The Back Row Versus The Front Row

Great article by Mr. 187 IQ again: The Back Row Versus The Front Row

The back row can have a nice life and many of its members do achieve the American Dream. But they don’t have real power–the front row does, and that naturally makes the back row mad.

He almost gets it. No one has power. Sure, the front row have visibility, influence, and social status, but this is not the same as power. As I argue here, status is still pretty good and in some ways preferable to power. Politicians come and go and do not seem to affect things that much, especially once out of office (what has Bill Clinton done lately?) but ‘thought leaders’ and intellectuals have careers last forever (e.g. Noam Chomsky). They only way they fade is when the retire or die; even being wrong is irrelevant.

As far as power is concerned, look how the left’s effort at ‘defund the police’ was DOA. Or the failure to pass a wealth tax, which is always around the corner but never happens. Or Biden’s efforts at student loan forgiveness being annulled by the courts (his second version, which tries to bypass the SCOTUS is much more limited in scope and means-tested than his first go).

During Covid, unlike almost every other country (e.g. Germany, Japan, or China), the CDC could not force people on a national-level to comply with Covid guidelines; this was left up to the states to decide how many or few restrictions to require, and even those tended to be porously enforced unlike in other countries.

Both sides complain about tech companies, such as censorship, tax evasion, poor working conditions (such as Amazon warehouse workers), misinformation, biases, hate speech, loss of privacy, tracking, etc. yet neither side seems to have much power or success at doing anything about it. Meta/Facebook was blamed by the left for Hillary’s loss in 2016 due to misinformation being spread on the site, but also accused of censorship during Covid and under Trump.

It took the richest man in the world putting up tens of billions of dollars of his own money to buy a social media company outright to finally turn the tide on censorship, which was infinitely more effective than anything GOP politicians such as Hawley or Cruz have done on that front, which was just empty threats and stern words.

The back seat, despite not having much influence or presence in the media or the Zeitgeist, and bereft of fancy degrees or other credentials, make their presence known at the voting both, like in 2016, where it matters most. The intellectual-elite are the opposite: they have tons of social clout and status, but not as much influence relative to visibility in so far as affecting policy.