The problem with the status anxiety theory is that it focuses on feelings and psychology, thus easily crossing into condescension. It implies that the victims of status anxiety should be doing a better job of accepting their new situations and downplays the idea that they might have something real to be angry about.
In fact, many who now feel rage have legitimate reasons for it, even if neither Obama nor big government is the real culprit. September’s unemployment numbers told the story in broad terms: Among men 20 and over, unemployment was 10.3 percent; among women, the rate was 7.8 percent.
Middle-income men, especially those who are not college graduates, have borne the brunt of economic change bred by both globalization and technological transformation. Even before the recession, the decline in the number of well-paying jobs in manufacturing hit the incomes of this group of Americans hard. The trouble in the construction industry since the downturn began has compounded the problem.
This is not a uniquely American problem. Last week, I caught up with Australia’s deputy prime minister, Julia Gillard, who was visiting Washington for a conference on education. Though Gillard diplomatically avoided direct comment on American politics, she said what’s happening here reminded her of the rise of Pauline Hanson, a politician who caused a sensation in Australian politics during the 1990s by creating One Nation, a xenophobic and protectionist political party tinged with racism.
Gillard, a leader of Australia’s center-left Labor Party, argues that high unemployment, particularly the displacement of men from previously well-paying jobs, helped unleash Hansonism and “the politics of the ordinary guy versus these elites, the opera-watching, latte-sipping elites.” ... http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20091011_prizing_peace_on_the_home_front/