As a builder, President Trump appreciates – and probably loves – the skilled workers who shape stone and steel into glamorous luxury condos and hotels. He respects people who work with their hands or break a sweat for a living. In this age of rapid technological change, his appreciation for non-intellectuals is another reason the president and his policies matter.
The culture war is a power struggle; and power struggles are always about more than average citizens can observe or imagine. That technological advancements are poised to change the world even more than they have provides context for our national divide.
Already advances in technology have spurred the US Armed Forces to no longer induct anyone with an IQ of less than 83. That means, one in 10 people are not qualified to work for the army. High end careers have suffered. For example, thanks to online services, no longer do we need lawyers to make out wills. Few careers are safe - even the advent of blockchain currency threatens careers in the financial sector. In the next 10 years, artificial intelligence, face reading technologies, advances in robotics, custom cancer vaccines, and microscopic medical cameras and more will change not only our personal lives but our workplace.
Therefore, the question “Who will work and at what?” is the subtext of the power struggle in Washington. As much as ideology, it’s the prime mover of the culture war. Because most people find meaning in their lives through responsibility, and work and raising families are the way most people experience that, this question affects not only the flow of money but human dignity itself. So, it matters how government answers it.
The Left’s answer is to create an elite ruling class and masses of dependents. To achieve this, they make Americans distrust responsibility - hence the victimization inherent in identity politics. They promote death panels and abortion to control population size. They teach 5 year olds to wonder if they’ve been assigned the right sex in order to strip them of identity - because an adult with a strong identity may break free of dependence.
The Right’s answer is to trust the market. But if America does that without accounting for current regulations and the ever widening global nature of the market, she endangers the happiness and security of her people. Moreover, both strategies favor the elite; leaving hardworking average Americans in the dust.
President Trump’s solution to “Who will work and at what?” is to make America self-sufficient by harnessing her natural resources and cutting regulations to woo manufacturing back to the regions that have historically excelled at it. His administration’s focus on vocational training keeps Americans hirable no matter how technology changes our lives or alters available jobs. Protecting the borders controls who works in America and ensures we get the best workers for whatever the country needs - either from within or cherry picked from abroad.
Self-driving cars, for example, are set to enter the market by 2021. With them will come self-driving semi-trucks and cargo ships. It’s speculated that self-driving cars will ultimately lead to greater productivity in the workplace, fewer road deaths (as compared to 1.3 million annually), fewer cars owned, fewer cars on the road, fewer parking lots and a cleaner environment (bbvaopenmind.com). It is also estimated that, thanks to self-driving vehicles alone, over 4 million people could lose their jobs (businessinsider.com). The new technology will create new jobs - in fact, tech magazines, which universally favor innovation, claim self-driving vehicles will add more jobs than they eliminate. But will these new jobs suit those workers who were displaced? It seems at least as if vocational training would be needed for workers to stay current and competitive.
Of self-driving cars, the president reportedly joked, “Can you imagine, you’re sitting in the back seat and all of a sudden this car is zig-zagging around the corner and you can’t stop the f***ing thing?” But in respect to this disruptive innovation, the administration takes them seriously: “the country’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is working on rewriting safety rules to allow autonomous driving on public roads” (theverge.com). Following conservative principles, but to the shock of technology magazine reporters, the Trump administration “has shown itself reluctant to regulate self-driving cars.” In other words, he’s making it easy for them to succeed. Even his trade war with China and tariffs on vehicle imports are attempts to support American car manufacturing while they gear up for this potentially positive but earth shattering change.
By creating an autonomous America, the president protects American workers - particularly those who work with their hands. He knows that human beings need meaningful work and that not everyone is cut out to work in government, finance or tech. He knows that, while innovations in technology always mean disruption in employment, his job is to keep America working and competitive no matter what comes. He knows that too much globalism too fast coupled with decades of disruptive tech innovation could destroy what makes America great: the American people.