Original Proposal

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Original Proposal

Post by johnkarls »

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of Family and Culture in Crisis
Posted by johnkarls » Fri Aug 05, 2016 11:26 am – 47 views before being transplanted here.

I propose that we read NY Times Bestseller “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of Family and Culture in Crisis” by J. D. Vance (Harper 6/28/2016 - $16.79 Hardcover + shipping or $14.99 Kindle from Amazon.com – 272 pages).

Because it will complement nicely our study of economic inequality as the result of, as we have studied as recently as our meeting of 4/20/2016, The Establishment’s War on American Workers (the exporting of American jobs to third-world countries) and The Establishment’s War on our 30% Permanent “Untouchable” Under-Caste!!

[NB: We defined The Establishment as the billionaires who “own” virtually all the pols of both political parties as a result of campaign contributions and who “own” many members of the media and who “own” many members of academia.]

The War on Workers began in earnest in the form of Exporting American Jobs with Bill Clinton negotiating and signing (1) NAFTA -- aka the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement pursuant to which so many American jobs have been exported to Mexico; (2) a free-trade agreement with China -- pursuant to which so many American jobs have been exported to China, (3) the Worldwide Free Trade Agreement creating the World Trade Organization -- pursuant to which so many American jobs have been exported to third-world countries; and (4) approximately 300 additional free-trade agreements.

The War on Workers also takes the form of Importing Illegal Aliens to compete for American jobs that cannot be exported geographically.

[Every President since President Reagan has refused to enforce President Reagan’s Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, with our pols thinking that we are so stupid that we will believe that their refusal to enforce the 1986 Act means our immigration system is “broken” and that we are so stupid that we will believe the “solution” such as the 2013 “Gang of Eight” Immigration Bill that passed the Senate, is something more than a re-enactment of the 1986 Act!!! After all, what is the definition of insanity??? And does that definition mean our pols think that we are NOT merely stupid -- that we are INSANE???]

We have studied on numerous occasions how Illegal Aliens are de facto slaves because their labor is NOT subject to any minimum-wage laws as a practical matter because (A) employers are free to deduct from the minimum wage whatever they please for meals and housing, and (B) illegal aliens cannot, as a practical matter, complain about anything for fear their employers will report them to Immigration.

The Establishment’s War on America’s 30% Permanent “Untouchable” Under-Caste has already lasted more than a half century!!!

And the size of our Permanent-Under-Cast is 3-4 times the size of any other industrialized nation’s economic outcasts, causing America TO RANK LAST IN VIRTUALLY EVERY MEASURE OF CIVILIZATION (education, life expectancy, infant mortality, etc., etc.).


J.D. Vance was an enlisted U.S. Marine (2003-2007).

He was also Editor of the Yale Law Journal while earning his JD in 2013 after graduating from Ohio State University in 2009.

After serving as a Litigation Associate for Sidley Austin LLP, he became a Principal in Mithril Capital Management LLC, a global technology investment firm based in San Francisco.

Hillbilly Elegy is a probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class through the author’s own story of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for over forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. In Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hanging around your neck.

The Vance family story began with hope in postwar America. J.D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history.

A deeply moving memoir, with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.


“[Hillbilly Elegy] is a beautiful memoir but it is equally a work of cultural criticism about white working-class America….[Vance] offers a compelling explanation for why it’s so hard for someone who grew up the way he did to make it…a riveting book.” (Wall Street Journal)

[A]n American classic, an extraordinary testimony to the brokenness of the white working class, but also its strengths. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read… [T]he most important book of 2016. You cannot understand what’s happening now without first reading J.D. Vance. (Rod Dreher, The American Conservative)

“The troubles of the working poor are well known to policymakers, but Vance offers an insider’s view of the problem.” (Christianity Today)

“What explains the appeal of Donald Trump? Many pundits have tried to answer this question and fallen short. But J.D. Vance nails it...stunning...intimate...” (Globe and Mail (Toronto))

“[A] new memoir that should be read far and wide.” (Institute of Family Studies)

“[An] understated, engaging debut...An unusually timely and deeply affecting view of a social class whose health and economic problems are making headlines in this election year.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

To understand the rage and disaffection of America’s working-class whites, look to Greater Appalachia. In HILLBILLY ELEGY, J.D. Vance confronts us with the economic and spiritual travails of this forgotten corner of our country. Here we find women and men who dearly love their country, yet who feel powerless as their way of life is devastated. Never before have I read a memoir so powerful, and so necessary. (Reihan Salam, executive editor, National Review)

“A beautifully and powerfully written memoir about the author’s journey from a troubled, addiction-torn Appalachian family to Yale Law School, Hillbilly Elegy is shocking, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, and hysterically funny. It’s also a profoundly important book, one that opens a window on a part of America usually hidden from view and offers genuine hope in the form of hard-hitting honesty. Hillbilly Elegy announces the arrival of a gifted and utterly original new writer and should be required reading for everyone who cares about what’s really happening in America.” (Amy Chua, New York Times bestselling author of The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother)

“Elites tend to see our social crisis in terms of ‘stagnation’ or ‘inequality.’ J. D. Vance writes powerfully about the real people who are kept out of sight by academic abstractions.” (Peter Thiel, entrepreneur, investor, and author of Zero to One)

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