12 November 2016

Someday I will be less of a cabbage

So I recently read through the Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidates' platforms.  The phrase "small government" kept coming up as though I should know what it means.  (It's not really small government; it's a preference for types of government spending and regressive taxes.  Conservative governments in Canada do not have good fiscal records, though they claim them.)

Then the lightbulb went off.

Common-or-garden whiteness is the expectation that the government won't interfere with what you want to do.  (The strong, upper-class form, is the expectation that the power of the state will be used to remove obstacles to what you want to do.  And yes, it's a continuum, not two quantum states.)

"Small government" is code for "government that will not act to diminish your whiteness".

No taxes going to Those People, for whatever value of Those; no attempts to compel inclusiveness or meritocracy or to end customary advantages arrived at through tacit social agreements; no environmental regulations, no restrictions on your efforts to maximize profits by shifting costs and risks on to the defenseless.

I'm rather embarrassed it took me so long to figure that out.

2 comments:

James Burbidge said...

That may be too narrow a formulation. There's a long history of the electorate (generally middle class) not wanting their money to go to destinations that don't benefit them directly, but formulating it in terms of whiteness is more recent and narrower than, say, the old concern with "sturdy beggars" or the "undeserving poor"; the ideology behind the workhouse was not as such racist.

Municipal governments display the phenomenon in its clearest form, as they operate at a remove from party politics. Counsellors beholden to the suburban middle classes vote for subways and extensions to expressways which are profligate uses of funds (the suburbs are made up of drivers), but starve more critical areas of funds.

That's not to say that "whiteness" isn't a factor, especially when it comes to security and policing; but as a general driver of "small government" it's not nearly as important as a general "I've got mine" attitude which is prior to race or class consciousness.

Graydon said...

+James Burbidge

"I've got mine" is very basic, yes, but the expression of what is just is not. I don't see much attempt to produce any justification other than whiteness.

Whiteness as an ethnogenesis -- as an explanation for why it was good and righteous to go steal things from the natives -- is much older than the particularly American notion of whiteness. Absolutely no question.

I don't think that means suburbia -- that means of giving whites the trappings of a class increase while disproportionately shifting the tax burden to support the infrastructure on to the city centres they were leaving -- is an example of something other than white supremacy as a political philosophy. I think it might even be an example of the strong form; you expect the government to suppress those who oppose your purposes.