Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Ruling Class's Sickness Unto Death

All ruling classes are the same.  They all suffer under the delusion that their particular power and wisdom is needed to bring order to a chaotic world.  They experience themselves as parents trying to control unruly children.

So in Europe the ruling class decided after World War II that it needed to create a new, wise, continental over-class that would prevent another outbreak of dangerous nationalism.  It slowly built up a vast oligarchy of the great and the good to rule over the crazed plebs.  After all, if the German people could vote for a Hitler once, they could do it again.  So a wise elite would write the laws and work behind the scenes to neuter the passions of the masses.

(It did not stop to think that Nazism and Fascism might be practical responses to the failures of the old regimes and their proud elites.)

Well, we now see what has happened in Europe.  Even apart from the clumsy and corrupt European Commission in Europe which rules without the consent of the governed, we have the abominable Euro, the currency without a country that is tearing Europe apart.  It is, of course, appropriate that it is a failed currency that is doing the job of destruction because it has been the policy of inflated and devalued currencies that has been the universal resort of the 20th century educated ruling class when caught in a jam.  The ruling class built a huge administrative government to deliver countless benefits to the people to keep them off the streets, but it needed a constant resort to the thievery of inflation to clean up its economic messes.

In the United States the problems are similar, but different.  Here the ruling class has been executing on a similar plan of administrative supremacy, but has to have constant resort to the tribal instincts of race, gender, and class in order to cudgel the ordinary voter into maintaining the status quo and the ruling class in power.   The elite that stands for progress and enlightenment can only stay in power by resorting to the crudest appeals to race and difference.

It is well to turn back the clock and remember what the educated class originally intended.  It thought of itself as advanced and rational.  It thought that its well-considered policies would lead the people upwards out of tribe and faction into the sunny uplands of education and universalism.

You can see this delusion in every page of Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty.  To Piketty and to tens of thousands like him in the ruling class, the administrative state is a "social state" delivering social justice in programs of free or subsidized services so that people have their "rights."  So it does. But he forgets that the "rights" were imagined by people like him.  The programs were designed and implemented by people like him, and the money, power, and love of beautiful women are all supposed to go to people like him.

That is why "people like him" don't like capitalism.  It cannot, surely cannot be just that under capitalism the money, power and beautiful women get snapped up by jumped-up barrow boys that just struck it lucky, and not given by a grateful populace to "people like him."

In fact, of course, the policy of administrative supremacy is a blast from the past.  It retreats to the politics of the village big man and the bureaucracy of the absolute monarch.  It is not a vehicle for enlightenment, it is a means of domination.  Thus, the more that the educated ruling class extends its programs of centralized administration the more it builds a structure of domination in which all people except the favored few are reduced to peonage.

The program of administrative centralism does not elevate the common man, and teach him the ways of the modern world.  It forces him back into the villages and cramped superstitions of the pre-industrial world.  Soon enough we will find out that the administrative state is bankrupt and failed, and the rule of the educated elite will be as discredited as the rule of the Caesars, the landed barons or the absolute monarchs.  People will rise up and topple the castles of power and something else will take its place.

What went wrong?  The educated elite believed too much in political power.  It could have remained satisfied with merely presiding over the evolutions of capitalism, but it didn't.  It wanted to rule over capitalism.

And the problem with political power and government is that it is good only for one thing: war.  It might be a foreign war on a dastardly enemy.  If not a foreign war then any government will instinctively start searching for enemies at home, and it will find them.

That is what all the furies over racism and the supposed Republican war on women and the constant turmoil on campus over diversity is about.  Government must have its enemy.

Our liberal friends don't see any enemies abroad.  They think that foreign policy very soon declines into neo-colonialism and imperialism, and they are probably right.

But the problem is that without foreign enemies, our liberal enemies find them at home.  So we get wars on poverty, on pollution, on bigotry, on racism, on corporate greed, on religion, on family.  And the bigger the government, the bigger the war.

We are the American people.  We don't want to be dragged into an endless war against each other.  Do we?

But the ruling class can't help itself.  It must have its war to fight, otherwise it loses its mandate to rule.

And so it will go, until the American people rise up and rebel against their rulers and change their ruling class, as the ordinary people of Europe are threatening to do.

Nothing new here.  Every ruling class creates injustice and domination, because every ruling class is blinded by its pride.

Thus we may say that every ruling class is blind to its faults until it is probably too late.

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