Yes, this mentality of “I’m a victim and the world is against me and I’m literally shaking” is what motivates the aggressive behavior. You’re living in America in the twenty first century, you’re better off than 99.9% of humanity.
— Richard Hanania (@RichardHanania) July 19, 2023
I think Richard Hanania does have a point that we are living in the best of times and better than most of humanity, at least in regard to non-mainstream ways of making money. If you can tolerate the politics and other signs of societal decay, such as tent cities everywhere, yeah, things are not so bad.
In the early 2000s there was no social media. No blogs, no YouTube, no ‘hustle culture’, or smartphones…hardly any of the things we take for granted or are commonplace today. Entertainment was limited to re-runs on TV, and single-player video and computer games to pass time (although there were rudimentary forms of online gaming). It’s not like you could easily just learn to code after high school and land a solid six-figure tech job in your early 20s, or make thousands of dollars a month on video or streaming. The ‘shitty summer job’ was generally the best option young people could aspire to.
Same for wages. In the 1960s a ‘good’ income for someone with a master’s degree in a STEM subject was about the equivalent of $60-70k today, such as at IBM or Bell Labs. That was considered a solid income. People just didn’t earn much money a century ago, compared to the huge mid-six figure or even seven figures for people in tech and other STEM fields today. Same for other professions, such as law, finance, medicine, consulting, etc. Those jobs didn’t pay that well a century ago. Being a doctor was not that lucrative even though there was less debt. (Of course, such high wages is contributing factor for why healthcare is so expensive.) People romanticize about the past was or how there was less inequality, but fail to take into account how people overall were also so much poorer, too.
Yet if things are not that bad or if America is so much better off than the rest of humanity, why worry about wokeness or DEI at all? Why has he made a public intellectual career out of opposing it? There is no right or wrong answer to this question. If you can make a career out of bread and circuses, now is the best of times. And for all the talk of ‘end times’ for America or comparisons between America and Rome, which should have collapsed a dozen times by now if history is supposed to serve as any guide, it’s new highs for the stock market and low inflation compared to the rest of the world.
The people who are making six figures a month with hustles, like with crypto or coaching (such as selling fitness plans and individualized coaching, which is more profitable than I would have otherwise guessed), are not worrying too much about Pelosi’s alleged insider trades or Biden’s son breaking the law (or at least not prioritizing it over making money). On one hand, these are important issues in the sense that they are demonstrative of how the democratic elite are above the law and constitute a privileged ruling class, yet it does not affect people’s lives much, nor do we have any influence over the outcome. We have a right to be mad about the direction that society is going in, yet what does this accomplish?
Making politics the central focus of one’s life does seem like a waste of time or counterproductive. During Covid, I did not get the vaccine. My reasoning was that the side effects of the vaccine are equivalent to getting mild case Covid, so given that I hadn’t yet gotten Covid and my risk factors were low, why worry about it? But it’s not like I wrapped my identity or sense of purpose around this. I did not make blog posts telling people to not get vaccinated, or attack those who did. Many people needed to get vaccinated for travel, work, social occasions, or other necessities of life…did they deserve to be lumped in or vilified as coconspirators of a ‘Fauci conspiracy’? Is it worth the trade off to exclude or isolate oneself from society to take a political stand? For me it was more of a personal matter.