Bernie Sanders was talked about a while ago, blathering his usual blather about how there is nothing but class struggle. Racism? Caused by poverty. (In which case, why aren’t poor blacks racist against whites?) Trumpism? Caused by poverty. (But, but, but, his fans give him boat parades. Have you priced boats lately?) Crime? Caused by poverty. (Has he never heard of Madoff? Or, for that matter, Trump?)
Now, admittedly, poverty is tough. People tend to react badly to it and bother their neighbors trying to get out of it. But that’s a whole different matter from poverty causing bigotry. Plus it does nothing to explain centuries and millenia of elites sneering at the stupidity and laziness of their underlings. If only poverty could cause that, elites should be the intelligent, highminded people they imagine themselves to be.
What does follow a pattern, though, is that people make sure they think poorly of anyone they hurt. After all, if the piefaced whatnot didn’t deserve it, they are the bad guys for inflicting harm.
The more harm, and the more baked-into-the-society and structural the harm, the greater the contempt for the underclass who are made to suffer.
In other words, Bernie has it backwards. It’s not poverty that causes racism. It’s the need to justify exploitation. Damaging others causes racism. And sexism.
That means the solution is not to make poor whites richer, to take an example at random. Or to make men more confident of their masculinity, to take another. It’s not to increase the status of the group causing harm.
It’s to remove it. It’s to maintain real equality.
Equals have enough social status to inflict a cost when someone tries to get something for nothing out of them. Without the ability to get away with hurting each other, there’s also no need to label others contemptible enough to deserve it. With real equality the need for contempt to justify bad treatment gradually fades.
Bernie’s BS would make the problem worse, and it sends people hoping for the solution down the wrong road. That’s why his BS is not simply silly.