For quite some time I've defined the Ruling Class as the Rich & Powerful. Those are necessary conditions, but those criteria just tell us what people in the Ruling Class have .. not who they are. Human populations are distributions over many, many attributes: size, weight, the many dimensions of intelligence, capacity for love, and for ruthlessness, among hundreds or more. Not everyone who is Rich is in the Ruling Class. Perhaps even most are not. And what do we mean by "Rich"? Having lots of money? Nope, illiquid property could qualify. Or perhaps lots of "capital"? That's better AND it would include human capital - the value of one's education and technical skills. Lots of people in DC are not rich in money terms, but have lots of human capital AND have great power ... and they like using it.
That's a key criteria - willingness to use the money or power ... to tell everyone else how to live and to increase their own wealth & power. Let's call that attribute Ruthlessness.
Many people who are "Rich" live quiet lives, helping people in tough situations, helping communities, helping their children, helping nourish art & science, etc. And they don't even want their names emblazoned everywhere like some god or have their butts kissed regularly in some black-tie gala.
And many people with great human capital are not devoted to getting more money income. Some simply want to have "enough" and then spend their lives proving theorems or writing books or whatever. Getting a book award or a medal is plenty ... some simple recognition that their efforts are appreciated.
Others .. want to use that capital (money OR human capital) to tell common man how to live ... or to become a new Duke or Baron over the common man .,. or to be seen as the enlighten Prince with many courtiers asking a "by your leave" for permission for ... almost anything.
The New Ruling Class
WW I and WW II completely re-ordered world power bases, wiping out the old aristocracies, and the scientific, media and computer revolution have hugely increased the ability of government to ... govern. A Ruthless component of highly educated people saw Government as a means to increase the income on their human capital. And in government they would have a power base to protect themselves from outside forces. These people, with the connivance of Ruthless wealthy persons, have slowly taken over the US Government since the 1960s.
One can see it in the steady growth in the bureaucracy ... the increasing number of super-grade governmental executives ... the pay and benefits for these people ... and the power they command. Universities are addicted to Federal grants and many, many professors are part of the hive, too. They need grants to fund their research and will lend their human capital to help to increase governmental power. Is their any wonder why "studies" always find a need for a new program or policy, or support an existing policy?
Big Corporations are a fertile feeding ground for the educated to get better income on their human capital. As are law firms. And then the Ruthless among them want more .. and more. The pay is excellent and they they are invited to sit on councils and committees. And go to Davos. And influence their like-minded colleagues in government to send more of the people's money to their corporations and law firms. Why do you think that all stimulus money for large projects require lots and lots of studies done by consultants? That's how they pay off their brethren in the Ruling Class.
Think tanks in DC are part of the Ruling Class, too. The Rich fund these to lobby and generate polices that they want to impose on the people. The Think Tanks hire lots of highly educated people who want to be well-paid to create these policies ... to impose on the people. The same is true of the huge Foundations funded by the Rich.
Lobbying groups also create lots of highly paid jobs for the ruthless educated persons: the education lobby, the various corporate lobbies, the many other policy lobbies - all create jobs and power for the
The Ruthless among the educated persons are a critical part of the Ruling Class. Without them, the Ruling Class would be unable to .. Rule. The educated component also connive to make government incredibly complex - so complex that outsiders can't understand what's going on. That complexity is like a castle wall - a huge barrier to entry to protect the monopoly on governmental power for the Ruling Class.
People need to recognize this group ... they are also hogs at the trough. The new health care law has 2,000 pages for a reason: the Ruthless educated persons wrote it that way so they will have power over everyone. This is why tax laws are thousands of pages, why education rules consume volumes, why government contract bidding rules are voluminous, etc.
What about so-called independent commissions or independent studies? Look at the composition, who is doing the bulk of the work? Is a majority of the people truly independent of government - true outsiders? If not, distrust them. Just say No. Truly independent outsiders can give good advice and find answers. Ruling Class drones will not.
Two prime examples: (1) the Deficit Commission - almost all Congressman with absolutely no sources of independent information or thinking, and (2) the world climate commission (aka IPCC) - all members are addicted to governments grants or are Foundation trolls or are actually governmental representatives. Of course they "get the right answer" and try to censor dissent.
The people need to eject and dissolve all these chains on their lives; tear down these castles of the Barons of the Ruling Class. A friend of mine sees all that has changed in the US since the 1960s and wonders: Has there has been a Coup? If one looks at the beginning and the end, it would look like a coup has occurred. My conclusion is that we have experienced slow power struggle - the new Ruling Class, created by merging Rich & Powerful with the Ruthless educated persons, has taken power in the US. They now try to rule over the common man & woman and take more and more control and wealth from them.
A quote from poem, Four Quartets: The Dry Salvages, by T. S. Eliot fits: "We've had the experience, but missed the meaning." These changes have happened slowly for decades; we've noticed the changes but the meaning has been obscure until the cumulative change was very large over our lifetime. We all remember the freedom we once had .. and how prosperous the US once was. Let's recognize NOW what's happened and start changing the US now to become the great place it once was.
Tomorrow & Friday: How to do it.
Word of the Day
None today - out of time.