Talking ‘bout the poor
Published by marco on
This episode of Chapo was a discussion with Liz and Matt Bruenig about population-control policies on both sides of the aisle in America. Liz, in particular, was quite eloquent and biting in her criticism of elite hatred of the poor.
At 37:00, they discussed how both parties sought to avoid “encouraging fertility among the bottom quintile”, ending with a proper critique of what’s wrong with Bill Gates running the world for us.
“Liz Bruenig: All of this talk about what would happen in terms of women’s progress in the workplace. And what would happen in terms of economic productivity. It’s not that I think that people don’t believe them. I just think that there’s a sort of grander, and more historical, motive that you can easily identify, especially in the welfare-reform conversations, and it’s that the American right and the American left do not want poor people having children. They think that those people are messed up in some kind of way. And they don’t want more of them in society. That’s all there is to it.
“Matt Bruenig: The guy who wrote their policy—his name was Robert Stein—and he gave an interview to Ryan Cooper […] and Ryan asked him ‘why don’t you include the poorest in here?’ and Stein answered, ‘well, we don’t want to encourage fertility among the bottom quintile any more than we already do.‘
“Liz Bruenig: That is what they believe. […] Among super-rich people, there are tons of charitable foundations—I believe there is an arm of Warren Buffet’s foundation, in fact—that are aimed at population control. Expressly. Especially in the global south.
“Matt: That was a huge Gates foundation thing, too. They were like, ‘Oh, the biggest problem in sub-Saharan Africa is overpopulation.’
“Felix: Every single one of those people has a carbon footprint 10,000 times smaller than Bill Gates’s pinky toe.
“Matt: Bill Gates is one of the worst fucking people alive. Just expressly evil. Just openly like ‘we have to keep Sub-Saharan Africans from breeding.’”
At 1:01:00, Liz offered a way of talking to people with differing opinions—one way is to come at it sidewise, agreeing on incontrovertible points without revealing that you may be in agreement for different reasons (e.g. one person thinks it’s because Trump is infallible and the other thinks that even a blind pig finds a truffle once in a while).
“Liz Bruenig: My Dad will be like, ‘Did you see that bullshit welfare that Biden’s trying to do?’ And I’m like ‘it is bullshit. Absolutely.’
“Felix: So you have to veil your politics in such a way that you end up agreeing with them in ways that they’re not fully aware of.”
This is definitely a thing that I do, as well. It that fails, though, you can just go all-out ironic agreement and generally trust that the sense of irony has atrophied to such a tragic degree in most of the population that you’ll just get away with it.
“Liz Bruenig: I would also, in all seriousness, recommend talking to the sister-in-law and being like, ‘Look, I’m not a Communist. Trust me. I’m a Biden voter. I’m nothing close to even a soft socialist. I think people should only get what they can get through the labor market. I believe in private markets and I have no problem with capital ownership. I like submitting to my boss. And I think you should too. The fact that people get sick and they can’t pay for their medicine? I think that’d good. I like it. I wish we had more of it. And, I don’t want to kill babies—I’m just indifferent to their fate.”