Ruling Class Exit
"can I do you now, sir?"
Right now there’s a meme going right across the political firmament from left to right that the Republicans are blowing the midterms. Or, if you like, that maybe Dems will squeeze through.
But I think that is missing the forest for the trees.
I think that the rule of the educated class is coming to an end. Not next year. Not next decade.
Yes. Republicans may win a big midterm election. Or maybe not.
Hey, for all I know, the FBI already has warrants ready to search the homes of every Republican officeholder down to dogcatcher.
The point is that the current rule of the educated class harms the ordinary middle-class deplorable. Of course it does, because the current political regime is of, by, and for the educated class. Sure, its political formula is that it advocates for justice for the lower classes. But do our leaders ever think about what the lower classes really want and/or need? Not a bit of it. The ruling class treats the lower class as a vote bank. It ladles out enough free stuff to remain in power.
But, more and more, the ordinary middle class is the largest class. Used to be that the lower class — workers, serfs, slaves — was the largest class. That’s when the educated class, young rich-kids like Marx, came up with the over/under political formula: they would seize power as tribunes of the poor.
Used to be, they argued, that the rural peasants were exploited by the land-owning nobles, and nobody cared. Now the urban poor were exploited by the factory-owning capitalists, but we activists, we allies, we socialists: we care!
I say that the educated class have always been in it for themselves, whether as socialist dictators or administrative experts, or now, as racial and gender moral arbiters and climate changers.
There is nothing in the political formula of the educated class that cares a fig for ordinary middle-class commoners. And that is what will be the death of the rule of the educated class.
Why? Because in the end the political and religious and economic sectors of our modern society need to cater to the needs of the ordinary middle class, and allow them to live and work according to their lights and their beliefs and their interests.
Let us give our educated class friends the benefit of the doubt. It was easy for any educated person living 200 years ago to think that the world was on fire. It was easy to imagine that, without a strong and wise hand at the tiller that the world of the industrial revolution would blow itself up into economic and political disaster. Obviously the emerging working class would be exploited and humiliated just like the peasant serfs of the Middle Ages and the slaves of the Roman Empire.
Only, the industrial revolution didn’t end in disaster, but unimaginable prosperity for the poor, as never before in history.
We can say, without doubt, that the socialist solution to the industrial revolution was a disaster for everyone except the party elite. The Soviet Union was a disaster for the peasant farmers, with the Ukraine famine, and a disaster for city workers, condemned to work in government enterprises that were economic basket cases. And even for the elite, you could be arrested and sent to oblivion for nothing. The Peoples Republic of China executed a disastrous Great Leap Forward that was supposed to jump the rural Chinese people into the industrial era in one top-down program. And then the Cultural Revolution compounded the error. In both Russia and China the chaotic market, that socialism was to save us from, has subsequently brought the people back from disaster to moderate prosperity.
But whatabout our own experience? Suppose we hadn’t enacted labor laws and labor union legislation? What difference would it have made? And free education? And government pensions and health care and welfare?
Seriously: what difference would it have made? You know, of course, that in the 19th century almost everyone belonged to a mutual-aid society that provided insurance and aid to widows and job referrals? And if you had a baby you had the inexpensive lodge doctor attend the birth. The main thing, to me, about the social legislation of the last century and more is that it was all about the educated class coming up with comprehensive plans for society that the educated class would administer, in everyone’s own best interest, of course. But whether it was a good idea or not, it has become almost impossible to reform anything. That’s because the ruling principle of the welfare state is handouts and income transfers. And nobody agrees to the indignity of having their benefits cut.
But now, I think, things are worse. The whole green energy / climate change movement is clearly on track to pulverize the prosperity of ordinary middle-class people. Electric cars by 2035? Yes, but where is the electricity going to come from. High density cities? But suppose that women like to live in leafy suburbs to bear and raise children? Replace cars with transit and bike paths? But suppose people really prefer to ride in their own personal transportation, as only the rich have done down the ages?
My instinct is that the kind of top-down direction of the economy that we see from politicians and activists and from idea factories like the World Economic Forum cannot work. That’s what my Four Laws are about.
Don’t muck around with prices with your crazy-cake subsidies and credits.
Don’t think you can direct traffic with administrative bureaucracies.
Don’t think you can regulate the future; the regulated industries are smarter than you.
Don’t think you can reform any government program short of utter breakdown.
Moreover, we can already see that the top-down economic agenda is already causing chaos. Wanna have a war in Ukraine? Then better not buy your natural gas from Russia. Wanna phase out fossil fuels? Then better build a fleet of nuclear plants ten years ago, because wind and solar won’t do it.
But, to make the problem bigger, the political system can never figure out what to do next on the economic front. That’s because the economic future always turns out to be a surprise. Some guy somewhere will invent a widget that nobody else thought of and his widget with transform the economy. The whole point of political elites is to smother surprises in the cradle. Only they never do.
Right now our political elite is still shocked by the insult of the Trump presidency, and doing bureaucratic things to wound him and take him out of the game.
But Trump is merely a symptom, a sympton of a ruling class that cannot think beyond its own cultural and political bubble.
Really, how hard is it to imagine that an educated ruling class would have no idea how the middle class wants to live and merely use its political power to feather its own nest?
And how hard is it to imagine that, whenever “the natives are restless” that the ruling class would really have no idea what the problem was?
Earth to rulers: At least in the old days of western imperialism the colonial administrators took reports of “the natives are restless” seriously and tried to figure out what to do to resolve the problem. They accepted that they really could not see into the minds of their colonial subjects, and that that was a problem.
That’s why I say that the days of our ruling class are numbered. It was Shakepeare’s Henry IV that said “uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” That’s because, in this world, things are always going wrong and the king or the CEO or the manager or the mom has to do something about it. A wise king knows that when the natives are restless it is probably because of something that he or his minions did that caused harm. Best thing to do is to figure out what the problem is and fix it before it gets worse.
But the reaction of our rulers to reports that the deplorables are restless is to ramp up the pejoratives and call their opponents racists, violent extremists, and armed insurrectionists.
I just don’t think that’s a good idea. Best thing, dear rulers, is to resign your positions of honor and power right now and let the next regime take over.
In any case, it’s going to take a while to fix all the problems you chaps have caused. So why not get out of the way now before you make things worse.