The Financial/Cognitive Elite Rules!
until it doesn't
Edward Ring has a piece at American Greatness worrying about the modern elite — that combines both cognitive and financal whizzes — taking it out on the middle class, in “Why the Middle Class is Being Destroyed.”
And he cites Herrnstein and Murray’s The Bell Curve. It noted back in the 1990s that the future would belong to the “cognitive elite.” And got into trouble because it also noted that blacks are a standard deviation below whites on IQ. Raciss!
That’s why Murray then wrote Coming Apart about white Americans from 1960 to 2010, and how the upper 25 percent of whites were doin’ fine with great careers and merger marriages, the middle 50 percent of whites were doing so-so, and in the bottom 25 percent of whites the men didn’t work much and the women didn’t marry much.
But then I thought: this is the same-old same-old, from Marx to the Progressives, the idea that the educated elite will rule the world and that everything will work. Because in our modern complex world, we need the best and the brightest figuring out how to save the working class from the capitalists, the women from the patriarchs, the blacks from the racists, and the planet from climate change.
How is all that working out, cupcake?
The cognitive/financial elite thinks the middle class should be destroyed, according to Ring, because
If everyone on earth used as much energy as Americans use, global energy production would have to more than quadruple.
[A]rtificial intelligence and other technological innovations will make the existence of a middle class unnecessary.
But then I thought to myself: this is rubbish. And here’s why.
It’s great to have a cognitive elite. And it’s great to have a financial elite. They come up with lots of good ideas. Good for them.
But there’s a funny thing about good ideas. Most of them don’t work, whether we are talking about new scientific ideas, new political ideas, new religious ideas, new business ideas. The way God ordered the world, the good ideas “emerge” and the bad ideas just disappear. In science, the good ideas end up as SpaceX reusable boosters that work and the bad ideas end up as NASA’s Artemis rocket that seems to have more problems than Dorothy trying to get back to Kansas. In business, everyone is running around trying to get VC financing for their great idea. Only some of the great ideas get funded as startups, and only some of the startups go public and make their founders into billionaires.
And then, after you invent the steam engine and the oil industry and electric lights, it turns out that there are lots of jobs for the middle class and the working class to build things and run things.
Of course, in politics and government there is more of a problem sorting out good ideas from good ideas that work. It seemed like a good idea to create the welfare state with LBJ’s Great Society, but the result has been a collapse of the low income family and an explosion of urban violence. And we still have not canceled the failed programs.
So my reaction to the idea of the alliance of the cognitive elite and the financial elite is that any top-down imposition, like communism, like the welfare state, like the climate change program for the green energy transition, is bound to end in tears. Because the way the world works is that you don’t force your ideas on society. Instead you let people try out your great ideas and let the good ideas that didn’t work disappear into the sunset.
If you force your ideas upon the kulaks or demolish the Four Olds or destroy the deplorables and the bitter clingers, then dollars to donuts you end up with a really big butcher’s bill.
And nobody wants that. Right?