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The Birth of the New American Aristocracy: Privileges versus Rights

This is a good article about the metamorphosis of the educated professional class into a new aristocracy, by Mathew Stewart, in The Atlantic.

Worth reading in full, but this paragraph jumped out at me:
The source of the trouble, considered more deeply, is that we have traded rights for privileges. We’re willing to strip everyone, including ourselves, of the universal right to a good education, adequate health care, adequate representation in the workplace, genuinely equal opportunities, because we think we can win the game. But who, really, in the end, is going to win this slippery game of escalating privileges?
Nailed it.

The many privileges bestowed upon you by growing up in the aristocracy will give you definite advantages over your fellow citizens, but will not protect you from predatory capitalism. You're better positioned but still vulnerable to asset bubbles pops, medical emergencies, lost employment, and the trials that accompany it. You might be a stronger, faster fish by birth but that doesn't get rid of the sharks.

It's an amazing trick of human psychology that we judge our own worth in comparison to others. We'd rather be worse off as long as we're doing better than someone else.

What is the fear of looking someone as an equal? Why is so hard to look someone in the eye and not try and figure out where you rank in comparison? Everything we're taught goads us to compete. To resist that urge is wisdom.

Also, a hat tip for acknowledging the sophisticated brain-washing apparatus maintained by our oligarchical masters:
No one is born resentful. As mass phenomena, racism, xenophobia, anti-intellectualism, narcissism, irrationalism, and all other variants of resentment are as expensive to produce as they are deadly to democratic politics. Only long hours of television programming, intelligently manipulated social-media feeds, and expensively sustained information bubbles can actualize the unhappy dispositions of humanity to the point where they may be fruitfully manipulated for political gain.
And a finger wag (or maybe a backhand slap) for berating the myth the the American Revolution was all about equality.
America’s first generation of revolutionaries was mostly 9.9 percenters, and yet they turned their backs on the man at the very top in order to create a government of, by, and for the people. The best revolutions do not start at the bottom; they are the work of the upper-middle class.
These exceptions are rare, to be sure, and yet they are the story of the modern world. In total population, average life expectancy, material wealth, artistic expression, rates of violence, and almost every other measure that matters for the quality of human life, the modern world is a dramatically different place than anything that came before. Historians offer many complicated explanations for this happy turn in human events—the steam engine, microbes, the weather—but a simple answer precedes them all: equality. The history of the modern world is the unfolding of the idea at the vital center of the American Revolution.
Wut. Weren't you just talking about slavery a few paragraph earlier? Didn't you just mention WWII bringing labor power to women? Do you really think the type equality oppressed people fight for was anywhere on the minds of any but the most radically enlightened of the founding dude-bros? Recall, slavery was illegal in the UK before before the US got around to that bloody jolt of "equality."

Stop trying to "renew the promise of American democracy" and admit that for the majority of people it never existed and never worked. The author chides the aristocracy for ignorance of history and then slickly ignores history—hey, nice try but we noticed.
It's tiresome to see the myth of American Exceptionalism crammed into an otherwise pretty fine analysis. It bears repeating again and again: America is not special. We are not super different. We are not gifted with a superior problem-solving ability. Any feelings of exceptionalism are a result of ignorance and wilful ignorance.

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