J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, joined Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow for a wide-ranging interview Monday addressing the leftist frameworks of “critical race theory” and “white privilege,” growing consolidation of power within multinational corporations, and the political establishment’s neglect of working-class Americans.
Vance, who is contemplating a run for the U.S. Senate to represent Ohio, identified the paradigm of “critical race theory” as part of a broader political campaign to cultivate shame and self-hatred among white Americans while sowing seeds of discord across racial lines.
On Critical Race Theory
“Critical race theory… is fundamentally an assault on the American founding and the people who founded the country, [and] all of the things that America accomplished between the founding of the country and now,” he said.
The left seeks to undermine Americans’ pride in their ancestry and history — their “cross-generational story” — he added.
“This idea that we came from something, that we have a proud tradition in this country… gives us a certain purpose,” he stated. “It gives this a certain sense of obligation to the generations that come after us, and when I think about what critical race theory has done, it’s trying to take that away from us.”
Unmooring people from their history makes them more vulnerable to governmental and institutional control, Vance warned.
He continued, “[Critical race theory] is trying to take away from us a pride of place, because if you take away a sense of where a people came from, you can control where they’re ultimately going. If you disconnect people from their past, you can take from them a real sense of agency over their future, and that’s what I see is really happening, right? It’s making people ashamed of the things they were taught to be proud of.”
“You can’t have a real country if you can’t be proud of the things you were taught to be proud of as a kid,” he said.
He explained, “The fundamental purpose of this is it destroys a sense of national solidarity, and it makes people easier to control. People who have a sense of shared history [and] of pride of place [are] harder to control. They want self-government. They want to control their own futures, and they want their politicians to listen to their concerns.
“People who hate themselves and hate their history are much easier to control, much easier to manipulate. I think that’s what this is ultimately about,” he added.
Vance described “white privilege” as “a fundamentally racist” and “crazy idea” akin to “original sin” for white Americans.
“It’s like original sin,” he said. “If you’re a white person, whether you came from a really rich family or a really poor family, you all share in the same fundamental original sin of the country… [It is] fundamentally racist in a way that deprives people of dignity.”
The concept of “white privilege” is used by politicians to escape responsibility for the welfare of white constituents, Vance stated.
“It actually makes it impossible for our leaders to actually care about the complaints of people who suffer from all this white privilege,” he explained. “If you want to live in a real democracy, you should be able to complain about… real problems. That’s how those problems start to get better, but if you wag your finger at these people and say they [benefit] from white privilege instead of listening to them, you can just ignore them… The most pernicious effect of this is it allows our elites to ignore people who are suffering from real problems.”
Disdain for America is the political glue unifying disparate components of the Democrats’ coalition, Vance remarked.
“Critical race theory, wokeness, whatever term we want to [use] … helps hold the Democratic Party together,” he said. “What unites Democrats, Jeff Bezos, a black working-class person from South Carolina, and a woke urban millennial single person who doesn’t have kids in New York City? There’s nothing, really. There’s no shared experience. There’s no shared sense of history. They have very different lives, but the one thing that they can seem to unify around is that America is a bad country. We don’t really owe anything to this sort of nation that we came from.”
The Democrat coalition secures political cohesion among its various constituent groups through antipathy towards America, Vance determined.
He said, “The problem is it destroys a sense of national solidarity in the process… It makes it harder to have a real country with people.”
On the Masters of the UniverseMatt Perdie
The world’s largest technology companies have become “too powerful,” Vance said, highlighting Big Tech’s control over the flow of information. He described growing awareness of political censorship as a potential point of unity between left and right.
He remarked, “People can’t speak their minds in this country, anymore, and they can’t because of Silicon Valley. The more the people wake up to this fact on both the left and the right, the more willing they are to actually tackle it.”
Vance warned of how “social media” companies prey on vulnerabilities in human nature to cultivate digital addiction.
He said, “Most of Silicon Valley, they’re actually parasites off of human attention. They get us to stare at our phones instead of spending time with our families. They get really smart engineers to build these applications instead of helping us cure cancer. There is actually just a really terrible negative effect on the overall economy, because you’re taking our best people — in some ways — and turning them towards the worst outcomes.”
On Globalist Capital
The status quo of multinational corporations in the context of modern globalization is undermining American sovereignty, Vance said. Modern mobility of capital allows adversarial countries like China to procure influence in corporate America, he noted.
“Corporations that exist in our society are increasingly not on the side of the American nation-state and the American people who live in it,” he stated. “In the 1950s, General Motors could say with a mostly straight face, ‘What’s good for GM is good for America.’ Can we really say in 2021? That what’s good for Disney is good for America? What’s good for Google is good for America? I don’t think so.”
He continued, “These companies are much more willing to work with the Chinese Communist Party than they are with [the U.S.] government. I worry that we are living in a world where these multinational corporations have way too much power. The only movement that can actually push back against them is the American conservative movement, but we haven’t quite caught up to just how dangerous they actually are.”
“We give these companies [and] institutions tax breaks, liability protections, a whole host of economic benefits under the theory that they’re going to do two things: they’re going to build products that make it better for Americans, and they’re going to employ Americans [with] good wages and good jobs,” he stated.
He asked, “If neither of those things are true… [and] they’re increasingly willing to ship American jobs overseas to be done by Chinese slaves, then why are we giving them these economic benefits in the first place?”
Multinational corporations are often vehicles through which hostile foreign states subvert the American national interest, Vance declared.
“What is the government’s business if not protecting America and its people from hostile foreign actors?” he said. “And increasingly, that’s how we have to think of these companies, not as private American businesses, but as hostile multinational actors.”
He continued, “Do we want to live in a long-term corporate oligarchy where you can’t speak your mind without getting fired? If BlackRock buys up all the single-family homes… you’re not allowed to rent a BlackRock home unless you fly the BLM or the LGBTQ flag outside your door? This is where we’re heading. We’re heading to a place where you have to do what woke corporations want you to do to be able to live a decent life in this country. That’s not freedom.”
“We have to choose, do we want freedom?” he said. “Do we want an American way of life, or do we want short-term satisfaction for every little thing? We may even have to be willing to attack some of the companies financially that are waging war on the American people.”
American elites have a growing contempt for the country and its people, Vance concluded. Colleges and universities are where students are “trained to hate your country and hate your family,” he said.
“Elites hate their own history and hate the people who live in this country,” he remarked. He added, “We cannot have a successful society if we make these institutions that hate our country the gateway to a better life.”