Monday, February 24, 2020

The "ruling class" are losing their grip

Tucker Carlson addressed the issue last week.  This five-minute clip is well worth your time.

Andrew Codevilla, whom we've often met in these pages, discussed the "ruling class" a decade ago.  His insights then are as valid today as always.

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.”

. . .

At stake are the most important questions: What is the right way for human beings to live? By what standard is anything true or good? Who gets to decide what? ... This dismissal of the American people’s intellectual, spiritual, and moral substance is the very heart of what our ruling class is about. Its principal article of faith, its claim to the right to decide for others, is precisely that it knows things and operates by standards beyond others’ comprehension.

. . .

In sum, our ruling class does not like the rest of America. Most of all does it dislike that so many Americans think America is substantially different from the rest of the world and like it that way. For our ruling class, however, America is a work in progress, just like the rest the world, and they are the engineers.

. . .

The ruling class’s appetite for deference, power, and perks grows. The country class disrespects its rulers, wants to curtail their power and reduce their perks. The ruling class wears on its sleeve the view that the rest of Americans are racist, greedy, and above all stupid. The country class is ever more convinced that our rulers are corrupt, malevolent, and inept. The rulers want the ruled to shut up and obey. The ruled want self-governance. The clash between the two is about which side’s vision of itself and of the other is right and which is wrong. Because each side — especially the ruling class — embodies its views on the issues, concessions by one side to another on any issue tend to discredit that side’s view of itself. One side or the other will prevail. The clash is as sure and momentous as its outcome is unpredictable.

There's more at the link.

As Tucker Carlson pointed out, we're seeing the "ruling class" losing its grip.  It was first evident in the election of Donald Trump, overriding the "rulers" of the Republican Party.  We're seeing it now in the surge of support for Bernie Sanders, whose supporters typically dislike and distrust the Democratic Party "machine" and see Sanders as a candidate who can transform it, and the country.  In a sense, Sanders is as much a Democratic Party insurgent as Donald Trump was a Republican insurgent.  Trump has effectively taken over the Republican Party machine, both by leading from the top and by grass-roots activism from the ground up.  Can Sanders do the same for the Democratic Party?  That remains to be seen.

Be that as it may, both Trump and Sanders are anathema to the party political machines, of either or both sides.  Either party would much prefer to deal with the "old elites" of the other.  They understood each other, and would make deals to get things done in their mutual best interests (whether or not those were actually in the interest of the country as a whole).  Now that they can't get away with that any longer, they're desperately searching for ways in which to reassert control of the political process.  The mainstream media is a wholly-owned subordinate and co-conspirator in that process.  After all, just six corporations control 90%+ of all media in the United States.  The people controlling those corporations are - guess what? - part of the "ruling class", by any and every definition that matters.  Do their media properties reflect that, and the interests of that class?  Of course they do!

The American people have seen through that public facade.  They no longer believe or trust the mainstream media - on both sides of the political aisle.  Its deceptions and self-serving manipulation of the news have become so blatant that they're obvious, and no-one in his right mind believes any longer that they're objective sources of information.  The ruling class has not yet been able to come up with any other way of controlling public opinion, and in their desperation to do so, they're becoming ever more blatant and shrill in their repetition of the same tired old inanities.  Trouble is (from their perspective), not many people are listening.



Antibubba said...

Never forget that Donald J Trump is part of that ruling class. He was born to money, educated in the finest schools, was able to buy his way out of military service, and has flouted and skirted every inconvenient law. Yes, he's the black sheep of the ruling families, and he makes the more cultured members queasy, but he bought and influenced his way like any other. He is and always has been a member of the oligarchy.

That you agree with what he's doing to stick it to the other oligarchs doesn't make him any less so.

John Cunningham said...

But, Antibubba, Trump's goals are contrary to those of the elite. He has not achieved all or most of them, but that is his tendency. How else to explain the hysteria and madness of the elite.

Jess said...

You can't compare Trump to the elite. His wealth is chump change to those that manipulate the politics of countries with their wealth. That, and he doesn't have the pedigree they desire.

Orvan Taurus said...

And this is why I use an "alternate" browser, an "alternate" search engine, "alternate" email, and so on. Maybe I cannot eliminate the hydra, but I can cut of this and that tentacle. And I have NO qualms about 'poisoning' whatever is left with random nonsense. Let the bastards starve!

MarcusZ1967 said...

Wealth in DC.