Class Warfare

Conservatives use this term to describe what they see as a very harmful liberal attitude based on incorrect beliefs and leading to harmful public policies. The key belief is the claim that income and wealth inequality is the root cause of most problems. In fact, say conservatives, huge problems have been created by liberals who believe this (who wage class warfare),  including societal breakdown, economic stagnation, loss of American prestige and power on the world stage, and the concomitant failure to take badly needed pro-capitalist and pro-liberty steps to restore America’s greatness and prosperity and constitutional freedoms.  From this point of view, “class warfare” is seen, specifically, to be those actions taken by the poor or the working class, and/or their allies among the economic and political elite, to forcibly redistribute wealth in favor of the “have-nots” (and against the interests of the “middle” class majority and the enlightened self-interest even of the poor and lower-income working classes)--thus impoverishing the nation as a whole, stifling economic growth and opportunity, and endangering everyone’s political and economic freedoms.  

Many on the right also see in “class warfare” a conscious political strategy on the part of national and global elites to consolidate and extend their power by increasing the power of government (which these elites are seen to largely control) through socialist programs (welfare, progressive taxation, empowerment of unions) ostensibly designed to further the interests of the poor, working, and middle classes, but which in reality are designed to make the population dependent upon the government and to favor certain Big Business and international interests (“socialist” in this view being defined as “elite control of government and the economy”).

From the point of view of many liberals and socialist leftists, “class warfare” is a description of the actions (regressive taxation schemes, slashing of social welfare programs, inflated military budgets, IMF-imposed austerity programs) taken by economic and political elites (the capitalist class, or “the 1%”, and their cronies in the government) to consolidate and expand their power (and wealth) at the expense of the working class majority.

In can be seen, then, that both right and left see in “class warfare” an attack upon the majority of citizens (most often designated as “the middle class”, though sometimes as “the working class”) by political and economic elites, with the liberals tending to see this attack as coming primarily from the capitalist class (Big Business) and their cronies in government, and the conservatives tending to see this attack as coming primarily from the political class (Big Government) in the service of some of their Big Business cronies.  While placing different emphases on which side of crony capitalism to lay the most blame (on Big Business or on Big Government) both sides largely share a common opposition to crony capitalism itself, defined usually as the collusion between Big Business and Big Government.

 

QUESTIONS TO PLAY WITH:

-Do you have any concerns about class warfare happening in America?

-If you have concerns, what are your greatest fears in this regard?

Contributors: 

Arthur M. Peña

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