Category Archive 'The Elite'
01 Aug 2021
Kurt Schichter has a terrific rant.
Let’s try a thought experiment. Let’s imagine our ruling class was not as utterly corrupt, dishonest, incompetent and downright stupid as it manifestly is. I know that’s hard, but go with me.
This weird new virus appears and starts spreading. Instead of leveraging it to take down Trump, the Democrats appear with the Republican president and GOP leadership to announce they are working together to solve the problem. Imagine that instead of shaming people, first about wearing masks, then about not wearing masks, then about not wearing two masks, then no masks, then masks again, they went with transparency.
“We are not sure how much, if at all, masks work. We’re running test trials to see and we’ll tell you what we find as soon as we have the data. In the meantime, let’s all wear them just in case.” And then, when they ran the studies, they would tell us the answer.
Have you seen any studies about masks? We get a lot of that fascist gnome and others telling us to wear masks (after initially telling us they were useless – remember that memory-holed narrative?) but where’s the actual science?
See, you have to believe the science, and believe them when they tell you what it is yet won’t show you. Obey!
But trust is earned, and these people act like it is their right to have our trust, that we owe them to take it on faith that whatever these people say is the Gospel. Except they are wrong all the time, and instead of owning up to it, they treat you like some sort of idiot for noticing. When you don’t trust people who are perpetually wrong, that’s not denying science. That is science – you are making observations, and drawing reasonable conclusions. In this case, the observation is that our establishment sucks, and that it can’t be trusted.
How far would a little humility gone? Very far. Imagine, and this will be hard, these masterminds getting up and saying, “America, we were wrong about something. We thought it was right, but we tested it and we found we were not right. Here is the data, and now that we have better information, we are changing our recommendation.”
What would we say? “Oh, okay. They were doing the best they can and being straight with us. People make mistakes. We need to learn from them. After all, it’s been a century since the last pandemic so we have a lot of lessons to re-learn. Let’s move forward.”
But no. No, there’s no humility. They make a mistake and they don’t stand up and admit it. Instead, they just change the narrative and act as if the narrative du jour was always the narrative. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia. But we’re not blind or stupid for noticing.
They tell us the vaccine is going to make us immune from COVID. Then it turns out you can still get it, just not as bad. Yet when people notice this 180-degree spin, the smart set shrieks like Donald Sutherland at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Just imagine if they had been honest and forthright. But that was not in the cards. The ruling caste’s conceit is that we are idiots, unable and unworthy to make simple decisions for ourselves. We must be guided, nudged, or intimidated, if necessary, into making the right choice. And we do not deserve explanations, because the last thing our elite wants is accountability.
Instead, they want unlimited power. Look at their arbitrary emergency rules and regulations. You could go to a strip club but not a church. Huh? And the courts, again, let us down initially by not enforcing the Constitution. It was an emergency, after all, and as we all know, in an emergency you need to rule by decree, say our betters. So, we got to watch idiots walking around in the sunshine with mouth thongs on while cops busted mommies for letting little Billy play on the slide. At no time did most of the establishment reconsider or change. No, it doubled down on failure. Yet we’re supposed to trust it?
07 Feb 2021
The snow was too deep for Cadet our basset hound.
Our first winter in our Virginia home atop the Blue Ridge, the heavens opened and it snowed two feet. I had inherited an old John Deere riding mower from the previous owners that could have a plow blade mounted on front, but that little garden tractor could not remotely handle that magnitude of snow.
My wife and I were already no longer young, and our driveway was long. We were wondering how long we’d be trapped when we heard noises outside. A neighbor, from a long way down the road, owned a Bobcat, and he was digging out everybody along Raven Rocks Road.
That kind of thing is both extraordinary and yet typical of life in rural America. Our neighbor had the right tool for the job and he knew perfectly well that almost nobody else was similarly equipped. He knew, too, that we were a long way from town, and the chances of anybody obtaining professional assistance were slim. So he just went down the whole road and dug everybody out.
I ran out and offered money, and he naturally refused. A few days later, I went to his house and dropped off a pretty good bottle of Bourbon.
One of the really nice things about living in the country, in red state, fly-over America is that people are neighborly. They believe in helping out other people who need a hand, and they regard it as their own responsibility to do that, not somebody else’s or the government’s.
So, try reading this piece on a similar experience had by Virginia Heffernan (Wikipedia profile) for the LA Times:
Oh, heck no. The Trumpites next door to our pandemic getaway, who seem as devoted to the ex-president as you can get without being Q fans, just plowed our driveway without being asked and did a great job.
How am I going to resist demands for unity in the face of this act of aggressive niceness?
Of course, on some level, I realize I owe them thanks — and, man, it really looks like the guy back-dragged the driveway like a pro — but how much thanks?
These neighbors are staunch partisans of blue lives, and there aren’t a lot of anything other than white lives in neighborhood.
This is also kind of weird. Back in the city, people don’t sweep other people’s walkways for nothing. …
What do we do about the Trumpites around us? Like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who spoke eloquently this week about her terrifying experience during the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, Americans are expected to forgive and forget before we’ve even stitched up our wounds. Or gotten our vaccines against the pandemic that former President Trump utterly failed to mitigate.
My neighbors supported a man who showed near-murderous contempt for the majority of Americans. They kept him in business with their support.
But the plowing.
On Jan. 6, after the insurrection, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) issued an aw-shucks plea for all Americans to love their neighbors. The United States, he said, “isn’t Hatfields and McCoys, this blood feud forever.” And, he added, “You can’t hate someone who shovels your driveway.”
At the time, I seethed; the Capitol had just been desecrated. But maybe my neighbor heard Sasse and was determined to make a bid for reconciliation.
So here’s my response to my plowed driveway, for now. Politely, but not profusely, I’ll acknowledge the Sassian move. With a wave and a thanks, a minimal start on building back trust. I’m not ready to knock on the door with a covered dish yet.
I also can’t give my neighbors absolution; it’s not mine to give. Free driveway work, as nice as it is, is just not the same currency as justice and truth. To pretend it is would be to lie, and they probably aren’t looking for absolution anyway.
But I can offer a standing invitation to make amends. Not with a snowplow but by recognizing the truth about the Trump administration and, more important, by working for justice for all those whom the administration harmed. Only when we work shoulder to shoulder to repair the damage of the last four years will we even begin to dig out of this storm.
That neighbor ought to go right out and plow this arrogant liberal cow back in.
11 Dec 2020
Zman feels the winds of change rising, as the national division between rural and urban, elite establishment and worthiness widen and deepen.
For generations, the source of conflict in the American political system is that it represents a small slice of the American people. The Yankee elite that rose up in the aftermath of the Civil War, later joined by Jews in the 20th century, represents not only a narrow cultural slice of American society, but a narrow economic slice as well. Since the end of the Cold War this has become acute. In 30 years, there have been three major reformist movements attempting to broaden the ruling coalition.
It seems like a lifetime ago, but Ross Perot was in many respects the prototype for Donald Trump’s 2016 run. Perot ran as an outsider, on the back of his folksy observations about the federal government. Despite being very rich, he was clearly a man of the lower classes. His picaresque presentation was very appealing to a large portion of the population open to populist appeals. If not for his enigmatic personality, he probably would have won the White House in 1992.
Of course, what opened the door for Perot’s 1992 run was the Buchanan challenge to George H. W. Bush in the Republican primary. When asked why he was running against Bush he said, “If the country wants to go in a liberal direction, it doesn’t bother me as long as I’ve made the best case I can. What I can’t stand are the backroom deals. They’re all in on it, the insider game, the establishment game—this is what we’re running against.” That should sound familiar.
Both of those efforts to broaden the establishment coalition to include the majority of white Americans failed, but they set up the 2016 Trump run. …
What we have seen thus far in the 30 years since the end of the Cold War is two of the three ways people can attempt to broaden the ruling coalition. Both are reform efforts that start outside with the desire to end up inside. Perot wanted to bring in new people, who would represent the broader public. Buchanan and Trump both wanted to reform the system by reforming one of the parties. Buchanan wanted a genuine right-wing party, while Trump wanted a populist party.
The third way, of course, is the purely outsider movement. This is when the unrepresented create an alternative outside the ruling coalition. They either peacefully compel the ruling elite to acknowledge their interests or they replace the ruling elite, and the system they rule, with a new elite and a new system. This is exactly what happened with the American Revolution. A new elite replaced the old elite and created a system that worked for them to replace the old system.
This is what makes the current moment so dangerous. Within one generation three efforts to broaden the ruling coalition have failed, while the condition of the unrepresented has declined. Just as important, the number of people feeling threatened by the status quo has increased. In the 1990’s, reformers were speaking for the white working class. Today, it is the broader middle-class that is becoming increasingly radicalized by the intransigence of the ruling class.
Rush Limbaugh, too, is beginning to despair of there being any possibility of national coexistence, let alone unity.
I thought you were asking me something else when you said, “Can we win?” I thought you meant, “Can we win the culture, can we dominate the culture.” I actually think — and I’ve referenced this, I’ve alluded to this a couple of times because I’ve seen others allude to this — I actually think that we’re trending toward secession. I see more and more people asking what in the world do we have in common with the people who live in, say, New York? What is there that makes us believe that there is enough of us there to even have a chance at winning New York? Especially if you’re talking about votes.
I see a lot of bloggers — I can’t think of names right now — a lot of bloggers have written extensively about how distant and separated and how much more separated our culture is becoming politically and that it can’t go on this way. There cannot be a peaceful coexistence of two completely different theories of life, theories of government, theories of how we manage our affairs. We can’t be in this dire a conflict without something giving somewhere along the way.
And I know that there’s a sizable and growing sentiment for people who believe that that is where we’re headed, whether we want to or not — whether we want to go there or not. I myself haven’t made up my mind. I still haven’t given up the idea that we are the majority and that all we have to do is find a way to unite and win, and our problem is the fact that there are just so many RINOs, so many Republicans in the Washington establishment who will do anything to maintain their membership in the establishment because of the perks and the opportunities that are presented for their kids and so forth.
06 Nov 2020
Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire: The Consummation, 1836, The New York Historical Society.
Pedro Gonzalez pessimistically describes the inexorable advance of the credentialed class of sophisters, calculators, and economists whose interests inevitably coincide with the cause of collectivist statism.
Before the storm of steel that was World War I, Robert Nisbet wrote that the federal government, for most Americans, was a strangerâ€”something they mainly encountered only on visits to the post office. This may be hard for us to fathom now, we who have been born and raised long after the chains of industrial and technological conglomeration crushed the social, cultural, and political independence middle America knew just a few generations ago.
Different thinkers gave different names to this revolution of mass and scale in virtually all areas of organized human activity. James Burnham heralded its rise, as a system that would replace capitalism not with socialism but â€œmanagerialism.â€
Burnham defined managerialism as the centralization of society in which the distinction between the state and the economy is eliminated, the separation of ownership and control is effected, and, most importantly, powerâ€”real powerâ€”rests in the hands of â€œmanagers.â€
If it seems there is little room for republicanism or constitutionalism in this scheme, thatâ€™s because there isnâ€™t. â€œAmerica still has a written constitution, but it is nearly impossible, theoretically or politically, to comprehend the distinction between the government and the Constitution,â€ John Marini writes. â€œThe theoretical foundations of social compact theory have been so undermined as to make constitutionalism obsolete as a political theory.â€
Demystified, the â€œmanagersâ€ of our post-constitutional cruise through the truculent waters at the end of history are business executives, technicians, bureaucrats, journalists, administrators; the whole host of technically trained experts who constitute the credentialed class which produces nothing and owns little but without whom mass society would not function.
â€œAgricultural and industrial societies always had their unhappy intellectualsâ€”lawyers, clerks, teachers, radical journalistsâ€”men whose profits lay in ideas rather than things, and who were thus in the vanguard of upheavals and demands for reform,â€ Kevin P. Phillips wrote in Mediacracy. â€œBut the intelligentsia was always a small subclass, influential at times when it could channel public unrest, otherwise subordinate.â€ Now the managers throttle their enemies with the levers of power and, to a large extent, manage unrest while overseeing the managed deconstruction of the civilization they did not build but inherited.
They are winning because they have accomplished the Gramscian Long March and control the institutions that define the Culture.
26 Oct 2020
Back in the 1830s, Lord Melbourne declared he liked the Order of the Garter best of all his titles because there was â€œnone of that damned nonsense about merit” connected to it.
The elite community of fashion’s current enthusiasm for what is referred to as “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion” has a basic similarity to Lord Melbourne’s perspective, except his merit-free inclusion in the Garter Order was based on a supposed inherited excellence, while the Identity Groups singled out for special treatment under DEI base their claims to special privilege upon ressentiment.
David Swenson has a long record of achieving superior returns by his management of Yale’s endowment. Apparently, he now has decided either that other goals are more important or that anyone can achieve the same.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
Americaâ€™s most prominent endowment chief has a message for the firms that manage the schoolâ€™s money: Hire more women and minorities, or possibly lose the universityâ€™s backing.
David Swensen is the veteran investment chief of Yale Universityâ€™s $31.2 billion endowment. Earlier this month, he told the dozens of firms that manage Yaleâ€™s money they would be measured on their progress increasing the diversity of their investment staffs. Mr. Swensen said the Yale Investments Office would be working to improve its own teamâ€™s composition, too.
It is hilarious the way people like this talk about Meritocracy, but their idea of Meritocracy has a heavy thumb on the scale in several class cases.
The old-time Jewish quota (which I strongly suspect still exists) is denounced, but the Asian quota is defended vigorously in court. Certain groups absolutely must be awarded super-proportional representation, at any cost, on the basis of historical disadvantage. But, other outsider groups, Appalachians and working class ethnic Catholics, for instance, also conspicuously historically little represented in Ivy League admissions and in elite financial circles are completely overlooked, simply due to their failure to agitate and complain. The hypocrisy and irrationality is astonishing.
23 Oct 2020
Liz Jolly, Chief Librarian of the British Library since 2018.
David Warren is perfectly justified in ranting about all this.
Did you know? That, â€œRacism is the creation of white peopleâ€?
Of course you did, if you are young, woke, and poorly educated, like the white woman who is now the British Libraryâ€™s Chief Librarian. (â€œLiz Jolly.â€) Her statement, in a video to staff last summer, promoting her Decolonizing Working Group, though perfectly acceptable to Guardian subscribers, was mocked by several African and Asiatic scholars who have depended upon that libraryâ€™s resources over the years. Noting that history is more complicated than Ms Jolly was ever told, they criticized her as â€œpig ignorant,â€ &c.
But her explicitly racist â€œanti-racistâ€ programme proceeds, with aggressive â€œanti-racistâ€ exhibitions, new â€œanti-racistâ€ signage, and so forth. The demand to de-acquisition authors who do not reinforce the current ideological stereotypes has not yet gathered to full force, but has started.
The capture of essentially all major cultural institutions by unhinged political fanatics with daddy issues, is among the signs of our times. Those who resist are driven out of employment; those who accede have a lock on the splendidly-paid positions, for which beleaguered taxpayers are billed. The consequences to Western Civ are not trifling.
Perhaps I am unfair to single out just the one career arts bureaucrat, when there are thousands to choose from. I may even be prejudiced, not only against white people, but against those of the scheduled races who have cooperated in trashing the institutional heritage of the Big Wen.
For London was my Athens, back in the day, and I take these things personally. My British Museum Library ticket was among my most cherished possessions, and the old Reading Room among my favourite haunts. I am now so old that I can remember when such places were ruled, and staffed, by respectably boring establishment types with Oxbridge degrees.
Yet this is the very class that has suborned itself to the Revolution. It still works on old boy and girl networks, and has become dramatically more smug. But now it dismantles what its ancestors built. The fish-rot starts at the head of British society, as it has in Canada, and throughout America and Europe.
09 Jul 2020
Jheronimus Bosch, The Conjuror, 1502, MusÃ©e Municipal, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France.
Angelo Codevila proposes adding a new form to Aristotle’s forms of government.
Over the past fifty years the rules of public and even of private life in America have well-nigh reversed, along with the meaning of common words, e.g. marriage, merit, and equality. Social inequality, even more than economic, has increased as personal safety and freedom have plummeted. People are subject to arbitrary power as never before. No one voted for these changes. Often, as with the negation of the Defense of Marriage Act and of the referendum-approved California constitutional provision to the same effect, these reversals expressly negated law. Just as often, as in the case of our mounting restrictions on freedom of speech, they have happened quite outside any law. Altogether, they have transformed a constitutional republic into an oligarchy at war with itself as well as with the rest of society. The U.S. Constitution and the way of life lived under it are historical relics.
Our ruling class transformed Americaâ€™s regime by instituting a succession of scams, each of which transferred power and wealth to themselves. These scamsâ€™ blending into one another compel us to recognize them, individually and jointly, as the kind of governance that Augustine called â€œmagnum latrocinium,â€ thievery writ large. Thievery of power even more than of moneyâ€”colloquially, scamocracy. …
What do all [the] preoccupations that have dominated American life the last half century have in common? Allâ€”the long-running race and poverty scam, the education scam, the environmentalist scam, the sex scam, the security scam, and now the pandemic scamâ€”have been ginned up by the same people, Americaâ€™s bipartisan ruling class. All have been based on propositions touted as scientific truth by the most highly credentialed persons in Americaâ€”experts certified by the U.S government, enshrined by academia as scienceâ€™s spokesmen, and fawned upon by the media working in concert to forbid any disagreement on the matter whatsoever. Yet virtually all their propositions have turned out to be false, and indeed have produced effects opposite to those claimed.
Not incidentally, somehow, all these scams ended up putting more power and money into the very same handsâ€”their handsâ€”while diminishing the rest of Americansâ€™ freedoms and prospects. Accident, comrade? No. Taking valuable things under false pretenses for the falsifiersâ€™ benefit is the very definition of fraud, of scam. The scams that have flowed from societyâ€™s commanding heights are products of our ruling classâ€™s ever-growing internal solidarity, of confidence in its own superiority and entitlement to rule. They are the other side of its intellectual/moral isolation, and of its co-option of ever-less competent membersâ€”hence of its corruption.
HT: Karen L. Myers.
03 Jul 2020
Sohrab Ahmari (Persian Muslim converted to Catholic Conservative and Culture Wars Hawk), in the Spectator, argues that the nation-wide BLM outbreak of hysteria is not so much a Revolution, as it is a reactionary putsch.
America is not in the middle of a revolution â€” it is a reactionary putsch. About four years ago, the sort of people who had acquired position and influence as a result of globalisation were turfed out of power for the first time in decades. They watched in horror as voters across the world chose Brexit, Donald Trump and other populist and conservative–nationalist options.
This deposition explains the storm of unrest battering American cities from coast to coast and making waves in Europe as well. The stormâ€™s ferocity â€” the looting, the mobs, the mass lawlessness, the zealous iconoclasm, the deranged slogans like #DefundPolice â€” terrifies ordinary Americans. Many conservatives, especially, believe they are facing a revolution targeting the very foundations of American order.
But when national institutions bow (or kneel) to the street fightersâ€™ demands, it should tell us that something else is going on. We arenâ€™t dealing with a Maoist or Marxist revolt, even if some protagonists spout hard-leftish rhetoric. Rather, whatâ€™s playing out is a counter-revolution of the neoliberal class â€” academe, media, large corporations, â€˜expertsâ€™, Big Tech â€” against the nationalist revolution launched in 2016. The supposed insurgents and the elites are marching in the streets together, taking the knee together.
They do not seek a radically new arrangement, but a return to the pre-Trump, pre-Brexit status quo ante which was working out very well for them. It was, of course, working out less well for the working class of all races, who bore the brunt of their preferred policy mix: open borders, free trade without limits, an aggressive cultural liberalism that corroded tradition and community, technocratic â€˜global governanceâ€™ that neutered democracy and politics as such. …
Does anyone seriously believe the American establishment â€” Walmart, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, the trustees of Ivy League universities, the major sports leagues, even Brooks Brothers, for Godâ€™s sake â€” would sign on to a movement that genuinely threatened its material interests?
15 May 2020
Peggy Noonan, this week, is remembering her working class roots again.
I’m afraid, however, when push comes to shove, Peggy is always going to side with the Community of Fashion over ordinary America.
There is a class divide between those who are hard-line on lockdowns and those who are pushing back. We see the professionals on one sideâ€”those James Burnham called the managerial elite, and Michael Lind, in â€œThe New Class War,â€ calls â€œthe overclassâ€â€”and regular people on the other. The overclass are highly educated and exert outsize influence as managers and leaders of important institutionsâ€”hospitals, companies, statehouses. The normal people arenâ€™t connected through professional or social lines to power structures, and they have regular jobsâ€”service worker, small-business owner.
Since the pandemic began, the overclass has been in chargeâ€”scientists, doctors, political figures, consultantsâ€”calling the shots for the average people. But personally they have less skin in the game. The National Institutes of Health scientist wonâ€™t lose his livelihood over whatâ€™s happened. Neither will the midday anchor.
Iâ€™ve called this divide the protected versus the unprotected. There is an aspect of it that is not much discussed but bears on current arguments. How you have experienced life has a lot to do with how you experience the pandemic and its strictures. I think itâ€™s fair to say citizens of red states have been pushing back harder than those of blue states.
Itâ€™s not that those in red states donâ€™t think thereâ€™s a pandemic. Theyâ€™ve heard all about it! They realize it will continue, they know they may get sick themselves. But they also figure this way: Hundreds of thousands could die and the American economy taken down, which would mean millions of other casualties, economic ones. Or, hundreds of thousands could die and the American economy is damaged but still stands, in which case there will be fewer economic casualtiesâ€”fewer bankruptcies and foreclosures, fewer unemployed and ruined.
Theyâ€™ll take the latter. Itâ€™s a loss either way but one loss is worse than the other. They know the politicians and scientists canâ€™t really weigh all this on a scale with any precision because life is a messy thing that doesnâ€™t want to be quantified.
Hereâ€™s a generalization based on a lifetime of experience and observation. The working-class people who are pushing back have had harder lives than those now determining their fate. They havenâ€™t had familial or economic ease. No one sent them to Yale. They often come from considerable family dysfunction. This has left them tougher or harder, you choose the word.
Theyâ€™re more fatalistic about life because life has taught them to be fatalistic. And they look at these scientists and reporters making their warnings about how tough itâ€™s going to be if we lift shutdowns and they donâ€™t think, â€œOh what informed, caring observers.â€ They think, â€œYou have no idea what tough is. You donâ€™t know what painful is.â€ And if you donâ€™t know, why should you have so much say?
The overclass says, â€œWait three months before weâ€™re safe.â€ They reply, â€œThereâ€™s no such thing as safe.â€
Something else is true about those pushing back. They live life closer to the ground …
02 Apr 2020
Kurt Schlichter finds the pandemic bringing out the best in the media spokespersons of the elite coastal community of fashion.
Another hitherto unknown skill that the media believes it possesses is logistics. â€œWhy hasnâ€™t Trump commanded a million ventilators to appear?!â€ the reporters demand. Itâ€™s pretty easy to see where they might have gotten the idea that the moment one articulates a desire to possess something that it magically appears. Capitalism has pretty much made that a reality. If you want something, you can go to a store and get it 24/7, or you can go on Amazon and itâ€™ll be at your Manhattan apartment in 48 hours. Since they have never built anything or transported anything or distributed anything, only benefited from the labor of the unhip people who do those things, itâ€™s only natural that the delayed adolescents who make up our media class imagine that material goods can be simply wished into being. After all, for all practical purposes during normal times, because of the efforts of Americans they look down upon, material goods pretty much can be simply wished into being. But prosperity takes work, not that the media would know.
Rhodes scholar Racheal Maddow mocked our Navy over the idea it could sail a floating hospital up to New York, leveraging her nautical knowledge to insist it was weeks away. It took all those water army people a week. Oh, and the ground army simultaneously built a full hospital in a few days. And, amazingly, almost none of the folks doing it attended Haaaaaarvard. But hey, our media elite has contributed â€“ itâ€™s accomplishedâ€¦uhâ€¦umâ€¦shut up, racists!
28 Feb 2020
Joel Kotkin, as usual, is explaining that the real constituency of Progressive Statism is the new clerisy whose class interest is intimately connected to the growth in power and reach of the Administrative State.
The term clerisy was coined by Samuel Coleridge in the 1830s to define a class of people whose job it was to instruct and direct the masses. Traditional clerics remained part of this class, but they were joined by othersâ€”university professors, scientists, public intellectuals, and the heads of charitable foundations. Since the industrial revolution, the clerisy has expanded and become ever-more secular, essentially replacing the religious clergy as what the great German sociologist Max Weber called societyâ€™s â€œnew legitimizers.â€
Although certainly not unanimous in their views, the clerisy generally favors ever-increasing central control and regulation. French economist Thomas Piketty calls them â€œthe Brahmin Left,â€ pointing out that their goal is not necessarily growth, nor greater affluence for hoi polloi, but a society shaped by their own progressive beliefs. In this respect, they are, despite a generally secular ideology, reprising the role played in feudal society by the Catholic Church, or what the French referred to as the First Estate.
Todayâ€™s clerisy are concentrated in professions whose numbers have grown in recent decades, including teaching, consulting, law, the medical field, and the civil service. In contrast, the size of the traditional middle classâ€”small business owners, workers in basic industries, and constructionâ€”have seen their share of the job market decline and shrink.2 Some professions that were once more closely tied to the private economy, such as doctors, have become subsumed by bureaucratic structures andâ€”in the United States, at leastâ€”shifted from a dependable conservative lobby to an increasingly progressive one.
These shifts are, if anything, more pronounced in Europe. In France, over 1.4 million lower skilled jobs have disappeared in the past quarter-century while technical jobs, often in the public sector, have sharply increased. Those working for state industries, universities, and in other clerisy-oriented positions, enjoy far better benefits, notably pensions, than those working in the purely private sector. To be sure, members of the clerisy have to suffer Europeâ€™s high taxes on the middle class, but they also benefit far more than others from the stateâ€™s largesse.
At its apex, the clerisy today is made up largely of the well-educated offspring of the affluent. This class has become increasingly hereditary, in part due to the phenomena of well-educated people marrying each otherâ€”between 1960 and 2005, the share of men with university degrees who married women with university degrees nearly doubled, from 25 â€“ 48 percent. â€œAfter one generation,â€ the American sociologist Daniel Bell predicted nearly half a century ago, â€œa meritocracy simply becomes an enclaved class.
All this is why so many of our Ivy League classmates and assimilated college-educated friends have become the enemies of Freedom and the political adversaries of ordinary Americans.