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October 07, 2009

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It's a very reasonable guess that there are many artists, writers, and other creative types who struggle to get by and would *not* take kindly to being called the "leisure class." No doubt some of them have to take less-than-desirable side jobs to survive. Heck, some might even shovel coal.

Peter

The real work is thinking. Thinking is hard. That's why most of us hated homework when we were kids. If you took the coal shoveler and made him do math problems for 8 hours a day instead of shoveling coal, he'd beg you to let him shove goal again.

There's a real freedom in not having to think for a living. Mike Judge's movie Office Space touched on this with Ron Livingston's character happy to be wielding a shovel for a living at the end.

What many Marxists don't seem to understand is that capitalists do a lot of thinking, which is hard. They don't just magically end up owning the means of production. They think hard about which means of production to buy, how to get the funds to buy it, how to run it, etc. That's not only real work, it's the work that has the greatest economic impact.

A good example of this is the career of the Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal. He took over the Karmet Steel Works in Kazakhstan, in the former Soviet Union. Here I'll quote Mohnish Pabrai's* description of this, from p. 30 of his book The Dhando Investor:

"The company had stopped paying its workforce because it was bleeding red inck and had no cash. The plant was on the verge of closure with its Soviet-era managers forced to barter steel for food for its workers. The Kazakh government was glad to had Mr. Mittal the keys to the plant for nothing. Not only did Mr. Mittal retain the entire workforce and run the plant, he paid all the outstanding wages and within five years had turned it into a thriving business that was gushing cash. The workers and townsfolk literally worship Mittal as the person who saved their town from collapse."

*I've criticized Pabrai on my blog ( http://thehackensack.blogspot.com/2009/09/mohnish-pabrai-super-salesman-not-super.html ) for being an over-hyped, under-talented investor, but there are a few interesting stories in his brief book at least.

"It's actually rather an anomaly that priests (and that includes Protestant ministers and Rabbis) don't have the prestige that they once did."

Actually, Siggy: Since the religion du jour is environmentalism and political-correctness, the priests are the diversicrats and greenies who get to fly around the World attending different conferences and summits on our tax dollar.

And they're pretty prestigious set - their devotees include the Hollywood and the POTUS.

[HS: Right! Like Al Gore, very prestigious.]

Let's not leave out the reverends.

"Somewhere in between are people like computer programmers. They are doing real work that produces value, so they are not part of the leisure class, but they are way better off than the people shoveling coal for a living. They tend to vote Republican."

Hmmm. Sounds like me. There needs to be a name for this class.

I guess in the past, it would simply be "the middle class" or "the upper middle class," or "the bourgoisie." Maybe we should take that name, turn it around, and use it as a term to fight for. Just as was done with other terms of ddsparagement (i.e. "queer," "Chicano," etc.), so it can be with the term "Bourgoisie".

Heres a slogan: "Were here, Were Bourgious, Get Used to it!" ... Hmmm.... Or maybe not, but youve got the idea.

I think Sigma should give his spin on this great Roissy post and the data he links to about interracial dating:

http://roissy.wordpress.com/2009/10/07/everyones-racist-except-black-women/

"Somewhere in between are people like computer programmers. They are doing real work that produces value, so they are not part of the leisure class"

Have you considered that you might think of computer programming as "real work" because you are familiar with what it entails -- and that you might consider other fields to be "real work" if you were similarly familiar with them?

When I was in Army basic training, I remember an NCO going over the officer ranks with us. He's show a flash card with a second lieutenant's rank insignia on it and say, "This is a second lieutenant. He doesn't do any work. This is a first lieutenant. He doesn't have a job either.." And so on. You might say he thought officers were part of the leisure class, but that's because he didn't understand their responsibilities or see what they did.

http://roissy.wordpress.com/2009/10/07/everyones-racist-except-black-women/

So which women give white guys like me the most love? Native Americans, Other, and Black chicks. My memories of sweet intimacy with black girls are fond.

"White women prefer white men to the exclusion of everyone else—and Asian and Hispanic women prefer them even more exclusively. These three types of women only respond well to white men. More significantly, these groups’ reply rates to non-whites is terrible. Asian women write back non-white males at 21.9%, Hispanic women at 22.9%, and white women at 23.0%. It’s here where things get interesting, for white women in particular. If you look at the match-by-race table before this one, the “should-look-like” one, you see that white women have an above-average compatibility with almost every group. Yet they only reply well to guys who look like them. There’s more data on this towards the end of the post."

Speculation time: Did the mass of white SWPL women vote for Obama to assuage their subconscious guilt for prefering white men as mates? The jig is up white ladies. The next time I hear one of you braying about “racism this” and “racism that” I’m gonna shove this data right back in your pieholes.

Based on the weighted average rates at the bottom of the chart, Indian and Asian girls are the coyest women. Men, it’s a solid gameplan to avoid dating these chicks if you want to get some action before the tenth date.

snip

The first thing we notice is how much more eagerly men reply to female senders of all races than women reply to male senders. Hey, men are easier lays than women, news at 11. The second thing that jumps out is the high rate that Middle Eastern women get replies. According to this chart, white women are not the queens of the ball; every other group of women except black women gets a slightly higher reply rate than white women. Are white women’s deserved shitty reputation for entitlement, loudness, and cat hording finally catching up to them? Or is it that obese white women are more likely than fat chicks of other races to turn to the internet for love? What we do know is that worldwide, white women are the admired example of femininity, even for little children whose parents and culture are trying to convince them otherwise.

I've always thought that computer programmers and IT workers voted Democrat.

"Somewhere in between are people like computer programmers."

What about engineers, money guys, doctors? Your simple formula is pretty weak.

I'm an engineer, ($150k 45 hr/wk) average cost area. I feel like I'm in the leisure class to some degree, but also work in a job <5% has enough brains for (say IQ 125+).

No, it's not the leisure versus working class anymore. It's high IQ versus med/low IQ. Your experience as a computer programmer (third world competition) is warping your view of reality.

I'm suspicious about programmers voting Republican. Some charts HS might be interested in:
http://www.willwilkinson.net/flybottle/2008/04/11/jobs-and-votes/
http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~cook/movabletype/archives/2009/08/the_divergence.html
The second one is closer to what HA is talking about with an intellectual leisure class.


I've always thought that the best way to view the left/right struggle is not in terms of wealthy vs. non-wealthy, but in terms of well-educated, progressive, medium-income, "creative" types who are compensated primarily with prestige (journalist/professor/artist) vs. wealthy, financially conservative, business elite types. Both elite groups need to ally with lesser, more numerous populations in order to wield power. The progressives ally with the poor and with minorities. The conservatives ally with the religious right and the military.

"Somewhere in between are people like computer programmers. They are doing real work that produces value, so they are not part of the leisure class, but they are way better off than the people shoveling coal for a living. They tend to vote Republican."

It's true that this group is something of an anomaly: creative intellectuals who are compensated with money, not prestige. Note that a "geek" is much more likely to be Libertarian than an average person.

Father of Palin's Grandson to Pose for Playgirl

Levi Johnston's attorney said a formal agreement has not been reached with the online magazine but adds it's a "foregone conclusion" it will happen.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/10/07/father-palins-grandson-pose-playgirl/

The new class struggle is between white elites and the White Working And Middle Classes (WWAMC). The white elites use non-whites as their primary foot soldiers against the WWAMC. They do this by lowering wages, affirmative action, forced diversity, political correctness, and by promoting non-white hero worship.

All the programmers I know are Democrats. It always baffled me. Guys, you have good jobs and make good money, why the hell do you want to pay more taxes?

H1-b visas are mostly pushed by Republican business elite types. This foreign competition reduces programmer take home pay more than taxes.

Computer nerd culture is Democrat because it emerged from places like Berkley in the 60s/70s and there's an overlap with hippie culture.

Once IT became an entrenched part of corporate life and started attracting the same people as electrical and mechanical engineers, it started to swing Republican. Not because there's anything inherently Republican about IT, but because there is something inherently Republican about males.

"All the programmers I know are Democrats. It always baffled me. Guys, you have good jobs and make good money, why the hell do you want to pay more taxes?"

My developers are Dems. They did programming work for an Obama campaign website. They're in their 20s though. My guess is they won't be voting Dem in ten years.

The Republican Party has become the mass party of fundamentalist Christians and rednecks. On top of that computer programmmers are more likely to have more negative day to day contact with the Republican voting business elite that despise the "IT guys" as geeks than they are with flaky liberals on university campuses. Given that most programmers don't want to be associated with ignorant white proles and don't like being condescended to by finance guys or lawyers I can't imagine there are really many computer programmers who are Republicans. Libertarian is the natural political position for a programmer.

"There's a real freedom in not having to think for a living. Mike Judge's movie Office Space touched on this with Ron Livingston's character happy to be wielding a shovel for a living at the end."

That's partly true, but remember his office job didn't involve thinking either - he just changed the dates in long scripts of computer code. The contrast with his construction job was that he didn't have to deal with the emasculating social environment of corporate america.

"My guess is they won't be voting Dem in ten years."

What makes you so sure? Plenty of people stay Dem throughout their lives. Especially those who are enthusiastic enough to program websites for a Democratic national candidate, I would think.

"All the programmers I know are Democrats. It always baffled me. Guys, you have good jobs and make good money, why the hell do you want to pay more taxes?"

I thought it was widely known that beta males subscribe to liberal politics as a form of supplication to their female peers.

"The modern leftist would now look down upon the coal worker for eating disgusting food like McDonalds and having vulgar tastes in entertainment like watching NASCAR. It serves him right for not going to college (unless, of course, the coal worker is black, in which case the white racist society prevented him from going to college)."

I've totally seen this. There's nothing SWPL's dislike more than a white guy with a job like garbageman or something. Uneducated, uncouth, untouchable.

There would probably be some cognitive dissonance there though. It'd be hard to admit to caste thinking so they'd have to rationalize why they look down on these guys by saying they can't respect someone who doesn't value education or something.

Sailer often makes the point that the left is exceedingly vain about their IQ's while at the same time saying it doesn't exist. Similar idea I guess.

Tom beat me to it: The new priest class is environmentalists. I hope the comment about Gore wasn't sarcasm...he has won a Nobel Prize and an Oscar...probably the highest votes of prestige in that class.

The leftists are irreligious, anyway...so a rabbi, minister, or priest has about as much prestige in that world as a witch doctor would in Victorian England.

Paul Fussell would probably list computer programmers in a corporate gig as low class. They have less autonomy and more accountability that journos, profs, etc. The exception might be people who work for start ups (implies the lack of a need to make a living) or programmers for gaming companies (same reason artists, producers, songwriters are high class or "X" class).

Re: programmers...Fussell also dings you for "modernity" and gives bonus points for archaism. High tech is inherently lower class....per his book, high class people either have a crappy TV set, hide it, or pile it with mounds of kitsch to imply they don't take it seriously.

Macs are higher class than PC's as they are more expensive and impractical.

Some things may have changed since he wrote his book in the late 70's, though...

"What makes you so sure?"

I said "My guess is..." not "I'm sure..." precisely because I'm not sure.

I am a programmer. I voted democratic cause of Iraq, abortion and the AIG, Lehman collapses. I don't care what Jesus freaks do as long as they stay off my back.(I'm sure Muslim freaks are worse though.)

From what I can tell most programmers are Dem. Probably because of the education thing. They are largely SWPL but not as dogmatically so as would be implied by all the bike riding and such.

Finally, as in most occupations, no matter how much thinking is required, most programmers are simply ignorant go-along-with-prevailing-currents types.

Why a "writer" is "leisure classe" and a "computer programmer" do "real work that produces value"?

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