It has been my wont to comment cynically, as one who has been disabused of a malign illusion, upon the reality of the GOP's genuine "What's the Matter with Kansas?" electoral strategy: promises for the social conservatives, deliveries for the plutocrats. It does occur to me, nevertheless, that this band of machiavellians and running dogs does, in fact, espouse a notion of "family values", and they should receive all of the credit they deserve for this affirmation.
Contemplate, for a moment, the following pair of quotations:
First, Karl Rove, explaining the imperative of an amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants:
"I don't want my 17-year-old son to have to pick tomatoes or make beds in Las Vegas."
Second, an emigre Wall $treet Journal editorial writer, quoted by John Zmirak in his masterful essay, America the Abstraction, one of the decade's finest pieces of political writing:
“They’re not real Americans,” he said in a thick Slavic accent. The people who show up wanting to work, who aren’t afraid of 12 hour days, who set up shops in Chinatown and put their whole families to work from childhood on—people who put their faith in capitalism, those were the real Americans. “Not those resentful parasites. Just because they happen to live here, that doesn’t make them Americans.”
Laying aside for the moment that blasphemous and parodic notion of 'faith in capitalism' - while The Market may not die for anyone's sins, it apparently exercises a salvific effect by means of its metaphysic of chaos: destruction is creation, death is life, immiseration is (someone else's) wealth) - and laying aside even the burden of Zmirak's piece, which is the exposure of the perversion that is the displacement of Actually-Existing America by an armed dogmatism, let us consider the architecture, if you will, of this world-image.
On the one hand, we have those for whom only certain employments are suitable. Most of the employments to which men have had to turn their hands throughout the history of our race are ignoble and beneath their empyrean dignity. Moreover, this status is, at a minimum, heritable, a birthright of a de facto nobility of sorts; there is also the meritocratic principle, by which there occurs a certain churning of the nobility; but this principle does not alter in the slightest the structure of the caste system itself. Some are born to rule, while others are born to toil. So, on the other hand, we have those who must subject themselves to degrading, soul-stunting, life-negating regimens of drudgery, even pressing their children into service, that privation might be kept at bay. And, to top off this attractive world-image, there is a delectable little cherry: the plutocrats are genuine Americans, for they are a Master Capitalists, and capitalism is the essence of America; and the helots are Americans, for they have embraced the system (the swindle of consent) by labouring so assiduously within it, without raising a voice of complaint, accepting it as a fact of nature (for this is supposed to be the state of nature, secured by political consent) to which all must submit in faith.
Those who dissent from this vision of the world are not Americans, not in any meaningful sense, for they have the temerity to believe that tangible, substantive realities - of culture, justice, a way of life, including a standard of living - ought to have primacy over purely economic abstractions, and will not manifest due subordination by groveling beneath the table of the plutocracy, hoping for a few meagre scraps, and counting it munificence. They will not bless immiseration and count it bounty. And this new American way of life, this 'freedom', is not free, obviously, but bought with the toils of those born to serve. It is as though a segment of American society, having once ridiculed all the old Marxist rhetoric as just so much exaggeration and calumny, decided to enact it, un-self-consciously, and proclaim it as virtue, right down to the last detail of the little people expressing their gratitude for their subjection.
O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end! And perhaps more proximate ends as well.