The Aristocratic Illusion, by Robert Gore

They’re not as smart as they think they are.

If you draw your sustenance from the government—as an employee, contractor, or beneficiary of redistributed funds—the money you receive comes from someone who had no choice whether or not you got paid. Except for those jobs the government mandates, private sector workers’ compensation comes from employers who have freely chosen to pay it. The jobs they perform are worth more to their employers than what they’re paid, or the jobs wouldn’t exist.

Here’s a new definition of aristocrat: a person legally entitled to take money from other people without their consent. This definition focuses on what aristocrats do and have done throughout the centuries, regardless of their labels.

If you’re an aristocrat, the thought that you’re living on somebody else’s dime may cause psychological stress. All sorts of rationales have been concocted to justify this privileged position. The most straightforward is the protection racket. In exchange for their subjects’ money, aristocrats protect them from external invasion and preserve domestic order. It’s not a voluntary trade—the subjects can’t say no—but at least both sides get something from it.

However, “protection racket” doesn’t have quite the moral gloss aristocrats crave. Deities may not have been an aristocratic invention, but they jumped on the concept of divine favor to justify their position. It makes it harder to oppose the rulers if authority is bestowed by the gods or the government is a theocracy. Ultimately, regardless of rationale, the ideology always come down to: The aristocracy is superior to those they rule. The aristocrats have no trouble believing it; they have to psychologically justify their positions to themselves. The trick is to get the subjects to buy in.

In America, the myth is that the aristocracy is a meritocracy. Merit, in this formulation, means degrees from top academic institutions, and employment with government-aligned private sector firms, nonprofit organizations, and the government itself. Those who emerge from these backgrounds and worm their way to the top are the cream…or so the aristocrats like to believe. It can’t be labelled exclusionary, they claim, because many who make it came from modest beginnings: Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and Obama.

The best and brightest notion crested with John F. Kennedy’s administration, stacked with Ivy Leaguers and whiz kids. David Halberstam, in his book The Best and the Brightest, asked how all that brain power managed to get us into the Vietnam mess. Hubris was the easy answer: they were smart but too cocky. However, another explanation surfaced, one the aristocracy resisted. In 2016 and 2017 it exploded into the popular consciousness.

These last two years have revealed a simple truth: regardless of résumés, the aristocrats are nowhere near as bright as they think they are. For instance, the identity politics so many have fecklessly pushed completely undermines their own meritocracy myth.

Barack Obama became president because he was black, not because of anything he had done in academia, as a community organizer, or in politics. Hillary Clinton was next in line because she was a woman. Without her husband, the world would have never heard of her. How, as an aristocrat, can you argue for your own special merit when you’ve replaced the idea of merit with race, gender, and ethnicity? An aristocracy that no longer has its mythical basis is left with the blandishments of power and treasure—and the armed might of the state—and is on its way out. The Divine Right of Kings notion died before Europe’s absolute monarchies crumbled.

In their self-congratulatory isolation, enjoying only the support which they had bought and paid for (with other people’s money), America’s aristocrats had no idea that millions of America’s had rejected their pompous posturing. Hillary Clinton couldn’t convincingly answer why she was running for president, yet she was presented as an exemplar of merit and ability. Even many of her own supporters didn’t buy it, but the aristocrats shut their eyes and foisted her on the voters.

Donald Trump’s greatest achievement has been his exposure of the hypocrisy, corruption, and stupidity of America’s aristocrats. Even as he mowed down Republican contenders and it was clear his message was resonating with substantial numbers of voters, they dismissed him. November 8, 2016 shattered for good the myth—in force since Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal whiz kids—of the exceptional aristocracy.

If the aristocracy is unexceptional, it has no basis for its pretension and condescension. It takes smarts to graduate from Harvard Law School. But it also takes smarts—which the aristocrats either don’t recognize or disparage—to run a business, operate complicated machine tools, fly a jet, harvest crops, design a semiconductor, or build office towers.

The elite don’t even acknowledge that their sustenance comes from the entrepreneurs, builders, and doers they deride. Nothing could have been more symbolically appropriate than the aristocracy’s take down by a businessman who had never held a government job. Most of the aristocracy knows very little about actual business and the world of real work. (Cocktail parties with Silicon Valley CEOs don’t count.) Trump, on the other hand, has had extensive dealings with politicians, bureaucrats, and the government.

Compounding stupidity, the aristocracy bet on Russiagate in a vain attempt to drive out the interloper and preserve its position. The story was so transparently thin that nobody really believed it, but it was all they had and they were desperate. It has boomeranged disastrously, giving Trump ample ammunition for counterattack. It has also destroyed the credibility of the FBI and the Department of Justice.

Even if the aristocracy recovers and drives Trump from office, there’s no going back. The aristocratic illusion has been shattered. Their claims of superiority are nothing more than self-serving screeches of denial. Contempt has replaced whatever respect Americans once had for their rulers. The bought-and-paid-for’s loyalty extends only to the next payday. When the payola ends, chaos begins. Funded as it is by debt and taxes on increasingly restive producers, the payola will end.

A ruling class that has lost its last vestige of legitimacy has nothing but force and fear to perpetuate its rule. The nation will grow more bitterly fractured as the skims and scams fall apart. The American aristocracy had better be sure its surveillance apparatus is in order, that it has the wherewithal to pay the military and police, and that it has infiltrated the populace with trustworthy informants and quislings, if that’s not a contradiction in terms.

Even with all those “assets,” the aristocracy is vastly outnumbered and has no moral force against the disgusted and the enraged, who every year have less to lose. Force and fear are the last refuges of doomed regimes. It all may collapse of its own unsustainable weight or there may be chaos and bloodshed, but regardless of the ultimate outcome, the aristocracy’s days are numbered.

And after the downfall, mercy will be in short supply.

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25 responses to “The Aristocratic Illusion, by Robert Gore

  1. Pingback: The Aristocratic Illusion « Financial Survival Network

  2. “And after the downfall, mercy will be in short supply.”
    With this being the result of the “War of the Classes”, and the mercy-commodity in short supply–>high demand cost for forgiveness, I foresee a possible Board of Mercy and Forgiveness(BOMAF).

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: THE ARISTOCRATIC ALLUSION by Robert Gore – Dirt People

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  5. Accompanying said “death,” are three critical phenomenon that have arisen. Each must be reversed if we are to re-capture the values of the enlightenment, and avoid a return to the brutality and squalor that dominated so much of previous existence.

    1. Debt. You (we) cannot indefinitely consume more than you (we) produce. Colloquially, you cannot have your cake and eat it too.
    2. The suicide of the Press. The Press now ranks right up there with congress in terms of trustworthiness. In the absence of a credible source(s) of news, understood by a sizeable majority as displaying a reasonably objective set of standards – “measured” by an on-going absence of hypocrisy, the result is, as a recent article asserts, “no one KNOWS anything.”
    3. The same point I make in #2 above, only applied to our political leaders. In this instance, daily PROOF is sadly/hysterically displayed that “no one KNOWS anything.”

    If the above continues and GROWS, as they have – particularly over the last 50 years, our flight from reason will arrive at its inevitable end.
    Dave

    Liked by 1 person

  6. what happened to all the talk that everything is coming up roses??
    The USA has been willfully destroyed over the decades as jobs were shipped via premature/unconstitutional Trade Deals, our borders were left as swinging gates for over 50 million invaders….as the trillions of debt that can never be repaid..
    THIS WAS NO ACCIDENT!!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Pingback: SLL: The Aristocratic Illusion | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  8. Re: “The USA has been willfully destroyed over the decades as jobs were shipped via premature/unconstitutional Trade Deals, our borders were left as swinging gates for over 50 million invaders….as the trillions of debt that can never be repaid.. THIS WAS NO ACCIDENT!!”

    Rich, you are entirely right. It wasn’t an accident. David Rockefeller, the wealthy scion of the Rockefeller clan who died a short time ago after reaching his one-hundredth birthday, spoke of his gratitude to the press a quarter-century ago when he said:

    “We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost 40 years……It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national autodetermination practiced in past centuries.”

    Rockefeller defined globalism, a movement which – unfortunately – has survived his death, and remains strong in the hands of men like George Soros. The key takeaway is that without the cooperation of the press and the media, those plans (as long ago as the 1950s!) could not have been kept under wraps.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A little mention of nepotism within the system would have gone well with this article. Clinton’s, Bush’s, Gore’s. The media promoting the Wookie and Chelsea for future office etc.

    Like

  10. Centurion_Cornelius

    Yep–Robert has it right. Stuff usually goes by the numbers and this ‘fight of the century’ will be very lop-sided. This will turn out to be the ultimate “Super Bowl,” with a final of: ELITES=0 and the HOME TEAM 160M.

    Surprisingly, the ELITES will be the ones “taking a knee,’ in deference to Monsieur Guillotine. May they be as courteous as Marie “Let ’em eat cake” Antoinette, whose last words to the Executioner were: “Excuse me, Sir. I didn’t mean to step on your toe.”

    Like

  11. I’m convinced that Huma Abedin was being groomed to replace Hillary as the POTUS.

    A woman … a dark-skinned woman … and, no doubt it would be revealed that her sexual orientation is something-other-than-straight.

    Oh, and probably a Muslim.

    All the boxes “ticked”.

    The fact that she’s likely a Saudi’ operative, would not be mentioned.

    Like

  12. Robert,

    I’ve been reading your posts on and off for a while now and will respond with a lengthy quote from my essay posted nearly 10 years ago at OTM (which you may be a reader of since you and Charles have similar styles):

    “…The indirect effect has been the dispelling of the illusion that the so-called elite had a better overview of the global arena, a more solid grasp on the political beast at its center, and the ability to manage animal, arena, and crowd. It has become apparent to more people in the ringside and middle rows that the elite’s anemic hold on the bull was tenuous at best. As another inbred apparatchik is bucked off and trampled in the field, these people look to the boxed seats for a sign of careful planning and able direction. They find it lacking.

    However, compared to the sedentary crowd in the stands chattering on cell phones, checking their watches, and yawning while waiting for their next fix of exponentially exciting entertainment, it at least looked like the rider gave it a good try. The elite still have some supporters. The majority of the people still politely clap for the effort. The crowd might murmur some complaint, but they can’t think of anything better to do. They wait for their next handout from the bread wagon. “We the people” have become the mob of ancient Rome all over again.

    The systemic problem where we now stand has been the lack of public will to raise up and support leaders who espouse views that will take generations to maintain. Such potential leaders speak of goals that will require individual sacrifice and national moderation in the present. The crowd doesn’t want to hear it, though. This circumstance is not a new social disorder nor has it been developing over a short period of time. It has been cumulative yet foreseeable.

    Although this civil deficit has accelerated over the last couple of generations, I don’t want to imply that it’s the “fault” of a single generation. It also isn’t meant to exonerate an earlier generation of its own shortcomings, misguided actions, and short-sighted selfishness which have since been given the gold-leafing of untouchable myth. Somewhere between the Titans of history with their Teflon-coated laurels and today’s moral pygmies with their celebrated character flaws, there has to be a reasonable human medium. I fear though that we may find it too late again.

    Typically this shortfall in leadership has led to a call from the masses for a “strong man” to “get the job done”. F. A. von Hayek has already done an excellent job in his book “The Road to Serfdom” in detailing the tyrannical process of the re-organized state which leads to the demise of individual freedom. We can see the signs of this starting to happen again at the global level. It will eventually lead to the current bull in the arena being slaughtered followed by some members of the audience being dragged down to the field and lined up for execution. This will seem exciting for a while. The crowd will lend consent to the actors in the field and howl for blood.

    Professional soldiers and true statesmen will find this process as horrifying as any religious pacifist and ivory tower idealist. They will understand by its very nature that the beast unleashed in the coliseum will be ravenous and insatiable. Both beast and crowd will be stuck in an expanding feedback loop. The changes to the existing system needed to support it will be detrimental not only to the living standards but to the long-term survival of their families.

    Likewise as this spectacle plays out the civil atmosphere will go from circus to riot. It will weaken the collective strength of the entire community to the very real threats which form both inside and outside the stadium. At some point the gates will be unlocked and thrown wide open to the barbarians who find the crowd inside willfully self-decimated.

    Does the cycle repeat itself again as the barbarian becomes civilized and seeks to fill his desire with “more” or does mankind finally say he has enough and meet his destiny with a full embrace of balance and serenity? This is not a question seeking an answer in the future, it is one we are capable of achieving now.”

    And adding from a different essay:

    “I’ll end this with a bit of simple advice: Spare as much Mercy as you can. Because how much Mercy you’re willing to dole out will determine how much comes back around to you. ”

    Wish you the best. We’ll all need it.

    Like

    • Chris
      Thank you for the thoughtful contribution to SLL. There’s no arguing with the final quote, but as the last sentence of my article indicates, I don’t think it’s going to happen.
      Bob

      Like

  13. DWEEZIL THE WEASEL

    So I see, Mr. Gore. Because I signed a written contract with the county in SoCal where I was employed as a Peace Officer for over thirty years, I am an “aristocrat”. Never mind that I paid federal, state, local, and sales taxes every single year Never mind that I was able to purchase homes, vehicles, and durable goods from the private sector, which gave employment and money to others. .
    Never mind that I had money deducted from my salary as part of an agreed-upon pension formula. And never mind that I performed the service of protection of life and property so that private enterprise could make money and prosper without concerning themselves about the safety of their lives and fortunes.
    Keep in mind that throughout history, there have always been guards and watchmen who performed agreed-upon duties to protect the merchant and producer class. Look up the Watch and Ward system and Piepowder Courts. Do not let your pie-in-the-sky libertarian viewpoint cloud the realities of modern-day society. And, do not even think of lumping me with the rest of the collectivist dreck in civil service who are confiscating yours and my honest-earned wealth to further their Marxist agendas.

    Like

    • Dweezil,

      The following may be semantic points, but I try to be careful with my words. I said: “If you draw your sustenance from the government—as an employee, contractor, or beneficiary of redistributed funds—the money you receive comes from someone who had no choice whether or not you got paid.” That’s an indisputable proposition, which is why I led the article with it. I then defined at aristocrat as: “a person legally entitled to take money from other people without their consent.”

      As a Peace Officer, you did not meet my definition of an aristocrat. You were not “legally entitled to take money from other people without their consent,” although with the recent trend in civil asset forfeitures police are taking innocent people’s money and property without their consent, and with very little legal redress.

      Peace Officers in a pie-in-the-sky libertarian world would protect life, liberty and property for all citizens equally. I’m under no delusions that in modern day society that is the case. Rather, they protect mostly the interests of the aristocracy, as I’ve defined it. I’m sure there are exceptions, like you, who peform or performed their duties honestly, competently, and equitably. However, we’re fast approaching the point when the police and military will face the stark, irreconcilable choice: serve the aristocracy–the “collectivist dreck”–or serve their own conscience. We’ll see what choices are made.

      Like

      • DWEEZIL THE WEASEL

        Point taken, sir. Thank you. And, I agree completely regarding the theft and extortion of asset forfeiture. Due process went out the window. This is one of the reasons I left when I did and went to work teaching in a private school. My students were required to read Maybury’s works.

        Like

        • I’ve been a long time subscriber to Maybury’s newsletter and I’ve read most of his books. Now I’m going to require my 20-year-old son to read them all before he starts investing his savings. They are perfect background for investment…and many other things as well.

          Like

  14. Bob:
    You should take note of the discourse your latest article has precipitated. I cite this because the America of my (our?) youth is rapidly reaching a seemingly, given the “state” of our discourse, irreconcilable juncture.

    Your article has served to remind all, however starkly, dimly, or intelligently, of the rapidly approaching calamity. Think about these concurrent facts:
    1. The expansion of debt continues unabated, those responsible for it, functionally indifferent.
    2. The Attorney General of California has openly declared that he shall ignore law(s) on immigration enforcement and further, shall prosecute any local law enforcement employees that attempt to comply with said law(s).
    3. Federal institutions empowered to “protect” all, are now repeatedly found to be protecting only those you have defined as Aristocrats – i.e., those in power. Conversely, they actually engage in politically prosecuting (can criminally doing so be far behind?) those determined as representing a threat to the aristocracy.

    We are rapidly reaching a seemingly irreconcilable crisis, much as “critical mass” was reached in the sixth decade of the 19th century. We can only hope, with little actual evidence to warrant such hope, that it does not reach such a point.

    Keep up the outstanding work!

    Dave

    Like

    • Dave,

      Thank you.

      One of statist collectivists’ (but I repeat myself) favorite sayings, by now a cliche, is that you have to break eggs to make an omelet. This they always say before they break heads and bodies on the way to their utopias.

      They’ve made plenty of omelets and the world is a mess. You can’t unmake an omelet and get the eggs back. Sometimes, you just have to throw the omelet out and start all over again. I suspect we are in such a time. Throwing omelets out is going to be traumatic for virtually everyone, aristocrats and peasants alike. However, I think it’s the only chance we have of eventually cooking something much better than current fare.

      I think we’ll both be around to see it, and perhaps savor the new dish.

      Bob

      Like

  15. RE: your comment:

    “Trump, on the other hand, has had extensive dealings with politicians, bureaucrats, and the government.”

    I think you left something out. Trump has had extensive dealings with “everyday” people who actually get work done for him. The exact type of people you point out in this article that the aristocracy cannot survive without.

    I spend a fair amount of time reading stuff online – from different sources. And I have noticed a fairly consistent story popup with regularity. That story is somebody who is an actual WORKER – making comments about their run ins with Donald Trump. During the election cycle I saw a number of people posting about how they were construction workers, drivers, project managers – etc , and had personal contact with Donald Trump. The stories are pretty consistent: Trump remembers people’s names, commends them on a job well done , and doesn’t seem to have any compunction about doing so in the presence of the aristocrat class. I’m pretty sure this is the type of thing that makes people respect you.

    The latest account of this type was on Quora where somebody asked if anybody knew Donald Trump personally. A woman answered that she had been a software developer on some project Trump contracted the Co. she worked for to do. Trump personally interviewed her – asked her pointed questions about her competence , and then praised her in the presence of her CEO and a couple of other company executives a couple of weeks later in a chance run in.

    Anybody who has read accounts of Hillary’s treatment of Secret Service and military personnel who had the unfortunate fate to have to deal with her – should know this behavior by Trump is YUGE difference from the way Hillary acts. I believe this says a lot about the man.

    Maybe he even hates the little people in private – but at least he’s not stupid enough to express it openly in public and to their faces. Doing so marks a person as so beyond the pale arrogant (and ignorant) IMHO – that is should be grounds for any and all punishment that comes their way.

    Like

    • Calsdad

      You’re absolutely right–Trump’s affinity for salt-of-the-earth regular people is indeed a YUGE part of his success.

      Like

  16. If the government shut down continues, that will stop the disclosure of
    the memo. Also the closure weaken the military. An economic collapse
    could occur and anarchy could result. The Dems will keep the government
    closed until November and steal the elections then. Or Mueller might indict
    Trump before then, and the imeachment process might be done by
    November. The RINOs will turn on Trump.

    Like

  17. Yes, the House Intelligence Committee’s report is important – and it should be immediately released to the public. What is of greater importance however, is release of the EVIDENCE on which this prepared summary, apparently by Republican “staffers,” is based.

    Release of said evidence is critical. It shall serve to provide context to the “summary” of assertions by the Republicans, and the ignoring of same by the Democrats.

    In the larger context, it will likely underscore the revelations made by Snowden and others. For that reason, in addition to supporting one group of miscreants while impugning the other, resistance to the release of the evidence is strong.

    I predict that if the “public” actually sees the prepared summary, we will not see the evidence on which it is based. It will therefore allow continued conflicting claims made by both groups of swamp creatures. If the Pachyderms are overstating the “evidence,” Mueller’s “activities” will continue. If not, and the evidence for corruption in the Intelligence and Justice Departments is compelling, Mueller will quietly end his tenure and go away – in which case, the status quo in the swamp shall remain, with Trump now in control of it.

    Dave

    Like

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