Head, Hand, Heart: Why Intelligence is Over-Rewarded, Manual Workers Matter, and Caregivers Deserve More Respect
New York: Simon and Schuster, 2020
David Goodhart is an upper-class British political centrist who arrived at his views from the Left. He works at a UK think tank called Policy Exchange. He’s the author that first articulated the concept of “Somewheres” vs. “Anywheres.” He has just published a book that expands upon the Somewheres-Anywheres divide and looks at the changing nature of work in the post-industrial economy plus the populist revolts of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump.
There are two factors to this that are best explained upfront.
Factor #1: De-industrialization has robbed a great many parts of Britain and the United States of an economic base that gives less-educated people decent jobs where they can afford to raise a family. Factor #2: At the same time, a means of sorting and capturing intelligent people to attend an ever-increasing number of universities robs de-industrialized towns of their intelligent young.
This process has created a large cognitive elite in both the US and UK. This cognitive elite has an “Anywhere” worldview and they are detached from many of their fellow countrymen. The “Anywheres” are also living in an echo-chamber. They aren’t really cosmopolitan or particularly broad thinkers. (Goodhart doesn’t say this, but belief in “civil rights” shuts down hard thinking, and “civil rights” is the official religion of England and America.)
These elite work “head” jobs and look down upon those who carry out “hand” or “heart” work — i.e. mechanics or nurses. Meanwhile, the proliferation of universities has made degrees less valuable while being required for jobs that don’t really need university-level certifications. Money and time are wasted on schooling by many people.
The solution is to encourage and support the hand and heart work that ordinary people can do. This includes allowing women to prioritize child-rearing and family care over “head” work at some firm. All of this must occur in a situation where parts of the economy are winner-takes-all. In other words, due to globalization, the dozen or so exceptional artists, actors, or businessmen capture the entire market. There is also the increasing job-stealing threat of artificial intelligence.
An Anywhere fighting for his Somewheres?
The book hit close to home. While I’d like to believe that I am a fighter for the Somewheres and small factory towns, the truth is I’m an Anywhere expat from a Rust Belt state. The social circle of my youth is the same way. The men in my ROTC detachment would have fit in neatly in any Union Army regiment at the Hornet’s Nest during the Battle of Shiloh, but with one exception, all are now living in a McMansion in a high-income area far from the Middle West doing “head” work. We were also officers, so our combat tours were a shade more comfortable than most. None are in industry, although most of us came from families that worked in industry at some point. Thus, everything in my review should be taken from the perspective of an Anywhere hoping he is helping out the Somewheres.
On the broad level, Goodhart takes an entire book to say that people in the skilled trades are overlooked politically. Additionally, there is a job shortage in those trades, especially now that Brexit is closing off Eastern European workers and Trump has clamped down on immigration.
Goodhart encourages apprenticeships, high school shop classes, and trade schools. If you don’t like sitting in class but want to make money, get in the “hand” business. I’d like to add that citizens of all types should encourage in-sourcing jobs and protectionist economic policies.
The book raises the question of what a young man should do for a vocation. It is important to note that many jobs in the “head” department aren’t jobs where a person is free to think on their own. These jobs might not pay much either. Goodhart shows many examples of how builders and mechanics are out-earning office workers.
If I can give some advice on what a man should do for a vocation, it would be to first get a solid read on your IQ. If you have an IQ anywhere above 120 you can write your own ticket if you work hard enough. No matter what your IQ is, steer clear from any “friends” that you might have that smoke weed and go around looking for trouble. Those types of people seem cool in junior high, but become less cool as everyone gets older.
The three top professions are medicine, the law, and the clergy. If you feel called to do any of these jobs, don’t pass them up. As far as enlisting, I must state upfront that there are many ways to serve your country outside of the infantry. Some further advice on this can be found here.
Next, if you can swing it, get advice on what to do from an older male relative. I got very good advice from an uncle about what to do when I was helping him on a construction job on the western prairie. While the route to career success is by twisting staircase and anything can happen, for most people, the choices made in their twenties affect much of their later life.
I personally don’t think that artificial intelligence is going to be the job thief that it is predicted to be. I deeply suspect that most companies that produce “AI software” are really in the gimmick business. The state of AI development is a long way from producing a brigade of Commander Datas. However, the field is a good one to get involved in. Managing AI is going to be the new job and increased demand for anyone that knows anything about it. If you want to get involved in that career, start by reading the works of John McCarthy and Patrick J. Hayes. They are the pioneers of the field.
No matter head, heart, or hand, you really need to make money. Once you get it, invest it well. Don’t complain about railroad freight rates when you can buy stock in Union Pacific.
This book is written from a centrist position, but it takes into account what white advocates like F. Roger Devlin have been saying for at least 10 years. It also quotes books such as The Bell Curve and Bowling Alone that were taken very seriously in journals like American Renaissance and The Occidental Quarterly. The neo-liberal consensus is crumbling.
Ultimately, Paul’s advice to the Colossians still has merit: “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.”
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