Thursday 16 January 2020

Democracy and traditionalists versus the new elite

A quotation from a new book, The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite, by an American, Professor Michael Lind of the University of Texas. 

“The new class war is very real – and the managerial class is winning. A few decades ago, corporate managers, politicians and university professors had distinct subcultures. No longer. What we might call ‘woke capitalism’ represents a fusion of the three elites at the commanding heights of the economy, the culture and politics; they increasingly constitute a single conformist caste.

“This newly consolidated ruling class is best described as ‘liberaltarian,’ combining moderately libertarian views in economics with cultural progressivism in values. From its citadels in a few big cities, this oligarchy periodically notifies the working-class majority what values and opinions about sex, immigration and other topics it must immediately adopt without debate, on pain of being blacklisted by the private sector, prosecuted by government or censored or erased by the media.

“Many elites in history have justified hereditary privileges by a doctrine of noblesse oblige, which imposes special military or economic obligations on members of the ruling class. But today’s managerial elite is different. The pretense that it springs solely from ‘merit’ – from individual talent and hard work – creates a false sense of superiority for its members, stoking resentment among their fellow citizens, who are defined as failures in fair competition.

“The managerial overclasses of the West understand that the policies they prefer on trade, immigration, entitlements and other issues are unpopular and can be threatened by voter rebellions. That is why for the last few generations they have sought to remove decision-making authority from legislatures, which are somewhat accountable to working-class majorities, and deliver it to administrative agencies, courts, and transnational institutions such as the European Union.”

Jeremy Warner in the Daily Telegraph alerted me to this book. He mostly disagrees with its left-wing economics but agrees with this passage, the first paragraph of which he quoted with approval.

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