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If Only Class War Had Remained A Marxist Theme

Posted on February 8 2010 6:30 pm
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by Eric Scheie

To what class should Barack Obama be assigned? That is not an easy question to answer, because while it’s clear that he is now at the top of the political and “intellectual” ruling class elite, his background cannot easily be characterized in ordinary class terms as we understand them (or, as we once understood them). To call his background “working class” would be dishonest, because he lacks the trappings of that. Much as he wants and pretends to have them. He certainly was not rich, but neither was he poor. That would place him in the “middle class” except that doesn’t have quite the right ring to it — because classes in this country are not defined solely in economic terms.

Thus, if a guy who works a blue collar job for a living has a Ph.D. in History or Public Policy, it seems less than honest to refer to him as “working class.” I have met many people in the San Francisco Bay Area who work with their hands despite advanced degrees. Cab drivers with Ph.D’s are considered part of the Bay Area charm. Gay guys with genius IQs (smart enough to contribute great things to any number of fields) can be found working in “stereotypical” careers as hairdressers. Not that this should come as a surprise; one of the smartest guys I ever knew did nothing with his life but have sex and collect comic books. Yet it would never have occurred to me to assign him to the category of “lower class” — much less “the poor.”

Read more at Classical Values (h/t Instapundit).

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