by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The left has found a new class of enemies, whom Patrick Wyman identifies in an Atlantic piece as the “local gentry of the United States.” These regional leaders are the well-to-do who “own warehouses and Applebee’s franchises, concrete companies and movie-theater chains, hops fields and apartment complexes.” In short, they are the businesses owners who are often regarded as pillars of the community and whose offices and lobbies usually feature rows of pictures of the youth sports teams they sponsor each year.
But to Wyman’s mind, members of this class are especially undeserving of their prosperity — after all, longstanding family businesses are inherited by those who, in a famous phrase, didn’t build that. He also accuses them of likely being dangerous supporters of “a certain would-be authoritarian.” The summation of this class, and why they are hated by the left, is that they are the Trump boat parade people. Wyman disdains them as “half-soused, overweight men in ill-fitting polo shirts.”
Yet members of this class are not uniformly conservative, or even Republican. Although they are flawed as individuals and a class, they are being targeted not so much for those flaws as for being among the few remaining bastions of power not controlled by the left.
Leftists, or at least those professing leftist social justice pieties, of course now control the legacy media, Big Tech, Big Business, the entertainment industry, Wall Street, academia, and even the military. For all of their supposed diversity, they all sound the same to those on the outside.
In contrast, although the local gentry is well-off, even wealthy, they are not part of, or easily assimilated into, the national and global elites and their adjutant classes. The source of the local gentry’s money and prestige is tangible local assets, not financial speculation, global branding, or educational credentialism.