What If It’s “You,” Not “Them?”
So, I’ve been reading Kevin Williamson’s book, Big White Ghetto: Dead Broke, Stone-Cold Stupid, and High on Rage in the Dank Woolly Wilds of the "Real America." Williamson is a brilliant writer, but you do occasionally hear complaints that he’s “elitist.”
There are a variety of reasons for it, but the primary one is that he does not discuss what we used to call, “poor, white trash” with sympathy. There’s a bit of an undercurrent of, “Stop making excuses, get off your lazy ass and fix your problems” in Williams’ writing that’s a bit out of sync with our modern age, where we tend to sympathize with everyone, baby them along and insist that they’re victims.
The standard thing to say about someone who comes across as a little elitist in the Republican Party is, “They’ve spent too much time at those fancy cocktail parties at Georgetown.” I don’t recall ever meeting Kevin Williamson, so I can’t speak to whether he goes to cocktail parties, but I can tell you that his attitude actually seems to come from the fact that he grew up as “poor, white trash,” decided that life was for the birds, did something about it and thinks other people in that situation should do the same.
That sort of, “Stop making excuses and pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality has largely been replaced in America with… well, excuses. “Well, it’s great that you did that, but not everybody can.” This is portrayed as some sort of kind, more compassionate approach, but it’s anything but.
This is the sort of thinking that declares black people are way too stupid to be expected to get an ID like everyone else, the chronically homeless are that way because the government hasn’t done enough for them and women are strong and independent, but also they can be traumatized because some guy at work told a spicy joke.
What’s really kind and compassionate?
“Here’s how to succeed! Now, stop feeling sorry for yourself and go do it” or “You don’t need to do anything different! It’s not your fault that you’re a failure! It’s THEM, not you.”
People will tell you that the first approach is “mean,” but which approach do the successful, functional people that you know take? What about the people you admire? Overwhelmingly the first approach. What about people that never seem to get anywhere? They usually have lots of excuses, don’t they – and it’s amazing how often there’s a “they” or a “them” involved.
“They took the manufacturing jobs overseas.” “They don’t want us to succeed.” “They are always keeping us down!” “They want America to fail!” “They are holding us back!” “They’re not being fair!” “They should have cut me a break!” “They wouldn’t have treated someone else like this!”
Is all this true? Maybe in some vague, nearly irrelevant sense, sure – but the reality is far more frightening or liberating, depending on how you look at it. The reality is that there is one “they statement” that is mostly true.
“They don’t care about us.”
We all like to think of ourselves as the hero of the movie, but you also have to realize that EVERYONE views themselves the same way. Some of them are smart, dumb, kind, mean, evil, good, civilized, savage, you name it – and they all have their own worldview and interests. For the most part, these people don’t hate you or me and even if they do, they’re not in a position to do anything about it.
So, for example, as a white person, it has always been weird to hear liberal black Americans act as if we, as a race, have it out for them. Often, it’s like, “You live in a mostly black area that you chose, with a black Democratic politician you voted for representing it, and you spend all your time hanging out with other black people and absorbing black culture, but white people are responsible for you not being where you wanted to be in life? Really? REALLY?”
Worse yet, you assume that white people like me hate you, want to keep you down and no matter how many times we tell you it isn’t true, and even when you see evidence that it isn’t true, you don’t believe us. If you live somewhere like Baltimore, DC, or New Orleans, it’s pretty hard to believe that white people, particularly white Republicans, are somehow responsible for a significant percentage of problems you may have in your life as opposed to, well….ahem, you.
Of course, the racial grievance industry and its millions of hapless acolytes are one of the easiest and most obvious targets of this, but it extends all throughout American society at this point.
Here’s another popular one these days:
How many hours of her life has this girl spent figuring out she’s a “bearded vulture therian?” How much effort has she put into figuring out pronouns or doing TikTok videos to explain this incomprehensible gibberish? How much of her life do you think she’s spent regurgitating this nonsense to people or getting teary-eyed because someone called her the wrong pronoun? What’s the payoff for this? Who knows what is in her mind, but it ultimately just makes her an unlikable weirdo. Her problem isn’t that “they” don’t accept this wackadoodle nuttery, it’s that she’s doing this wackadoodle nuttery in the first place.
Of course, you can basically say the same thing about trans people. Granted, a lot of these people are mentally ill and have been pushed in the wrong direction, but even if that’s true, who’s ultimately responsible for their choices? They are:
Do you know what an adult male walking around in a dress is? An embarrassing weirdo. Do you know what you're seeing in this video from this old man? Normal, sane, truthful behavior. It only seems out of the ordinary because we've turned into a society of knowing liars on this subject.
Do you know what the difference is between this old guy and 95% of the people this guy in a dress is passing on the street? The old man is just saying what everyone else is thinking out loud.
We hear a never-ending stream of complaints about how hard life is supposedly for trans people, but who created that? Trans people. They’re having themselves surgically mutilated, pumping themselves full of hormones, pretending to be a sex they’re not and male trans guys are demanding to go to the bathroom with women, leer at them in locker rooms, compete against them in sports, and be celebrated for it. If you were trying to choose between that, a meth habit, or being a PR spokesman for the KKK, I’m not sure entirely which would create a harder life for someone.
We can go on and on with this.
Why aren’t homeless people getting mental health help, getting off drugs, doing side hustles, and saving up money to get places to stay? Not, why isn’t the government somehow making them do it, why aren’t they doing it for themselves?
Are never married single mothers victims or should they have thought twice about sleeping around with guys without being married?
If you’re a junky, are you trying to tell me you didn’t know doing drugs was a bad idea in the first place?
We always see videos of people getting aggressive with the police, the cops reacting strongly, and then hear questions about whether it was excessive force. Well, should they have been getting aggressive with the police in the first place? Why do so many people treat that like it’s not part of the equation?
Are illegal aliens victims because states are trying to make it hard to get in, busing them cross country or splitting them off from their kids? No, they’re criminals who aren’t supposed to be here.
Are too many black men being locked up by the criminal justice system? Only if they didn’t actually commit the crimes.
Are you broke because the economy is bad or because you blow your money on crap? Did you never recover after the plant you worked at got shut down? If not, plenty of other people in the same situation did, so why didn’t you?
This list is endless, and you can find ways it applies to everyone. You, me, liberals, conservatives, EVERYONE. All of us have this tendency to look for ways to shift the blame for our failures.
Granted, people do have bad luck and unfortunate turns in their lives. Furthermore, yes, there are bad actors out there, but so what? Let’s say Hillary Clinton slashes your tires before fleeing the country to live out the rest of her life in her newly purchased volcano lair overseas. Do you stop your life, spend ten years complaining about how unfair it is that happened to you, or get some new tires and move on with your life?
The more you focus on “they” and “them” and how they’re supposedly making it tough for you, the more you give away the power and control over your own life. And in return for what? A comfortable excuse for failure? An excuse not to try? “Oh, I could have made a good life for myself, but ‘they” didn’t want that to happen.” If you want a recipe for an unhappy life, that is it.