In America it was shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations. Sir Robert Peel’s father and grandfather were pioneer industrialists, yet neither would have, despite their obvious talents, been considered as possible ministers of the crown. Their hands had been sullied in trade. That block to merit was the spur for genuine, and understandable resentment.
As so often in history, the understandable soon married with the vicious. Socialism, either Marxist or on the rocks, worshiped the working man as victim of the modern world, and soon to be heirs of the glorious utopia of tomorrow. Whatever smacked of the elites and their bourgeoise lackeys – including manners, civility and restraint – was automatically despised. Generations of intellectuals, and their avatars in the teaching profession, began a war against the painfully constructed world of Victorian manners.
Actually, barring the merchant class from political power is not “unjust” or a “block to merit”, it is simple common sense. We need the merchant class and it has produced some excellent people, but the qualities necessary to build an industry are not the same as those necessary to rule a nation.
In fact, a blog I was perusing recently pointed out that many “paleocons” are socialists, just in case the waters of political spectrums needed further muddying. This is partly because they know enough history to understand that tycoons have often pushed damaging political policies. For example, tycoons have often lobbied for more immigration, for at least a couple of centuries now. Immigrants could be paid less; if they were coming to Europe or America from somewhere else, they were used to a lower standard of living and didn’t expect as much in terms of payment or treatment. (Those non-Westerners who enjoyed a higher standard of living did not immigrate, for obvious reasons.) Factory owners were too dazzled at the thought of all that plentiful cheap labor to care about the long term consequences to their nations, if they thought of those at all, and they used their money to induce politicians and journalists to support their aims. Nowadays the same short-term desire for profit, along with other factors such as excessive regulation at home, leads those same tycoons to send jobs overseas.
To a dutiful Randroid, facing that outside of the pages of Atlas Shrugged the profit motive really does lead businessmen to support damaging policies rather than inspiring only good in the name of enlightened self-interest, is a difficult thing, but it is nonetheless true. This is not going to send me into the statist folly of socialism. I state again that merchants are necessary people with skills essential to an advanced civilzation. Furthermore, many of those guilty of what I am describing were moral people who genuinely believed that these policies served the greater good, not only their own convenience. This is simply why the merchant class and the ruling class must be kept strictly separate.
This post is the best explanation I have seen of something which has long puzzled and troubled me: why so many of my co-religionists are leftists. Even many religious Jews are leftists of some sort, even though the tenets of leftism are diametrically opposed to those of Judaism.
After WWI, people had hoped that the time of war ended. They were too civilized. They depended on each other too much economically. But within a generation, a new, more brutal war broke out. In 1945 there was no reason not to believe that yet more deadly wars are on the way. There was absolutely no reason to believe the world will not be destroyed before the end of the century.
The same process occurred to the Jews. During and immediately after the First World War, the Russian Czar (and subsequently the pro-Czarist White Army) tried to kill six million Jews under his rule, but succeeded at murdering only 100,000. A generation later, Hitler tried to kill 11 million European Jews, but he did succeeded in taking out 6 million of them. There was no reason why Jews would not fear that next time around, they will be eliminated.
Also, I have discovered, yet again, that I wasn’t paranoid after all, it really was a conspiracy:
There is plenty blame to go around for the financial crash. Yet, there is a distinct odor of the shadowy Cloward-Piven strategy as the taproot of abusive practices that triggered the crisis. The strategy’s goal is to bring about the fall of capitalism by overloading and undermining government bureaucracy.
Its supporting tactics include flooding government with impossible demands until it slowly cranks to a stop; overloading electoral systems with successive tidal waves of new voters, many of them bogus; shaking down banks, politicians in Congress, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development for affirmative-action borrowing; and, now, pulling down the national financial system by demanding exotic, subprime mortgages for low-income Americans with little hope of repaying their loans. These toxic mortgages are an important source of the foul smell engulfing the entire financial bailout.
Developed in the mid-1960s by two Columbia University sociologists, Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, much of their strategy was drawn from Saul Alinsky, Chicago’s notorious revolutionary Marxist community organizer. The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) succeeded the National Welfare Rights Organization in the execution of the Cloward-Piven grand tactics of using the poor as cannon fodder to tear down the capitalist system. It was low-income, mostly black and Hispanic people, who were used by ACORN guerrillas to take subprime toxic mortgages.