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May 22, 2011

Mark Steyn on the Rights and Privileges of the Ruling Class

I often talk about the New Aristocracy, but I usually mean it more in a metaphorical way.

Mark Steyn doesn't say this, exactly -- he's talks around it, but I'm not sure how committed he is to it as a serious idea -- but his new essay makes the case that this isn't a metaphorical New Aristocracy, but a literal one.

Once you assert the right to rape the occasional peasant, you've basically declared yourself to be a member of an independent sovereign nation -- the nation of elites, which deigns to visit other nations and boss them around -- with full diplomatic immunity, as any important dignitary from a foreign land might have.

The New Aristocracy isn't made by blood but by credentials. The aristocracy is "born" in each countries two or three most elite schools, and the formal induction into the class occurs in key international/financial government bureaucracies.

And then?

Then you can stop paying taxes with no fear of the consequences the commoners face, and you can forcibly rape (or, actually, sodomize) the help and know that an entire nation's aristocrats will defend you and criticize those lowly prosecutors who charge you.

It has always been the case that the nobility in one country supported the nobility in other countries, even countries with whom they were at war, because national ambition is always well, well secondary to personal ambition. Perpetuating the rights and privileges of the new class is more important to the members of the new class than any transitory policy goal.

Or even war. Bernard Henry-Levi, the philosopher who, as Steyn says, talked Sarkozy into talking Obama into war, now drops his agitation for the liberation of Libya to turn his full talents towards agitating for the liberation of Strauss-Kahn.

Wars of adventurism and world socialism are nice goals, Old Chap, but let's not ever forget that it's this network of new aristocrats and its credentials serving as patents of nobility* that pay for our $3000 per night rape-suites in New York City.

Worth reading in full. Here's the conclusion:

Yes, they Kahn. You, not so much. After Charlie Rangel, chair of the House committee that writes America's tax laws, was "censured" by Congress for multiple infractions of, er, America's tax laws, a Washington Times reporter invited him to imagine what punishment the "average American citizen" would have received had he done what the Congressman did. "Please," Rangel told her. "I don't deal in average American citizens."

If only.

* A made-up concept from A Knight's Tale but forget it, I'm rolling.

Yeah, I'm Kind of Serious: I have forgotten more about history than you have ever known (assuming you dropped out your second year of high school, I mean), but I do remember two major meta points:

1. Things change and they evolve rather slowly, but at some point, something is now definitely different, and we can now talk of an established order even though it's difficult to say with precision when this new order came into being.

Dates of coronations and wars are essentially just trivia, ephemera. But when did all the important, enduring stuff actually happen? When did the yeomanry or middle class actually arise? We can say, maybe, that it did not exist before the 1100s and that it definitely did exist in the 1500s, by in between then, what was it? A trend, and evolution. No hard date on when it came into being. But when it came into being, whenever that was, it changed everything.

2. History repeats, relentlessly. The same external circumstances and personal ambitions that created the formal aristocracy before are present now, because they never went away in the first place. Men will never lose the ability to seek their fullest possible personal freedom and luxury, even if it comes at the price of hypocrisy or the creation of patently unfair structures of class distinction and control; no advantage in your favor is ever perceived as "unfair."

"Unfair" is some guy having a privilege you don't. If you have a privilege that someone else doesn't, that's just the way the world works, Old Chap, nothing to be done about it, really.

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posted by Ace at 12:33 PM

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