Yes, Take a Look at Yourself, Ruling Class

They've finally dragged old political warhorse Jeff Greenfield out of the pasture and saddled him up to warn Democrats of their “Democratic Blues.” Nobody knows what President Obama's policy legacy will be, writes Jeff, but his political legacy is clear: the president is going to leave the Democrats in their “worst shape since the Great Depression -- even if Hillary wins.”

Well, Greenfield has a point. There's still a chance that Democratic historians will manage to whitewash the president's disastrously divisive policy failures as brilliant successes.

But I'd say that the obvious distemper of the U.S. voters -- not to mention European voters -- shows that the liberal ruling class fell off the wall during the Obama presidency, and the Democratic operatives with bylines won't be able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

We conservatives have known it forever, but now ordinary Americans are coming to realize it. Our modern ruling class sucks.

Our ruling class worries endlessly about far-right extremism and nationalism but is too vapid and pompous to realize that ordinary people don't go for extremism and nationalism unless the ruling class has messed up -- like after World War I with the Great Depression and right now with a fragile economy and unassimilated immigrants flooding many western cities.

Don't worry about another Hitler, ruling class. Just worry about you, the ruling class, screwing up.

The central fact of the last 200 years is what Deirdre McCloskey calls "the Great Enrichment", the 30-fold increase in the income of the average person in the capitalist world. There has never been anything like it, ever.

And who did it? It was the northwest European bourgeoisie, with their Bourgeois Virtues, Bourgeois Dignity, and next year, Bourgeois Equality.

So you would think that a wise ruling class would spend all its days mastering the theory and the practice of the Great Enrichment so that they could help pour its bounty into the arms of their grateful subjects. But it didn't. McCloskey:

Yet after 1848 a virulent aversion to the bourgeoisie infected the mass of artists, journalists, professionals, bureaucrats, and intellectuals, the “clerisy” as it was called in 1818 by Coleridge... In the eighteenth century the members of the clerisy such as Voltaire and Tom Paine had courageously advocated our liberties. But in the 1830s and 1840s a much enlarged clerisy, mostly the sons of bourgeois fathers, commenced sneering at the liberties the fathers exercised so vigorously in the market and the factory.

And the clerisy decided that it knew better than the bourgeoisie. With its power and politics it would protect the poor helpless lower class from the ravening capitalist beast that... oh, wait, the ravenous capitalist beast was enriching the lower classes like nothing before in history.

That is the basic disconnect in the modern world. Our ruling class is proudly trying to protect people from the very thing that is transforming them from poverty into affluence.

No wonder it sucks.

Let's review. The ruling class thinks that only it and its bribed apologists are evolved and educated enough to prevent another Hitler. But Hitler only got his opportunity because the German ruling class of the time totally screwed things up for the German people with a stupid war and a chaotic peace.

Our clueless ruling class spends thirty years forcing banks to flood the country with “affordable housing” mortgages, and then blames the bankers when the bubble bursts.

Our clueless ruling class spends half a century flooding the west with immigrants and playing identity politics with them. Then it is shocked, shocked when the voters start flocking to candidates that promise to put a stop to it.

Anyone for Hitler, ruling class?

Of course, it's a bit late to talk about what our ruling class should have done.

But they might have thought about how Bismarck's cunning social insurance schemes didn't end up saving the Hohenzollern dynasty. So why should the administrative welfare state and its Ponzi benefit schemes and its unrestricted immigration save the present ruling class from oblivion?

A wise and thoughtful ruling class would not have built an administrative welfare state to create jobs for liberals; they would not have angried up blacks and women and successive waves of immigrants with reactionary identity politics; they would not have attacked bourgeois culture and religion and marriage.

Why would a bunch of “artists, journalists, professionals, bureaucrats, and intellectuals” think they had anything to tell the world-historical bourgeoisie?

Yet now, all of a sudden, veteran Jeff Greenfield is called out to worry about the Obama policy legacy? Now, despite all assurances, voters all across the west are rebelling against the failed establishment political parties?

Now, all of a sudden, our ruling class sits uneasily on its administrative throne?

Who could have seen it coming?

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.