“Something startling is happening to middle-age white Americans. Unlike every other age group, unlike every other racial and ethnic group ... death rates in this group have been rising, not falling.’’
The big new killers of middle-age white folks? Alcoholic liver disease, overdoses of heroin and opioids, and suicides. So wrote Gina Kolata in The New York Times of a stunning study by the husband-wife team of Nobel laureate Angus Deaton and Anne Case.
Deaton could cite but one parallel to this social disaster: “Only HIV/AIDS in contemporary times has done anything like this.’’
Middle-age whites are four times as likely as middle-age blacks to kill themselves. Their fitness levels are falling as they suffer rising levels of physical pain, emotional stress and mental depression, which helps explain the alcohol and drug addiction.
But what explains the social disaster of white middle America?
First, an economy where, though at or near full employment, a huge slice of the labor force has dropped out. Second, the real wages of working Americans have been nearly stagnant for decades.
Two major contributors to the economic decline of the white working-class: Scores of millions of Third-World immigrants, here legally and illegally, who depress U.S. wages, and tens of thousands of factories and millions of jobs shipped abroad under the label of “globalization.’’
Another factor in the crisis of middle and working class white men is the plunging percentage of those who are married. Where a wife and children give meaning to a man’s life, and to his labors, single white men are not only being left behind by the new economy, they are becoming alienated from society.
“It’s not surprising,’’ Barack Obama volunteered to his San Francisco high-donors, that such folks, “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them ...’’
We all have seen the figure of 72 percent of black children being born out of wedlock. For working class whites, it is up to 40 percent.
A lost generation is growing up all around us.
In the popular culture of the 1940s and 1950s, white men were role models. They were the detectives and cops who ran down gangsters and the heroes who won World War II on the battlefields of Europe and in the islands of the Pacific.
They were doctors, journalists, lawyers, architects and clergy. White males were our skilled workers and craftsmen — carpenters, painters, plumbers, bricklayers, machinists, mechanics.
They were the Founding Fathers, Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Hamilton, and the statesmen, Webster, Clay and Calhoun.
Lincoln and every president had been a white male. Middle-class white males were the great inventors: Eli Whitney and Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell and the Wright Brothers.
They were the great capitalists: Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford and J.P. Morgan. All the great captains of America’s wars were white males: Andrew Jackson and Sam Houston, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, U.S. Grant and John J. Pershing, Douglas MacArthur and George Patton.
What has changed in our culture? Everything.
The world has been turned upside-down for white children. In our schools the history books have been rewritten and old heroes blotted out, as their statues are taken down and their flags are put away.
Children are being taught that America was “discovered’’ by genocidal white racists, who murdered the native peoples of color, enslaved Africans to do the labor they refused to do, then went out and brutalized and colonized indigenous peoples all over the world.
In Hollywood films and TV shows, working-class white males are regularly portrayed as what was once disparaged as “white trash.’’
Republicans are instructed that demography is destiny, that white America is dying, and that they must court Hispanics, Asians and blacks or go the way of the Whigs.
Since affirmative action for black Americans began in the 1960s, it has been broadened to encompass women, Hispanics, Native Americans the handicapped, indeed, almost 70 percent of the nation.
White males, now down to 31 percent of the population, have become the only Americans against whom it is not only permissible, but commendable, to discriminate.
When our cultural and political elites celebrate “diversity” and clamor for more, what are they demanding, if not fewer white males in the workforce and in the freshman classes at Annapolis and Harvard?
What is the moral argument for an affirmative action that justifies unending race discrimination against a declining white working class, who have become the expendables of our multicultural regime?
“Angry white male’’ is now an acceptable slur in culture and politics. So it is that people of that derided ethnicity, race, and gender see in Donald Trump someone who unapologetically berates and mocks the elites who have dispossessed them, and who despise them.
Is it any surprise that militant anti-government groups attract white males? Is it so surprising that the Donald today, like Jess Willard a century ago, is seen by millions as “The Great White Hope?”