Search This Blog

Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Outsiders and the Ruling Class

Glenn Reynolds writes at USA Today:
But Trump and Sanders are just symptoms. The real disease is in the ruling class that takes such important subjects out of political play, in its own interest. As Angelo Codevilla wrote in an influential essay in 2010, today’s ruling class is a monoculture [see also Charles Murray on this topic] that has little in common with the rest of the nation:
“Never has there been so little diversity within America's upper crust. Always, in America as elsewhere, some people have been wealthier and more powerful than others. But until our own time, America's upper crust was a mixture of people who had gained prominence in a variety of ways, who drew their money and status from different sources and were not predictably of one mind on any given matter. TheBoston Brahmins, the New York financiers, the land barons of California, Texas and Florida, the industrialists of Pittsburgh, the Southern aristocracy and the hardscrabble politicians who made it big in Chicago or Memphis had little contact with one another.
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. Using the right words and avoiding the wrong ones when referring to such matters — speaking the ‘in’ language — serves as a badge of identity. Regardless of what business or profession they are in, their road up included government channels and government money because, as government has grown, its boundary with the rest of American life has become indistinct. Many began their careers in government and leveraged their way into the private sector.”
To this ruling class, the rest of the country is sometimes an annoyance or obstacle, sometimes a source of necessary funds or votes, but always the “other” — not our kind, dear. Too ignorant, too unpolished, too unconnected to the right institutions and pieties to really count. With ruling-class Republicans having more in common with ruling-class Democrats than with the people they rule, it’s unsurprising that, as Codevilla predicted in a later essay, millions of voters feel orphaned. Democracy doesn’t do much for technocratically set policy that always seems to reflect ruling-class preferences, and people feel they’ve lost control of their own fates.
Greg Robb reports at MarketWatch:
Donald Trump said Monday that he agrees with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' opposition to President Barack Obama's trade policy. Sanders "has struck a nerve. He knows the problem at least," Trump said in an interview on MSNBC. The difference between them is that Sanders is "is not going to do anything about it" while Trump said he could negotiate good trade agreements with the Chinese. Asked about three ideas to restore the economy's health, Trump said he would trim the fat of the federal government, simplify the tax code and give incentives to spur investment in depressed inner cities. He said he would like to simplify taxes to the point where H&R Block Inc. HRB, -1.13% would be out of business.