This is an excellent article to run across for a genealogist with my background and political beliefs. In many ways, your ideas are not unlike Ben Sasse’s, whose new conservative book laments that we have fallen away from personal responsibility and self-reliance.
Unfortunately, I have to disagree with you both. Let me explain.
Our social mobility numbers have fallen far behind Europe’s. At this point, in order to do well, it would make the most sense for those of us who have hit this lack of mobility wall to migrate to Europe. Mobility within the US has been shown by data to be at a standstill.
At the same time, we in the working class have told too many stories of American exceptionalism. This is supposed to be the place where all the freedom is. The working class doesn’t know what to do. They don’t realize that moving to Europe is now the most sensible step to take.
This is exactly what happened to my family. My dad was this white working class rube who moved from Utah to two places in Iowa to two places in Wisconsin back to Iowa where he never found this promised land job that would support his family with good wages and sufficient benefits.
The working class could do as you say and “improve their skills.” This means higher education. Except this presumes it is possible for everyone to succeed in higher education. For my father, it was his schizoaffective disorder that was going to hold him back in higher education. He heard voices, and that might help some “brilliant minds,” but it really screws with most of them.
Other working class people don’t do well in school for a whole host of reasons. Learning disabilities, lower IQ, ADHD, just disliking school. They are manual laborers. That’s why they do working class jobs.
This becomes the logic: There is no where they can move that will improve their job prospects. If they stay where they are, at least family can help out.
I can trace my roots directly to people whose stories are exactly those you tell. The working class of Europe who migrated to the colonies or the United States because this offered a place to establish a self-sufficient life of freedom, independence, and personal responsibility. But make no mistake. Read Angela’s Ashes. They were coming from dependence on the charity of churches in Ireland. Countries stagnate. They become unable to offer their citizens new ways of social mobility.
Poor at 20, Poor for Life
A new study indicates that from the 1980s to the 2000s, it became less likely that a worker could move up the income…
But I have to agree with you that the white working class has developed this sense of entitlement. I think Coates speaks to it well in his piece on the first white President. He is also right to stress that the working class is not the only segment of the white population to elect Trump. White people of all stripes gave us Trump.