Must-Read: Matthew Yglesias: Conservatives Turn on the White Working Class: “One of the great conceits of conservative punditry over the past 15 years…

…has been the notion that American politics is dominated by affluent liberal snobs who disdain white working-class America and its communities…. Charles Murray… Clive Crook… merely assert its existence via broad generalities. But now… some conservative pundits are unleashing sentiments about white working-class communities that are a good deal more vicious than snobbish disdain.

National Review’s Kevin Williamson…

the truth about these dysfunctional downscale communities is that they deserve to die: Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap….The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles…. They need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.

David French… backs up Williamson using less colorful language… makes an even more explosive charge–that conservatives should regard economically struggling white people in rural communities in the same way they regard… [the] inner-cit[ies]….

It was consistently astounding how little effort most parents and their teen children made to improve their lives…. Always–always–there was a sense of entitlement. And that’s where disability or other government programs kicked in….

These are essays making the case that suffering white working-class communities don’t deserve help of any kind. That’s a correct application of the strict principles of free market ideology, but it’s also a signpost of how American political discourse has changed since the end of the Cold War. If you said in 1966, or even 1986…. It was taken for granted that the governing class had an obligation–a practical one, if not a moral one–to actually make the system work for average people. Over the past 20 years, that idea has been increasingly abandoned on the American right…