Trump, Pareto, and the Fall of the Elites

The Italian sociologist and economist Vilfredo Pareto died in 1923.  He saw men's beliefs and actions as motivated by sentiment and self-interest.  The ostensible motivations given for certain beliefs and actions, such as helping the underprivileged, are often cover for actions actually motivated by a desire to protect the privileges of the elites — the power structure.  For example, the Democrats claim to be motivated by a desire to help the underprivileged.  But their actions are clearly motivated by a desire to protect their own power and privileges.  Encouraging mass immigration of illegals who compete for lower-level jobs does not help the underprivileged; rather, it creates a new group of voters who will support the Democrats.  It also helps privileged groups by supplying cheap labor.

Take, for example, wealthy Marin County, California.  Marin is largely populated by well-to-do and highly educated professional people.  An underclass of often illegal aliens provides affordable services such as yard work and babysitting.  In the 2012 presidential election, Marin voted 74% for Obama.  In the 2016 election, Marin voted 77% for Hillary and only 16% for Trump.  Another wealthy California county, Santa Clara County, is the heart of Silicon Valley.  In the 2016 election, Santa Clara County voted only 21% for Trump.  Fresno County, California, a county that is majority Hispanic with a very high poverty rate, voted 43% for Trump.  California as a whole voted 32% for Trump.  The nation as a whole voted 46% for Trump.  In the borough of Manhattan, in New York City, one of the wealthiest places in the country, only 10% of the votes went for Trump.  Clearly, the privileged class votes Democratic and strongly opposes Trump.

In places inhabited by elites, the Democrats dominate.  Trump's victory was built on heavy voting by working-class people who do not share in the patronage the Democrats bestow on identity groups held up as victims.  The groups that are true victims, such as people whose jobs have been outsourced to low-wage countries, rebelled against the Democrats and elected Trump.  Clearly, the Democrats represent the elite, ruling class.  That is not to say that the Republicans are not fellow travelers with the Democrats.  Much of the right-leaning intellectual and political classes side with the Democrats in their hatred of Trump.  Many politicians hide their dislike of Trump for fear of being primaried.

The reaction of the elites to Trump's election was to launch an extra-legal attack with phony charges of Russian collusion.  The FBI and Justice Department adopted police-state tactics such as wiretapping, entrapment, and even placing suspects in solitary confinement for lengthy periods in order to pressure them to testify against Trump.  Most of the press, themselves part of the elite, participated wholeheartedly in this effort to destroy Trump and remove him from office.

Trump has, so far, fended off the attacks from the elite establishment.  His performance as president has been strong.  He changed the tax laws with the effect of greatly improving the competitiveness of the U.S. economy.  He unleased the oil and gas industry.  The U.S. is now energy independent and set to become a major exporter of energy.  He is in the process of renegotiating longstanding conditions of trade that have been unfavorable to the U.S. and American workers, particularly with China.  He changed the relation between the U.S. and enemies North Korea and Iran, placing those enemies on the defensive.  He has done these things in the face of unrelenting attacks from the media and the elite establishment.

The elite, Democrats and Republicans, who ran the country before Trump were presiding over a slow national decline.  The economy was shackled by regulation and taxes.  Problems were not solved but kicked down the road.  The global warming crisis is an example of a phony crisis, belief in which became a politically correct necessity.  The solutions proposed for the global warming non-crisis, such as turning the economy upside down and powering it with windmills, would be comical except that the advocates of such policies are serious.  Obviously, measures to reduce CO2 emissions are useless because 86% of emissions come from other countries, most of which have no plans to join in the suicidal Green New Deal.  Before Trump, the U.S. was drifting without direction and distracted by irrelevant fads and imaginary problems.

Trump came to office with a completely different set of policies that upend the former conventional wisdom about the economy, trade, defense, and energy.  His policies are changing public and intellectual opinion.  A new paradigm has arrived, and it's gaining traction.  This is a threat to the old elite establishment.  They have to stop Trump and discredit him, or else the old establishment will be further discredited and will lose its ability to rule.

Pareto saw the life of a country as influenced by the growth and decline of elite ruling classes.  When a ruling class loses its vitality, it is likely that a new ruling class will rise and displace the old ruling class.  At this transition, the old ruling class may try to preserve its privileges by savagely attacking the aspiring ruling class.  Trump is the leader of the aspiring ruling class.  He and his supporters are savagely attacked.  Trump is depicted as being a criminal, an eccentric know-nothing, someone driven by a lack of impulse control, or a racist.  But Trump is a genuine political talent.  He has shrewdly fended off the attacks and has an excellent chance of being re-elected.  He is helped by the disorganization and extremism of his opponents in the declining ruling class.

If a new ruling class, inspired by Trump, consolidates power, many of the occupants of sinecures in government and education will be in danger of losing their jobs.  Under the old elite, universities have become over-financed monsters, exploiting students whose futures are mortgaged by student debt.  This outrage is allowed to continue because the universities brainwash youths to support the old ruling class and because the universities provide intellectual support for the policies of the old ruling class.  Under the old ruling class, the government has become heavily populated by time-servers whose continued employment would become unnecessary under a Trump-inspired reorganization of the government.

Change is a clear and present danger to those in charge.  That is what is behind the fierce and illegal attacks against Trump.  Trump is clearly best hope for the future of the USA.  We are very lucky that Trump managed to outsmart the establishment and remain president.

Norman Rogers is the author of the book Dumb Energy: A Critique of Wind and Solar Energy.

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