Thursday, December 8, 2016

Codevilla Revisits Ruling Class vs. Country Class

Back in the day in 2010 Angelo Codevilla electrified Rush Limbaugh and others in an article titled "America's Ruling Class -- and the Perils of Revolution." He developed the idea of Ruling Class -- liberals, media, Hollywood, education, Democrats -- and Country Class -- that's you and me.

Obviously the idea appealed to folks like you and me because we humans are both social and combative. So we often see the world in terms of Us and Them, especially when we are being ruled by the Worst President Ever, whose method of government seems to be to let all the lefty crazies get whatever they want.
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.
This situation works well for the Ruling Class and most Democratic voters. As Codevilla wrote:
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.
But is doesn't work for the majority: not for a few Democrats, nor for independents and Republicans, who do not feel they are well represented. Ominously, writes Codevilla:
Sooner or later, well or badly, that majority’s demand for representation will be filled... The clash is as sure and momentous as its outcome is unpredictable.
Well, that was then, just before the big 2010 election that flushed the Democrats out of the House of Representatives in a huge wave election. Now Codevilla has sharpened his analysis with a critique of leftist politics, "The Rise of Political Correctness," published just before the 2016 election. Now he is arguing that progressives in the ruling class do not just want power; they want to crush and humiliate everyone else. Instead of taking us through a general history of our present ruling class he writes about the specific plans of total domination, from Marx's program of economic hegemony to Gramsci's program of cultural hegemony.

There are two strategies for achieving hegemony. There is the Leninist way, to crush and extinguish all competing power centers; and there is the Mussolini strategy, exemplified in his 1929 Concordat with the Vatican, what Codevilla calls "forceful seduction, not rape."

Codevilla argues that the the program of cultural hegemony is just as bankrupt as the old program of worker hegemony. In the end it is just a cult thing, of enthusiasts congratulating each other while the broad majority is unimpressed. The original Marxian program collapsed because the workers were national patriots first and workers second. The same applies to all the group identities of cultural Marxism.

Then we come to today's PC elite. For Codevilla, our PC masters have decided on the Leninist strategy. They could have enlisted the leaders of various cultural sectors and seduced them into supporting the progressive agenda. But no. They want to crush and humiliate the country class.
America’s progressives add insult to injury by imposing same-sex marriage, homosexuality, “global warming,” and other fashions because they really have no priorities beyond themselves. America’s progressive rulers, like France’s, act less as politicians gathering support than as conquerors who enjoy punishing captives without worry that the tables may turn. 
Look at the latest outrage,
our ruling class’s very latest demand: Americans must agree that someone with a penis can be a woman, while someone else with a vagina can be a man. Complying with such arbitrariness is beyond human capacity.  
But why can't the ruling class just declare victory on all their cultural offensives and go home? Why are they determined to humiliate pizza parlors and wedding cake bakers? It is because
the point of P.C. is not and has never been merely about any of the items that it imposes, but about the imposition itself. 
The more you get into torture, the more you need to think up new humiliations on your victims.

I am reading The Carolingians by Pierre Richéa history of the Franks, featuring Charlemagne, that made Europe into a thing between 700 and 900. The history is a vast confusion of wars and political family intrigue, of attempts by the politicians to control the Church and attempts by the Church to control the politicians. The relation between the great nobles and the Church was complex, because the nobles needed the wealth of numerous monasteries and abbeys, and would appoint their family members to be abbots and bishops. Meanwhile the Church was always trying to curb the nobles and keep the wealth of abbeys and monasteries from leaking out from control of the Church. But at the beginning of each reign the new monarch would always seem to promise reform of corrupt practices and adherence to the rule of law.

There is a lesson in there. Whatever the politicians and the culture warriors are doing with their grand plans and glorious wars, the people want government to deliver peace and security: a government that serves them and a rule of law that justly adjudicates their conflicts.

And so Donald Trump is to become president, promising to Make America Great Again and curb a globalist elite and its poisonous enthusiasms. He may not make much of a difference, but he has certainly delivered the ruling class a blow to the solar plexus.

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