"The Gran Torino Problem" and the decay of US white communities ....

CookieMonster

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In 1992 the percentage of white registered male voters without a college degree voting Republican was 44%. Today it's 65%.

Today the percentage of make voters with a college degree supporting the Republicans has fallen to 54%, from 58% in 1992.

Up until 2004 the GOP attracted the majority of College educated voters, but after that the trend was reversed and the gulf between these two is about 12 point - the largest it's even been.
 


stopdoingstuff

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The point of that film, at least for me, was that Walt realized that he had more in common with the immigrants, who cared about the concept of family, than with his own spawn, who were utterly selfish. If you want to soothe social conservatives, then you only have to point out the conservatism of so many of the arrivals.

EDIT: And get Willie Nelson to write a song about it.
 

Levellers

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I'm sure the Apache, Cherokee, Navajo and the Crow Nation are really cut up over that.
 

Texal Tom

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If only we had Paul Murphy and Richie Boyd we wouldn't have to bother reading so well crafted ops - we'd be too busy driving around in our Ferraris
 

McTell

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This is the gen that was told everything would be juuuuust fine and dandy, and the penny dropped that you can't get out of it every weekend and eat tons of food, and end up as a healthy rich guy.

And there's respect, or lack of; in a republic everyone is sort of equal. They had their way over the "lesser breeds" in a very unrepublican way. Had to end some day.

And wimmin have been getting uppity, see above.

And that ole time religion didn't work too good... rather a waste of time and money.

And decent jobs for the not very clever and a bit lazy are coming to an end.


Meanwhiles, the US Navy is toting some miiiiiighty fine carriers around the world's oceans, protectin' the opiate makers, and god is in his heaven.
 

owedtojoy

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The point of that film, at least for me, was that Walt realized that he had more in common with the immigrants, who cared about the concept of family, than with his own spawn, who were utterly selfish. If you want to soothe social conservatives, then you only have to point out the conservatism of so many of the arrivals.

EDIT: And get Willie Nelson to write a song about it.
Yes, that was Walt's story.

But the point is that is not everybody's story. Walt could have become an alcoholic or an opiate addict, and driven his Gran Torino into a crowd of people, or blown his own brains out. He didn't, but a lot of people do.

The point is to personalise what is going on in those communities.
 

owedtojoy

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"Conservative Solution: The problem is one of moral fibre, as most of the deaths are due to abuse of alcohol and opiates."

It's interesting that most of the "middle-aged white American men with no college education" who are suffering in these times would describe themselves as being conservative. Now they are the "why don't things stay the way they have always been?" type of conservative, as opposed to having deep thoughts about the nature of conservative economic models, and conservative social policy.

The conservatives who are doing well are the rich, and they have little in common with the "middle-aged white American men with no college education" types. The rich will look down their noses at the latter group and will blame them for their own-ills due to their lack of moral fibre.

Of course the rich have their own addiction problems, but they have the comfort of being rich. It's fine for a rich white man to be an alcoholic because he is rich, but it's a moral failing if a poor white man is an alcoholic.

Traditional US conservatism has been about serving the rich conservatives, using the poor (of all political beliefs) as pawns - with work for them if they are needed, and nothing for them if they are not needed.

The poorly educated white men are sick of that conservationism that serves the rich, and flocked to Trump in the hope that he could bring back what they miss. And Trump tells them what they want to hear, whether he believes in a lot of it or not.
Yes, I agree with that.

The Trump solution is not a solution at all. Populism usually leads to a dead end, with the rich and powerful entrenched.
 

eoghanacht

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I'm sure the Apache, Cherokee, Navajo and the Crow Nation are really cut up over that.
I see one of trumps supporters at some local legislature was telling some Navajo to go back to his home country.
 

Gurdiev77

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Whilst the middle aged white blue collar man has gone into a decline, whats happening to his children ?
By now they will have missed their shot at education, and probably never had a job with any skill level above retail hand.

Its a big problem - what is to become of the redundant layers of society ?
 

Ardillaun

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A lot of effort put into that OP.

Marriage is at the heart of the debate between left and right. To those on the right, falling marriage rates in underclass white neighbourhoods are a result of a general moral decline (with falling religious affiliation) and a cause of both poor behaviour in kids and an array of problems for middle aged men including lower income, social isolation and a loss of purpose. Charles Murray, in ‘Coming Apart’, points to the high marriage rates in the new elite communities among both conservatives and liberals and asks them to ‘preach what you practice’. The left tends to see this issue as less significant and frames it in economic terms.

I would favour the arguments of the right here more - especially on the deleterious results of lower marriage rates for both kids and men - but I think they tend to underplay one big cause: a decline in the economic value of lower class men compared to women. Bluntly put, they’re no longer worth the trouble of marrying. They often earn less than women and their prospects are highly uncertain. Murray and Co. like to blame male moral fecklessness and a persistent fondness for video games and other adolescent pursuits etc. as the problem. That may play a role but female choice matters too here. Women are opting to stay single rather than get hitched up to a poor and unreliable provider. This is not something women will shout from the rooftops because it reveals an uncomfortable, transactional aspect to even long-term romantic relationships.
 
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Degeneration X

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In the film Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood plays a recently widowed Korean War veteran alienated from his family and angry at the world. Walt Kowalski was once a blue-collar worker at the Ford Motor Plant, but now lives surrounded by a Hmong immigrant community. Walt clings to two prize possessions, symbols of his past - his army M-1 carbine, and his Ford Gran Torino.

The apparently besieged Kowalski character and his car capture the plight of middle-aged working class white Americans. The film narrates how Kowalski solves his problems, but life does not imitate art in all cases. The health of middle-aged white American men with no college education has been deteriorating to a surprising and frightening extent.



The chart shows that alone among Western white communities, deaths among white American males of age 45-54 are increasing, a shocking statistic. Middle-aged white Americans are dying younger for the first time in decades, despite positive life expectancy trends in other wealthy countries and other segments of the US population.

The research, by Princeton University’s Anne Case and Angus Deaton [a Nobel Prizewinner in Economics], highlighted the links between economic struggles, suicides, and alcohol and drug overdoses.

Remembering that these men are "heads" of households, as they once were, is a revelation of the destruction of the communities they once led. Opiate abuse, suicides by gun, alcoholism and illness are all symptoms of decay in places that have no "social capital" left, and are giving way to depression and despair.

Vox summarises:

  1. Suicides, alcohol, and drug overdose deaths have gone up across the entire country. (Read: It’s not just a rural problem.)
  2. Deaths from chronic diseases such as diabetes have been rising
  3. The least-educated Americans are suffering the most
  4. Other nonwhite racial groups aren’t experiencing the same mortality uptick — so it’s not just about income

The links below provide further commentary. Are there solutions?

  • Populist Solution: The problem is elites exporting jobs, and immigrants lowering the value of labour, depriving the white American male of his birthright. If people Like Walt Kowalski become clients of authoritarian populism, these faraway problems will be solved by strong leadership and executive action on trade and immigration. Wealth will trickle back into neighbourhoods like the one Walt used to live in, once the economy is suitably modified. The problems of despair and alienation will be solved once the clock is turned back to Eisenhower's America.
  • Conservative Solution: The problem is one of moral fibre, as most of the deaths are due to abuse of alcohol and opiates. Capitalism necessitates the continual growth and decay cycle of old industries swallowed up in the maw of energetic new ones. Globalisation may have contributed to the problem, but it is not the root cause, because a fruitful capitalism can survive globalisation. Economic conditions must be created for these new industries to take root and flourish, under the direction of a new generation of entrepreneurs. There is no need to throw money at the problem, but a compassionate conservative will offer palliative assistance to those in need. Again, a tops-down approach will eventually trickle to the disrupted communities.
  • Progressive Solution: This is a complex problem, so the solution must be piecemeal and address the different factors. Because the problems are community specific, Government spending much be aimed at the communities themselves - for example, in re-skilling and training, and in grants to entrepreneurs to set up businesses. The problems in opiate abuse and addiction must be solved by treatment, not by jail.

This problem is presented as a top-down one, for "the right" or "the left" to solve. But mostly it is a problem for these communities, and it is they who must be encouraged to raise themselves. Incidentally, communities have faced this challenge before - what is happening in white communities resembles what happened in black communities with the impact of crack cocaine and joblessness. This also happened in Russian communities after the fall of Communism. Perhaps the best solution contains elements of all of the above. Opinions?

https://www.vox.com/science-and-hea...ddle-class-dying-faster-explained-case-deaton

The Gran Torino problem

Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


Mortality for middle-aged black people converged with mortality for middle-aged white people with low levels of education in the late 2000s (though the white population overall is still doing better than African Americans). Meanwhile, mortality rates among Hispanics continued to fall.
Wasn't Kowalski a OAP though, I certainly wouldn't call an 80 something Eastwood "middle aged".
 
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Mick Mac

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Socratus O' Pericles

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Its all summarised beautifully here:


[video=youtube;ieOfuEnToTc]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ieOfuEnToTc&index=10&list=PL4D91BEE3AD105F1C[/video]

Live McMurtry often describes this as a ballad of the North Texas, South Oklahoma border crystal methamphetamine industry.



Come together?
 

stopdoingstuff

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Its all summarised beautifully here:


[video=youtube;ieOfuEnToTc]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ieOfuEnToTc&index=10&list=PL4D91BEE3AD105F1C[/video]

Live McMurtry often describes this as a ballad of the North Texas, South Oklahoma border crystal methamphetamine industry.



Come together?
Now don't you go yelling at me when I'm cleaning my gun
 

GDPR

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A lot of effort put into that OP.

Marriage is at the heart of the debate between left and right. To those on the right, falling marriage rates in underclass white neighbourhoods are a result of a general moral decline (with falling religious affiliation) and a cause of both poor behaviour in kids and an array of problems for middle aged men including lower income, social isolation and a loss of purpose. Charles Murray, in ‘Coming Apart’, points to the high marriage rates in the new elite communities among both conservatives and liberals and asks them to ‘preach what you practice’. The left tends to see this issue as less significant and frames it in economic terms.

I would favour the arguments of the right here more - especially on the deleterious results of lower marriage rates for both kids and men - but I think they tend to underplay one big cause: a decline in the economic value of lower class men compared to women. Bluntly put, they’re no longer worth the trouble of marrying. They often earn less than women and their prospects are highly uncertain. Murray and Co. like to blame male moral fecklessness and a persistent fondness for video games and other adolescent pursuits etc. as the problem. That may play a role but female choice matters too here. Women are opting to stay single rather than get hitched up to a poor and unreliable provider. This is not something women will shout from the rooftops because it reveals an uncomfortable, transactional aspect to even long-term romantic relationships.
Why would women not admit that? The romance of marriage has always rung very hollow for women because there was rarely anything romantic about it in the first place, historically.

If women can live independently without having to rely on a man to support them, they will generally exercise their own discretion as to whom they will commit to.

If men feel that this is wrong, well then, they need to find good reasons other than her economic dependence why a woman should partner with them.
 

owedtojoy

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Whilst the middle aged white blue collar man has gone into a decline, whats happening to his children ?
By now they will have missed their shot at education, and probably never had a job with any skill level above retail hand.

Its a big problem - what is to become of the redundant layers of society ?
My concern, also.

In black communities, there was an upsurge in violence, as fatherless youths looked for alternatives in gangs and drug dealers.
 

amist4

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Why would women not admit that? The romance of marriage has always rung very hollow for women because there was rarely anything romantic about it in the first place, historically.

If women can live independently without having to rely on a man to support them, they will generally exercise their own discretion as to whom they will commit to.

If men feel that this is wrong, well then, they need to find good reasons other than her economic dependence why a woman should partner with them.
When did women begin spontaneously procreating?

I must have missed that.
 


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