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Thu Jan 31, 2013, 10:34 PM

 

When the rich are born to rule, the results can be fatal

I will use (this) occasion to try to explain the alien world from which I came. To understand how and why we are now governed as we are, you need to know something of that strange place. I was born into the third tier of the dominant class: those without land or capital, but with salaries high enough to send their children to private schools. My preparatory school, which I attended from the age of eight, was a hard place, still Victorian in tone. We boarded, and saw our parents every few weeks. We were addressed only by our surnames and caned for misdemeanours. Discipline was rigid, pastoral care almost non-existent. But it was also strangely lost.

A few decades earlier, the role of such schools was clear: they broke boys' attachment to their families and re-attached them to the institutions the colonial service, the government, the armed forces through which the British ruling class projected its power. Every year they released into the world a cadre of kamikazes, young men fanatically devoted to their caste and culture.

By the time I was eight those institutions had either collapsed (in the case of colonial service), fallen into other hands (government), or were no longer a primary means by which British power was asserted (the armed forces). Such schools remained good at breaking attachments, less good at creating them.But the old forms and the old thinking persisted....

The world, when we were released into it, was unrecognisable. It bore no relationship to our learning or experience. The result was cognitive dissonance: a highly uncomfortable state from which human beings will do almost anything to escape. There were two principal means. One the more painful was to question everything you held to be true. This process took me years: in fact, it has not ended. It was, at first, highly disruptive to my peace of mind and sense of self...The other, as US Republicans did during the Bush presidency, is to create your own reality. If the world does not fit your worldview, you either shore up your worldview with selectivity and denial, or (if you have power) you try to bend the world to fit the shape it takes in your mind...

In the Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt explains that the nobles of pre-revolutionary France "did not regard themselves as representative of the nation, but as a separate ruling caste which might have much more in common with a foreign people of the same society and condition than with its compatriots"...Last year the former Republican staffer Mike Lofgren wrote something very similar about the dominant classes of the US: "the rich elites of this country have far more in common with their counterparts in London, Paris, and Tokyo than with their fellow American citizens...

So if you have wondered how the current government can blithely engage in the wholesale transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich, how its frontbench can rock with laughter as it truncates the livelihoods of the poorest people of this country, why it commits troops to ever more pointless post-colonial wars, here, I think, is part of the answer. Many of those who govern us do not in their hearts belong here. They belong to a different culture, a different world, which knows as little of its own acts as it knows of those who suffer them.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/28/rich-born-to-rule-fatal

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Reply When the rich are born to rule, the results can be fatal (Original post)
HiPointDem Jan 2013 OP
msongs Jan 2013 #1
Hekate Jan 2013 #2
duffyduff Jan 2013 #3
pampango Feb 2013 #4
joelbny Feb 2013 #5
tama Feb 2013 #6
1-Old-Man Feb 2013 #7

Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 10:53 PM

1. "Upstairs Downstairs". you can watch all 60+ episodes on youtube now nt

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 11:01 PM

2. Fascinating

Recommended to read the whole thing at the link.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 11:45 PM

3. IMO, there is something truly sick about boarding schools

If you have kids, raise them, and don't send them off someplace where their lives could be at risk.

I understand the historical significance of boarding schools, but in this day and age, they are a form of child abuse.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 06:31 AM

4. The US now has the second-lowest (thanks UK) social mobility in the entire developed world.

Horatio Alger was always mythical figure but is now even more 'mythical' than it was a few decades ago.

Nice post, HiPointDem.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 08:47 AM

5. US now more a merit-elite-ocracy than a heredit-ocracy

Since the 60's when Ivy League admissions offices began caring more about HS grades and standardized test scores than lineage and prep school pedigree, the US has become ruled more by this supposed 'merit'-ocracy than by a solely hereditary elites.

Yes there is overlap, if you want to be successful or powerful it still helps hugely to be born rich or with social connections. But what matters more is getting into Harvard, Yale, Columbia, MIT, Stanford, etc, for undergrad or grad school, excelling there, and leveraging that success for the right internships, jobs, or venture capital funding right off the bat.

And since these meritocrats are of middle or upper middle-class origin, most of them are hungry as well as brilliant, so we probably have more to worry about from this new concentration of power as from the old mediocre hereditary elite.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 08:55 AM

6. Repression of empathy

 

As the first comment pointed, the main function is repression of empathy.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 08:56 AM

7. The second paragraph shows what a poorly written article this is

Balderdash, the article is just pure nonsense. No good argument is made, no facts presented, its just opinionated crap from someone who appears to have a personal bone to pick.

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