Conservatives must prioritize local culture, history, and identity when formulating economic policies, advised Breitbart News International Editor Frances Martel, reflecting on her Sunday-published profile of her hometown, Union City, NJ, titled, “Hanging by a Thread: Surviving Globalism and Losing Factory Culture in the Embroidery Capital of the World.”
Martel warned of public perceptions of conservative economic visions as prioritizing marginal profits over cultural continuity during a discussion with Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow on Monday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily.
“The left has sort of hijacked the idea of the dignity of the worker,” noted Martel. “They’ve been trying to do this since [Karl] Marx. That’s the entire point of Marx. Although, if you read Marx, what he’s essentially saying is that the dignity of the individual worker’s identity is not what matters. It’s the collective, and that’s completely backwards.”
The Republican Party fails to communicate the importance of workers’ dignity in its messaging, stated Martel.
Martel said, “You can be a conservative and believe that the individual life of a worker has dignity and that that worker should be respected and treated with a higher level of regard because they are creating something that is necessary for you. I think that’s conservative. I don’t think that has anything to do with the left, and yet you don’t hear the Republican Party saying any of that. You hear the Republican Party talking about free trade [and] how generating money is good.”
Republicans promoting tax breaks for businesses often advance a “vague idea of the job creator versus the moocher worker,” falling prey to class warfare narratives pushed by the left, assessed Martel.
Marlow described an ideological “disconnect” between the “base of the conservative movement” and organizations marketed as “the conservative intellectual lead” over economic issues.
“We’re a people with an economy,” said Marlow, cautioning conservatives against economic reductionism and myopia. “We’re not an economy with a people, and I kind of grew up being taught [and] being fed through the National Reviews of the world that if you just take care of the economy, everything else will fall in line.”
President Donald Trump helped usher in a recalibration of conservative economic attitudes, Marlow added.
Conservative economic policies must consider local cultural continuity amid globalization, emphasized Martel.
“I think that [the] idea of a people with an identity — of your family having that sort of history — and respect for the history of who we are, I think that’s something that’s completely missing from economic debate,” Martel determined. “That’s something that I wish the conservative right would pay more attention to, that sort of sense of identity, because I think that’s where the heart of our beliefs are.”
Martel went on, “It’s in the individualism. It’s in the dignity and love for individual human beings and for our families, and if we steer too far away from that — towards the money — we end up in the globalist sort of void, and that’s not a good place to be.”
Union City’s loss of manufacturing as a result of globalization is similar to that of many other Western cities, Martel said, recalling feedback she received from readers around the world sharing parallel experiences. She highlighted the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and China’s admission to the World Trade Organization (WTO) as accelerants of America’s loss of manufacturing.
A central theme of Martel’s Union City profile is an emphasis on “the importance of community” in the midst of globalization, Marlow said.
Loss of domestic manufacturing creates economic crises upon which the left can seize, Martel explained, identifying the Rust Belt cities such as Detroit, MI, and Youngstown, OH, as illustrative of Democrats’ political inroads following the collapse of industry via operational outsourcing to China and Mexico.
Artificially created economic crises via globalization leave local communities little choice between embracing societal collapse or “Tammany Hall-style” political machines, cautioned Martel.
Martel warned, “When you create these voids, you’ll have to have big government.”
Flawed predictions of worldwide liberalization via globalization are at the heart of globalism’s promotion, noted Martel, highlighting Francis Fukuyama’s “End of History” thesis as an example.
Martel said, “China joins the World Trade Organization, as part of a deal that Bill Clinton pushed through in the late 90s with Republican support, and we were all basically sold this lie — this ‘End of History’ lie.”
Martel added, “This is a complete lie, and so to facilitate that lie, China was allowed into the World Trade Organization, and what happened is almost immediately every corporation that could, moved all of their business to China because it was so much cheaper. The labor was so much cheaper, you don’t have to worry about unions, you don’t have to worry about any dissent from anyone, and you know that the totalitarian state is going to take care of things.”
Totalitarianism provides stability that “benefits big business,” Martel continued.
Globalization’s costs go beyond the monetary, held Martel.
“You don’t just lose economically,” Martel stated. “It’s not just about money. There is a culture, and there’s a pride in knowing that you are the place that makes this thing, you are the best at this thing, and that pride is completely destroyed when you have slaves in China making this stuff for much cheaper and nobody wants your good product. Everyone wants the slave-labor stuff from China, and it’s very sad.”
Martel concluded by noting the link between local and national cultural identities.
“I think more Americans really should take the time to think about what their towns mean, what their ancestors fled to get here, and [to] give thanks by creating and participating in the local culture of their community,” urged Martel. “If they can love that local culture, they can love America more, and I think it makes the world a better place to have that sort of confidence in who you are.”
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