Thursday, July 01, 2021

There's Nothing Virtuous About The Professional And Managerial Frauds Serving The Empire

danwright  |  Catherine Liu lives among these people and seems rather fed up. Her new book Virtue Hoarders: The Case against the Professional Managerial Class makes it crystal clear that she is having a lot of passive-aggressive lunch meetings with other members of the University of California, Irvine faculty.

Liu admits the book is a polemic against the PMC, which is refreshing if for no other reason than most of the work posing as professional scholarship on politics and culture today makes polemical arguments under the guise of sober expertise. There is nothing more PMC than laundering your particular personal agenda under the mask of objective technical analysis.

However, Liu focuses on another way the PMC mask their will to power: moral preening. She claims the professional managerial class hoards virtue for itself as part of its war against the working class. Which is to say, Liu recognizes that the PMC and the working class are, in fact, class enemies.

Building on the work of Barbara Ehrenreich, she accepts that the PMC at one time played a positive role in society by challenging the barbarity of earlier iterations of capitalism; specifically when members of the PMC were advocates for creating professional standards in fields like medicine and social research, and were advocating for welfare state economic reforms. But as the post-World War 2 capitalist settlement soured and neoliberalism became ascendant, Liu claims “the PMC preferred to fight culture wars against the classes below while currying favor with the capitalists it once despised.”

This was not a moral awakening, but an awokening. A power play by the PMC to secure their class position within the capitalist system using the lofty language of social justice to defend basic material interest.

Liu analyzes some of the tactics the PMC use to mystify class relations, and concludes that “whenever it addresses economic crisis produced by capitalism itself, the PMC reworks political struggles for policy change and redistribution into passion plays, focusing on individual acts of ‘giving back’ or reified forms of self-transformation.”

Think global, act local. And what is more local than yourself? I just ate some fully organic non-GMO trail mix. I’m saving the world one nutty crap at a time. You’re welcome.

But it goes beyond delusional upper class savior complexes and I’m a good person branding exercises. There is an underlying logic to the mystification of class relations by the PMC as Liu says that “As a class the PMC loves to talk about bias rather than inequality, racism rather than capitalism, visibility rather than exploitation.

Is there any doubt that this is so? For when it comes to economic exploitation, the PMC has a PhD in changing the subject. They manage to always come up with an explanation for economic problems that ensures the blame never falls on capitalism itself. We could have higher wages if people stopped being racist!

Liu breaks down her analysis of the PMC into their standpoint on: professionalism, child-rearing, art, and sex. Mercifully, the book is a short read (77 pages in my copy) because the PMC are some of the most trite and boring people you will ever encounter and reading about their lifestyle and cultural pretensions is less pleasant than listening to one of those neurotic trust fund brats scream about a triggering Halloween costume.

The main argument of the book, or so it seems to me, is that the professional managerial class of present is actively working against building socialism in the United States. That the PMC could really be considered the prime obstacle to unifying the working class as they continually divide working people along the rigid lines of identity to serve their own class interests:

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