Q. 129. What is required of superiors towards their inferiors?
A. It is required of superiors, according to that power they receive from God, and that relation wherein they stand, to love, pray for, and bless their inferiors; to instruct, counsel, and admonish them; countenancing, and rewarding such as do well and discountenancing, reproving, and chastising such as do ill; protecting, and providing for them all things necessary for soul and body; and by grave, wise, holy, and exemplary carriage, to procure glory to God, honour to themselves, and so to preserve that authority which God hath put upon them.Convincing Americans corrupted by years of pursuit of wealth maximization and the sad reality of an ever-diminishing number of duty-creating relationships that they--individually and collectively--have moral duties to "white trash" is inconceivable. Hope of repristinating a bygone past by paleo-cons and folks on the Alt-Right are misplaced. History may not have a "side" but reversing the revolutionary effects of modernity isn't in the offing. But so also vain are the hopes of Progressives of good will like Nancy Isenberg.
Even to hope either for a rising tide to float all boats or for raising the lower class by intense governmental social intervention is misguided. The poor will be with us always. While waiting for the regeneration of all things we can, of course, work to ameliorate current conditions. Sin effects the desire for and the performance of the individual duties noted by the Westminster Divines. Sin also effects the very structures in which contemporary life is framed including the class structure we regularly ignore.
Even so, I'll let Isenberg have the final word:
White trash is a central, if disturbing, thread in our national narrative. The very existence of such people--both in their visibility and invisibility--is proof that American society obsesses over the mutable labels we give to the neighbors we wish not to notice. "They are not who we are." But they are who we and have been a fundamental part of our history, whether we like it or not.