How Much Would You Like to Be a Serf?
In her remarkable trilogy entitled The Bourgeois Era, Deirdre McCloskey studies the history, evolution, and importance of the middle class from its rise in Western Europe some 400 years ago to the magnificent heights of affluence and power it enjoys today. It is the middle class that made Western Europe and America the great powers they have been for centuries and that has created a standard of living beyond anything imaginable before.
From the beginning, the intelligentsia, the modern-day descendants of medieval scholars and scribes, sought to undermine the middle class and to preserve the hierarchical class structure with which they identified. That is the same autocratic class structure that Hillary had in mind when she labeled ordinary Americans "deplorables" or that explains the creepy hypocrisy of Biden's working-class persona.
While the idea of "lords and ladies" may seem like ancient history, the fact is that the reactionary thinking of the court intelligentsia is still very much with us. The leaders of today's Democrat party view themselves as more intelligent and entitled than the mass of deplorables whom they were born to govern.
Not just that: The intelligentsia are determined to eliminate the middle class, whose values and political interests are so much opposed to their own insistence on centralized control. To this end, today's progressives are doing all they can to block the path to the middle class — a path that expanded dramatically under President Trump. It is not in the left's interest to have a broad, inquisitive, educated, assertive middle class demanding the right to govern themselves.
In place of a large, educated middle class, progressives want to return to the ancient feudal system in which the lives of the peasants were controlled and directed by the aristocracy. In the feudal system, it was not just the economy that was dominated by the elite; almost every aspect of peasant life was directed by their "betters," including their freedom of movement and association, choice of work, and decisions regarding marriage and raising of children. Life-and-death decisions such as access to food and shelter were also in the hands of the elite.
It is just such an outdated political system that progressives wish to restore. Biden's feudal plan to transform America naturally aligns with Marx, another reactionary who was obsessed with destroying liberal democracy and the middle class. For Marx, "bourgeois" is the ultimate expression of contempt because it denotes a class that has escaped the control of the aristocracy. Marx was writing at the time of the great transformation of European society from the era of absolute monarchy to democratic capitalism, and he detested the democratization that he saw around him. His theory of communism is little more than a smokescreen to re-impose absolutism on the rising middle class.
Like all members of the intelligentsia, Marx saw himself as the brains behind an autocratic government of the future that would re-impose control over the masses and suppress democratic freedoms. While Marx spoke in terms of liberating the masses, what he actually meant was for them to remain masses and not to rise into the middle class. While the middle class was being eliminated, a process that would last for a very long time if not forever, the masses would be ruled by a vanguard that very much resembles the feudal system of the past — and today's progressivism based on Marxism.
Biden and those around him are hardcore Marxists and, as such, they are just the latest act in a long history of anti-democratic politics. Biden's primary motivation in handing out crumbs like "free" pre-school and daycare (paid for with price increases on everyday necessities) is to ensure permanent control by a reactionary Democrat party rooted in the misguided Marxist thinking of the past. The intelligentsia believe that the masses require a strong hand to rule over them and that they, the intelligentsia and the autocrats with whom they conspire, are that strong hand.
A core value of the intelligentsia is the belief that they are smarter than ordinary people and that they have the right to rule, even if this involves stealing elections. Democrats threaten to imprison parents who speak out at school board meetings — can it get any worse than that?
The language that the intelligentsia applied to Obama, and that they briefly applied to Biden, is reminiscent of the language of European courts such as that of Louis XIV. Obama was the "Sun King" whose influence would illuminate the land, turn back the oceans, block the storms, and drop a plump goose (or a Chevy Suburban) into the hands of every loyal peasant. Obama and Biden are, in effect, counter-revolutionaries intent on blocking change and imposing a no-growth, socially static rule on America. That no-growth agenda is reflected in the latest weak GDP inflation-adjusted number of 0.2% — an abyssal number compared to Trump's record-setting performance.
To say that the modern intelligentsia are descended from scholars and scribes does not mean that its members in academe and the media are actually intelligent. If they were, they would realize how self-defeating their Big Government plans are in a nation where two hundred million voters lean conservative. Fortunately for us, the intelligentsia are not really thinking about long-term success; they want to pass a flashy "transformative" bill that would confirm their sense of themselves as "smart" leaders. And again, they are resorting to antidemocratic tactics — shoving the bill through Congress and distorting it in the media before the public has a chance to consider what's in it and what it will cost. Queen Nancy has none of the charm and grace of Marie Antoinette, but she shares her predecessor's disdain for the cake-eating masses.
The conflict between the reactionary intelligentsia headed by Biden, Pelosi, Obama, and the Clintons and a hardworking middle class supported by Donald Trump and, before him, Ronald Reagan, is the most important political clash of our time. Reactionaries like Biden want to limit economic opportunity and curtail free speech and meaningful elections. Their goal is to institute permanent autocratic control by destroying democratic capitalism, and the intelligentsia are facilitating this forced march to serfdom. It can be stopped only by a tidal wave of resistance at the polls.
Jeffrey Folks is the author of many books and articles on American culture.
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