By all accounts, J. D. Vance, author of the critically acclaimed book Hillbilly Elegy, is a mild-mannered, soft-spoken, affable sort. But he just sparked a firestorm of resentment from the empire’s chattering class – and ensured his enshrinement as deplorable first-class, by those-who-know-better-than-the-rest-of-us.
Vance’s life trajectory thus far is the all-American Horatio Alger story. From a hardscrabble Appalachian childhood, he joined the Marines after high school. Next stops were university and an Ivy League law school, then high finance. But to his credit, he never forgot where he came from. His book Hillbilly Elegy offers a glimmer of insight into his origin and into the lives of forgotten Americans resident in “flyover country.”
Now Vance is running for the US Senate in Ohio – as an unabashed family values guy. Being the fearless and outspoken sort that he is, it’s clear that Vance is altogether different from the lightweight invertebrate politicos who ceaselessly invoke “family values” while posturing and pandering for votes.
But, why the firestorm? It happened because J.D. voiced an opinion publicly that, although shared by millions, is viewed as deplorableif not outright criminal. And his enemies want him to pay dearly for it.
What did Vance say?
At a forum on the “Future of American Political Economy,” sponsored by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) on July 23, 2021, while discussing the up-and-coming leaders of the Democrat Party, he said this:
They’re well-known people. Kamala Harris; Mayor Pete Buttigieg; who’s now the secretary of transportation; Cory Booker; AOC… What is the one thing that unites every single one of them? Not a single one of them has any children.
Why is that? Why have we let the Democrat Party become controlled by people who don’t have children? And why is this just a normal fact of American life? That the leaders of our country should be people who don’t have a personal and direct stake in it via their own offspring, via their own children and grandchildren?
With those words, J.D. hit a nerve. New York Magazine called him “homophobic.” The Washington Post said his ideas were “bizarre and obviously indefensible.” Paul Krugman of the New York Times said his comments were “a sign of intellectual and perhaps moral bankruptcy.” Tom Nichol, a writer for the left-wing Atlantic, called Vance “a contemptible and cringe-inducing clown.”
Chasten Buttigieg complained that Vance was heartless while pointing out that he and husband Pete were looking to adopt. An op-ed in the People’s World, a publication of the Communist Party, called Vance the “hillbilly Trump.” And former Democratic Senator from Missouri Claire McCaskill, now with MSNBC, called Vance a “jerk.”
There’s more, but you get the idea. J. D. probably didn’t get invited to Obama’s birthday bash on Martha’s Vineyard. Glad all this happened after publication of Hillbilly Elegy. Otherwise we’d have never heard of J. D. Vance.
To many of these wizards of wokedom, not procreating is a badge of honor. They tell themselves they are protecting the environment and shrinking the carbon footprint. If being childless enables them to enjoy a more upscale lifestyle (travel, $5 lattes, etc.), then so be it.
The fact is, having children or not having children does influence how people think about things on an intensely personal and political level. Merely calling attention to it is impolitic, and it cuts to the quick on how folks look at the world. Now if the Hillbilly Elegy guy had left it at that, things would have riled up those-who-know-better-than-the-rest-of-us enough. But there’s more:
It’s one thing to recognize that there are people who don’t have children through no fault or choice of their own. But it’s something else to build a political movement, invested theoretically in the future of this country, when not a single one of them actually has any physical commitment to the future of this country.
…what society has built its entire civilization, the flow of information, the leaders of its country, political and governmental, and also corporate, around completely childless adults? It’s never happened. This is a new thing in American life, but I think probably a new thing in world history.
It’s not good. It’s not healthy.
And Vance didn’t stop there. He further compounded his deplorable cred in the eyes of the Woke a few days later when he appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News TV program. That’s when he repeated to millions of viewers some nice things he told the ISI confab about Hungary and its president, Viktor Orbán.
Now regular MercatorNet readers will recall that praising Hungary and Orbán is akin these days to praising Hitler. But Vance, brave and forthright fellow that he is, continued on:
…they [the government of Hungary] offer loans to new married couples that are forgiven at some point later if those couples eventually stay together and have children.
Why can’t we do that here?…Why can’t we give resources to parents who tell us the only reason they’re not having kids is because they can’t afford it?
This is a civilizational crisis…. We should give resources to parents who are going to have kids. We should make it easier to raise American families. And we should send the signal to the culture that we are the pro-family party and we’re going to back it up with real policy.
Finally, to cap it all off, when most aspiring politicians would have long ago given it a rest, Vance actually proposed an old idea whose time is nigh:
The Democrats are talking about giving the vote to sixteen-year olds. But let’s do this instead: let’s give votes to all children in this country, but let’s give control over those votes to the parents of those children. When you go to the polls in this country, as a parent, you should have more power. You should have more of an ability to speak your voice in our democratic republic than people who don’t have kids. Let’s face the consequences and the reality. If you don’t have as much of an investment in the future of this country, maybe you shouldn’t get nearly the same voice.
Now people will say, and I’m sure the Atlantic and the Washington Post and all the usual suspects will criticize me about this in the coming days. “Well, doesn’t this mean that non-parents don’t have as much of a voice as parents? Doesn’t this mean that parents get a bigger say in how our democracy functions?” Yes. Absolutely.
How about that? A thinking man running for the US Senate. I hear he even has a shot at getting elected. Let’s keep our eyes on that Ohio Senate race.