Dissent is a privilege of the middle class

I have thought for a long time now (and it is by no means an original thought) that being able to dissent is a privilege of the middle class.  It’s fairly widely true that the more money you have, the more conservative you become about spending it – anyone who has worked in restaurants knows that the richer the patron the lousier the tipper.

But a more cynical thought occurred to me this morning.   There has been an insidious movement in this country since Reagan to squeeze out the middle class – provide tax cuts for the wealthy, and keep the poor poor with welfare programs that don’t work very well, and put the burden of supporting society financially on the people in the middle. Doing this is not just a fucked up view of economics – it also very quietly prevents dissent.  Because the more you make the people most likely to have the education and leisure time to protest policies and propose reforms tired, exhausted, and overburdened – well, the less likely they are to engage in that kind of meaningful dissent. Which is not to say that the poor are not capable of coming up with reforms – but they, like the middle class since the 1980’s – are too overworked.  And the rich aren’t motivated, because reforms would take away some of their power, some of their privilege.

Where are the people protesting the Iraq war, six years later? Where are the people protesting the erosion of our civil rights?  Where are the people protesting gas prices, and the Bush adminstration’s ONLY answer, drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge? Where are the people protesting the corporate monopoly of our media, our health care system?

Well, they’re paying higher taxes than people with twice their income, they’re struggling to put gas in their cars and feed their families, but they make too much money to qualify for government assistance.  They are struggling to make tough child care decisions while the rich hire nannies and the poor put their children into Head Start.  They don’t have time to dissent.  And that’s just the way the Bush administration, and the corporate lackeys it represents, want it.

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~ by realsupergirl on July 15, 2008.

2 Responses to “Dissent is a privilege of the middle class”

  1. YES! I think SO and I have talked about this before.

    …I also realized to my horror that there has been a Bush in office for almost half my life.

  2. Astute insights. Things will only get worse. I had high hope that more people would stand up and take back this America. I still do. I just don’t think it will happen in my lifetime.

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