Who’s in the ‘Ruling Class’?
A thoughtful article was published recently on the americanspectator.org website called America’s Ruling Class – and the Perils of Revolution by Angelo M. Codevilla, who is a professor of international relations at Boston University. Codevilla also is a fellow of the Claremont Institute, a senior editor of The American Spectator and the author of The Character of Nations: How Politics Makes and Breaks Prosperity, Family and Civility.
Below are excerpts from his article with my comments after each:
Codevilla writes: And in fact 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. Comment: The ‘Republicans’ here are liberal Republicans who are part of the political class that runs our lives through the government. They are allied with Democrats. They should be voted out. Only conservatives will fight the power of the “ruling class”.
Codevilla writes: …(Republican US senator from South Carolina) Lindsey Graham set aside what is true or false about “global warming” for the sake of getting on the right side of history. Comment: This is how the ruling class empowers itself – by establishing lines of thought and rewarding those who heed. Because the whole ‘global warming’ fantasy has been proven false, yet the ruling elites continue to advocate it. Truth is of no consequence, as truth is of no consequence to any leftist, king or tyrant.
Codevilla writes: 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. Comment: Indeed it is nothing more than associations with approved institutions (Harvard, the Nobel Prize, the MacArthur Foundation etc.) that today sets the parameters for the ruling class, and not any individual achievement like Andrew Carnegie’s development of the technologies of the steel industry, or Cornelius Vanderbilt’s development of crucial 19th century transportation systems including the New York Central railroad.
Codevilla writes: 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. Comment: Today’s ‘rulers’ like Gore, Obama and Pelosi do see themselves as God-like. They even use many once-Christian churches as indoctrination centers for leftist thinking. Even Prince Charles said recently that he was put on earth to save the planet. Yeah, right… From what? Bad polo?
Codevilla writes: Supposedly, modern society became so complex and productive, the technical skills to run it so rare, that it called forth a new class of highly educated officials and cooperators in an ever less private sector. Comment: Yes, they need to tell us rednecks how to turn on our computers. Then we can show them which end of the wrench to hit the nail with.
Codevilla writes: Wealth? The heads of the (ruling) class do live in our big cities’ priciest enclaves and suburbs, from Montgomery County, Maryland, to Palo Alto, California, to Boston‘s Beacon Hill as well as in opulent university towns from Princeton to Boulder. But they are no wealthier than many Texas oilmen or California farmers, or than neighbors with whom they do not associate — just as the social science and humanities class that rules universities seldom associates with physicians and physicists. Rather, regardless of where they live, their social-intellectual circle includes people in the lucrative “nonprofit” and “philanthropic” sectors and public policy. What really distinguishes these privileged people demographically is that, whether in government power directly or as officers in companies, their careers and fortunes depend on government. They vote Democrat more consistently than those who live on any of America‘s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Streets. Comment: Yes, the “rich and powerful” in America statistically are majority Democrats. In some places (Hollywood, New York etc.) there are few rich Republicans, if any. And no “powerful” conservatives. They are scorned and blackballed.
Codevilla writes: If, for example, you are Laurence Tribe in 1984, Harvard professor of law, leftist pillar of the establishment, you can “write” your magnum opus by using the products of your student assistant, Ron Klain. A decade later, after Klain admits to having written some parts of the book, and the other parts are found to be verbatim or paraphrases of a book published in 1974, you can claim (perhaps correctly) that your plagiarism was “inadvertent,” and you can count on the Law School’s dean, Elena Kagan, to appoint a committee including former and future Harvard president Derek Bok that issues a secret report that “closes” the incident. Comment: If you are a member of the ruling class, you can get away with anything like drowning a beautiful young woman. But if you are a conservative who didn’t tip the waiter enough, you will be ridiculed on the front page of the New York Times.
Codevilla writes: Much less does membership in the ruling class depend on high academic achievement. … getting into America‘s “top schools” is less a matter of passing exams than of showing up with acceptable grades and an attractive social profile. American secondary schools are generous with their As. Since the 1970s, it has been virtually impossible to flunk out of American colleges. And it is an open secret that “the best” colleges require the least work and give out the highest grade point averages. No, our ruling class recruits and renews itself not through meritocracy but rather by taking into itself people whose most prominent feature is their commitment to fit in. The most successful neither write books and papers that stand up to criticism nor release their academic records. Thus does our ruling class stunt itself through negative selection. But the more it has dumbed itself down, the more it has defined itself by the presumption of intellectual superiority. Comment: Just look at Al Gore. Conservative Americans are smarter than he is. He is just lucky to have powerful friends to prop him up.
Codevilla writes: Our ruling class’s agenda is power for itself. While it stakes its claim through intellectual-moral pretense, it holds power by one of the oldest and most prosaic of means: patronage and promises thereof. Like left-wing parties always and everywhere, it is a “machine,” that is, based on providing tangible rewards to its members. Such parties often provide rank-and-file activists with modest livelihoods and enhance mightily the upper levels’ wealth. Because this is so, whatever else such parties might accomplish, they must feed the machine by transferring money or jobs or privileges — civic as well as economic — to the party’s clients, directly or indirectly. This, incidentally, is close to Aristotle’s view of democracy. Hence our ruling class’s standard approach to any and all matters, its solution to any and all problems, is to increase the power of the government — meaning of those who run it, meaning themselves, to profit those who pay with political support for privileged jobs, contracts, etc. Comment: This perfectly describes the Democrat party today, and all the vast and consequent corruption that permeates it in the name of “the common good”. But it is ‘personal good’ that it nurtures.
Codevilla writes: To the extent party leaders do not have to worry about voters, they can choose privileged interlocutors, representing those in society whom they find most amenable. In America ever more since the 1930s — elsewhere in the world this practice is ubiquitous and long-standing — government has designated certain individuals, companies, and organizations within each of society’s sectors as (junior) partners in elaborating laws and administrative rules for those sectors. The government empowers the persons it has chosen over those not chosen, deems them the sector’s true representatives, and rewards them. They become part of the ruling class. Comment: Which is why Rush Limbaugh is so despised. Because he exposes the ruling class for its charade and its genuine, measurable stupidity.
Codevilla writes: John Kenneth Galbraith’s characterization of America as “private wealth amidst public squalor” (The Affluent Society, 1958) has ever encapsulated our best and brightest’s complaint: left to themselves, Americans use land inefficiently in suburbs and exurbs, making it necessary to use energy to transport them to jobs and shopping. Americans drive big cars, eat lots of meat as well as other unhealthy things, and go to the doctor whenever they feel like it. Americans think it justice to spend the money they earn to satisfy their private desires even though the ruling class knows that justice lies in improving the community and the planet. The ruling class knows that Americans must learn to live more densely and close to work, that they must drive smaller cars and change their lives to use less energy, that their dietary habits must improve, that they must accept limits in how much medical care they get, that they must divert more of their money to support people, cultural enterprises, and plans for the planet that the ruling class deems worthier. Comment: For those who don’t know, Galbraith was one of those pipe-smoking snobs from Harvard. You know, the type of intellectual who wouldn’t know which end of a wrench to hit the nail with. These people are backwards and ignorant, and they appeal to other backward and ignorant intellectuals like Barack Obama and all the rest of the wine-and-cheese crowd.
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