Is the American Elite Really Elite? (Nails It!)

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Is the American Elite Really Elite?
by Victor Davis Hanson March 2, 2017 12:00 AM @vdhanson

The public no longer believes that privilege and influence should be predicated on titles, brands, and buzz.

Establishment furor over the six-week-old Trump administration is growing.

Outraged New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman recently compared Trump’s victory to disasters in American history that killed and wounded thousands such as the Pearl Harbor surprise bombing and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The New Republic — based on no evidence — theorized that Trump could well be mentally unstable due to the effects of neurosyphilis.

Talk of removing the new president through impeachment, or opposing everything he does (the progressive “Resistance”), is commonplace. Some op-ed writers and pundits abroad have openly hoped for his violent death.

Trump is in a virtual war with the mainstream global media, the entrenched so-called deep state, the Democratic-party establishment, progressive activists, and many in the Republican party as well.


The sometimes undisciplined and loud Trump is certainly not a member of the familiar ruling cadre, which dismisses him as a crude and know-nothing upstart who should never have been elected president. (Had Hillary Clinton won in 2016 and served a full term, a member of either the Bush or Clinton families would have been president for 24 years of a 32-year span.)

But who, exactly, makes up these disgruntled elite classes?

In California, state planners and legislators focused on things such as outlawing plastic grocery bags while California’s roads and dams over three decades sank into decrepitude. The result is crumbling infrastructure that now threatens the very safety of the public.

Powerful Californians with impressive degrees also came up with the loony and neo-Confederate idea of nullifying federal immigration law through sanctuary cities.

Sophisticated Washington, D.C., economists produced budgets for the last eight years that saw U.S. debt explode from $10 trillion to nearly $19 trillion, as economic growth sank to its lowest level since the Hoover administration.

For a year, most expert pundits and pollsters smugly assured the public of a certain Hillary Clinton victory — until the hour before she was overwhelmed in the Electoral College.

Rhodes Scholar and former U.N. ambassador Susan Rice lied repeatedly on national television about the Benghazi debacle. 21st-century repute is accrued from the false gods of the right zip code, high income, proper social circles.

From the fabulist former NBC anchorman Brian Williams to the disreputable reporters who turned up in WikiLeaks, there are lots of well-educated, influential, and self-assured elites who apparently cannot tell the truth or in dishonest fashion mix journalism and politics. Elitism sometimes seems predicated on being branded with the proper degrees.

But when universities embrace a therapeutic curriculum and politically correct indoctrination, how can a costly university degree guarantee knowledge or inductive thinking? Is elitism defined by an array of brilliant and proven theories? Not really.

University-sired identity politics has not led to racial and ethnic harmony. Is there free speech or diversity of thought on campuses? Did progressive government save the inner cities? Are elites at least better-spoken and more knowledgeable than the rest of us?

Long before Trump’s monotonous repetition of “tremendous” and “great,” Barack Obama thought “corpsmen” was pronounced “corpse-men,” and that Austrians spoke “Austrian” rather than German.

Not long ago, Representative Hank Johnson (D., Ga.) warned that if Guam became too populated it might just tip over and sink.

The Western world is having a breakdown.

The symptoms are the recent rise of socialist Bernie Sanders, Trump’s election, the Brexit vote, and the spread of anti–European Union parties across Europe. But these are desperate folk remedies, not the cause of the disease itself. The malady instead stems from our false notion of elitism.


The public no longer believes that privilege and influence should be predicated on titles, brands, and buzz, rather than on demonstrable knowledge and proven character.

The idea that brilliance can be manifested in trade skills or retail sales, or courage expressed by dealing with the hardship of factory work, or character found on an Indiana farm, is foreign to the Washington Beltway, Hollywood, and Silicon Valley.


Instead, 21st-century repute is accrued from the false gods of the right zip code, high income, proper social circles, and media exposure, rather than from a demonstrable record of moral or intellectual excellence.

In 1828, the wild and unruly Andrew Jackson was elected president because the rapidly expanding country had tired of the pretenses of an exhausted elite of tidewater and New England mediocrities. The hollow, tiny coastal establishment of the 1820s perpetuated the ancestry and background of the great but all-but-disappeared Founding Fathers such as George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe. Yet otherwise, the Founders’ lesser successors had not earned the status they had assumed from their betters.

The outsider Jackson won by exposing their pretenses.
What got the brash Trump elected was a similar popular outrage that the self-described best and brightest of our time are has-beens, having enjoyed influence without real merit or visible achievement.

If Donald Trump did not exist, something like him would have had to be invented.


http://www.nationalreview.com/article/445371/american-elites-donald-trump-conflict-over-shaking-establishment
 

TammyinWI

1st Amendment Right and Pertinent
You must be thinking of Bill Clinton.
Yep...that guy, too.

Like my evil step-dad used to say: "if you're going to play, you're going to pay."

Guys that dip their wick in too many places can take things with them they didn't plan on. Works for women, too...equal opportunity.

But a lot of men seem to have a lust problem that overtakes them...and can get them in trouble.
 

Rastech

Veteran Member
I think Trotsky got it right (well, even a broken clock is right twice a day), when he said that a Political Class rapidly degenerates into utterly corrupt incompetent imbeciles.

Of course it doesn't help that they start off barking mad, and completely suckered by the nonsensical concept called "Socialism".

If the fools would just remember that there's no such thing as "Left" or "Right" in Demos, they'd prevent an awful lot of the chronic attacks of stupid that they suffer.
 

Rastech

Veteran Member
Yep...that guy, too.

Like my evil step-dad used to say: "if you're going to play, you're going to pay."

Guys that dip their wick in too many places can take things with them they didn't plan on. Works for women, too...equal opportunity.

But a lot of men seem to have a lust problem that overtakes them...and can get them in trouble.
The lust of women is no different to the lust of men in my experience.
 

Dozdoats

On TB every waking moment
Charts, graphics at the link.....
=======================

http://www.oftwominds.com/blogmar17/illusion-progress3-17.html

The Illusion of Progress
March 2, 2017

This is precisely what you'd expect of a self-serving elite that was desperate to cloak the unhappy reality that the relative few are benefiting immensely at the expense of the many.

The core narrative of politics everywhere is progress, i.e. "moving forward." If progress isn't being made, politicos and the system are failing.

In the past, "progressive" movements sought to advance both social and economic opportunities for marginalized groups.

For a variety of reasons, social progress has been decoupled from economic progress.

In broadly disintegrative eras such as the present, the stagnation of economic opportunity is masked by redefining progress in purely social terms: progress is defined as the social advance of a marginalized populace into the mainstream.

When the marginalized populace is comprised of many millions of individuals, social progress and economic progress are mutually reinforcing dynamics: opportunities for social advancement in the mainstream created economic opportunities, and vice versa.

Now that social/economic progress has lifted the major marginalized populaces--ethnic and religious minorities, gays--substantially into the mainstream, those remaining marginalized populaces are modest in size. Estimates of the trans-gender populace, for example, are generally less than 1% of the total population.

The marginalized groups' advances that are markers for "proof of progress" have decoupled from economic advances. Few if any social-justice promoters of trans-gender rights, for example, claim any economic gains will accompany this social progress.

The reason why social progress has been effectively decoupled from economic progress is that the woeful lack of economic progress for the bottom 90% proves financial progress is now limited to an elite comprised of Oligarchs, Nomenklatura, the Technocrat Class and a relative handful of entrepreneurs.

Everyone else has been losing ground in wages, wealth and opportunity. If we measure progress in very broad terms such as participation in and ownership of the most productive parts of the current mode of production, then this chart forces us to conclude that movement for the vast majority is now backward, not forward.

To mask this disquieting and politically discordant reality, the status quo of the Corporate Media, academia, state functionaries and technocrats has redefined "progress" to exclude hard financial data that reflects widespread, systemic stagnation for the bottom 90% in favor of "feel-good" social-justice virtue-signaling.

This is precisely what you'd expect of a self-serving elite that is desperate to cloak the potentially explosive reality that the relative few are benefiting immensely at the expense of the many. So please take your social-justice "progress" with a grain of salt the size of the iceberg that sank the Titanic: if we measure progress solely by participation in and ownership of the most productive parts of the current mode of production, a much different snapshot emerges: economic stagnation is not progress.
 

Dozdoats

On TB every waking moment
http://www.oftwominds.com/blogfeb17/virtue-signaling2-17.html

Virtue-Signaling the Decline of the Empire
February 28, 2017

Virtue-signaling doesn't signal virtue--it signals decline and collapse.

There are many reasons why Imperial Rome declined, but two primary causes that get relatively little attention are moral decay and soaring wealth inequality. The two are of course intimately connected: once the morals of the ruling Elites degrade, the status quo seeks to mask its self-serving rot behind high-minded "virtue-signaling" appeals to past glories and cost-free idealism.

Virtue signaling is defined as "the conspicuous expression of moral values by an individual done primarily with the intent of enhancing that person's standing within a social group," "the practice of publicly expressing opinions or sentiments intended to demonstrate one's good character or the moral correctness of one's position on a particular issue" and "Saying you love or hate something to show off what a virtuous person you are, instead of actually trying to fix the problem." Yes, yes and yes.
"Virtue-signaling" expresses two other key characteristics of an empire in terminal decline: complacency and intellectual sclerosis.

Michael Grant described these manifestations of decline in his excellent account The Fall of the Roman Empire, a short book I have been recommending since 2009:
There was no room at all, in these ways of thinking, for the novel, apocalyptic situation which had now arisen, a situation which needed solutions as radical as itself. (The Status Quo) attitude is a complacent acceptance of things as they are, without a single new idea.

This acceptance was accompanied by greatly excessive optimism about the present and future. Even when the end was only sixty years away, and the Empire was already crumbling fast, Rutilius continued to address the spirit of Rome with the same supreme assurance.

This blind adherence to the ideas of the past ranks high among the principal causes of the downfall of Rome. If you were sufficiently lulled by these traditional fictions, there was no call to take any practical first-aid measures at all.

What are those "resisting Trump" proposing as solutions to the profound structural ills afflicting the empire? Gender-neutral bathrooms? A continuation of a dysfunctional immigration policy? Blaming Russia to mask the catastrophic failure of the past 25 years of neocon imperial over-reach? Cost-free "virtue-signaling" proclamations in support of diversity? "Safe places" on college campuses paid for by student loans crushing a vast indentured class of debt-serfs?

These status quo policies and cost-free diversions are the acme of a profound complacency and intellectual sclerosis that serve to defend a self-serving, morally corrupt political and financial elite.

Virtue-signaling pronouncements lack any recognition of the moral, political, social and financial crises facing the American empire, and are devoid of any practical, politically/financially painful first-aid measures to staunch the decline.

Glenn Stehle, commenting on 9/16/15 on a thread in the excellent website peakoilbarrel.com (operated by the estimable Ron Patterson) made a number of excellent points that I am taking the liberty of excerpting: (with thanks to correspondent Paul S.)

The set of values developed by the early Romans called mos maiorum, Peter Turchin explains in War and Peace and War: The Rise and Fall of Empires, was gradually replaced by one of personal greed and pursuit of self-interest.

“Probably the most important value was virtus (virtue), which derived from the word vir (man) and embodied all the qualities of a true man as a member of society,” explains Turchin.

“Virtus included the ability to distinguish between good and evil and to act in ways that promoted good, and especially the common good. Unlike Greeks, Romans did not stress individual prowess, as exhibited by Homeric heroes or Olympic champions. The ideal of hero was one whose courage, wisdom, and self-sacrifice saved his country in time of peril,” Turchin adds.

And as Turchin goes on to explain:
"Unlike the selfish elites of the later periods, the aristocracy of the early Republic did not spare its blood or treasure in the service of the common interest. When 50,000 Romans, a staggering one fifth of Rome’s total manpower, perished in the battle of Cannae, as mentioned previously, the senate lost almost one third of its membership. This suggests that the senatorial aristocracy was more likely to be killed in wars than the average citizen….

The wealthy classes were also the first to volunteer extra taxes when they were needed… A graduated scale was used in which the senators paid the most, followed by the knights, and then other citizens. In addition, officers and centurions (but not common soldiers!) served without pay, saving the state 20 percent of the legion’s payroll….

The richest 1 percent of the Romans during the early Republic was only 10 to 20 times as wealthy as an average Roman citizen."

Now compare that to the situation in Late Antiquity when
"an average Roman noble of senatorial class had property valued in the neighborhood of 20,000 Roman pounds of gold. There was no “middle class” comparable to the small landholders of the third century B.C.; the huge majority of the population was made up of landless peasants working land that belonged to nobles. These peasants had hardly any property at all, but if we estimate it (very generously) at one tenth of a pound of gold, the wealth differential would be 200,000! Inequality grew both as a result of the rich getting richer (late imperial senators were 100 times wealthier than their Republican predecessors) and those of the middling wealth becoming poor."

Do you see any similarities with the present-day realities depicted in these charts? A self-serving class of Technocrats and bureaucratic Nomenklatura have garnered all the gains, while the bottom 90% have lost ground in wages, wealth and financial security.

This Technocrat/Nomenklatura class controls both private and public powers (media, finance, trade, industry, governance and institutions) which serve its own interests.



What we have now is a self-serving "virtue-signaling" technocrat class that works for a self-serving political/financial elite that avoids the imperial burdens of military service and taxes while imposing what amounts to an economic military conscription on the working class. This Imperial elite sends these military conscripts around the globe to defend their Imperial interests.

Virtue-signaling doesn't signal virtue--it signals decline and collapse. Just as in 5th century Rome--an empire careening toward collapse--those reaping the gains are complacently confident in their moral superiority while their hubris-soaked intellectual sclerosis blinds them to the systemic banquet of consequences that will soon choke their precious self-serving status quo.
 

MinnesotaSmith

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Yes, but...

The lust of women is no different to the lust of men in my experience.
1) Women's ability to bond longterm is far more quickly damaged by having multiple partners than is men's.

2) Men don't routinely avoid marriage til age-infertile due to holding out to marry spouses vastly above their MMV, whereas American woman now often do just that.

3) Women (due to having about a thousand times more area of moist mucus membranes involved) contract STDs considerably more easily than do men.

4) If married men produce children outside the marriage by adulterous sex, their marriage is not fundamentally threatened to nearly the same degree as if wives do this (as long as the husband is not legally compelled to impoverish his legitimate family to support bastards). The equivalent to a sexually unfaithful (or deadbedding) wife is not an unfaithful or deadbedding husband, but an able-bodied husband who chronically refuses to work and bring in income.

5) If most women don't find their marriages satisfying, civilization can continue. Men, not so.
 
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