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“Learn a trade”

As noted before, the right stands for reality and yet right-wing ideas can deviate from reality too—it just happens less frequently than with left-wing ideas. Hence the right can virtue-signal, and a popular contemporary rightist virtue-signal is “learn a trade”. The principle is as follows: learn a trade, become a horny-handed son of toil, and you’ll be a real man like your granpappy (I walked 7 hours to school in my bare feet in the snow and it never hurt me). Avoid new-fangled collitch with its notions and genderqueer communist professors—never done a real day’s work in their life, I tells ye. What you need, me boy, says the right-wing tradesman, as he adjust his dungarees and brushes the sawdust from the creases, what you really need, is to learn how to use a mangle-saw…when you know a mangle-saw, boy, you have a job for life…I tells you they pay top dollar for a real mangle-saw operator these days, they can’t get enough of ‘em because youngsters today think they’re too good for a mangle-saw and waltz off to “collitch”.

The idea is that people who undertake practical hands-on work are less liable to quasi-religious delusions than people with a degree in, say, African Studies—if you saw wood all day you have no time for abstractions and dissatisfaction. A variation on the theme, perhaps aimed more at a professional audience, runs “do STEM”—quantitative people cannot be fooled by leftist ideas, except for all those trans computer programmers at Google...

There are a few cultural tropes at play here: one is the idea that tradesmen possess canny peasant wisdom, being equivalent to a smallholder in the Black Forest who hands down his folktales generation upon generation. Yet the peasantry and their canny wisdom went a long time ago, tradesmen are atomised elements in mass society as much as anyone else: when I pass a building site I hear the men listening to pop music on the radio, they rarely pause to exchange volkisch folk wisdom with each other.

A second cultural trope, usually deployed by the left, revolves around “the wisdom of children” or “the wisdom of the slave”. The left often deploys this idea with black people, but the right does it too—particularly in America with the economist Thomas Sowell (only a real wise old negro could speak the economic truth that his “clever” masters forgot). Sometimes blue-collar workers (idealised as some 1950s worker on the Ford assembly line) are depicted as staunch opponents as regards “gender shit”—the factory hand who takes his belt to his feckless son with his earring and plaintive cry, “You need to call me Xer now, Dad.

This sentimentalises blue-collar workers, partly trades on the fact that they tend to be more disordered, violent, and therefore more “real” than decadent professionals; and yet the queer playwright Joe Orton came from an impeccably blue-collar family and was accepted. “If that’s how you are, dear.” No, no you’re working-class you’re meant to beat each other black and blue for any “gay shit”… The view basically patronises, there cannot be gentle or thoughtful blue-collar workers—every blue-collar worker is “jack the lad” who only cares about footy and lager, as if there were never colliery brass bands.

So “learn a trade” is sentimental; and it is also based on crass materialism. “Learn the mangle-saw and you’ll be pulling in $150k on the oil fields within a year...” Crass materialism leads to socialism because if the only motivation for work is money someone sooner or later comes along and says, “It’s just money—we’ll redistribute it. You’re all greedy materialists anyway, all you talk about is money.” Well, it is better to talk about money than wacky quasi-religious ideas—and yet man does not live by bread alone. Further, status is not decided by money: it is decided by the ability to replicate high-status values—values formed at university. Humans want status, not money—money is connected to status but not intrinsic to it. If you learn a trade you will be low status: there’s a plumber round the corner from me who owns two Bentleys, yet the fact he owns two Bentleys just shows he is a crass low-status person—flash and tacky.

If you talk to the daughters of tradesmen you will find they are the most brainwashed into “woke” values, and this is because they live superficial materialistic lives that revolve around the club and Instagram—really, people pick up progressive values from the media and not university. People who go to university learn that there were once alternative political systems and learn to parse documents—they are better placed to critically examine propaganda than a tradesman or his daughter who works as a receptionist; they are less brainwashed.

Tradesmen lack the articulation to describe a problem and so become easy meat for progressives. “I just think, like, a few less, er, Muslims like…stands to reason.” The progressive, schooled in law or media studies, slices him apart with inconsistent yet persuasive rhetoric—perhaps dotted with a few real Arabic words, an ummah here and an assabiyah there—about how the Arabs invented science. Why? Because universities are society’s head: even the weakest graduate is taught to think in a way a tradesman cannot. In the end, the tradesman must do what the graduate says (even if he has a second-hand Bentley that people with real influence laugh at).

So what is the real advice? The real advice is that people should choose whether to learn a trade, go to university, or work in a non-skilled manual job based on their own nature—ultimately, only they know their true nature. People should act in such a way as to maximise their potential for action in line with their nature; if you come from the 13th generation of mangle-saw operators but have a flair for Byzantine art history then you should do that. This is reality, everything else is for show.


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