The Uprooted Middle Class

I’ve chronicled the drop in church membership and how it is greatest among lower income Americans. Related to this must surely be income and housing patterns. As with all social change,  one change feeds another.

A while back, I asked in a blog if it was possible to be middle class and live in a car. I wrote about people who do just that. Those middle class people in cars and vans call their experience a “movement.” In the April 24, 2017, The New Yorker is an article about them.

Those living permanently in cars and vans, “the movement”, like to refer to it in ideological terms. It is anti materialism and pro environmentalism. The real driving force, however, is economics. “We heard all these promises about what will happen after you go to college and get a degree…all that turned out to be … bullshit”  said a young man who lives with his girlfriend in a van. Young people today have larger student loans and less home ownership than previous cohorts. Not paying rent is an attractive option.

The internet made it possible to advertise and sell things while living in a van. The couple in the link have a million subscribers to their network. They get paid to use and endorse products. There are hundreds of van dwelling posts of YouTube everyday.

Thomas Wolf’s 1940 novel, You Can’t Go Home Again, is a powerful title when your home is a van. Finding one’s way back to church appears to be just as difficult.

14 Responses

  1. Juan Ruiz

    “We heard all these promises about what will happen after you go to college and get a degree…all that turned out to be … bullshit”

    Much depends on what discipline the degree is in. Universities have come to be looked at as job-training centers, glorified vo-techs. Employers no long take people and train them. Thus, the Humanities and Social Sciences have become anachronistic. Years ago in an op/ed, the GF Herald’s Tom Dennis called them “luxuries UND could no longer afford.” Problem is, there is even a glut in the STEM disciplines, with 50% of graduates not getting a job.

    1. Juan 7:03 It’s discouraging to see the costs within universities rising and the returns to students falling. It seems like these could be reversed but they go on.

      1. Juan Ruiz

        Less than 25% of the UND and NDSU budget comes from state appropriations; tuition and fees have come to represent the major source of income. Throw in the enormous cost of athletics, subsidized by students, and you can understand the disaster of higher ed.

  2. entech

    I think I have mentioned before in Australia whereas B.A. used to be Bachelor of Arts and would get you a start with the expectation something more specific would follow. It is now referred to as Bugger All and might get you the supervisor-ship of a checkout counter.

      1. entech 6:17 The link says between 15% and 50% of priest are gay. Maybe it is only 5%. Whatever the case, a competent priest, or Protestant preacher, it an asset to the faith. Private corporations know this, welcome gay employees and accommodate their needs.

      2. entech

        Along with advocating for the ordination of homosexual men the AUSCP also advocates for the ordination of women deacons and married priests
        Now this one will really get them into trouble, you could, I suppose, hide or disguise the fact that you are gay; but it would be difficult to hide the fact that you were “openly female” as a deacon.

        Of course, it would be far too late now to stop homosexual priests, as the piece says if you got rid of all gay priests the mass would be on videotape.

      3. Jinx II

        Its pure bull farts, same with the source, typical worm posting and he expects us to give his sources credibility………HaHA Aha HA!

    1. Juan Ruiz

      I find it interesting that, despite your defense here of Roman Catholicism, you access a blog with posters who excoriate cardinals and bishops, essentially calling them heretics.

  3. Jinx II

    My daughter is a chemical engineer, no problem finding a job. Kids need to be exposed to math and science concepts early in grade school…..not arithmetic so much. By the time they are 8 or 9 they are ready learn. My husband is a retired teacher and we have been exposed to school systems from around the world due to numerous foreign exchange students. Finland and Sweden are a couple of the best in the world.

    1. Juan Ruiz

      There’s a reason why American students stay away from STEM courses: they’re too “hard.” It’s part of the absolute failure of public K-12 education, which some 40 years ago started apply the vapid theories of Professors of Education: schools should be fun, rote learning is bad, self-esteem must be a priority. The result at the college level has been a bunch of self-possessed snowflakes, demanding trigger warnings and yelling about micro-aggressions.

      Meanwhile, in Asia and Europe, academic rigor and discipline were maintained. A 6th-grader in Singapore has the equivalent education as a US high school graduate. The latter has dances, clubs, and sports to occupy his time. The former has half-days Saturdays, two hours of homework every night, and real parents, not biological units who have their kids in day care at age 5 days, and expect schools to feed them breakfast and lunch.

      Your daughter is very much the 1% exception.

      1. Jinx II

        I do agree with you! I also believe that students have way to many social and sports activities and most kids have too little parental involvement. We put in a lot of extra time with our kids from birth through graduation and valued education, our philosophy was spend the time and effort now or pay the piper later. Your kids are your #1 priority, not your friends, facebook, your entertainment, etc.

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