The 40-Year Robbing of Rural America

Sometimes, when it suits its purposes, the Establishment Left pretends to care about white Americans. When a local friend sent me an interview with Professor Marc Edelman, I quickly recognized that the author is a priest of the Church of Progressivism. It didn’t take long to discover that Edelman is a contributor to The Jacobin, “a leading voice of the American Left.”

In a blog post (which is actually quite good) about the current Russo-Ukrainian war, Edelman tells us:

… as a child I knew many more Communists and ex-Communists than I did Republicans. Later, in 1986, as an exchange scholar in the Soviet Union, I had many conversations with young university students who were suffering through the soporific required course on “Nauchnyi Kommunizm” (“Scientific Communism”) and with a more ideologically zealous or simply opportunistic subset of these who were majoring in Istoriia KPSS (History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union — yes, that was an important, if soon to be useless, undergraduate major). So, between growing up among red and pink diaper babies in 1960s New York  (Freeman 2001) and my brief but intense sojourn in the USSR (Edelman 1996), I have some sense of the emotional valence that attaches to encirclement in the minds of those socialized in orthodox Communist worldviews.

I’m not claiming that Edelman is a Communist, but that he does align with the hard left in American politics. From this perspective, it’s easy to understand his perspective in the interview.

What perspective am I referring to?

Olivia Weeks, The Daily Yonder: What are ​“sacrifice zones” and what are the institutions they lack?

Marc Edelman: The term isn’t used only one way. I think of it as referring to sites where capital came in, extracted wealth, and then left people worse off than they were before. This describes lots of places in the rural and small-town United States and in poor neighborhoods of big cities.

The more dramatic examples include communities where uranium tailings or other toxic waste surround abandoned mines, where fracking for gas contaminated drinking water, the ​“cancer alley” around the refineries and chemical plants of Louisiana’s Gulf Coast, or the CAFOs — concentrated animal feeding operations — where ponds of hog or cattle manure cause horrendous rural air pollution and health problems. Years ago, I went to a forum in a church in New York to hear people from Appalachia affected by mountaintop removal. One middle-aged woman described living in a paradisiacal country environment of streams and meadows and then one day a coal company blasted the top off the mountain near her family’s home. ​“We got dusted out,” she said. Their water was polluted, their land ruined. There wasn’t much they could do about it apart from linking up and campaigning with other communities that suffered similar kinds of destruction.

The above answer is typical of the entire interview, and it’s essentially a litany of grievances on behalf of America’s rural population. One might think that Prof. Edelman is genuinely concerned about rural white Americans, and perhaps, on some level, he is – but I don’t think this is the primary goal of this interview. Rather, I think it’s an effort to sway rural whites toward Leftism, and onto the victim bandwagon.

One could just as easily have conducted an interview about the plight of URBAN Americans, who are largely black and brown – and we know that “racism” would figure prominently in such an interview. When it comes to rural whites, even though they’ve been specifically excluded by the Biden administration for benefits, anti-white racism is never even on the radar. Instead, we find comments like this one:

Today’s noxious political culture is in part the result of sacrificing rural people and communities on the altar of capital. But it’s also important to recognize that many of those noxious aspects — violent nationalism, white supremacy, anti-immigrant sentiment, misogyny, anti-democratic ideologies — have deep historical roots and multiple causes.

It’s comical that Edelman would attribute such “noxious aspects” to rural Americans, when they are far more common among urban black, replacing “white supremacy” with “black supremacy” of course. While one would have to look very hard to find examples of such “noxious aspects” among rural white Americans, they’re exceedingly easy to find among urban black Americans.

Edelman writes that rural Americans have benefited greatly from government largesse, but that they seem oblivious to it:

One of the weirdest aspects of contemporary U.S. uneven development is that it is precisely those regions where hatred for the federal government and exaggerated fantasies about self-sufficiency are most widespread which receive vastly more in federal support than they pay in taxes. But like invisible financialization, this federal support — Medicaid, Medicare, unemployment insurance, disability, social security for aging populations, childcare tax credits, SNAP, agricultural subsidies, highway and education programs, and so on — is mostly below people’s radar and isn’t appreciated.

All of these government programs pale in comparison to the greatest benefit of all: Being able TO EAT – and Americans would NOT be able to eat if not for the hard work and sacrifices of rural people, farmers and supporting industries specifically. Does Edelman believe that urban blacks do appreciate the government aid they receive? In what important ways does America benefit from urban blacks – excluding government jobs, sports and rap?

If we had to choose between subsidizing rural whites or urban blacks, and the only consideration was what kind of benefits the rest of America would get in return, wouldn’t the answer be obvious?

Edelman goes on to write:

Uneven development always implies an immense loss of human potential. Groups and individuals that suffer social exclusion — whether based on class, race, gender, or geography — can’t realize their full potential.

Does this mean Prof. Edelman didn’t vote for Biden, and doesn’t support him? After all, Biden has been on a mission to exclude whites, as much as possible, since the day he was sworn in…

… and I say this with the caveat that Biden has included rural communities as a “victim group.” Nevertheless, Edelman’s above statement applies to ALL groups, not just rural Americans. Non-rural white Americans are also subject to this loss of potential, and Biden has been systemically excluding them at every opportunity. Furthermore, rural white FARMERS were specifically excluded, as I’ve previously described.

The friend who sent me this interview praised it as “factual and informative.” To this I say, facts and information are only useful when presented in an unbiased fashion. When they’re presented in such a way as to promote a specific ideology, then it’s up to us to forage for useful information, while discarding the chaff.

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