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Dr. Helen

The New Class Conflict

August 9th, 2014 - 8:28 am

I have been reading Joel Kotkin’s new book The New Class Conflict all week and it is fascinating. From the description:

In ways not seen since the Gilded Age of the late nineteenth century, America is becoming a nation of increasingly sharply divided classes. Joel Kotkin’s The New Class Conflict breaks down these new divisions for the first time, focusing on the ascendency of two classes: the tech Oligarchy, based in Silicon Valley; and the Clerisy, which includes much of the nation’s policy, media, and academic elites.

The New Class Conflict is written largely from the point of view of those who are, to date, the losers in this class conflict: the middle class. This group, which Kotkin calls the Yeomanry, has been the traditional bulwark of American society, politics, and economy. Yet under pressure from the ascendant Oligarchs and ever more powerful Clerisy, their prospects have diminished the American dream of class mobility that has animated its history and sustained its global appeal.

The book has really caused me to think about how classes are forming in our countries in such destructive ways that give rise to social groups of people who benefit both socially and monetarily from the status quo of the current administration to the exclusion of everyone else. The tech people in the Silicon Valley seem oblivious to their own hypocrisy in terms of (not) paying taxes and even the way they treat employees. The Clerisy uses their position to promote propaganda that they see as their civic duty and are rewarded with social status and sometimes with monetary compensation. The middle class loses out but at the same time, it seems that they keep voting in the same losers who are promoting the middle classes’ destruction. It’s a strange psychological cycle, one that is troubling to say the least.

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The politicians have been following the money and influence they get from the tech industry and the MSM. But the middle class is starting to reduce campaign contributions and votes for those politicians. Also Main Stream Media has been losing on the financial end and number of people who rely on it for information for some time. While this increases their reliance on crony billionaires for campaign money more and more often that money is seen as going down a rat hole because it is not buying the number of voters it used to.
Watch how quickly a lot of politicians are starting to react to blogs these days.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've been reading Alan MacFarlane's "The Invention of the Modern World". It is based on series of lectures he gave in China on how modernity came about, mostly by accident, in England. We in America took these traits and even codified them.

Well, as one might expect, the class structure of England plays a part. Mostly because it was fluid and based on modern precepts of the individual rather than birth/tribe/group, etc. Not always perfect as you might expect. The US had a much more muted class structure until recently.

However, I don't see this as the "New Class". Since the 1960s, the effort seems to be to have been to create a caste system where your place is defined by birth into a family or group. Look at the African-Americans regardless of the class they reach, they are expected to remain in their caste. Those who break free as individuals, many as we see as Republicans, are castigated for their stepping outside the boundaries established by their birth.

In the 2000s, it seems a more concerted effort to impose caste on others. We are suppose to see those born into entertainment or political families as having some birthright to their industry. That some, the Tea Party, might break free of their "caste" and seek to operate in the halls of power is offensive to those who feel their progeny have the birthright to their seats in Congress or the Ivies.

Of course, the key is don't let them push us back to a pre-modern society where you are defined by family, tribal, group ties, but also were controlled by your allegiance to those groups instead of being able to operate as an individual, informed but not controlled by the circumstances of your birth.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Amen, brother. As a libertarian (small l), I believe in liberty. I believe in individual rights, limited federal government and a republic of sovereign states. I don't believe in any caste system and will never submit to one.

In the Declaration it says, "We hold these truths to be self-evident . . . that all men are created equal." That was a direct refutation of the divine right of kings and a repudiation of the aristocracy. This was the founding of America, the first world not some third-world country. And it led to the buliding of the greatest nation this world has ever known, the one nation that saved the world from tryanny in WWII.

Think about it. How many invention have been made in America since its founding that have modernized the world? Let's see, electricity, the phonograph, the telegraph, the telephone, the airplane, the automobile, the typewriter, the personal computer, the list goes on--the modern world wouldn't exist if it was not for American ingenuity. The federal government didn't create any of that. Free men and women did.

America was founded on the refutation of aristocracy and the repudiation of the caste system. And now there are poweful forces desperately trying to impose aristocrasy and a caste system on the American people, based on what, celebrity and incumbency? It's disgusting.

Not just America, but the entire world will suffer for this shameful betrayal.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
When have human beings not been in strange psychological cycles? What is destructive is being in a political cycle of government enforcing but one cycle.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
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