As Douglas Murray correctly says in his new book, once a national identity is weakened, all sorts of other identifications come to take its place. Smaller and smaller groups and groupsicles are formed. People are pitted against each other over trivial, manufactured differences, making it impossible for them to see that they can unite to stand up for their rights.
Everybody who isn’t rich is struggling because of the inflation. Everybody is being punished because our national government decided to steal from us and give to Pfizer, Walmart, and Netflix. But we are distracted from our shared dispossession by the narrative that pits the virtuous against the improvident student loan holders. As we bite each other’s heads off, those who rob us are laughing at our simplicity.
I’ve never held a dime of student loan debt and neither has my husband. But I know that if I indulge in the convenient pleasure of despising those who do, I’d be the stooge. The simpleton who stands there gaping while her pockets are being picked.
Cheap, smug self-righteousness – be it of the anti-racist or the anti-loan-forgiveness flavor – is the consolation prize we get for losing our economic and political status.