Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mostly wrong, but there is something to it

We have all heard the quote from Senator Obama and read a ton about it:

"...So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion..."

Maybe I can add a smidgen more: Mostly I think he is just wrong and fairly condescending as well.

First, the "they cling" makes a strong implication that it is just a matter of time before these rubes come to their senses and realize that religion and guns are bad bad bad. I won't argue this here (though I could and maybe will sometime) but it seems pretty obvious that society is strengthened by the practice of religion and by the private ownership (by the law-abiding) of fire arms.

Second, even if guns and religion were bad and people only cling to them because of their bad economic condition--it is still poor form to point this out. (Although in fairness, Obama made this statement in front of floofy S.F Democratic poobahs and panjandrums--not blue-collar Pennsylvanians.) The statement doesn't take on these "wrong beliefs" on their own terms; as if these folks have no rational or logical explanation for what they hold dear!

Well, like I said: There is a kernel of truth to it though. Who among us has not noticed that the underclass do have some odd tendencies? Like, how come people who must have absolutely nothing anybody would want to steal always seem to have vicious dogs? Even here, there may be an explanation: Maybe people who have some wealth are afraid to own such a dog because if it bites someone they will get sued and loose everything. The poor have no wealth to sue away. The lack of one disincentive doesn't explain it all though.--There are still piercings and tatoos to contend with...


Anonymous said...

Hey, what do you consider the underclass? Don't the "upperclass" have just as many odd eccentric tendencies, relationship escapades, elitist attitudes and guard dogs /"hybrid-gone-bad" experimental dogs with poor temperments?

dbp said...

All good points, anonymous.

As someone who was raised in the middle class, I have had only limited contact with either elites or the underclass. I have met some though.

Both share certain antisocial markers, though I think for opposite reasons. The poor, because they have nothing and little hope of ever having anything, so there is little downside to being outrageous. Trustifarians have so much family wealth that they don't ever have to worry about doing without anything. Their outrageousness is similarly risk-free.--Or at least they think so until they are in the slammer or in rehab...