Return of a Classic

For the first time in a while, I encountered the adjective bourgeois. Five times.

Once in one book introduction (The Second Treatise of Government by John Locke). The introduction was actually a Marxist/socialist critique of the treatise, not just a straight summary, as proven (that it was a critique instead of an introduction; the arguments in the critique remain unproven) by the magic word of the early 1990s.

Later, I was reading an old (2014) issue of First Things that had been tucked away in the drawer where magazines go to await my estate sale (or perhaps the infrequent magazine purges), and I encountered the word in one article once and another article three times.

Wow, that word brings me back. Back when I was at the university, this was the young student’s arch criticism of everything normal.

I guess it got supplanted by racist and misogynist (which I was called even then) because too many students attending private universities either recognized things they had and liked as members of the bourgeoisie, or they recognized that they wanted the things the bourgeoisie had to offer.

With immutable attributes like race and gender (well, mostly immutable barring major medical procedures), the new words lack the target that many would aspire to (again, barring some like Ward Churchill, Rachel Dolezal, and Shaun King). Which might explain why bourgeois has fallen out of favor.

Also, in this day and age, circumstances and the elites seem to be pressuring the bourgeoisie into collapse, so maybe bourgeois is a word not really due a resurgence.

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