A few days ago I excerpted an article which began, "America's ruling class lost the War On Terror". I've been looking for more information on the author's thesis, and I've found quite a lot to suggest that the divide between this country's 'ruling class' (also referred to in some circles as its 'political class') and the regular citizenry is growing appallingly wide.
To begin with, the author of that article, Angelo M. Codevilla, wrote a rather longer one on a similar subject for the American Spectator's July/August 2010 issue. Here's an excerpt.
Republican and Democratic office holders and their retinues show a similar presumption to dominate and fewer differences in tastes, habits, opinions, and sources of income among one another than between both and the rest of the country. They think, look, and act as a class.
. . .
Never has there been so little diversity within America's upper crust. Always, in America as elsewhere, some people have been wealthier and more powerful than others. But until our own time America's upper crust was a mixture of people who had gained prominence in a variety of ways, who drew their money and status from different sources and were not predictably of one mind on any given matter. The Boston Brahmins, the New York financiers, the land barons of California, Texas, and Florida, the industrialists of Pittsburgh, the Southern aristocracy, and the hardscrabble politicians who made it big in Chicago or Memphis had little contact with one another. Few had much contact with government, and "bureaucrat" was a dirty word for all. So was "social engineering." Nor had the schools and universities that formed yesterday's upper crust imposed a single orthodoxy about the origins of man, about American history, and about how America should be governed. All that has changed.
Today's ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits. These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints. Using the right words and avoiding the wrong ones when referring to such matters -- speaking the "in" language -- serves as a badge of identity. Regardless of what business or profession they are in, their road up included government channels and government money because, as government has grown, its boundary with the rest of American life has become indistinct. Many began their careers in government and leveraged their way into the private sector. Some, e.g., Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, never held a non-government job. Hence whether formally in government, out of it, or halfway, America's ruling class speaks the language and has the tastes, habits, and tools of bureaucrats. It rules uneasily over the majority of Americans not oriented to government.
The two classes have less in common culturally, dislike each other more, and embody ways of life more different from one another than did the 19th century's Northerners and Southerners -- nearly all of whom, as Lincoln reminded them, "prayed to the same God." By contrast, while most Americans pray to the God "who created and doth sustain us," our ruling class prays to itself as "saviors of the planet" and improvers of humanity. Our classes' clash is over "whose country" America is, over what way of life will prevail, over who is to defer to whom about what. The gravity of such divisions points us, as it did Lincoln, to Mark's Gospel: "if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand."
There's much more at the link. Recommended reading.
David Galland, writing at Casey Research, sees the 'divide' in terms of H. G. Wells' famous novel 'The Time Machine', with its division of society into the Eloi and the Morlocks (the latter feeding on the former). He sees the modern 'ruling class' as the equivalent of Morlocks. Here's an excerpt.
Outside of WWII, the global economy has never been more politicized, nor has the power of the Morlocks over the sheeple been more far reaching.
And, again, not just here – were you aware that the new head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, was formerly vice chairman and managing director of the Morlocks’ favored bag men, Goldman Sachs International?
Sure, many of us humans are upset by all this, but even so, when the Morlocks’ dinner bell rings on April 15, we will still dutifully line up all the same.
Regretfully, there’s no easy solution to the situation. The Morlocks' grip is just too tight, witnessed by a corruption of the legal system that allows laws to be so broadly rendered as to make almost everything short of breathing a crime. That is especially problematic given the wide adoption of the latest technology that allows them to monitor our every move.
Could some agency already have dropped a keystroke logger on my keyboard without me knowing it, allowing a Morlock in some faraway cave to monitor even what I am writing to you at this moment? You betcha.
While I am doing nothing today, or any day, that should result in my door being kicked in, that doesn’t mean that a year or so down the road these very same words won’t be fed back to me in a dark cell – just as happened to outspoken opponents of Nazism once the tipping point had been reached. Or to Joe Gordon, who this week was sentenced to almost three years in a Thai prison for criticizing Thailand’s king.
When you get right down to it, whether you call it Nazism, communism, fascism, monarchy or democracy, we’re talking about the same thing – a two-tiered society with one group, the Morlocks, in control of the political landscape. Per the GDP data referenced above, today that means directly managing a large share of the economy in addition to exerting control over virtually every other aspect of human activity.
A moment ago, I stated that there is no easy solution to the situation, and there isn’t. In fact, the more the Morlocks are exposed for the callous, self-serving creatures they are – which is the case today thanks to the unstoppable consequences of massive recent missteps – the more dangerous they become. When I say they are capable of any act, no matter how devastating to the rest of us, I am not exaggerating.
Again, more at the link.
Just this week, we saw a perfect example of this dictatorial approach where the 'ruling class' seeks to dictate to the rest of the country. Al Gore and David Blood wrote an editorial article for the Wall Street Journal, titled 'A Manifesto for Sustainable Capitalism'. As one might expect from such authors, it turned out to be, in fact, a manifesto to destroy the independence of the capitalist system and instead subject it to rule by decree (decrees issued, of course, by the ruling class). As Jerry Pournelle commented:
It is, in fact, a fairly good if dense statement of the liberal socialist view of the future, a command economy with all the results and goals set by central experts rather than consumers, owners, and the market. Private ownership remains, but it is managed by the smart people at the center. The central premises here are almost indistinguishable from peace time fascism as put forth by Mussolini.
. . .
Like Mussolini, Blood and Gore set their goals independent of the consumer and the market; they after all are the Enlightened, and it would be silly to consult the Benighted about such complex matters; even Blood and Gore don’t understand climate science, but they have their teams of scientists who do, and who will frequently explain what must be done and what it will cost. Blood is enough of an economist to describe regulatory measures to manipulate the values of the enterprises whose operations he wants to control, and by fiat will make pension obligations, which the market considers as liabilities, actual assets which add to the value of the company.
. . .
What Blood and Gore prescribe is in fact the end of capitalism as it has been understood.
More at the link.
The inevitable result of this concentration of political power in the hands of a tiny 'ruling class' is, of course, the inexorable erosion of rights, freedoms and self-determination from the rest of us. Donald Sensing pointed out in 2003:
More than anything else, big-government activism is the New Deal’s legacy, and IMO, has come to define the governing philosophy of both parties today. The rising tide of big government has swamped us, held only temporarily at bay by the levees of the Reagan years. (And not really even then, since non-defense spending rose during the Reagan administration.)
Because the present-day Republicans and Democrats are both big-government activists, they have a foundational philosophy that is the same:
America is a problem to be fixed, and Americans are a people to be managed.
. . .
A friend of mine emigrated here from Romania after Ceaucescu’s regime fell. He told me the other day that Americans are over-regulated. Think about that; a man coming from a communist country believes that Americans are over-regulated. It chills.
A long time ago Steven Den Beste observed in an essay, "The job of bureaucrats is to regulate, and left to themselves, they will regulate everything they can." Celebrated author Robert Heinlein wrote, "In any advanced society, ‘civil servant’ is a euphemism for ‘civil master.’" Both quotes are not exact, but they’re pretty close. And they’re both exactly right. Big government is itself apolitical. It cares not whose party is in power. It simply continues to grow. Its nourishment is that the people’s money. Its excrement is more and more regulations and laws. Like the Terminator, "that’s what it does, that’s all it does."
I do not believe Bush’s domestic policies are in the best interests of our long-term freedom. I do not think that Bush’s domestic legacy will, in the long run, be good for the country.
Hence I cannot urge anyone to vote for Bush in 2004.
Which is not to say that I endorse any of the Democrats running for president; they are more strident big-government activists than Bush, and won’t protect us from terrorism to boot. So I feel caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.
I predict that the Bush administration will be seen by freedom-wishing Americans a generation or two hence as the hinge on the cell door locking up our freedom. When my children are my age, they will not be free in any recognizably traditional American meaning of the word. I’d tell them to emigrate, but there’s nowhere left to go. I am left with nauseating near-conviction that I am a member of the last generation in the history of the world that is minimally truly free.
Bold print is my emphasis.
In 2008 Mr. Sensing was asked whether he'd changed his opinion in the intervening half-decade. His response was titled 'The dawn of the end of freedom'.
The demise of freedom in this country has accelerated even faster than I imagined back in 2003. With the unconstitutional power grab embodied in the "bailout" bill that passed last week, the federal government now controls the core of the American economy, the credit and investment markets. This is not one step short of a controlled economy, it is a controlled economy. The secretary kommissar of the treasury now has the permanent mandate to intervene and indeed take control of the markets in any way he sees fit, anytime he desires.
Surely no one is so naive as to think this power will be used only rarely and delicately as time goes on. Rather, the socio-economic engineering urges of future kommissars will be ever less restrained. Remember Steven den Beste's dictum: "The job of bureaucrats is to regulate, and left to their own devices, they will try to regulate everything they can." No one seeks or accepts high, powerful, federal office in order to do little.
. . .
George Washington warned us: "Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."
Again, bold print is my emphasis.
I can only urge my readers to go to the linked articles, read them in full, and search for other relevant information. Furthermore, let's keep such matters firmly in mind when we go to the polls in 2012. Don't vote for those who are slaves to the 'system', or members of the 'political class' or 'ruling class' - or, for that matter, those who are likely to be willing to be co-opted by (or into) the 'ruling class'. Vote for solid citizens who'll put the welfare of the country as a whole above that of the 'ruling class'. If they prove unreliable, vote them out of office at the earliest possible opportunity, and replace them with others. Sooner or later, our elected officials will get the message that their jobs depend on their listening to their electorate, rather than the 'ruling class'. That's the only way we'll get rid of the latter group's pernicious influence.