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Read N' Roast Dave Rubin: Homeless? Just Be Creative!
Conservatives really hate poor people.
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This is part 4 of my Read N’ Roast of Dave Rubin’s book, Don’t Burn this Country. If you’re unfamiliar with Dave, I suggest reading my introduction, here.
Chapter 7: You Can Always Blame the Poor
I’d been looking forward to this chapter since first scanning the table of contents, hoping it’d be the real substance of the book with a scientific critique of my ideology that I could explore, contemplate, and perhaps learn from. Oh, what a fool I was.
Instead of a comparison between the two economic models, Dave opts for the mantra of “Capitalism is when good happens” and “Socialism is when bad happens.” Never taking the time to define “Socialism” or “Capitalism,” the reader is treated to vague platitudes about “personal responsibility” and “individual liberty.” Again, we find Dave isn’t a unique thinker in the right-wing space, but merely standing on the shoulders of
giants grifters who came before him.
However, Dave’s role as provocateur does provide unshielded insight into Conservative thought, which is obscured with a veneer of pseudo-intellectualism in the pages of National Review or The Wall Street Journal.
After accusing Socialism of causing the Great Recession (“The Great Recession is what it looks like when there is no free market Capitalism. Something like it could never happen under laissez fair Capitalism.”) he takes special aim at rent-control:
“Through rent control, government welfare checks, and food stamps, they (poor people) managed to have the same housing for little to no personal responsibility.”
While his presentation is more blunt and offensive, this thinking is no different from the typical Conservative view of poor Americans. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from consuming right-wing content, it’s that Conservatives despise the poor. They view them as hikers view ticks: nasty parasites who leech onto the “good” people to spread disease and siphon from society. Dave hammers home this point. He continues:
“So, along with a (rent-controlled) apartment comes an inheritance mindset, keeping these people in cycles of welfare and poverty rather than forcing them to be creative and resourceful.”
Dave is mad that single mothers get to keep a roof over their heads, as opposed to being thrown on the street to be “creative” and figure out how to shelter three children in back alleys and bus stops.
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After taking a brave “not enough Americans are homeless” stance, Dave plays Conservatism’s Get Out of Jail Free card: Personal Responsibility.
This is a time-tested strategy of the Right. Whenever they’re faced with the disastrous consequences of the ideology, pro-Capitalists point their finger at the individual. If a Republican Mayor ended rent control which put thousands of families on the streets, it’s the parents’ responsibility for “not working hard enough.” If the global network of unregulated Capitalism caused the biggest financial disaster since the 1920s, then it’s the fault of the working class for trusting bankers who told them they could afford exorbitant mortgages.
Chapter 8: Holy Shit, Dave (Accidentally) Made a Point!
After spending the previous 150 pages touting Capitalism as the Best Thing Ever, Dave cements his argument by (*checks notes*) complaining about how miserable his 9-5 retail job was. In fact, he shares that the only way he was able to escape the monotony of a shopping mall video game store was by lying on resumes and stealing set pieces from NBC studios.
Building off his terrible experience, he posits a new way of doing business, one that balances corporate priorities with worker wellbeing.
“Imagine, prioritizing freedom over technocratic guidelines and empowering individuals to take more responsibility and accountability so that each feels more vested in the success of the company.”
Ladies and gentlemen, Dave Rubin just invented the worker co-operative. And I don’t have the heart to tell him he’s about 300 years too late. (My primer on co-ops, here:)
Jokes aside, I see this is a perfect snapshot of the Republican Party. For decades they championed free market neoliberalism that empowered capital to the detriment of the American worker. The chicken came home to roost in the form of Donald Trump, who quickly dominated the party with pro-worker rhetoric (but no pro-worker action). Faced with a party base looking for an answer to the righteous question of, “I work hard. Why is my life still difficult?”, Conservatives began paying lip service to problems Socialists have been raising for centuries, such as Dave did above with the soul-killing effect of work in a Capitalist society.
But, because Dave and his ideological compatriots have pledged undying allegiance to Capitalism — the underlying cause of the problems they claim to want to solve — they can offer little more than nativist platitudes and useless nationalism.
Trump tells workers the reason they feel dispirited is that “Mexicans stole the good jobs.” Dave sells them a shitty book that sounds like he is in solidarity with their struggle, but in the end, blames them with sayings like “be responsible” and “get creative.”
Once again, Conservatives are all talk, no action.
The conclusion of the Read N’ Roast of Dave Rubin will be out next week. Subscribe so you don’t miss it. Also, let me know what you’d like me to write about next in the poll below.
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