Thursday, May 7, 2015

Why Are We Helpless at the Feet of the New "Aristos"

Today there are a couple of pieces out about today's aristocracy. Or maybe we should say oligarchy. Or gentry liberals. Or just ruling class.

First, there's the excellent Kevin Williamson writing about the progressive need for the monster of "inequality" to fight. It's relatively easy to eradicate "absolute poverty." But relative poverty is a different matter. "Economic inequality... is never going away." Because it's like the SAT; it's automatically normed into a Bell curve.
The enduring nature of economic inequality may be a political blessing for progressives — it provides a perennial source of discontent — but it is a problem, too, for one very important but under-appreciated reason: The main sources of economic inequality are not matters of public policy.
No problem. The progressives will make it a matter of public policy.
In a liberal society, some things are not political questions, but the Left, with its authoritarian mottos — “The personal is the political,” “If you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem,” etc. — is in its most fundamental assumptions the opposite of liberal: It is totalitarian.
Fighting inequality justifies the progressive lust for political power, its faith in political power. So it's never going to go away unless we People of the Responsible Self make it go away.

Now here's a Breitbart London guy, Jonathan Foreman, writing on British Election Day that it really doesn't matter who wins. The same Establishment will be in power. He's criticizing a book by a Guardian write that assumes that the Establishment is very different from reality: "equal parts fantasy, ignorance and ideologically-motivated dishonesty."
It took no note of the way power in the UK long ago shifted away from landowning peers, bowler-wearing toffs and other targets of early 1960s satire and into the hands of a new establishment increasingly dominated by a metropolitan bourgeoisie whose attitudes and aspirations are not in the least deferential to the old upper classes and their way of life.
If you really want to know who belongs in the Establishment here's how to do it.
All you have to do is identify those individuals whom our System rewards with sinecures and other unelected official positions that bring with them prestige, power and money.

Many of those positions are to be found in "Quangos" (quasi-autonomous-non-governmental organizations), those 900-odd uniquely British, peculiar institutions that might have been designed to keep influence in the hands of the Right People.  
Hey! No big deal, right. How bad can those Quangos be? This bad:
Quangos cost the taxpayer some £170 billion per year, employ almost a million people, and exercise vast power without democratic accountability. The few thousand people who run the “Quangocracy” are almost the very definition of an Establishment. Especially given the fact that once you’ve been appointed to a Quango, you’ve basically made it into the magic circle, and you’re in forever. Moreover, so long as you don’t break with Establishment mores or bien-pensant political codes, further boons in the form of more board memberships and leadership positions (some of them high-paying and influential) are likely to come your way.
What are we talking about here? We are talking about someone like a certain Suzi Leather: "Booker Prize judge, Chair of the British Council, President of SOAS, Chair of the Human Genetics Commission, Commissioner of the National Commission for Education."

We have a similar system here. We have all kinds of boards and commissions and research institutes that are staffed and led by the right kind of people. We have people at the highest levels of the mainstream media married to people with high positions in the Obama administration. Michael Barone came up with a name for these people: Gentry liberals.

Gentry liberals think that it's all perfectly normal to have their flagrant nepotism and conflicts of interest, although they'd be outraged if a Republican did that.

But it is a scandal that we conservatives and libertarians haven't completely de-legitimized these proud and conceited toffs.

In fact until we do knock them off their perch then our project of freedom and limited government and cities on a hill is going nowhere. Same goes for the chaps in Limey-land.

Maybe we shouldn't be too hard on ourselves. They didn't get the French Revolution until the old regime had really screwed up, running out of money and losing wars and stuff.

Above all, according to Crane Brinton in The Anatomy of Revolution, you need a rising class of people that are just feeling fit to be tied by the old regime, like the Puritans in Stuart England, the rebels in colonial British North America, and the philosophes in 18th century France.

In my view, what we need is a class of cultural and political leaders that can articulate the yearnings and the needs of the middle in the US and the UK. That middle would be the folk I call the People of the Responsible Self, responsible individuals that ask only to make a useful contribution to society, not to lord it over the masses.

Up to now in the modern era you have to tip the hat to the new ruling class, the People of the Creative Self, and their over-under coalition with the People of the Subordinate Self. Both the British Establishment and our gentry liberals have done a masterful job of assembling their coalition of the marginalized, people who genuinely were marginalized or could be taught to feel marginalized.

OK. That's the world we live it. The point is not to understand the world; the point is to change it.

Yeah. Why shouldn't conservatives read Marx?

No comments:

Post a Comment