America was founded by courageous people seeking to escape the ruling class of their day. They founded a nation based on self rule and representative government. There was no place for a distinct, unaccountable ruling class. America has maintained this ideal from its inception … until now.
Many Americans sense a new kind of threat facing their country, not armies from distant shores but arising from within. A force accountable to none seeks to transform our country and gain dominion over its citizens. The present election struggle very much pits the ordinary citizen, many of whom have never voted before … against a unified power structure embedded deep and gaining strength in many American institutions, including both political parties.
Connecting the dots is Professor Angelo M. Codevilla in his book “The Ruling Class”. He writes how America’s core principles have been eroded by elites. Equality of opportunity has been supplanted by equality of outcome. The rule of law has become the rule of man. Leaders have been replaced with rulers. In this essay, I have presented a snapshot of his thesis while adding a few of my own thoughts along the way.
Who are the Ruling Class in America?
America has always had its wealthy elite. They became wealthy in a variety of ways, locales, and industries. They never sought to become a unified force. They did not seek control Washington, change the country, or engage in “social engineering.” The schools and universities that educated them did not impose a single orthodoxy about the origins of man, American history, climate change, or how America should be governed. Today, all that has changed.
Today elite education is unified by “a social canon” that defines what is good and evil, along with a revised history of America that ignores the crucial role of religion and emphasizes our “sins” against minorities and the environment. Particular tastes, habits, tools, and “political correctness” have become the badge of identity for America’s ruling class.
Europeans are accustomed to being “ruled”. Not so Americans, at least not yet. Lincoln once said that all Americans “prayed to the same God”. American government was “the servant of the people” from whom it received its power. The ruling class today has little time for the religion of Lincoln. They now are the new messiahs the world has waited for.
They have labored for decades. Now their time has come. Their philosophical guiding lights include Frankfurt School philosophers Adorno, Fromm, and Marcuse. They began in the universities by first taking control of the social science and humanity departments, followed by the administration. Control spread into the media, entertainment, and public schools.
Different points of view and values in America’s evolution have never been considered life threatening. They come, leave an impression, but never destroy the body. This is different. Like the early stages of a cancer, the true intentions of the ruling class were difficult to discern. Now that their intentions are apparent, at least to those who pay attention, one wonders whether they are still treatable.
What qualifies a person to become a member of the “ruling class”?
Entry is not based on meritocracy, wealth or professional prominence. Texas oilmen, billionaires, distinguished climate scientists like whistle blower Richard Lindzen, Intelligent Design advocates like Stephen Meyer, or conservative justices like Clarence Thomas and the late Antonin Scalia, or even President Reagan, would not qualify. Like a fraternity, this class requires above all conformity to the notion that their careers and fortunes depend on government.
It is their devotion to government that gives members their identity. Other loyalties may exist, including those to the Constitution, religion, capitalism, and traditional family values, but these must be compromised as needed by their belief and devotion to government. When government fails, truth and transparency must also be sacrificed. In return for loyalty, the fraternity protects its own from “mistakes” … even sexual misconduct in the oval office.
The Superior Mindset of the Ruling Class
The first unspoken tenet of the ruling class is that they are the “intelligentsia” while everyone else is retrograde, somehow dysfunctional, inferior, clingers of guns and religion, and probably racist. Since they reject the notion man was made in the image of God, they disavow that “all men are created equal”. Darwin must be true; those who believe in Intelligent Design are religious fanatics. Since they reject the intelligence of the common man, they also reject innate “common sense”.
In their view, human nature with its fundamental drives and wants is not fixed but is constantly “evolving”. They believe man’s nature can be molded and “improved” as they see fit. They have a hard time believing higher taxes actually discourage people to produce, that higher and sustained welfare benefits erode the will to work, or that increasing control discourages creativity and innovation. Rulers should not be blamed for failed policies; people simply have not evolved or adapted as they should. The remedy is to double down.
Belief that human nature can evolve is an extremely radical position. Cause and effect cease to inform. The wisdom of the past becomes irrelevant. One is reminded of Einstein’s maxim ” doing the same thing and expecting a different result” … is insanity. Ignoring the reality of human nature helps explain the gross failure of big government throughout its history, and why incidentally they despise “freedom of speech”, a liberty that would encourage open discussion of their failures. In place of “free speech” they substitute “correct speech.
The solution to failure is always the same; blame hidden unseen forces and increase the power of government; meaning themselves. They profit from their own failures as much as they do from social ills, economic downturns, and natural disasters. “No crisis is ever wasted”. They profit from those who pay for political support, for privileged jobs and from contracts. As money and power flows, dependency grows.
The Ruling Class’s 3 Step Strategy to Rule
Acquire tax revenues
The Ruling Class controls through taxation and redistribution more than a third of what Americans produce. This immense power allows it to reach deeply into American life as a primary arbiter of wealth and poverty. Their power allows them to manipulate the free market; forcing transactions and prices, making valuable what it favors and devaluing what it does not.
Pass lengthy laws that allow for discretion
Length is needed to specify how people will be treated unequally. They freely admit that they do not read the laws they write. They don’t have to. The laws they pass are primarily grants of discretion to like minded bureaucrats embedded throughout all levels of government.
Apply that discretion to reward or punish and advance the agenda
The potential for “discretion” allows political support to be purchased for the benefit of the entire ruling class food chain. The model for how the ruling class feeds and grows fat is Obamacare, passed in 2010. What started as roughly 2000 pages, unread by any congressperson when voted on, has now swollen thanks to added smaller regulations that interpret and enact the larger regulations … to almost 20,000 pages.
Another example is the financial regulation bill of 2010 (aka Dodd-Frank) that spends over 3,000 pages handing out preferences to some and death sentences to others. Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs, and AIG were preferred while Lehman Brothers was not. Leading up to this legislation saw the political class in the 1990s forcing banks to make loans for houses to people and at rates they would not otherwise have considered. Builders and investors made fortunes. Having sown the seeds for disaster in the first place, the ruling class benefited when the bubble burst; only those connected with the ruling class at the bottom and at the top were bailed out.
Climate Change has become a golden opportunity for the ruling class to designate winners and losers, and enrich itself in the process. The ruling class chooses to believe in “climate change” and makes it profitable for companies to do likewise. By taxing the use of carbon fuels and subsidizing “alternative energy” the ruling class created the ethanol wealth machine. The prospect of price and allotments on carbon emissions set off a feeding frenzy among large companies to show support for a “green agenda,” because such allotments would be worth tens of billions of dollars. All “green jobs” become subsidized jobs and create further dependency on the ruling class.
Satisfying the ruling class is a surer way of making a living than producing goods and services that people want to buy. The ruling class “knows better” than Americans do themselves do how they ought to live, what cars to drive, how much energy to use or medical care they need. In the process the ruling class feeds and grows. The counties surrounding Washington DC have become the wealthiest in all America.
Ruling by Overturning the Founder’s Original Intent
Redefining the Role of Government
Woodrow Wilson was annoyed that the enumerated rights in the Constitution limited the expansion and power of the federal government. The Founders viewed the role of government to be one that enabled citizens, but then got out of their way. This role of government was novel on the world scene. In Wilson’s mind, the proper role of government resembled the European model; a wise and benevolent parent or dictator guiding a people and dispensing of benefits. Once this philosophical threshold is crossed, the question of whom to benefit or penalize, and by how much, becomes a mission statement for the ruling class.
Redefining the Constitution
The Constitution limits the role of the central government to enumerated powers, while reserving plenary powers for the states. The ruling class overcomes this hindrance to federal expansion is by redefining the Constitution as “a living document” that supports “positive rights”. These positive rights do not grant greater freedom to pursue happiness, but rather impose new obligations on citizens as deemed necessary by the ruling class. Increasing the rights of some necessarily means reducing the rights of others; in this case, the right to keep and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Redefining the Role of Congress
The Founders crafted a system that empowered individual voters to elect a Congress that represented their interests. James Madison (in Federalist #10) defined the role of Congress as “to refine and enlarge the public’s view”. The ruling class’s perpetual agenda has been to transfer allegiance of elected representatives to the political ruling class. That done, the role of those elected becomes simply to ratify government actions. This approximates somewhat the British Parliamentary system where parties rule supreme. Elected representatives who refuse to transfer allegiance (recent examples include Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul) … never get invited to the ruling class.
Having redefined the Constitution and the Role of Government … party leaders then dispense their power to privileged representatives who are willing to partner in their plans, and rewards them accordingly.
Example: In 2009 the American Medical Association (AMA) strongly supported Obamacare enabling the claim the law had the support of “the doctors” even though the vast majority of America’s 975,000 physicians opposed it. Those who run the AMA, however, have a government contract as exclusive providers of the codes by which physicians and hospitals bill the government for their services. The millions of dollars that flow thereby to the AMA’s officers keep them in line, while the impracticality of doing without the billing codes squishes down rebellion in the doctor ranks.
Another example: Labor unions such as the SEIU supposedly organize and take 2% of wages for the benefit of its members. Once the union is organized, political bosses ally with the union bosses into the ruling class. Unions support financially the political ruling class; each supports the other.
Thus whether a doctor, a building contractor, a janitor, or a schoolteacher … all become in some way members of the ruling class, supporters of big government, and the establishment politicians who thrive there.
The Ruling Class Writes the Rules
The America ideal is that no one could be convicted or fined except by a jury of his peers for having violated laws passed by elected representatives. This changed beginning with the New Deal and the birth of the administrative state whose reason for existence is (1) to create rules, and then (2) administers them by “policies” written by bureaucrats. People who violate the rules, or are perceived as violating them, must now answer to the bureaucrats. The universe of minute, incomprehensibly complex, exquisitely crafted rules extend control of the ruling class into the deepest recesses of our lives.
This is a common phenomenon in the history of civilization. Two thousand years ago Christ described how gentile kingdoms “lord it over” their citizens. Over 180 years ago, Alexis de Tocqueville observing the European states and wrote the following:
“Society will develop a new kind of servitude which covers the surface of society with a network of complicated rules, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate. It does not tyrannize but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.” ― Alexis de Tocqueville, writing in the 1830s.
The Constitution contains checks and balances that act as firewalls against the expansion of government power. These needed to be deconstructed. The task of recreating the Constitution is a two step process: (1) Ignore the literal text (2) Replace the text with supposed framers intent. Thus discretion overrides the text.
The logic is that the framers could not have foreseen the expanded need for government action. Of course, the absurdity of this logic assumes the Founders lacked the wisdom to appreciate the likelihood of unforeseen events. In fact, their appreciation for the unforeseen is expressed in the 10th Amendment, where unforeseen contingencies that would arise were to be handled by the states.
Nevertheless, in the 1920 case of Missouri v. Holland, Oliver Wendell Holmes stated that presidents, Congresses, and judges could not be bound by the U.S. Constitution regarding matters that the Founders could not have foreseen. He simply ignored the intent of the 10th Amendment. Holmes decision allowed the ruling class to ignore the Constitution while pretending allegiance to it.
Expressions like “interstate commerce”, “due process”, “search and seizure” and “privacy” were expanded and molded at will. In 1973, liberals on the Supreme Court conceived the idea of “privacy with a penumbra” that allowed a woman to terminate life within the “privacy” of her body. The ruling class mockingly reassured the American people that it was acting within the Constitution’s limitations.
Not only was the will of the Founders overturned, but also the will of the people as expressed in state refereda.… claiming such expressions were inconsistent with the constitution they themselves were reinventing. By 2010 the ruling class felt safe enough to dispense with the charade. Asked what in the Constitution allows Congress and the president to force every American to purchase health insurance, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi mocked “Are you serious?” As the ruling class strengthens, the power of the Constitution, law, and even citizenship becomes vestigial; a formality for a dependent people.
The Ruling Class is Hostile to the Traditional Family.
The family perpetuates traditional social norms, prejudices, and gender roles that the ruling class considers repressive and decadent. The Christian family grants ultimate allegiance to God and teaches that government exists by the grace of God. The family stands in the way of social reform. It does all this while reproducing itself.
The strong family is also one of the principle guarantors of prosperity and independence from government help. As marriage in America declines, out-of-wedlock births increases. Children raised in single parent households have about a four in 10 chance of living in poverty and being dependent on government help. The power of the ruling class is always strengthened if it can create greater dependency.
The ruling class has sought to diminish the traditional family in a number of ways:
*It has replaced the concept of “the family” with “families”; a broader definition meaning mostly households based on something other than marriage.
*The idea of no-fault divorce helps blur the distinction between cohabitation and marriage.
*The tax code penalizes marriage by forcing married couples who raise their own children to subsidize “child care” for those who do not.
*In 1997 the ruling class condemned the military’s practice of punishing officers who had extramarital affairs insisting that fidelity is “contrary to societal norms.”
*The ruling class teaches that children have a fundamental relationship with the state, a belief that effectively abolishes the presumption of primary parental authority.
This allows school administrators to administer pregnancy tests and send girls to abortion clinics without the parents’ knowledge. Parents have little power over what children are taught but the government has greater power to object to how children are raised. The ruling class’s assumption is that what it mandates for children is correct while what parents do is potentially abusive. It only takes an anonymous accusation of abuse for parents to be taken away in handcuffs until they prove their innocence. Parents in California just barely preserved their “right” to home school their children.
The struggle in America today concerns the most important questions of life.
What is the right way for human beings to live?
What is the standard for right and wrong?
What is good versus what is bad?
Who has the authority to make these decisions?
Most American would say such decisions are made by the people and carried forward in each generation by the family. This is the way it has been for all our history. Respect for the ways of the prior generation forms the basis for the 5th Commandment. We live longer on the earth by pursuing what works and shunning what does not.
Today’s “enlightened” ruling class dismisses the wisdom of the past. Since wisdom and knowledge beyond normal comprehension rests with it alone (so it believes) it reserves the right to determine ultimate questions of life. They use their entrenched power in academia, government bureaucracy and the courts to enforce their claim.
So they pronounce definitive judgments on whatever they choose and reject challenge or debate. Freedom of speech in search for truth becomes pointless and archaic. Correct speech transcends free speech. Consensus among the “right people” is the only standard of truth. Facts only matter when proper authority acknowledges them. By identifying science and reason with themselves, those who rule discredit all opposition.
Conclusion: America was not created to be governed by any ruling class.
Nor were Christians for that matter. Yet in the last 50 years, we have allowed such a hostile and arrogant group to gain power over us. They divide and degrade our culture while undermining our freedoms. They tell us what speech is correct yet slander God, our Founding Fathers and mock our beliefs. They rewrite our history, indoctrinate our children, forget our heroes, and apologize to a world we once saved from tyranny. They discourage growth yet drain our prosperity, and leave for our children an unimaginable debt. They are total failures.
Is the ruling class the legacy we choose to leave our children? It is a far worse legacy than what our parents left us. It is a legacy of servitude. As of now, the ruling class is unchallenged and their path lies clear. Many believe their election victory this November will cement their control permanently. Surely gratitude for all our past blessings, and love for our children, demand we resist these people?