Middle Class Traitors: Who Are They?

I recently came up with a phrase that other than one fleeting reference was not to be found in Google. It seemed to me to really describe a recent phenomenon that I found quite disturbing: the demographics of the electorate who voted for right wing conservatives in the November 2010 elections both on the federal level as well as in many states across the country. The phrase I coined was “Middle Class Traitors.”

Since I take credit for the phrase, I decided to provide my own definition.

“Middle Class Traitors are members of the middle class who think they have more in common with the rich and/or think they will someday be rich. As a result, they support government policies and cast votes against their own interests and those of the middle class.”

And then I decided to start my own blog called Middle Class Traitors.

My purpose is to have the phrase Middle Class Traitors become part of the popular political lexicon. The intent is for Middle Class Traitors themselves to better understand what they’re doing to themselves and to others and perhaps see the error of their ways. I want them to realize that they’ve been brainwashed and used by the right as part of a process to divide and conquer.

Separation! Demonization! Salvation! That’s part of the right wing process for creating Middle Class Traitors. They want you to feel as if you’re “different.” You’re not one of “them,” whoever “them” is. You’re better than them.

“They” are the enemy. They’re trying to “get you.” Whether, “they” are African-Americans, the poor, the working class, the middle class or even the government; they must be demonized.

And of course, the right wing offers salvation and with religious fervor proclaims that salvation is only available through smaller government, reducing the deficit and no new taxes!

And Middle Class Traitors buy into it and support policies, candidates and legislation as they cast ballots “against their own interests.”

Survival of the fittest! Every man for himself! Laissez-faire capitalism! An Ayn Rand Objectivist view with no room for thinking about anyone but yourself! That’s part of the bill of goods being sold by the right wing to Middle Class Traitors. That kind of thinking is at the heart of Paul Ryan’s budget proposal designed to social re-engineer our society in the name of reducing the deficit.

So how do these Middle Class Traitors benefit from supporting this right wing agenda? They must benefit or else why would they support these policies? The truth is that they don’t benefit. In fact these policies work against their “real” situation, as opposed to the beliefs they’ve been duped into accepting.

The real beneficiaries are the rich and corporate interests while Middle Class Traitors are no closer to being “one of them.” They’ve simply learned to hate and distrust.

I hope that you’ll visit my Middle Class Traitors blog.

Last of all, I want to thank Betsy for giving me the opportunity to write this piece for Classism Exposed. It’s a great blog!

Jody Gorran is the chairman and owner of Aquatherm Industries Inc of Lakewood, NJ, the largest US manufacturer of solar thermal collectors for warm water applications such as solar heating of swimming pools.

2 Responses

  1. Those Middle Class Traitors are simply greedy, self-centered social Darwinists. But I have to say that they’re not the only members of the middle class who have deliberately hurt the very poor at the very bottom economic rung over the last 30+ years in order to “get theirs” by making sure that those of us struggling in poverty never got a chance to get ours.

    It was a predominantly white male middle class (and their soccer mom wives) whose votes and public opinion responses to Stanford surveys that drove the Reagan Revolution and the Welfare Reform engine during the Clinton administration.

    The middle class as a whole threw poor women and children and the disabled off of welfare and make them get jobs but NO ONE wanted to guarantee living wage jobs with health benefits to all the poor women being thrown off of welfare. They wanted all of us “undeserving” poor (most whom are women) in the underclass to get jobs — so long as it wasn’t their middle class jobs. Welfare Reform was not a “contract with America”; it was a contract on America.

    The middle class complained about “their hard-earned money” going to support poor and marginalized “baby-makers” while electing policymakers, Congressmen, and presidents who consistently enacted laws (fetal personhood laws, conscience clause laws, etc.) that took away poor women’s access to reliable contraception and abortion. The result: 80% of the women in this country have no access to reliable contraception, not even Plan B in the event of a rape, and no access to early term abortion.

    The middle class have always hated the poor, and never wanted us to have anything. Not access to educations, good jobs, decent homes, not even social acceptance or love.

    Even getting to have sex, a biological human need, is framed as a social class privilege — a MALE privilege, at that. (And I am only referring to sex that is consensual. Don’t even get me started on non-consensual sex and how rape is the only crime where the victim is punished for the acts of the perpetrator!)

    Middle class welfare caseworkers, probation officers, counselors, vocational rehab specialists, charity administrators, etc., have a bad track record of looking down on the poor and disadvantaged whom they were/are paid to help. In fact, I further aver that they were paid to DENY us help for the most part. Yet, it was all of us poor people who served as “case files” to justify their middle class paychecks and benefits.

    Notice that the word “entitlement” is never seen in connection with all the tax breaks, tax deductions, subsidies and whatnot that the middle class and rich (most whom are white males) get. Any entitlement that the middle class and rich get — there are over 400 of them and I get into some pretty good detail about that in my book Classism For Dimwits (available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble) — are wealth and asset-builders that served to carry the beneficiaries of unearned privilege gently up the social escalator to the American Dream, which was either broken or ran in reverse for poor women and racial minorities.

    Most entitlements and “government handouts” were historically given to white males due to this nation’s legacy of unearned privileges whose bedrock is founded on centuries of discrimination rationalized by theories of biological and cultural racism and gender inferiority.

    Meanwhile, the few meager entitlements that we USED TO have for the poor, most whom are women, were punitive and inadequate to ensure minimally decent survival.

    Belligerent middle and upper class reactionaries denouncing “socialism” and “welfare handouts” for the poor have benefited far more from “socialism” than the poor ever have. And not one tantrum-throwing “self-made man” squawking about entitlements for the poor is willing to give their middle class job to someone in poverty that never got a chance so they could have a good job, thus reducing the number of food stamp recipients whom they denigrate as “welfare parasites.”

    Cuts in social programs for the poor began under Jimmy Carter’s presidency. Ronald Reagan and the Democrats along with social conservatives from the Religious Right escalated it. By 1985, a poor female high school graduate had almost no opportunity — CETA was eliminated. Rents skyrocketed and access to college was increasingly elusive for most poor youth under age 25. The prosperity of some came directly as a result of the social, political, and economic disenfranchisement of the many —those that were poor, non-male, and/or non-white.

    Middle class voters were silent about welfare for the rich while they elected politicians who slashed meager subsistence benefits and other social programs that helped the poor. They cried foul about preferential jobs placement programs for the disadvantaged under CETA and Affirmative Action while they benefited from the biggest preferential job placement program of their own: middle class good ole boy nepotism.

    The middle class drank the Kool-Aid – they bought into the rich Republican’s bogeyman: the “welfare queen” and the “able-bodied SSI cheat.” Mainstream media promoted and fueled Reagan’s demonization of the poor, sowing the seeds of “class envy” towards the poor among a Balkanized middle class voting public. This eventually brought us the Welfare Reform Act. But no voices were raised for the guarantee of a right to a living wage job and health and dental care.

    Most middle class people refuse to admit that an essential principle of capitalism is a formulation of injustice. The function of markets is that both the “buyer” and “seller” in a transaction become better off as a result of that transaction. But that doesn’t happen under capitalism because capitalism became a moral theory in which the only people deemed “deserving” of being able to live are those who are economically successful (never mind how they got it, and they want to make sure us poor “losers” don’t get ours because they don’t want competition!).

    Under capitalism, the primary purpose of the individual is his acquisition of wealth — which means that others around them have to be made poor because we live in a finite world with finite resources.

    I am sorry, I know it’s not nice to say this, but the only sympathy I have for the middle class in general is found in the dictionary: between “shit” and “syphilis.”

    Jacqueline S. Homan,
    Author: Classism For Dimwits
    Divine Right: The Truth is a Lie

  2. This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

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