Interesting piece, The French, Coming Apart, from City Journal about French geographer/housing consultant Christophe Guilluy.
Housing is something that the dissident right all too often overlooks (apart from Steve Sailer who has always understood that it’s a crucial issue). The Left used to worry about housing but nowadays they’re not interested.
Guilluy describes the ethnic cleansing of working class native French from major cities like Paris. One of his strengths is that he understands that neither class cannot singlehandedly explain the destruction of countries like France but nor can race. You have to comprehend both class and race.
In cities like Paris the ethnic cleansing of native French neighbourhoods is not seen as a problem by the elites. That’s not because the victims of the ethnic cleansing are ethnically French. It’s because they are working class. As far as the French elites and middle class are concerned those working class people are no longer needed so they should just die.
Guilluy also talks about the fact that there is now not one bourgeoisie but two. That should have led to tensions within the elites but it hasn’t because the old money sort and the new tech economy sort are united by their hatred of the working class and their desire for cheap labour provided by immigrants who will work for starvation wages.
He has an interesting explanation for the fact that both old and new bourgeoisie consider themselves as being leftists. They are “the ‘glass-ceiling Left,’ preoccupied with redistribution among, not from, elites.”
The article is very much worth a read.
Hat tip to Nourishing Obscurity for finding this piece.
The ruling passion of the modern West is consumerism. You are what you consume. You exist insofar as you consume. Your worth as a person is measured by your ability to consume.
It’s not quite the same as worshipping wealth. It doesn’t matter if you have zero actual net wealth, if you have access to credit and you can demonstrate your ability to spend then you are one of the righteous ones.
This means of course that the one national goal that matters is to increase GDP. That is not the same as increasing the national wealth. GDP is an entirely artificial figure. It measures economic activity, no matter how worthless, unproductive or even harmful that economic activity might be. And a nation can have a most impressive GDP and be in debt up to its eyeballs. It doesn’t matter. It fuels consumption and consumption is good.
We can look at our GDP and celebrate our good fortune to have so much material prosperity. But even if we assume that material prosperity is the key to happiness and virtue we have to ask ourselves just how real our material prosperity is. Is prosperity based on credit real prosperity? And what does our material prosperity actually represent? We have lots and lots of cheap low-quality consumer electronics. They might only last six months but they’re new and shiny and in six months’ time we’ll buy new ones which will be better because they’ll be even newer and shinier. We have lots of appliances. Of course they only last a few years whereas the ones manufactured half a century ago would last ten to twenty years. But our appliances are new and shiny.
Of course half a century ago ordinary working people could own their own homes. That’s becoming less and less possible. A cynic might say that our boasted material prosperity is complete nonsense if people can’t even afford housing. But who needs to worry about housing when there are shiny new digital gadgets to buy with borrowed money? There used to be a crazy idea that if young people could afford to buy a house they could afford to get married and have kids and that was considered to be a good thing. Nowadays we know it doesn’t matter. You can just live in Mom’s basement for your whole life, and anyway marriage is just a temporary sexual arrangement and who wants to have kids? Having kids means taking responsibility.
No-one seems willing to make a serious challenge to the cult of consumerism. The corporate types care only about profit. It doesn’t matter if society collapses into misery and chaos as long as it doesn’t affect the bottom line. Economists won’t challenge the idea because they’re incapable of understanding anything that can’t be measured in monetary terms. Politicians won’t challenge consumerism because they’re corrupt. Journalists won’t challenge the idea because they’re whores. The churches are too busy erecting Refugees Welcome signs to bother themselves with trivial stuff like the future of family life or the basic human need to find some purpose in life.
I’m not suggesting that material prosperity isn’t a very nice thing. It is. It just isn’t everything. It can be an ingredient in the good life, but it isn’t the whole of it. Which means that economic growth should not be the central pillar of national policy.
Consumerism and the cult of economic growth has distorted our thinking. There are things that we used to value that we’re apparently not allowed to value any more. Things like job security, the mere mention of which brings sneers from modern politicians and economists and the media. Things like quality of life. Remember quality of life? Things like living in pleasant neighbourhoods and not having to battle with traffic congestion.
Consumerism and economic growth have become our masters.