It is a popular narrative among those on the right spectrum of political ideology to decry talks of taxation and criticism of some wealthy segments of society as “class warfare.” Perhaps, though, we should be worrying about war between a different selection of demographics. Instead of the rich and wealthy, should we be looking out for the young and racially diverse versus the old and overwhelmingly white? For me it’s an interesting question – one I’ve not looked into particularly – after reading Derek Thompson’s reporting on population and demographic shifts over the last sixty years. Note my emphasis in bold and what happened in the ‘aughts:
For the last few years, demographers and political analysts have predicted that the United States is moving inevitably toward a “majority-minority” future, where whites account for no more than half of the population. Analysis from the Brookings Institution explains why they’re so sure about it. For the first time ever, half the children under the age of one are not white. Minorities accounted for 92 percent of population growth in the 2000s.
Thompson also graciously provides this graphic from the Brookings Institute:
Which reminds me of a Mike Konczal post about those Ron Paul newsletters. Konczal wonders if the sentiment behind the newsletters – and the subsequent Tea Party movement – represents a new type of political struggle based not on wealth, but on population demographics (my emphasis in bold):
Right now the major political struggles are over whether or not to scrap major parts of the Great Society for those younger than 55 while older folks take no hit. There’s a big debate about what to think of the unemployed, whether they are peculiarly unadaptable and untrained, and whether the government should run a higher-deficit and expand monetary policy to reduce unemployment. Though no groups are doing particularly well in this recession, the young, the poor and those with major debts are doing significantly worse – who are those that the Tea Party views as the underclass looking to loot them. Just like in the Ron Paul newsletter.
I get this sense listening and reading to older conservative (mainly white) men and women that what they view as wrong with this country goes beyond political ideology. It doesn’t appear as though they differentiate between the varying changes brought on by the burgeoning demographics of racial and cultural diversity – even going so far as to lump in broader social culture changes separately driven by the inexorability of time and taste – because for them it is all apart of losing what they believe is the American way of life.
Perhaps, in this context, it makes sense for the political predisposition of the old and predominately white to protect their losses in cultural and political dominance through the form of saving pre-existing benefits for themselves, and leaving much reduced benefits for a more racially and culturally diverse America of the future.
*Update – Again, I apologize for the premature publication of this last night. It will be the last time I use the WordPress iPad app to schedule anything.