Isn’t It Simpler to Speak of Bourgeois Norms?

Or perhaps, where people from different backgrounds find themselves in more frequent interactions with each other, to have concepts such as diplomacy (for the leadership classes) or simple good manners?

A political scientist called Eric Kaufmann coined the expression “whiteshift” to refer to the current evolution of those norms, when the modal ancestry of the polity is shifting.  It’s not enough to sell a book of that title, his “How Can We Manage the Process of Western ‘Whiteshift’?” is for Quillette subscribers only.  Fair enough, an academician has to earn a living too.

I have the book, and it’s in the stack of stuff to read and review, if perhaps in the “this is not off to a compelling start and I’m not obligated to stay current with stuff that makes me sleepy” part of the stack.

Michael Barone read, or at least skimmed, the book, in order to see if there’s any punditry to do.

Kaufmann, a Canadian who teaches in Britain and is of Jewish, Chinese, and Latino ancestry. His most recent book is called Whiteshift, which he defines as “the mixture of many non-whites into the white group through voluntary assimilation.”

As he points out, something like this has happened before. A hundred years ago, Catholic, Orthodox, and Jewish immigrants pouring into Ellis Island were considered to be of different “races” by white Anglo-Saxon Protestant elites.

Half a century ago, their descendants were regarded as still culturally and politically distinctive in Nathan Glazer and Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s description of New York ethnics groups, Beyond the Melting Pot. A “balanced” ticket in those days had to include Irish, Italian, and Jewish candidates.

Today, all these groups are lumped together as “whites,” even though there are still perceptible, though muted, differences in political attitudes and perspectives between those with different ancestries.

I vaguely recall some of that writing about “unmeltable ethnics” during my adolescence in Milwaukee. Although Americans All was a rallying cry during Woodrow Wilson’s war, the existence of a Croatian soccer collective different from the Serbian soccer collective still meant someone not conversant with the past millennium of feudin’ and fussin’ in the Balkans ought be circumspect.

These days, though, Bavaria can play Polonia and the kids on the teams could be models for It’s a Small, Small World.  There’s nothing quite like having to rub along together to turn coexistence into cooperation.

That’s a template for an expandable polity — one that gives us and other Anglosphere nations a useful model as we experience ethnic change.

In the short run, things can seem rocky. Kaufmann argues that a majority ethnicity facing minority status can respond in four ways, and is likely to do so successively over time.

The first way is to fight, to shut off immigration and bar asylum seekers, as Hungary and Poland have done, or just to enforce existing immigration laws. Donald Trump’s call for a “beautiful wall” is shorthand for the latter course, even if he hasn’t managed to follow through.

Another alternative is to repress opposition to change. Democrats’ knee-jerk opposition to Trump’s measures, almost indistinguishable intellectually from an open borders policy, is an example. “Cosmopolitanism and what I term ethno-traditional nationalism are both valid worldviews,” Kaufmann writes, but “imposing either on the entire population is a recipe for discontent.”

The third response is flight — and indeed in Britain as well as America, young families flee multiethnic central cities for mostly white suburbs, while rural and small town folks (doing surprisingly well in the Trump economy) tend to stay in place.

The fourth response is what Kaufmann thinks will be decisive in the long run (50 to 80 years) — intermarriage, which “promises to erode the rising diversity which underlies our current malaise.” He notes that Hispanic-white intermarriage rates are high. And it’s been a championship season for part-Asian Americans, from Tiger Woods to (as blogger Steve Sailer points out) Jeopardy whiz James Holzhauer.

Intermarriage rates for American blacks remain considerably lower, which raises, in my mind at least, the question of whether people of Hispanic or Asian “race” should have been given the panoply of racial quotas and preferences accorded blacks by the Nixon and Reagan administrations. Yes, you can find limited examples of systematic racial discrimination against Latinos near the southern border in the past and, yes, there was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and Theodore Roosevelt blocking Japanese inflow to Hawaii in 1907. But Hispanics never experienced slavery here or anything like the legally and violently enforced segregation of blacks in the Old South. And the only invidious discrimination Asians have suffered in the last half-century, so far as I can discern, is at the hands of Ivy League and other selective college admissions officers.

Who, back in 2019, had the cosmopolitans engaging in the fight?

Instead, supposedly “racist” conservatives are now empowered by minority voters worried more about shared class concerns than skin color. They are concluding that if there are American racists, they are most likely the rich bicoastal elites, never subject to the consequences of their selfish agendas, and their own self-appointed, self-interested, and ossified diversity industry.

That’s Victor Hanson, and his primary focus is the upcoming national election, which he hopes is a larruping for the Donks. A jape that he gets off, though, is germane to the ongoing whiteshift. “Remember, minorities who vote conservative are excommunicated from the Left and no longer considered genuine minorities, as adjudicated by wealthy white professionals.”  That’s about leftists who abuse anybody who disagrees with their aims, including, now, people being excommunicated from the rainbow coalition.  Richard Samuelson sees the same situation, noting “Protected classes were never supposed to collide.”  But they do …

Yes, seriously, some city council members in Los Angeles said some things that were nyekulturny, and New York Times racial columnist Charles Blow blew a gasket.

It is a theory that worries me and that I have written about: that with the browning of America, white supremacy could simply be replaced by — or buffeted by — a form of “lite” supremacy, in which fairer-skin people perpetuate a modified anti-Blackness rather than eliminating it. White supremacy benefits those who are white, or those are white-adjacent in both appearance, culture and affect.

Yes, that’s why the coastal cosmopolitans are respectful to Barack Obama and dismissive of Herschel Walker.  And if you believe that for a second, can I interest you in this miracle cancer cure?

In an environment where university diversity weenies treat “Asian” as an aggregate for box-ticking, and as “white-adjacent” in programming, perhaps it is that emergent expandable polity, and perhaps the brain-brothers of Mr Blow ought take a second look at their foolish notions of authenticity.  There are such brain-brothers and Red State’s Brad Slager properly nails them.  “Someone who can benefit from identity politics for being in a minority is caught exhibiting some of the crudest forms of racism, and she is able to offload her hate as being the result of whites.”

National Review‘s Nate Hochman also chastises Mr Blow.

It’s always somewhat amusing to watch a certain kind of anti-racist progressive reckon with the fact that various non-white groups can dislike one another, and that the way that that animosity manifests is — at least in the contemporary United States — often far more bitter and explicitly racist than white racism itself. Blow doesn’t explain how or why the anti-black racism of the Latino L.A. councilmembers is “the work of white supremacy” — these are the kinds of things that are asserted, not argued — but then again, recognizing that ethnic conflict and tribalism exist everywhere, across time, place, and race, would be deeply inconvenient for a number of progressive premises about America and the logic of intersectionality.

The fact is that non-whites are often every bit as racist as whites, for reasons that have far more to do with the brokenness of human nature than any abstract system of white supremacy.

Naming and shaming the apostates from the rainbow coalition seems to be a thing, of late.  Joy Reid apparently discovered false consciousness among Hispanic voters in Florida.  A Fordham law professor sees sellouts everywhere.

Some people within the Latino community do achieve whiteness, one, because they are white appearing, they favor more our European ancestors, and depending on their accent, their educational level, whether they actually have a recognizable Hispanic surname, that all those things that enable a person to, I wouldn’t call it passing, but seemingly — just — and seamlessly being able to pass into whiteness, or white Anglo-whiteness, just as they have whiteness within Latin America and the Caribbean. Um, so, I guess what I want to say is that despite this idea of all Latinos being brown, you know, some browns are browner than others and some whites are whiter than others. There are Latinos who are white, whether they have that personal identity or not, that’s their socially ascribed race from others outside, and they get to move in that privilege as well.

Meanwhile, the mockery of the fleeing remnant continues.

A shrinking white share of the population is a hallmark of the congressional districts held by the House Republicans who voted to challenge Trump’s defeat, a New York Times analysis found — a pattern political scientists say shows how white fear of losing status shaped the movement to keep him in power.

The portion of white residents dropped about 35% more over the past three decades in those districts than in territory represented by other Republicans, the analysis found, and constituents also lagged behind in income and education. Rates of so-called deaths of despair, such as suicide, drug overdose and alcohol-related liver failure, were notably higher as well.

That suggests some combination of nostalgia and despair motivating the strongest Trump loyalty.

Because they are more vulnerable, disadvantaged or less educated white voters can feel especially endangered by the trend toward a minority majority, said Ashley Jardina, a political scientist at George Mason University who studies the attitudes of those voters.

“A lot of white Americans who are really threatened are willing to reject democratic norms,” she said, “because they see it as a way to protect their status.”

That may help explain why the dispute over Trump’s defeat has emerged at this moment in history, with economic inequality reaching new heights and the white population of the United States expected within about two decades to lose its majority.

Many of the objectors’ districts started with a significantly larger Black minority, or had a rapid increase in the Hispanic population, making the decline in the white population more pronounced.

Of the 12 Republican-held districts that swung to minority white — almost all in California and Texas — 10 were represented by objectors. The most significant drops occurred in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs and California desert towns, where the white percentage fell by more than one-third.

That noted, it is hard not to see in the behavior of the diversity hustlers their own protection of their status, even if that involves saying nasty things about people who aren’t on board with the program any more.

The reality might be simpler.  “The residents of Democratic districts, on average, are better educated and earn significantly more.”  Which means it is those residents, for all their talk about diversity, who are forting up, and doing a bad job with their power.  “These people aren’t against brown or Black people. They just don’t like the way Democrats are running the country.”

That’s what deconstruction of bourgeois norms gets you.

(Cross-posted to Cold Spring Shops.)

13 thoughts on “Isn’t It Simpler to Speak of Bourgeois Norms?”

  1. It is an enormous difficulty that African-Americans measure quite differently than the other groups. There are differences in standardised testing among the other groups as well, which I think would be shrugged off. There are differences in violent crime rates among the races, but the African-American rates are much more divergent. All of the discussions about white supremacy, affirmative action, and racism in general are almost entirely about blackness.

    I don’t see a ready solution to that.

  2. My workplace, once upon a time, passed out an ‘intelligence test’ that was designed to show how racist exiting IQ tests, slanted toward whites, were. This one was heavily loaded with items from black culture and history, and was designed to flunk whites. This white farm boy from central Nebraska passed the test.
    Each generation of blacks pick who they will emulate. Some go for George Washington Carver, others going for a firebrand. In recent times, we’ve had/have Walter Williams, Clarence Thomas, and others who followed a good role model, and became one themselves.
    Choose this day whom you will serve is as appropriate today as it was when it was first spoken.

  3. white they mean bourgeois, which is washington carver and booker t, dubois engaged in the platonic aristocracy and the helot class

  4. Stephen,

    The title of your post got my mind jogging on a number of levels.

    First a personal observation about ethnic identification that mirrors what Barone has written above and in the past. In my grandparents’ generation, differences between white ethnic groups were both bright and severe. When a cousin of mine was engaged to an Asian woman, my beloved grandfather went off in a way that was shocking to my 7-year old ears. I was told by an uncle, being Irish we were all drinking at the time, that not to be worried because that was “compared what he said when your Aunt dated an Italian” If you go back before even the Revolution the concern was the effect of German immigration, Irish, and so on.

    I am more amused than surprised by what the Hispanic LA council members were taped saying. Part of the animosity was pure old city politics spoils systems in terms of dividing up the goodies, in this case district lines, among ethnic groups. However it does jibe with personal observations both in my community and through the country at large which is within People of Color, a lot of the colors don’t like each other. I have a pretty diverse community a lot of Hispanics, 1st and 2nd generation, Blacks, and South Asians. Strangely enough as a White I can move easily among them and to it bluntly they don’t like each other – the Hispanics (both White and Mayan) don’t like the Blacks, the immigrants from Africa don’t like American-born Blacks and worry their kids will get sucked into that subculture. Not open animosity mind you but zero social interaction. I don’t see much interaction when I visit other parts of the country as well.

    So why this depiction of a unified People of Color? Of White Supremacy? Multi-racial Democracy? A few different strands if put together can help us make a whole. First of course there is, as in many other countries, a history of racial and ethnic strife in the US which is compounded by the stain of slavery and overt discrimination against Blacks. The race hustlers in academia and the legacy media would like for you to thin otherwise but this mark against the Republic and violation of our values has been taught in our school system for decades, just in the way they want. What that stain and the accompanying guilt creates is an opening to be exploited.

    The opening is the demonization of Whites and by associating bourgeois values to a certain race, the demolition of the existing culture. Looked at from the perspective of deconstructionists, or if you like trendy dead French people, society needs to be viewed in terms of power relationships; throw in a dash of Woke intersectionalism and those power relationships can be viewed in terms of race. The 1619 Project, as Nicole Hannah-Jones admits when confronted by professional historians, was never so much about rewriting history to get the facts right so much as reframing history to fit a different, anti-American narrative. CRT and the ranting of Kendi about racism as part of White and therefore societal DNA? Part of denigrating concepts of natural rights and bourgeois values as part of a neo-Marxist social superstructure created to perpetuate White Supremacy under the guise of universal values.

    In short the target isn’t so much Whites, but the American value system at large by associating that system with a particular race and thereby deligitimizing it by depicting Whites as a race that has racism encoded into their DNA. I mean History says so right? Stolen land! Stolen labor! As Glenn Reynolds once said, CRT and the whole kitkaboodle is the type of propaganda a conquering power would impose on a defeated people in order to break its will.

    However while American-born Blacks and the Black experience in America is the primary axis of attack, it cannot be the only axis as it would then be isolated and rendered ineffective. It must be supported by other non-White races in order to drive the intersectional narrative that it is Whites, specifically of the cisgender type, that is the evil against all the rest of society must unite. The heroic myth of the People of Color fighting the evils of the world if depicted in art would probably be best done in the style of neo-Soviet Realist

    The real target is the American nationhood and its accompany cultural and societal values, race is simply both the opening to be exploited and the subsequent means to accomplish that end. That is why when non-Whites such as those of South or East Asian descent move beyond racial grievances and into meritocracy they are depicted as being White; as the charming Charles Blow put it if Hispanics do not vote the party line then they are aligning with light-skin folks and by definition racist. The growing number of Black males voting Republican? You get the picture.

    So if you wonder what the hubbub is about White Supremacy and Multiracial Democracy and the like, don’t try to see it in terms of something to be defined but rather as a means to destroy society as a whole. The most educated, credentialed society in history and its destiny is nihilism

  5. “Acting white” is the doom call of black students. The failure of public schools is often created by a demand to “equalize” punishment for bad behavior between white and black. The result is no punishment for blacks, who are the group most disruptive of classroom learning. The result was seen in St Paul Minn schools. The teachers’ unions have been no help as the current generation of teachers seems less interested in education than in salary and pensions.

  6. The previous post went long so I didn’t get to 2 points I wanted to make about immigration

    So much of our national debate regarding immigration seems to revolve what Trump or Biden did or did not do 5 minutes ago. That is unless you want to make Whites look like a bunch of reactionary racists, lashing out to prevent themselves from drowning in a sea of brown people. If people want to pass judgment on what people think about immigration and the perceived impact it has on the country and our communities then it helps to look at fairly recent history rather than gluing a straw man to some isolated fact.

    Immigration from “different” places has been an issue in the U.S. for hundreds of years from the Germans to Irish to other Catholics, and so on into the present day The crisis regarding our southern border has been around for decades. We had the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 which was supposed to resolve the issue through tougher enforcement coupled with amnesty for millions of illegals. NAFTA was sold in part by the claim that trade would make Mexico wealthier and therefore we would have less illegal immigration. Heck you could go back before then to Cesar Chavez, the secular saint of Phoenix, who argued against illegal immigration because it would undermine the agricultural labor movement.

    Btw… I will not call them undocumented immigrants nor will I call them some version of migrants. Names mean something in how they describe a situation in part because they set the context for the solution. If you call someone who illegally enters the country “undocumented” that implies that the solution is to provide them with documentation. If you call someone a migrant then based on common usage (e.g. “migrant worker”, “migratory pattern”) it implies that the person has taken up temporary residence and will soon move on, perhaps to return to their home country. No, that will not do these people have illegally entered the country in order to stay so the term “illegal immigrant” fits; if you think that is harsh then try helping a family member try to legally navigate the immigration system

    The second part is the impact of that illegal immigration on both the popular imagination and communities of America. Illegal immigration is a crime, one that we can sympathize with but in my personal interactions with citizens over the decades, they feel that it something nefarious for our elected officials to tolerate illegal activity. Also many are aware of the 1986 legislation that was supposed to have created a solution to this problem with a grand bargain of amnesty coupled with tougher enforcement. Well amnesty is one time deal, but enforcement is an ongoing commitment and one that was never properly honored. To top it off, you have books like Ruy Teixeira’s “The Emerging Democratic Majority” and all the subsequent chatter of how immigration from Latin America will transform the country and can you blame people for putting 2 and 2 together, that perhaps the border issue, all of this illegal behavior is not so much unsolvable as allowed for political purposes, a feature and not a bug?

    Forward to the Obama Administration and blatantly illegal conduct as such as DACA and Fast and Furious and you reach a point to where enough is enough, a border should mean something as should entering the country in a legal manner. Keeping that in mind and more than 30 years of inability/unwillingness to enforce the border, Trump’s idea of a border wall starts to look pretty good if not for efficacy then as a symbol for national sovereignty.

    Yeah I know it’s too easy for lazy academics and journalists to gin up some words on how issues such as illegal immigration are really about Whites fearing they will lose their Supremacy and be engulfed in the Brown Wave, you know strip an issue of its history in order to fit into a narrative weapon. The fact that Hispanic communities along the border, whether Spanish in southern NM or Texican in the Rio Grande Valley, who face this issue everyday are also against illegal immigration? Nah.

    The other point regarding the mention of Hungary and Poland dealing with immigration. You see a lot of this in the news lately because the Hungarian PM Orban is seen as a proto-fascist/racist propped up by Trumpist fan boys in the US. Once again an issue stripped out of its history and context. First of all there is not currently an illegal immigrant or resident immigrant problem in Hungary (and I believe Poland as well), the goal of Hungary is to prevent one from occurring in the first place.

    If you think about it, the Eastern European countries came out of their communist deep freeze and entered the real world facing two facts regarding European demographics and immigration. The first was that due to cratering birthrates across the continent, the population was rapidly aging. The second looking at the experiences of Germany and France, large immigration for non-European countries designed to lower the median age was causing all sort of social problems. Those problems have only become worse in France and Sweden with no-go areas and threats of incipient civil war. Why would any country want that if it could help especially given that Poland and Hungary have their nations rooted in their ethnic and cultural traditions

    I think both Poland and Hungary should take the Kari Lake approach when responding to critics who call them illiberal for not opening up to immigration. Those shouldn’t try to defend their policies, but rather flip the switch and make their critics defend theirs…. “Given what we see elsewhere in Europe what evidence do you have that widespread immigration is a good idea?”

    I never did care for Kari Lake when she anchored Channel 3 News (more of a Lin Sue Cooney guy) but man I like her now.

  7. orban was a protege of soros, one of the youngest of the dissidents of the class of 89, once upon a time Soros underwrote such efforts, at a certain indetermined point, which is left unclear he decided to seek revenge upon his adopted land, being the uk, like a bond villain,
    now did he get the notion from schwab, who was pursuing this amoral stake holder capitalism
    or in concert with the club of Rome*
    *i;m convinced this view of capitalism, as a raging leviathan is what howard beale was reacting against in network

    China pursues bourgeois values, albeit in a socialized economy, India after the Nehru regency, follows suit in a more nationalist vein, those values and those institutions are what have held Europe together for a 1,000 years imperfectly, one might argue that Germany won in the boardroom what it lost in the battlefield, but now the German identity is being washed away in the tidal wave that Merkel enabled, what’s known as al hijra, we might know as la reconquista,

  8. “Some people within the Latino community do achieve whiteness,”

    More correctly, “Some people within the Latino community assimilate.” Most legal immigrants came to America for the opportunity of a better life, America being the epitome of a First World, high-tech meritocracy. Apply yourself and you can do well; no need to rock the cultural boat.

    Blacks, OTOH, are currently actively fighting assimilation. If anything, they have been de-assimilating since the ’60s, when LBJ’s welfare state destroyed the traditional black family in favor of a set of perverse incentives. Blacks noticed that if they cry “racism” they can get all sorts of benefits and accommodations without lifting a finger. And they see no benefit in trying to assimilate into that First World, high-tech culture (too much work*); it’s far easier to tear it down into something they can much more easily fit into. The old proverb that “you don’t lift yourself up by tearing others down” is lost on them.

    Mike’s observations above are spot on. More eloquent than I.

    * I also think Charles Murray has identified a big part of the problem in his book “The Bell Curve.” It sucks to be part of a low IQ population in a high-tech meritocracy.

  9. Occasional Commenter: “Blacks, OTOH, are currently actively fighting assimilation. If anything, they have been de-assimilating since the ’60s, when LBJ’s welfare state destroyed the traditional black family in favor of a set of perverse incentives.”

    LBJ’s (and liberal state governments’) welfare schemes financially enabled black social dysfunction, but it was the culture of the 60s that really promoted it. Black Americans had been assimilating to “bourgeois” norms, but now they were taught that those norms were deeply unfashionable. It became cool to use drugs, to spout obscenities, to fornicate wildly and have bastards, to spurn conventional work and education, even to be a criminal.

    IMHO, the 60s were the worst thing white America ever did to black America, even including slavery. (Until the recent era when white liberals started training blacks to reject bourgeois norms and deliberately fostering neurotic paranoia about racism.)

  10. Blacks noticed that if they “cry racism,” they get all sort of benefits without lifting a finger. And they see no benefit in trying to assimilate into a First World, high-tech culture


    Democrats think these values will bring about Lennon’s (& Coca-Cola’s) utopia. I think it will destroy them. It’s win-win.

    This seems a live demonstration of “we should have picked our own cotton.” For “cotton” read “develop a high-tech culture.” Also: correcting the errors of the past.

    I don’t want to force Shakespeare, Goethe, Cervantes, Zola; Newton, Lavoisier, Plank, Fermi; … on anyone. Everyone, individually and collectively, should—and will—choose their own path through history.

  11. No one embraces MLK’s vision more whole-heartedly than conservatives in flyover country. They are the least race conscious people in America. Perhaps the world. Just as they are the strongest supporters of Israel in the world. Even more than Jews in Israel or Jews in the US,

    Liberals hate viciously. They hate a caricature of their own creation. The racist, white supremacist that they imagine isn’t here. As Instapundit notes regularly, the demand for white supremacy exceeds the supply so they have to resort to hoaxes.

    Liberals tend to be deeply unhappy. They feel better about themselves by imagining they are morally superior to people they hate. In order to do so, they have to attribute an entire parade of horribles upon those they hate.

    Liberal academics’ efforts to describe Americans they don’t know, don’t like, and never made any effort to meet are laughable. They are as clueless as Obama and his bitter clingers or Hillary and her deplorables or Slow Joe and his ultra MAGA. They aren’t just ignorant. They’ve been rendered stupid by their own concerted efforts.

  12. yes that was murray’s initial observation, since losing group, 40 years ago, he has noticed the proletarianization of whites which leads to some of the same antisocial attitudes, exacerbated by the de industrialization of working class enclaves, the prevalence of the likes of marshall mathers, aka eminem, as a role model is discouraging,

  13. Mike from the 26th raised a point that I was considering for the post, but in the course of composing on the fly in what was becoming a long post it slipped. That is, Walter Williams, I think it was, used to reminisce about the academic rigor of his Dunbar High in Washington, D.C. in the War years, and how that seems to have gone by the boards.

    There might be more than one cause for that, and the continued difference in mean college board scores thus reflecting several things. Somewhere in the past sixty years came the pernicious notion of “authenticity” that somehow became “adolescents behaving badly” (in high schools generally, real-life Arthur Fonzarelli types were somewhat rougher than TV’s “Fonz” and brawling with the hippies was a regular thing) and that got into the culture studies scholarship, where “authenticity” and “transgressivity” became things to be affirmed, never mind what happened to the practitioners in real life as opposed to the common room. Don’t get me started on “disparate impact” in school suspensions, that’s not going so well in the Cities or Madison, is it?

    On the other hand, there was the conclusion to the Darrell Brooks trial in Waukesha. The (now convicted) defendant behaved himself at sentencing, apparently because one of his kids said something about “Daddy behaving badly” and I have seen nothing from the sort of militants who hailed his driving into the Christmas parade as a revolutionary act now bewailing his sentencing. And note, the Illinois precedent that would have allowed the presiding judge to have the defendant placed in restraints inspired a protest song (for younger readers, point your search engine at “Though your brother’s bound and gagged and they’ve chained him to a chair”) she was able to use information technology to keep him aware of the proceedings but less able to sound off. And the usual sort of protest constituencies didn’t show up in Waukesha singing that song.

    A small thing, perhaps, and yet, after we’ve tried everything else, it might be the bourgeois conventions for the win.

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