I originally wrote the following as a reply to Booman’s recent post The Collapse of American Elite Power. I think it stands alone fairly well (slightly edited), so here it is.

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Although primarily aimed at the TTP and U.S.-Chinese relations, a serious problem with Booman’s post is how the words “elite” and “elites” are used.

Here is a working, mainstream definition of the word “elite.”

a select part of a group that is superior to the rest in terms of ability or qualities.

And of “elites.”

a. A group or class of persons considered to be superior to others because of their intelligence, social standing, or wealth: “Auguste Comte … believed that in the age of science society should be ruled by an elite of scientists” (Lewis A. Coser).

b. A member of such a group: “Elites don’t grant us [sociologists] interviews. They don’t let us hang out at their country clubs” (Sudhir Venkatesh).

c. The best or most skilled members of a group: the elite of professional tennis.

The “elites” to which Booman is referring do not really match the first definition.

Read on for more.
The “elites” to which Booman is referring do not really match the first definition. They are not in any way “superior to the rest in terms of ability or qualities” unless you consider their abilities to successfully deal with the greed, theft and bureaucratic mediocrity that have risen to dominance in the culture over the past 50+ years or so…nowhere else so plainly as in the Beltway/revolving door system.

Now…the second definition offers a little more clarity to the situation. (Emphasis mine.)”A group or class of persons considered to be superior to others because of their intelligence, social standing, or wealth” and “The best or most skilled members of a group.”

Now we’re getting somewhere!!!

So the “elites” that rule this country are by and large those who have either inherited social standing and wealth…witness Bush I and Bush II, Romney, Trump etc….or have shown such talent in the arts of big-time hustle and theft that they have risen to the top of the turd pool. (Witness the Clintons.) It’s largely the same in the military…a cheap hustler like Petraeus rises to the top while undoubtedly superior minds and hearts are halted somewhere in the middle of their career climb. In business? Ditto. Our big business is now predicated not so much on real achievement as on sheer profitability. The media? Please!!! Look at the flat-faced hustlers in the newsrooms and interview shows for all you need to know on that account. Education?  Remember that old line?”Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. And those who can’t teach, teach teachers.” Our educational system is now run as a for-profit business  by bureaucrats who can’t even teach teachers. The so-called “straight” half of Boston’s criminal Bulger brothers ended his illustrious career in bagman politics as president of the University of Massachusetts system…until of course he had to quit because he wouldn’t cooperate (couldn’t cooperate, really…he’d’a had to take the Fifth so many times he woulda drowned in it.) in nailing his brother Whitey. It’s the same right on down the line in this culture.

Booman’s title is fine.

“The Collapse of American Elite Power”

But he fails to explain the reason behind that collapse.

It’s because our “elites” are only elite at the hustle. The U.S. is now all branding, all advertising and all hustle. Very little real content.

Booman finishes with a strong rhetorical salvo:

If our elites want the public’s trust again, they’re clearly going to have to get our house in order first, and that means rebuilding our middle class and our hollowed out communities any way that they can.

In this sense, the appeal of Trump and the failure of the TPP are of a piece.

The American people have rescinded their faith in our leaders, and if that is going to have nasty geopolitical consequences and possibly lead to more war, repression, and disorder, then our elites should blame themselves first. And then they should realize that they no longer have any choice but to put the American worker and the middle class first in their set of priorities.

But it’s relatively empty of meaning…as is most rhetoric…because it assumes that “our elites” are really “elite” in the sense of the first definition I offered.

…a select part of a group that is superior to the rest in terms of ability or qualities.

These people don’t “want the public’s trust again,” they just want them to surrender to their will. Their sense of entitlement is so strong that they think they are invulnerable and damned near omniscient. They are not going to be “rebuilding our middle class and our hollowed out communities any way that they can,” because they are in reality so shallow, so stupid and so self-centered that they don’t realize the necessity of doing that for even their own benefit. They knew what they were doing when they ran the credit scams that led to the recession. They were hustling the rubes for profit. Nothing more and nothing less, although on a grander scale than in some W.C. Fields movie.

The “…appeal of Trump and the failure of the TPP” are of a piece. He’s on the anti-hustle hustle. It’s a brilliant piece of con-job, if you ask me.

“The American people have rescinded their faith in our leaders,” for damned good reason. And yes, the consequences of these “anti-elite” actions promise serious trouble. But writing that the elites “…should realize that they no longer have any choice but to put the American worker and the middle class first in their set of priorities.” is ludicrous. As long as the “elites” that ran the con up front are still in power…and I include both Clintons and the Wall St. interests for whom they work in that group…why would they try to “put the American worker and the middle class first in their set of priorities?” They’re the ones who collapsed those groups in the first place. That  was their “choice.” They’re no smarter now than they were when they ran the game, number one, and number two…why would the newly awakened American people believe them even if they said that was their goal?

Really!!!

Why is Clinton so rapidly slip-sliding out of her front-runner status?

Because people do not believe her.

Duh.

She speaks with the forked tongue of the bankers.

DUH!!!

And we are going to suffer for it no matter who is elected.

Bet on it.

Later…

AG

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