Cribbing As a Career Strategy
Fareed starts his article expressing concern that middle age white males are dying in growing numbers, contrary to increasing life expectancies in other developed countries and among ethnic populations in the United States. Interestingly, he grabs huge swaths of content from the study he cites and drops it right into his article. That should save a lot of time and the trouble of actually having to come up with original material and doing some actual research. It is nothing new. He has been called on it before. For the record, he does include a link in his piece if you are interested.
But it turns out that it is only a screen for denigrating supporters of Donald Trump. The decline of life expectancy is unique to the United States, and is caused by stress, depression and despair, leading to alcoholism, drug overdoses, and illegal drugs. The largest segment of sufferers are white, middle aged, males, who are also the biggest segment of Trump supporters, which explains why he is doing so well! Case solved, and Fareed is happy to report that this will not be an ongoing problem because white, middle aged men are dying at an increasing rate, so their influence will also decrease, thank goodness!
Why is Middle America killing itself? The fact itself is probably the most important social science finding in years. It is already reshaping American politics. The Post’s Jeff Guo notes that the people who make up this cohort are “largely responsible for Donald Trump’s lead in the race for the Republican nomination for president.” The key question is why, and exploring it provides answers that suggest that the rage dominating U.S. politics will only get worse.
The main causes of death are as striking as the fact itself: suicide, alcoholism, and overdoses of prescription and illegal drugs. “People seem to be killing themselves, slowly or quickly,” Deaton told me. These circumstances are usually caused by stress, depression and despair. The only comparable spike in deaths in an industrialized country took place among Russian males after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when rates of alcoholism skyrocketed.
But why don’t we see the trend among other American ethnic groups? While mortality rates for middle-age whites have stayed flat or risen, the rates for Hispanics and blacks have continued to decline significantly. These groups live in the same country and face greater economic pressures than whites. Why are they not in similar despair?
The answer might lie in expectations. Princeton anthropologist Carolyn Rouse suggested, in an email exchange, that other groups might not expect that their income, standard of living and social status are destined to steadily improve. They don’t have the same confidence that if they work hard, they will surely get ahead. In fact, Rouse said that after hundreds of years of slavery, segregation and racism, blacks have developed ways to cope with disappointment and the unfairness of life: through family, art, protest speech and, above all, religion.
The United States is going through a great power shift. Working-class whites don’t think of themselves as an elite group. But, in a sense, they have been, certainly compared with blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and most immigrants. They were central to America’s economy, its society, indeed its very identity. They are not anymore. Donald Trump has promised that he will change this and make them win again. But he can’t. No one can. And deep down, they know it.
So there you have it. White, middle class males are in a rage. They have never had to deal with unfairness in life, the problem of not having power, disappointment, or lack of upward financial mobility. And so with the change in society, in expectations, white males are now confronted with stress, depression and despair. Their lifeline is Donald Trump, and he is promising that he can help them climb to the top again. Which of course is a lie.
That is the explanation that Fareed has arrived at to explain the Trump phenomenon. Fareed is a hack. He is a plagiarist. And he is an empty headed echo chamber of the other nonsense spewing fools on the Left who think that all things good and great revolve around New York and the Beltway. It will be fun to mock them when Donald Trump is elected president. It will be amusing to see them trying to come up with a new explanation for why they were so very wrong about so many things. But they will not admit they were wrong. The are incapable of climbing out of their comfortable bubble. Maybe Fareed can find an article to plagiarize to explain it to them.
Photo: John Barth