Social classes and liberals

American liberals resist the idea of social classes, assuming:

  1. Classes mean ine­quality,strati­fication, and conflict.
  2. If the gap between rich and poor grows, something is wrong.
  3. Those with more exploit those with less.
  4. If capitalism isn’t the cause, it must be close.
  5. Government should redistribute the wealth and power [to level the classes].

(Conservatives disagree with all these.)

To get a picture of classes, let’s consider what noted conservative Edward Banfield described as the four classes he saw in American society – upper, middle, working, and lower.  (I will add my opinion of how liberals view them.)


  1. The lower class of bums, common criminals and the improvident can afford only the worst housing (and they let it run down, as we’ll see).  The other classes can afford better housing, but they maintain it.  They fight to keep the lower class out.  (When this is middle class blacks keeping out lower class blacks, liberals are baffled as they assume all blacks stick together.)
  2. When the middle class moves into a poor neighborhood, improves it, raises rents, and the lower class has to move, liberals complain.  When the lower class moves into a middle class neighborhood, wreck it, and the middle class has to move, liberals are quiet.


  1. Liberals consider private schools elitist.  They ignore their success, and anguish over the failure of public schools.  The latter are supposed to be the great equalizer, but, in fact they help the upper class; and, after the 9th grade, hurt the lower class.
  2. The lower class does NOT value education.   The working class Archie Bunkers value it somewhat, but not as much as liberals would like to think.  Many are ready to leave school at l4, find work, and before long start a family .
  3. The middle and upper classes want to stay in school longer before working and starting a family.  Most liberals came from these and assume this is better and that others have or should have the same interests.  Not so.
  4. Liberals have wanted so badly to help the working and lower classes, they have dropped educational standards.  They wanted to include everyone and not have anyone feel bad by getting low marks.  The disastrous results are well-documented.
  5. At the college level liberals support taxing all the classes to pay for public colleges.  This is one of the great injus­tices of our system, (says Nobel winner Milton Fried­man) as those who benefit are primarily middle and upper class students.


  1. Liberals have anointed themselves champion of the working man.  They portray him as exploited by management, and thus they fully support unions.  But unions cost the country thousands of jobs, raise prices, monopolize, discriminate, and support raising the minimum wage [as then THEY can bargain for higher wages].
  2. Liberals have gotten many people to frown on menial work.  They’ve decided it’s boring and numbing, because that’s what it is for them.  They have gifted minds and can’t stand menial work.  But many working class people are content with it.  They raise families on it and their kids often do the same (and they don’t need their jobs put down).
  3. Liberals have made welfare so generous, people have been paid not to take menial work.  But such work and working harder than the class above have been the traditional routes out of poverty.
  4. Liberals keep raising the minimum wage; this costs thousands of entry-level jobs for teenagers, immigrants, seniors, slow learners, the handicapped, the poor ….. . 


  1. Various businesses use demographic studies to determine which social classes live where and target their products accordingly.  The military uses them when recruiting.  Insurance companies use them to redline.  Liberals would like to inter­pret this as prejudi­ce, but it’s econom­ics.
  2. When businesses operate in a ghetto, they have to raise their prices as it costs more to operate there (security, theft, van­dalism).  Liberals call this ex­ploita­tion.
  3. They say businesses in ghettos are taking money out of the neigh­bor­hood and giving nothing back.  Nothing back?   They are providing services no one else will!
  4. Liberals continually want business to take on more social respon­sibility: child care, health insurance, comparable worth, family leave, 60 day plant closing notice, helping local schools etc. Conservatives say if business did less of this, it could do more of what helps the poor most – create jobs.


  1. Liberals don’t mind soaking the rich through the graduated income tax, inheritance tax, and capital gains tax (highest in the modern world).

Social programs

    1. According to Banfield (and supported by my experience), the lower class is made up of people who choose not to become self-respecting and mature.  Educa­tion can’t prepare them for work and adulthood.  In one city they were 6% of the population, yet absorbed 55% of its welfare, 5l% of its health services, and 56% of its mental health and correctional services. There is no chronic poverty outside this class.
    2. You don’t hear this from liberals.  In ’64 they created a poverty line, which gave this class food stamps,  legal aid, school lunch, rent & heat sub­sidies, job train­ing, lower taxes and increased welfare.  They were paid not to work.
    3. According to the Henry Hazlitt, liberal such social programs have caused more harm than good:  rent control has created inequities and a housing shortag­e, guaranteed income didn’t work, and welfare has broken up fami­lies.


      1. When early waves of upper class Cuban or Vietnamese refugees in the U.S. become rich and later waves of working class refugees stay poor (by our standards), liberals blame our system, missing the point of class.


    1. We believe in equal opportunity, but in the 60s, liberals began thinking this should produce equal outcome.  It didn’t:  many education programs failed, many public housing projects became notori­ous, and welfare caused depen­dency, resent­ment, and polarization.  Liberal permissiveness in­creased crime.
    2. It’s time for realism.  Social classes are general groups that overlap and complement each other.  They are natural and healthy in an open society.  People gravitate to where they are comfortable.  They should be left alone to do so and not be manipulated by liber­als, whose programs have left many people worse off.