America’s Ruling Class – And the Perils of Revolution

This 12,000-word essay by Angelo Codevilla, “The Ruling Class–And the Perils of Revolution,” published in the conservative magazine American Spectator, has been so popular that Al Regnery is getting back into publishing to turn it into a full-length book (Regnery founded but no longer runs his eponymous and very successful right wing political imprint).

As over-leveraged investment houses began to fail in September 2008, the leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties, of major corporations, and opinion leaders stretching from the National Review magazine (and the Wall Street Journal) on the right to the Nation magazine on the left, agreed that spending some $700 billion to buy the investors’ “toxic assets” was the only alternative to the U.S. economy’s “systemic collapse.” In this, President George W. Bush and his would-be Republican successor John McCain agreed with the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. Many, if not most, people around them also agreed upon the eventual commitment of some 10 trillion nonexistent dollars in ways unprecedented in America. They explained neither the difference between the assets’ nominal and real values, nor precisely why letting the market find the latter would collapse America. The public objected immediately, by margins of three or four to one.

When this majority discovered that virtually no one in a position of power in either party or with a national voice would take their objections seriously, that decisions about their money were being made in bipartisan backroom deals with interested parties, and that the laws on these matters were being voted by people who had not read them, the term “political class” came into use. Then, after those in power changed their plans from buying toxic assets to buying up equity in banks and major industries but refused to explain why, when they reasserted their right to decide ad hoc on these and so many other matters, supposing them to be beyond the general public’s understanding, the American people started referring to those in and around government as the “ruling class.” And in fact Republican and Democratic office holders and their retinues show a similar presumption to dominate and fewer differences in tastes, habits, opinions, and sources of income among one another than between both and the rest of the country. They think, look, and act as a class.

Although after the election of 2008 most Republican office holders argued against the Troubled Asset Relief Program, against the subsequent bailouts of the auto industry, against the several “stimulus” bills and further summary expansions of government power to benefit clients of government at the expense of ordinary citizens, the American people had every reason to believe that many Republican politicians were doing so simply by the logic of partisan opposition. After all, Republicans had been happy enough to approve of similar things under Republican administrations. Differences between Bushes, Clintons, and Obamas are of degree, not kind…

[continues in the American Spectator]

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  • Andrew

    “10 trillion nonexistent dollars?” As if the value of fiat currency is objective!

  • jnferguson

    Sadly, where this article starts out with highly noble intentions and words, it slowly degenerates into by and large rightist propaganda that by and large blames the left while wearing sheeps clothing by making passing references to the similarity of the two parties. In all earnest, I don’t think many people have actually read the entire article.

  • jnferguson

    Sadly, where this article starts out with highly noble intentions and words, it slowly degenerates into by and large rightist propaganda that by and large blames the left while wearing sheeps clothing by making passing references to the similarity of the two parties. In all earnest, I don't think many people have actually read the entire article.