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Here is the thing: if you get the people to identify with the wealthy or the ruling classes, you've won, because it will be political suicide to suggest (say) higher taxes for the wealthy in order to support a safety net or a way to bring back up the people who fall through the cracks.

So, the class war has been won by the wealthy by conditioning everyone to think of themselves not as they are or have been but as they might be in the future if they are hard-working, lucky and successful.

That people in the middle class and even the lower class identify most strongly with the wealthy is the only explanation I can muster for the average American's ideas about social justice, poverty, taxation, etc.

This identification with the wealthy is reinforced by the "American Dream" myth of the self-made man who pulled himself by his bootstraps out of a disadvantaged background and became wealthy (the only definition of "successful" that Americans accept). American politicians and business leaders will go out of their way to present themselves as "from the people".

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 12th, 2005 at 07:51:51 AM EST
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