Wolff Responds: Great Replacement Theory - A Critique In this Wolff Responds, Prof. Wolff critiques the .Great Replacement. Theory that is becoming more mainstream in right-wing ...
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Readings for 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Isaiah 66: 10-14C; Psalm 66: 1-7, 16, 20; Galatians 6: 14-18; Luke 10: 1-2, 17-20
You've all heard of the "Great Replacement Theory," right?
It's the analysis holding that white mostly Christian males have recently come to constitute an oppressed class. They are being "replaced" in the U.S. economy and culture by interlopers - immigrants, women, non-whites, and non-Christians. As a result, white Christian males suddenly find themselves unemployed or working in dead-end jobs for much lower wages than before.
Proliferation of the theory has led to widespread animus against the apparent replacers - non-males, immigrants, non-whites, and non-Christians.
Just another right-wing conspiracy theory, no?
The Truth of Replacement
In fact, according to my favorite economist, Richard Wolff (see above video), there is more than a grain of truth in that way of thinking.
According to Wolff, the replacement theorists are correct: white Christian males have indeed experienced substitution by others in the neo-liberal order organized by capitalists over the last 40 years or so.
But the ones responsible for the tragedy are not immigrants, women, and non-Christian people of color. Instead, the fault is systemic. It lies with capitalism itself. That system's pursuit of profit has capitalists freely choosing to substitute previously high-wage earners with robots, policies of offshoring, and (far less often) by employment of desperate immigrants.
And there's more (something Professor Wolff doesn't note). U.S. policies of imperialism and regime change themselves end up being all about replacement of people-friendly governments with pro-elite puppets. It has removed socialist leaning governments throughout the world (closest to home in Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala) and put in their place regimes that favor rich landowners, multinational corporations, drug cartels and gangs. Such replacement has spawned generations of desperate impoverished peasants anxious for a better life even if it means leaving the homeland they love.
Actual imperialism then and regime change (along with the normal dynamics of capitalism) are not just about theory. They are long-standing practices of the United States.
Identifying others as the culprits purposely distracts from the real problem - deregulated capitalism as administered by our own government.
I bring that up in this Sunday's homily because its readings (translated below) once again focus on the ways the biblical God favors the victims of empire and regime change - the very ones vilified by white Christian males who feel that their previously advantageous position in society is currently being usurped by those displaced workers who are overwhelmingly Christians too. The readings call people like us to re-identify our oppressors.
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