/numerically small).

    As the US becomes a minority-majority nation, (IMO) expect the same forces to play out in the US—mass resentment and social mobilization against an economically powerful, yet ethnically small class (ie, elite “Hamptons whites”, not talking about “Bubba whites”) . Or in other words, US politics acting more like Latin American politics.

    If ever the “sans coulettes” start storming the Hamptons, it’s entirely as likely that a trans-ethnic/identity rush is led by an AOC 2.0 and “Bubba” just sits on the sidelines and happily watch as the uber-elite get their karmic judgment.

  45. Lynne

    I’m not really all that surprised at the hatred, but I was surprised by this portion of the article: “Yet no one bats an eye at treating smokers for cancer and COPD, or STD victims who presumably couldn’t be bothered to use a condom, or the overweight for heart attacks and diabetes or drunks who smash themselves up with their cars, or attempted suicides.”

    I don’t think you know the same people I do if that is really your experience. It may be true for STD victims and attempted suicides. But I had one unfortunate night when I couldn’t sleep while recovering from surgery and heard plenty of nurse talk out in the hall ways about fat people, smokers, etc. Truly vicious women, they were.

    1. Basil Pesto

      Maybe so, and I don’t doubt it, but those people were still treated. There seems to be a non-trivial movement suggesting “hey, maybe let’s not treat the unvaccinated, the selfish pricks” that seems to be gaining traction.

  46. Lynne

    And then we have this gem on how the vaccine never results in death, no matter if the treated physician lists it on the death certificate. We know that treating physician MUST be wrong because the CDC says so.

    “I want to be very clear on this, there have been no deaths due to/or caused by any of the COVID-19 vaccines in South Dakota,” Bucheli said. “There was one case in South Dakota where a doctor listed COVID-19 vaccine on the death certificate. This case was promptly reported to the CDC’s VAERS system for additional follow-up and it was the CDC’s perspective that even though a COVID-19 vaccine was listed on the death certificate, it did not indicate a direct causal association. The patient was elderly (over 90 years) and had a heart attack.”

  47. Henry Moon Pie

    Yves really started a fascinating discussion with this post. Reading through it is a little like sitting around a campfire as people trade ghost stories.

    I’m with all the doomers on this thread. My expectation was that the country wouldn’t make it through 2020, and even though we’re in September of 2021, and the system still works more or less even though there’s plenty of creaking and shuddering, the jury is still out on that it seems to me.

    If we really believe that this system is headed for crack-up, then when is it time to leave the old fights over conventional politics and economics behind and move on to focusing on triaging under conditions of social, political and economic collapse? Around what can small proto-communities organize not only to take care of each other but also to help refugees fleeing violence or climate impacts? If this system does go down, at least in the U. S., what values will guide us as we really try to “build back better?”

    I can think of no one who saw more clearly what things would look like in the 2020s than Octavia Butler and her Parable series written in the 1990s. Amidst the endless drought and wildfires, open police corruption and mass violence, a competition develops among those with differing visions for the future. As the American federal government shrinks in influence to the point of irrelevance, two groups organized around religions compete for power. Fundamentalist Christians, Gilead-like, square off against the novels’ heroine who had created her own godless religion that she called Earthseed. She begins recruiting followers one-by-one until exponential growth hits and produces a movement.

    This is the sort of world I think we’re headed for, and those with a coherent vision for the future and an ability to offer concrete material help to the growing number of afflicted will be the only alternative to those who already have the vision (dystopian) and the organization.

    That’s my little ghost story.

    1. Rhondda

      Excellent comment, Henry Moon Pie. I re-read Octavia Butler’s Parable series just a few months ago, and shared it with younger sci-fi friends who had not ever heard of it. The quasi group reading generated a great discussion. I would also add God’s Gardeners from the MaddAddam series to your ‘coherent visionary templates’ list.

    2. Rainlover

      And for a deep dive into dystopia, check out David Wingrove’s Chung Kuo series in which the Chinese have conquered the world. I first read this in 1992 and had to resort to interlibrary loan to get it this time. I wanted to refresh my vision since China bids fair to be the next hegemon.

  48. Gregory Etchason

    COVID is an equal opportunity illness. As the health system implodes over the next few months it only makes sense for the unvaccinated unmasked to go to the end of the “rationing” line. People will always live and die by their personal choices. For those refusing vaccination and Public Health mitigation, let death and suffering rain down on them regardless of race, creed or color.

    1. ambrit

      The kind of society that you envision is not worth living in. The survivors will end up envying the dead.
      Then again, as your “preferred strategy” gains momentum, the ‘deplorables’ will come to their senses, and attack those imposing the deadly conditions on them. Eventually, nothing will be left to save.
      IMDoc said it best; the old school medicos were taught that their mission was to treat everyone, regardless of socio-economic status or medical condition. That is one of the bases of a functional civilization. When you have medicos making life and death decisions when circumstances do not demand such, you are no longer living in a civilized nation. Such a State is closer to barbarism than anything else.

      1. Gregory Etchason

        the operative word in my entry was “rationing”. My position is if beds are rationed a vaccinated person with a heart attack gets the bed before an unvaccinated person. The vast majority are “electing” to not get vaccinated.
        So be it.

        1. hunkerdown

          At which point they might as well shoot up hospitals for all the service they get out of them. You do not have escalation dominance. You lost that sometime last year with the Antifa vs. Proud Boys street theater. You will not press your arrogant state of exception from the Hippocratic Oath successfully, without risking the whole PMC’s class legitimacy.

    2. tegnost

      let death and suffering rain down on them regardless of race, creed or color

      Maybe you have heard this proverb from chaucer…
      “The guiler shall himself beguiled be.”

      You’re putting an awful lot of faith in vaccines that may very well not work over the long term, and in spite of your faith in “the science”, it’s pretty obvious that there is not a lot of science being practiced, but a whole lot of marketing.

    3. MonkeyBusiness

      Nah, Covid or not, rich people will go to the front of the line. Heck, they’ll reserve the whole “front of the line”.

  49. DrSloperWazRobbed

    I live in Arlington. I feel attacked!

    There is south Arlington (where I live), Arl-andria, Columbia Pike…Arlington is not ALL PMC, MIC contractors, lobbyists and so on. We have all kinds of trust-fund interns slumming it in 30+ year old apartments, or cohabiting in 40+ year old houses-you better not get lost around here at night!

    I realize he is talking about McLean, Clarendon, Pentagon City, Ridge Road and so on. It is a good point, that all predators are prey, especially individually. The best way to bring out instant resentment from somebody who lives in McLean etc is to mention a nice place in Bethesda or Potomac MD, or NW DC. And the same way to do it to somebody who lives in Bethesda etc is to mention Arlington.

  50. BeliTsari

    They’d never have to. My “Bubba” half of the working class, IS the autocratic duopoly’s “well regulated militia,” who’ll be around shortly to round a VERY few of us up (based on our insurrectionist social networking, facial recognition from strikes “riots,” or protests, “looting.” I’m guessing, III% MAGA OathKeeper cops & Boogaloo Boi agents provacateurs are now assigned to LOTS of lefty posters, on PropR’Not designated RooskiBot… just to make a Sturmabteilung style example? Like Jim Crow era “outside agitators,” more like the Klan, than PAID cartel death squads? Like our dear Founding Fathers intended!

  51. Philip

    A view from England. Dislike of the PMC class is having a big effect on the fortunes of the Labour party. Left PMC management dominates large sections of ecomony: education, local and central government managemant, TV & digtal media, health care, law, academia, police, courts, childcare, politics and has a significant presence in all corporate management since management is recruited from all the PMC credentailed. The English working class are well aware of the Left PMC dominance of the Labour party today and that the PMC don’t like working class cultures. My experience of a number of working class views on the subject is “why would you vote for the bosses (Left PMC) party?”. They don’t like the Tories, but they see them as the lesser of two evils on tax, and that the Tories say they believe in an “English Society” and not a vague globalist society that somehow never includes their needs or wants. Not a lot of choice for working people really.

    1. Jesper

      I’d say that it matches what is happening in mainlaind Europe. The Social Democratic parties are losing voters and they cannot figure out why. Their analysis appears to be::
      -whatever policy a Social Democratic party supports/drives is by definition a Social Democratic policy
      -Social Democratic parties have less and less popular support so something must be wrong with Social Democratic policies and therefore some policies have to be dropped and/or changed
      -the policies to be dropped are the traditional Social Democratic policies as everybody at the top personally benefits from the new Social Democratic policies (lower wages for the help, increased property values etc etc)

      The end result is that policies that once were Social Democratic and mainstream were dropped and the ones who picked up those dropped policies were the ‘populist’ parties and now those very same policies are extremist and bad.
      The Swedish Social Democratic party appears to have the strategy too woo the voters or the smallest parties in the Swedish parliament. That segment might in total represent 10-20% of the voting population and that segment is favoured and targeted by five parties. Call it PMC or Upper Middle Class, maybe neither or maybe both might be used to define them.
      I do not quite understand how Social Democrats expect to win more than 10-20% of the votes when their policies only benefit 10-20% of the voters. Then again, it is possible that the aim is not to win the election – the aim might be to secure well-paying jobs for the party leadership and their hangers-on.

      At least we do not have the first by the post system so there is always the option to vote for protest/populist/mainstream (delete as appropriate) parties.
      I can’t quite figure out how the Liberal party in Sweden which is polling at less than 4% support is said to be in the mainstream of the electorate and not extremist while the party with +20% support is seen as the one out of touch with the mainstream of the electorate and therefore extremist.

      1. Philip

        Hello Jesper
        As to who is and who is not an extremist depends on who is doing the reporting! To the PMC every politician outside their class is an extremist, and some genuinely are, but most are not, which comes to the core blindness of PMC politics. Democracy is about doing deals/making offers/appealling to other sections of society so that everybody (or nearly so) gets what they need if not what they want, making for a happier society. Unfortunately the explosion in corpoate beurocracy and credentiallism in the last half century in private, public and NGO sectors has tought the PMC different lessons; the higher you are in the heirarchy the more you can kick down, and those below you have to suck it up, as you are superior to those below you by education, ethics & culture, you are therefore not accountable to them, and if your orders are disfunctional there are plenty of scapegoats below to blame for failure. In short the PMC have learnt they can get what they want not by copperating with others, but by shouting at their inferiors and ordering them around. And they really cannot see how bad that looks! The working class do see it (everyday) and in the silence of the ballot box they can shout back!

  52. Grayce

    On this thought: “Biden has continued nearly all of Trump’s policies.”
    Big picture. Biden is the American President. It is his job to execute existing American legislation. It is his job to demonstrate a peaceful transfer of power. His “rules” start at the beginning with the Constitution and continue through current American treaties and agreements. So far, so good.
    Current Picture. Trump was the American President. In that capacity, he acted for America. He bound or loosened American treaties and agreements. When his successor takes office, it is not “Biden” following “Trump.” It is America continuing.
    Much better to observe that this administration, if so, has continued all of the existing American policies–as it should–while the Chief Executive and the actual legislators (House and Senate) work to steer the country toward whatever improvements are seen to be useful. We are not a country of a supreme leader, are we? The Commander in Chief of the armed forces is still subject to law. We hope.
    While true that a president stamps his image on many developments during his four or eight years of leadership, we grant one man too much power when we name an era for him.
    We remove too much power from we, the people, when we measure Biden by superficial images instead of knowing where America’s word has been given, and likewise, when we look the other way if he ignores American commitments. It is bigger than both of them, and the peaceful transfer is not to be squandered by the media circus of reporting on it.

  53. Sound of the Suburbs

    We are educated.
    What in exactly?
    This is where we find the things they don’t know.

    They all know the same things, and don’t know the same things.
    They are blissfully unaware of the gaps in their education.

    The real problem today is the education they receive in economics.
    What’s missing?
    They don’t know what real wealth creation is, and associate it with things like making money, rising asset prices and trade.
    They don’t know how the monetary or banking systems actually work.
    They don’t look at private debt.

    Neoclassical economics has always had the same problems.
    It confuses making money with creating wealth.

    Rentiers make money, they don’t create wealth.
    Confusing making money and creating wealth hides rentier activity in the economy.

    Banks create money, not wealth, and so lie at the epicentre of the confusion.
    You haven’t got a clue what’s really going on.
    Global policymakers have been finding out the hard way.

    Private banks create the money supply.
    Money and debt come into existence together and disappear together like matter and anti-matter.
    Bank loans create money and debt repayments to banks destroy money.
    Bank loans create 97% of the money supply
    The money supply ≈ public debt + private debt
    Money and debt are like opposite sides of the same coin.

    Start looking at private debt and you start to see when things are going wrong.
    At 18 mins.
    1929 and 2008 stick out like sore thumbs.

Comments are closed.