The Ruling Class,
or the Real One Percent

But in Governments, where the Legislative is in one lasting Assembly always in being, or in one Man, as in Absolute Monarchies, there is danger still, that they will think themselves to have a distinct interest, from the rest of the Community; and so will be apt to increase their own Riches and Power, by taking, what they think fit, from the People.

John Locke, The Second Treatise of Civil Government, §138 [boldface added]


But there was another amendment, of which none of us thought at the time, and in the omission of which, lurks the germ that is to destroy this happy combination of National powers in the General government, for matters of National concern, and independent powers in the States, for what concerns the States severally. In England, it was a great point gained at the Revolution, that the commissions of the Judges, which had hitherto been during pleasure, should thenceforth be made during good behavior. A Judiciary, dependent on the will of the King, had proved itself the most oppressive of all tools, in the hands of that Magistrate. Nothing, then, could be more salutary, than a change there, to the tenure of good behavior; and the question of good behavior, left to the vote of a simple majority in the two Houses of Parliament. Before the Revolution, we were all good English Whigs, cordial in their free principles, and in their jealousies of their Executive Magistrate. These jealousies are very apparent in all our state Constitutions; and, in the General government in this instance, we have gone even beyond the English caution, by requiring a vote of two-thirds, in one of the Houses, for removing a Judge; a vote so impossible, where any defense is made, before men of ordinary prejudices and passions, that our Judges are effectually independent of the nation. But this ought not to be. I would not, indeed, make them dependent on the Executive authority, as they formerly were in England; but I deem it indispensable to the continuance of this government, that they should be submitted to some practical and impartial control; and that this, to be imparted, must be compounded of a mixture of State and Federal authorities. It is not enough that honest men are appointed Judges. All know the influence of interest on the mind of man, and how unconsciously his judgment is warped by that influence. To this bias add that of the espirit de corps, of their peculiar maxim and creed, that "it is the office of a good Judge to enlarge his jurisdiction," and the absence of responsibility; and how can we expect impartial decision between the General government, of which they are themselves so eminent a part, and an individual State, from which they have nothing to hope or fear? We have seen, too, that contrary to all correct example, they are in the habit of going out of the question before them, to throw an anchor ahead, and grapple further hold for future advances of power. They are then, in fact, the corps of sappers and miners, steadily working to undermine the independent rights of the States, and to consolidate all power in the hands of that government in which they have so important a freehold estate. But it is not by the consolidation, or concentration of powers, but by their distribution, that good government is effected. Were not this great country already divided into States, that division must be made, that each might do for itself what concerns itself directly, and what it can so much better do than a distant authority. Every State again is divided into counties, each to take care of what lies within its local bounds; each country again into townships or wards, to manage minuter details; and every ward into farms, to be governed each by its individual proprietor. Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread. It is by this partition of cares, descending in gradation from general to particular, that the mass of human affairs may be best managed, for the good and prosperity of all. I repeat, that I do not charge the Judges with wilful and ill-intentioned error; but honest error must be arrested, where its toleration leads to public ruin. As, for the safety of society, we commit honest maniacs to Bedlam, so judges should be withdrawn from their bench, whose erroneous biases are leading us to dissolution. It may, indeed, injure them in fame or in fortune; but it saves the Republic, which is the first and supreme law.

Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, color and boldface added


Our rulers are theoretically "our" representatives, but they are busy turning us into the instruments of the projects they keep dreaming up. The business of governments, one might think, is to supply the framework of law within which we may pursue happiness on our own account. Instead, we are constantly being summoned to reform ourselves. Debt, intemperance, and incompetence in rearing our children are no doubt regettable, but they are vices, and if left to generate their own consequences, vices soon lead to the pain that corrects. Life is a better teacher of virtue than politicians, and most sensible governments in the past left moral faults alone. Instead, democratic citizenship in the twenty-first century means receiving a steam of improving "messages" from authority. Some may forgive these intrusions because they are so well intentioned. Who would defend prejudice, debt, or excessive drinking? The point, however, is that our rulers have no business telling us how to live. They are tiresome enough in their exercise of authority. They are intolerable when they mount the pulpit. We should never doubt that nationalizing the moral life is the first step toward totalitarianism.

Kenneth Minogue, The Servile Mind, How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life [Encounter Books, 2010, pp.2-3]


No actions of the United States Government in recent history have been so unpopular as the protection and bailouts, not just of banks, but of other financial institutions, like brokerage houses, and even simple industrial corporations, after the housing mortgage collapse of 2008 and subsequent "great" recession. Despite being told that outfits like Goldman Sacks and General Motors were "too big to fail," and that their bankruptcy could bring down the whole economy, public opinion polls consistently showed opposition to bailouts, and loud objections on both the Right, in the Tea Party, and on the Left, in the Occupy Wall Street protests, were voiced against such things.

Nevertheless, the bailouts happened. Even worse, the Dodd-Frank law that was then passed, supposedly to address the misconduct that had brought on the mortgage collapse (misconduct that had been promoted by the very sponsors of the bill, Christopher Dodd and Barney Frank), institutionalized the "too big to fail" reasoning, allowing the federal government to protect and support businesses judged to be "systemically" important to the economy.

All of this simply reeks of rent-seeking and crony capitalism -- i.e. Mercantilism. The People and the whole political spectrum may have been against it, but the Ruling Class of politicians and their pals was for it. In the 2012 election, Mitt Romney was enough of a "moderate" and was himself sufficiently compromised by the system, that he didn't even make an effort to voice popular discontent. Meanwhile, the Democrats passed ObamaCare (patterned on RomneyCare in Massachusetts), in great measure because of the (rent-seeking) support of Insurance Companies, which were promised a captive audience of consumers required by law to buy their insurance -- and protected by the law from financial losses they might suffer from the irrationalities and diseconomies of socialized medicine. The folly and wickedness of all this, at one level so blatant and shameless, leaves one not knowing whether to laugh or cry. Probably both.

But the government was also ungrateful for help it received at the time of the mortgage collapse. After the Bank of America was urged by the Feds to buy up two insolvent financial businesses (Merrill Lynch and Countrywide Financial), it was subsequently sued by the Justice Department as being liable for supposed frauds committed (i.e. federally guaranteed mortgages sold) by the businesses -- this resulted in a $16-17 billion fine in "settlement" of the case. Thus, the United States Government sends the message that businesses will be protected from incompetence and competition but that they exist at the arbitrary and capricious mercy, sufferance, and condescension of the government (the principle of all totalitarian states for all citizens) -- a doctrine openly voiced by raving Leftists like Elizabeth Warren [] and implied by Obama's famous "you didn't build that" speech. People like these are happy to attack business and finance in line with radical politics, but they always subsequently act in line with the corporatist and crony capitalist system that benefits them, i.e. millionaires like Warren and Obama, more than the (unemployed) "workers" that they ostensively champion.

Enklinobarangus ()


There's an inceasing sense in our political life that in both parties politicians call themselves public servants but act like bosses who think that voters work for them. Physicians who routinely help the needy and the uninsured do not call themselves servants. They get to be called the 1%. Politicians who jerk around doctors, nurses and health systems call themselves servants, when of course they look more like little kings and queens instructing the grudging peasants in how to arrange their affairs.

Peggy Noonan, "Our Selfish 'Public Servants'," The Wall Street Journal, Saturday/Sunday, January 18-19, 2014, A13


Mr. Obama's role is to attach windy rhetoric to the visionless outcomes of the visionless apparatchiks who people the policy process. They do the rest.

If this stikes you as unduly cynical, sorry. This is liberalism that meets no challenge, fixes no problem. The causal oomph that drives the process is the benefits that flow to those directly involved. Congressmen can't extract donations from the auto industry or telecom industry or health insurers if costly, consequential rules affecting those industries aren't being drafted...

The only feedback voters render is at the polling booth, when they issue a general verdict on how the country is being run. And Mr. Obama has made it clear his exercise of executive power will be immune to such feedback. And why shouldn't it be? Democrats are building a permanent establishment...

Which brings us to a priceless quote from Chuck Todd's new Obama biography: "Nothing irks Mr. Obama more than the idea that he's somehow a leftist or liberal."

Whatever "liberal" used to mean, it now means a self-interested machine of influence peddling and rent extraction. Well do we recall Cass Sunstein [], Mr. Obama's colleague at the University of Chicago, saying President Obama would surprise the world by being a "smart" regulator. What a bunch of hooey that turned out to be. Meanwhile Americans are undoubtedly tired of hearing how Washington has become America's richest, most recesson-proof area code. Net neutrality is one more example of how it got that way.

Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., "Washington Can't Stop Itself," The Wall Street Journal, November 12, 2014, A13


Mankind soon learn to make interested uses of every right and power which they possess, or may assume. The public money and public liberty...will soon be discovered to be sources of wealth and dominion to those who hold them; distinguished, too, by this tempting circumstance, that they are the instrument, as well as the object of acquisition. With money we will get men, said Caesar, and with men we will get money. Nor should our assembly be deluded by the integrity of their own purposes, and conclude that these unlimited powers will never be abused, because themselves are not disposed to abuse them. They should look forward to a time, and that not a distant one, when a corruption in this, as in the country from which we derive our origin, will have seized the heads of government, and be spread by them through the body of the people; when they will purchase the voices of the people, and make them pay the price.

Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1784, color and boldface added


In the country, the president's popularity is underwater. In the District of Columbia itself, as Gallup notes, it's at 81%. The Washington area is now the wealthiest in the nation. No matter how bad the hinterlands do, it's good for government and those who live off it. The country is well aware. It is no accident that in the national imagination Washington is the shallow and corrupt capital in "The Hunger Games," the celebrity-clogged White House Correspondents Dinner, "Scandal" and the green room at MSNBC. It is the chattering capital of a nation it less represents than dominates....

All these things -- the pushing around of nuns, the limiting of freedoms that were helping kids get a start in life, and targeting of conservative groups -- all these things have the effect of breaking bonds of trust between government and the people. They make citizens see Washington as an alien and hostile power.

Washington sees the disaffection. They read the polls, they know.

They call it rage. But it feels more like grief. Like the loss of something you never thought you'd lose, your sense of your country and your place in it, your rights in it.

Peggy Noonan, "Meanwhile, Back in America..." The Wall Street Journal, February 1-2, 2014, A13, color added


Records obtained by the Washington Examiner under the Freedom of Information Act show that HHS [the extra-Constitutional "Health and Human Services" department] executives spent $31 million taking 7,000 first class and business class flights between 2009 and 2013, including 253 trips for which a one-way ticket cost more than $15,000.

Half the records listed the price of a coach ticket for comparison. For that portion alone, the upgrade boosted the cost by almost $14 million, from $4.9 million to $18.5 million.

Federal employees are allowed to fly business or first class if the flight is longer than 14 hours, but only 1,400 of the 7,000 flights met that description.

For the vast majority of the flights -- 5,100 -- the government executives upgraded because they claimed they had a medical disability that necessitated it.

Others cited “exceptional security circumstances,” that no coach tickets were available, that a non-federal source was footing the bill, that first or business class was “required because of agency mission.”

Notable & Quotable, The Wall Street Journal, January 12, 2015, from a January 9 article by Luke Rosiak, senior watchdog reporter and data editor for the Washington Examiner.


We are living through an era of bitter, and usually justified, disillusionment with political establishments. In Europe, that establishment trumpeted a new era of multicultural transnational technocracy but hasn't delivered sustained economic growth or low unemployment for nearly four decades. In the U.S. Barack Obama has presided over a feeble recovery while relying on obedient Democrats and a pliant media to jam through his domestic and foreign policy agendas over broad popular objections.

The response to this political highhandedness on both sides of the Atlantic is rage:  the rage of people who sense that they aren't even being paid lip service by a political class that is as indifferent to public opinion as it is unaccountable to the law.

Bret Stephens, "Britain's Unsettling Omen," The Wall Street Journal, September 15, 2015, A15


This is about distance, and detachment, and a kind of historic decoupling between the top and the bottom in the West that did not, in more moderate recent times, exist...

But there was a fundamental problem with the decision that you can see rippling now throughout the West. [German Chancellor] Ms. [Angela] Merkel had put the entire burden of a huge cultural change not on herself and those like her but on regular people who live closer to the edge, who do not have the resources to meet the burden, who have no particular protection or money or connections. Ms. Merkel, her cabinet and government, the media and cultural apparatus that lauded her decision were not in the least affected by it and likely never would be.

Nothing in their lives will get worse. The challenge of integrating different cultures, negotiating daily tensions, dealing with crime and extremism and fearfulness on the street -- that was put on those with comparatively little, whom I’ve called the unprotected. They were left to struggle, not gradually and over the years but suddenly and in an air of ongoing crisis that shows no signs of ending -- because nobody cares about them enough to stop it.

The powerful show no particular sign of worrying about any of this. When the working and middle class pushed back in shocked indignation, the people on top called them “xenophobic,” “narrow-minded,” “racist.” The detached, who made the decisions and bore none of the costs, got to be called “humanist,” “compassionate,” and “hero of human rights.”

And so the great separating incident at Cologne last New Year’s, and the hundreds of sexual assaults by mostly young migrant men who were brought up in societies where women are veiled -- who think they should be veiled -- and who chose to see women in short skirts and high heels as asking for it...

The larger point is that this is something we are seeing all over, the top detaching itself from the bottom, feeling little loyalty to it or affiliation with it. It is a theme I see working its way throughout the West’s power centers. At its heart it is not only a detachment from, but a lack of interest in, the lives of your countrymen, of those who are not at the table, and who understand that they’ve been abandoned by their leaders’ selfishness and mad virtue-signalling...

From what I’ve seen of those in power throughout business and politics now, the people of your country are not your countrymen, they’re aliens whose bizarre emotions you must attempt occasionally to anticipate and manage...

Some of the detachment isn’t unconscious. Some of it is sheer and clever self-protection. At least on some level they can take care of their own.

Peggy Noonan, "How Global Elites Forsake Their Countrymen," The Wall Street Journal, Saturday/Sunday, August 13-14, 2016, A13


This genre of [John] Podesta email, in which people try to arrange jobs for themselves or their kids, points us toward the most fundamental thing we know about the people at the top of this class: their loyalty to one another and the way it overrides everything else. . . . Read these emails and you understand, with a start, that the people at the top tier of American life all know each other. They are all engaged in promoting one another’s careers, constantly.

Everything blurs into everything else in this world. The state department, the banks, Silicon Valley, the nonprofits, the “Global CEO Advisory Firm” that appears to have solicited donations for the Clinton Foundation. Executives here go from foundation to government to thinktank to startup. There are honors. Venture capital. Foundation grants. Endowed chairs. Advanced degrees. For them the door revolves. The friends all succeed. They break every boundary.

Thomas Frank, "Noteable & Quotale: Podesta's Email Address," The Wall Street Journal, Thursday, November 3, 2016, A13


Who else will I fail to save from the Capitol's vengeance?

Katniss Everdeen, Catching Fire, The Second Book of The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins [Scholastic Press, 2009, p.41]


In 2010, The American Spectator published an article, "America’s Ruling Class -- And the Perils of Revolution," by Angelo M. Codevilla [July/August]. This created a bit of a sensation, and the magazine produced a reprint that was widely circulated. Much of the enthusiasm for the article came from the sense, especially among conservatives and Republicans, that professional politicians, including "Establishment" Republicans, had been compromised and co-opted by the institutions of power. They were now acting largely in the interest of those institutions, and in the interest of themselves -- with the Republicans thus joining the Democrats as the party devoted to government and its interests, rather to the good and the interests of the Republic and its people. Thus, Codevilla said:

But whenever pollsters add the preferences "undecided," "none of the above," or "tea party," these win handily, the Democrats come in second, and the Republicans trail far behind. That is because while most of the voters who call themselves Democrats say that Democratic officials represent them well, only a fourth of the voters who identify themselves as Republicans tell pollsters that Republican officeholders represent them well. [boldface added]

After Ronald Reagan said that government is not the solution, but the problem, one might have thought that dissatisfaction with Washington would be red meat for the Republicans, and that the "Ruling Class" would become a standard theme of Republican politics. Indeed, the Republicans achieved control of the House of Representatives in the mid-term election of 2010, and a strong contingent of new politicians identified with the Tea Party joined the House and the Senate in 2011. However, the expression "Ruling Class" did not join the standard Republican political vocabulary; and the absence of the words went along with the absence of the theme. In 2012, Mitt Romney did not campaign against the "Ruling Class"; and, as a "moderate," he was suspected by many Republicans of belonging to the class himself. Indeed, there was little doubt that Romney belonged to an older epithet of Establishment Republicans, namely, "Country Club" Republicans. With his wealthy business background and strange name, so like the odd nicknames of his own children and other other Prep School graduates, Romney was in no position to attack the Democrats as partisans of the "Ruling Class" [note]. Thus, it surprised the pollsters, but perhaps should not have, that many Republicans who voted for John McCain in 2008 did not vote at all in 2012. Republican strategists, and obviously Mitt Romney himself, thought that disappointment or hostility to Barack Obama would be enough to elect Romney. It wasn't.

Even in 2014, with control of Congress on the line, Barack Obama more unpopular then ever, and the safety and well being of the Republic in peril, Establishment Republicans still had a passive and negative view of election strategy. The problem of the "Ruling Class" has been forgotten; and while the Democrats smear Republicans as waging a "War on Woman," we never hear from Republicans that Democrats are waging a War on Religion and Conscience, even though they are not only doing it but have been doing it for a long time, as many commentators are well aware. As it happened, Republicans took the Senate in the 2014 midterm election, and increased their control of the House of Representatives and of State governments. Disillusionment with Obama, unlike in 2012, now seems to have been enough; yet it was widely acknowledged, and with bitterness by conservative commentators, that the Party offered no agenda, program, or promises to the voters, such as Newt Gingrich had done in 1994.

Meanwhile, Republican businessmen in tight races are continually smeared by the Democrats for being Plutocrats who don't care about the fate of ordinary workers. Rather than turning this charge around and attacking the Democrats with a more cogent version of the same charge, the Republicans are thrown on inarticulate and apologetic, not to mention stuttering and bumbling, defense. This was even true of Mitt Romney, despite his years in politics and familiarity with Democrat sophistries. Politically naive businessmen are so unable to express the value of their own work, or articulate the terrible and selfish nature of the policies of the Democrats, that they really deserve to lose. And we also wonder, if elected, they actually are going to know what to do. Instead, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, they might simply join the Ruling Class in chummy "bi-partisan" league with the Democrats. Schwarzenegger was reduced to issuing pardons for the criminal acts of the children of some of his Democrat buddies. The simultaneous revelation of Schwarzenegger's marital infidelities, which included fathering a child on one of his family's maids, together with his support of crushing "global warming" laws in California, served to totally discredit him and destroy any prospects for his pursuing a further political career. One wonders how vulnerable to such corruption are many naive, parvenu Republican politicians.

The One Percent

Wealthiest Counties, by Median Household Income, 2012
(populations of 65,000+ for numbered ranks)
RankCountyIncome
1Loudoun County, VA$117,876
Los Alamos County, NM$112,115
2Howard County, MD$108,844
3Fairfax County, VA$107,096
4Hunterdon County, NJ$105,186
5Arlington County, VA$100,474
6Stafford County, VA$97,606
7Putnam County, NY$96,223
8Somerset County, NJ$95,825
9Douglas County, CO$95,324
10Morris County, NJ$95,294
11Montgomery County, MD$94,965
12Prince William County, VA$93,744
13Nassau County, NY$93,214
14Santa Clara County, CA$91,425
15Charles County, MD$90,880
16Williamson County, TN$90,759
17Marin County, CA$90,535
18Anne Arundel County, MD$89,179
Delaware County, OH$87,470
19Calvert County, MD$87,449
20Sussex County, NJ$86,625
21St. Mary's County, MD$86,358
Scott County, MN$86,324
22Suffolk County, NY$86,334
23Fort Bend County, TX$86,256
24Hamilton County, IN$85,567
25Forsyth County, GA$85,494
Rockwall County, TX$85,164
Two of the greatest campaign issues for the Republicans would be evident in the charts to the left and down to the right. To the left are the wealthiest counties in the country, by annual household income, for 2012. This is based on a couple of versions of the table, with some minor variations in order and membership, although it is all supposed to be based on U.S. Census data. One table was the top 25 counties, and I have retained that numbering, with the addition of four other counties, placed in sequence but not numbered. Some of what we see is what we might expect. In Texas (in gray), we have a wealthy suburb of Houston, Fort Bend County, and a wealthy suburb of Dallas, Rockwall County -- although we might be surprised how far down the list they are. In California (in white), we have Marin and Santa Clara Counties, with the latter prosperous from Silicon Valley and former from the most elite of liberal elite in the San Francisco Bay area -- although, again, we might be surprised how far down the list they are. Similarly, we have Putnam, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties in New York (in blue), with Putnam a wealthy suburb to the north and the others out on Long Island, with Suffolk County hosting "the Hamptons" (Westhampton, Hampton Bays, Southampton, Bridgehampton, and East Hampton), which host the most elite of liberal elite of New York City, often just for their vacations and weekend getaways -- which might explain why the county is not as highly ranked as might be consistent with the presence of such super-rich. They don't actually live there.

What is especially striking about the chart is something that we might not expect. Of the original 25 counties listed, 11 of them, all in red, form a ring in Maryland and Virginia right around Washington D.C. Apart from Los Alamos, which is carpeted with Ph.D.'s at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Hunterdon County, New Jersey, five of the seven richest counties in the country are in this Maryland/Virginia group. The elite in these areas are of a particular kind. While we can think of a few things that rich Texans or New Yorkers might be rich from, we might suspect that the rich around Washington D.C., like Los Alamos itself, are mostly rich off of one thing:  Government. There is not much in the way of oil, cattle, computers, high fashion, movies, Broadway shows, or High Finance (i.e. Wall Street) being produced there. The industry is bureaucracy and politics. If we cut off the list below St. Mary's County, Maryland (at #21), we have half the wealthiest counties in the country that consume taxes rather than produce the goods or the "services" that all individuals have actually asked for and wish to pay for.
Income Inequality, 2010
RankStateGini
Coefficient
1Utah0.419
2Alaska0.422
3Wyoming0.423
4New Hampshire0.425
5Iowa0.427
6Wisconsin0.430
7Nebraska0.432
8Hawaii0.433
8Idaho0.433
8North Dakota0.433
11Montana0.435
12Maine0.437
13Delaware0.440
13Indiana0.440
13Minnesota0.440
16Washington0.441
17South Dakota0.442
18Maryland0.443
19Vermont0.444
20Kansas0.445
21Nevada0.448
22Oregon0.449
23Michigan0.451
23West Virginia0.451
25Ohio0.452
26Oklahoma0.454
27Arizona0.455
27Missouri0.455
29Colorado0.457
30Arkansas0.458
31Virginia0.459
32Pennsylvania0.461
32South Carolina0.461
34New Jersey0.464
34New Mexico0.464
34North Carolina0.464
37Illinois0.465
38Kentucky0.466
39Rhode Island0.467
40Georgia0.468
40Mississippi0.468
40Tennessee0.468
43Texas0.469
44California0.471
45Alabama0.472
46Florida0.474
47Louisiana0.475
47Massachusetts0.475
49Connecticut0.486
50New York0.499
51District of Columbia0.532

This makes for the true "Ruling Class," the true "1%" -- much more so than the 1% of capitalist Plutocrats that the Occupy Wall Street movement of young communists made popular. The Occupiers unwittingly, or perhaps deliberately, made themselves the shock troops of the Washington Ruling Class and their comfortable lives in Maryland and Virginia. Thus, the real "99%" does not mean the exploited Marxian proletariat; it means the taxpayers and other productive citizens who support the elevated lifestypes of the political, bureaucratic, and other government- dependent classes and elites. Indeed, one may suspect that the Occupy Wall Street demonstators themselves, who displayed no visible means of support, were deriving income from some form of government largess -- and at least one of them was found to be a Trust Fund beneficiary, like the Kennedies. Certainly, the squalor and crime of the OWS sites did not demonstrate the virtues of bourgeois discipline -- in contrast to Tea Party and other conservative rallies, where the participants tend to clean up their own trash.

While this situation ought to be made to order for Republican politicians, there is the embarrassing circumstance that "career" Republicans, who have long served in the federal government, are usually going to be living in that ring of counties themselves (perhaps to vacation in the Hamptons). So, even though this imbalance of wealth has been widely recognized since the "Ruling Class" article in The American Spectator, we curiously have not seen it used as a campaign issue by the Republicans. Mitt Romney would rather just stand there and be smeared as a Plutocract than accuse the Washington Establishment, Democrats and Republicans, of being the real Plutocrats -- and what's more, ones whose wealth comes from taking rather than producing and selling.

Meanwhile, one of the Democrat's new and favorite campaign issues is "income inequality." They can use "income inequality" to justify the tax-and-spend and wealth "redistribution" policies that they have always wanted anyway -- with much of the "redistribution" going to the worthy elite living in those counties in Maryland and Virginia, of course. But "income inequality" is actually a poor issue for the Democrats -- if the Republicans bothered to fight back. Inequality has increased steadily under Barack Obama; and, as we can see in the chart at right, inequality is worse in the Crown Jewels of liberal Statecraft -- California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and the District of Columbia (properly indicated in red, rather than the now conventional blue) -- than it is the the brutal, laissez-faire, Hell Hole of Texas.

Most striking, the State with the lowest income inequality is Utah -- a State so conservative that Bill Clinton came in third in the Presidential election of 1992 (after H.W. Bush and Ross Perrot). One thought about the re-election of Obama in 2012 was that Evangelicals, who might not believe that Mormons are really Christians, stayed away from voting for the Mormon Mitt Romney. But whatever the Mormons are doing in Utah, it evidently accomplishes what the Democrats presumably expect only to be possible from their own tax-and-spend policies, and socialism, which meanwhile have turned most of a place like Detroit into a wasteland. We get some very liberal States up the list, like Hawaii, Minnesota, and Vermont, but they have no advantage over several other states with no income tax and other supply side benefits. Democrats thus cannot argue that America needs their tax-and-spend policies to achieve more equality, even as they cannot deny that just such policies have done little good for Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and District of Columbia. Indeed, in the middle of the ring of the wealthiest counties, in the heart of the Big Government domain, is the jurisdiction with the greatest inequality, the District of Columbia itself, the very Eye in the Hurricane of Government spending and regulation. Of course, nothing like the facts or hypocrisy will ever stop Democrats from continuing with the same claims and the same pitch. Lying and ignoring the obvious is the easiest thing in the world to them.

The Hall of Shame

But what about the Republicans? Why are the Ruling Class and Income Inequality not big Republican campaign issues? One wonders. The thought is tempting that they are just too stupid. Or, the Republican Establishment is just too compromised, far too sympathetic and involved with the Democrat paradigm of government to make the appropriate changes in these cases. One way to flush out the Republicans who have sold out, is to use the term "RINO," meaning "Republican in Name Only." One need not use this term in reference to suspected sell-outs. One need merely use it at all, since Establishment Republicans and genuine RINO's will complain that it is being used at all, about anyone. The way Lefists deny that there is "political correctness" in the increasingly Stalinist American college system, Establishment Republicans deny that there are "RINO's." Although only a quarter of Republicans are happy with their representation, Establishment Republicans don't like the implication that there are any faithless Republicans.

The most obvious RINO's are, of course, the ones who show their true colors by becoming Democrats. These memorably included James Merrill "Jim" Jeffords (1934-2014), who was U.S. Senator from Vermont, a State rapidly becoming a People's Republic. Jeffords became an "Independent" in 2001 but effectively joined the Democrats. We might see Jeffords as simply blowing in the wind of his State's changing preferences, and perhaps his own honest preferences began blowing the same way. No one ever would have mistaken him for a conservative -- even while Calvin Coolidge roles over in his Vermont grave. Then there was Arlen Specter (1930-2012), a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania. Specter had changed parties before, from Democrat to Republican, in 1965. In 2009 he switched back to the Democrats. This move was simply to save his own skin, since he realized that he was becoming unpopular with Republican voters and would likely loose his primary. At the same time, he had long been a bête noire to the Democrats, who never forgave him for hard questioning of Anita Hill in the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings in 1991. The result was that Specter, seen even by Democrats has an opportunist, was defeated for reelection.

More recently is the interesting case of Charles Joseph "Charlie" Crist, Jr. (b.1956). Crist was the Republican Governor of Florida, 2007-2011. To his credit as Governor, he signed laws enabling students to escape from the public school system, and he pardoned a victim, Richard Paey, of outrageous prosecutorial misconduct and misuse of the drug laws. Rather than seek reelection, he decided to run for the U.S. Senate. Unfortunately, he lost in the primary to a Tea Party candidate, Marco Rubio. Outraged to have lost, Crist ran as an Independent in the 2010 election. He lost, decisively, to Rubio again, despite a Democrat in the race also. He then joined the Democratic Party and endorsed Barack Obama in 2012. For 2014, he decided to run for Governor again, now as a Democrat. He lost, again, this time after disgracing himself with a denunciation of the educational reform laws that he had himself signed as Governor -- all to curry favor with the teachers unions. Crist had tried to pitch his opportunistic defections as due to "extremists" taking over the Republican Party. But if this meant Marco Rubio, no sensible person at this point is going to think of him that way. No, Crist was always just in it for himself.

The self-interest of Republican politicans, and their actual disdain for Republican voters, is evident in a couple other races, even though they did not result in the suspected RINO's actually changing party. One of these was in the reelection campaign of Lisa A. Murkowski (b.1957), U.S. Senator from Alaska, in 2010. Like Crist, Murkowski was defeated in her Republican primary. Rather than accept the judgment of her Party, Murkowski appealed to Democrat voters and was reelected to the Senate, extraordinarily, with write-in votes. Since she then was not actually reelected as an Independent or a Democrat, she retained her Republican affiliation. Nevertheless, many Republicans properly remain furious with her.

A similar case, with some significant differences, occurred in 2014 with William Thad Cochran (b.1937), a Republican U.S. Senator from Mississippi. Cochran did not lose his primary, but he was forced into a run-off election with a Tea Party candidate, Chris McDaniel. How he acted in the run-off is what provoked Republican voters. As with Murkowski, Cochran appealed to Democrats, in this case to cross over and vote in the Republican primary run-off. Mississippi Democrats could legally do this, so long as they had not already voted in their own Democrat primary. However, the State kept no record of who had voted in which primary; and Cochran seemed to be encouraging Democrats to break the law and vote for him even if they had already voted with the Democrats. Much, much worse, Cochran took a page from the Democrat play-book of slime and slander and appealed to Black voters, by telephone and mail, with the smear that McDaniel, as a Tea Party favorite, was some sort of racist. Cochran won the run-off and then won reelection in 2014, but his tactics left a very ugly taste with Republican voters, even as it was bound to absolutely alienate any Republicans who identified with Tea Party issues (i.e. taxes, spending, and debt, which are supposed to be the concern of all Republicans). McDaniel tried to challenge the run-off in court; but, of course, the absence of records made it impossible to determine if Democrats were voting illegally for Cochran.

Lisa Murkowski and Thad Cochran, with their contempt for Republican voters, accomplished the remarkable feat of making Arlen Specter look like a man of principle and virtue. At least Specter left the Party before giving Republicans the chance to reject him. Charlie Crist falls somewhere in between, displaying similar contempt for his Party but at least leaving it once he decided that the benighted Republican voters didn't appreciate his wonderfulness.

Other figures can't quite be classified as RINO's because they may always have been confused about their proper affiliation. Michael Bloomberg (b.1942), a multi-billionaire, has switched back and forth between parties, finally becoming an "Independent" (i.e. a practical Democrat) in 2007. As Mayor of New York City (2001-2013), he governed in a fiscally responsible and law-and-order way, looking very much like a proper Republican. However, he managed to get elected for a third term despite this being prohibited by term limits; he aligned himself locally and nationally with the fierce and vicious anti-Second Amendment movement, and heavily financed it; and many of the laws he promoted in New York were of the Nanny State, intrusive variety, about foods and even the size of soft drinks. His hostility to firearms alone would have disqualified him from any further participation in Republican politics, and his Nanny State intrusions were beginning to annoy even paternalistic, busybody Democrats (if not servile New York Democrats).

Equally confusing, or confused, is Warren Buffett (b.1930), also a multi-billionaire, and richer than Michael Bloomberg. Buffett has also switched parties, but has never been directly involved in politics. He has become a proper Democrat in promoting tax-and-spend policies, as well as regulations, it has been noticed, that would prevent other people from becoming as rich as he is. Indeed, he does not seem to have ever let his publicly voiced political ideas inhibit in the least the pursuit of wealth for himself and his own companies, or compromise his reluctance to pay the IRS what it expects to get. As an advisor to Arnold Schwarzenegger, he seems to have contributed to the perfect storm of folly that was the result of Arnold's tenure in office.

Bloomberg and Buffett may fit the mold of the Capitalist Plutocract better than the Democrat and Establishment Republican politicians who live in the Maryland and Virginia Counties around Washington, D.C.; but it is noteworthy that the drift of their politics has been towards the Democrats, with Bloomberg energized about the non-economic issues of guns and food, while Buffett looks more like the Crony-Capitalist who is happy to cash in on the Democrat Corporate State. Neither one of them is an edifying role-model or a consistent friend of America.

The Republicans controlled Congress for many years under George W. Bush. They spent too much, reformed little, added a new welfare-state Entitlement (Medicare Part D), and insulted the freedom of Americans with things like the prohibition of incandescent light bulbs. Since they did not have the courage to reform the bubble that federal policy was creating in the mortgage market, they not only helped create the Crash of 2008, but they delivered a wet-dream to all the anti-capitalists in the Democratic Party and American universities, who were happy to ignore the role of the government and blame the whole business on banks, Wall Street, and capitalism -- giving socialism a boost (Newsweek, before being sold for a dollar, headlined, "We're All Socialists Now") that set back the cause of civilization, freedom, and prosperity for who knows how many years. Even worse, Republicans, including President Bush, responded to the Crash by agreeing to the kind of bailouts that infuriated the public and helped launch the United States into the sort of Zombie economy that has afflicted Japan now for two decades.

Thus, it is not clear that the problem of the Republican Party is just RINO's and the Establishment. So much was done that was wrong and so little that was right that the blame may spread more widely. The Tea Party arose precisely in response to this; but the movement has been compromised by political lightweights (2010), social conservative fools whose gaffs damaged to the whole Party (in 2012); and a divided leadership with little public presence and an inability to focus issues in public discourse. This leaves the Ruling Class in the driver's seat, especially since the Tea Party, no more than the Republican Establishment, has not managed to make the Ruling Class a real issue. While Republican Governors, especially, have done some notable things, it is not clear that there is anyone on the horizon with both the forensic abilities and the winning personality of a Ronald Reagan to articulate the truth and lead the charge against the Democrats, socialists, and academic totalitarians who are constantly plotting ever greater evils against America and decency -- even as the world darkens with Russian aggression and Islamic fanaticism, developments for which President Obama and the Democrats, with their anti-American inspirations, are entirely unprepared.

How is to the Ruling Class to be defeated? In the first place, the Federal Government needs to be returned to its Constitutional limits. While Rick Perry famously had difficulty remembering all the Cabinet Departments he wanted to abolish, there actually are not many of them that are not ultra vires, i.e. beyond the legitimate power of the Federal Government:  Education, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Health and Human Services (HHS), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Agriculture, Labor, Transportation, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Drug Enforcement Administration (FDA) -- none of these is either authorized by the Constitution nor of benefit to the Nation in any case. They are all, indeed, of positive harm to the areas of life they are given to oversee. No one cares anymore, of course, that they duplicate State agencies (which generally have their own versions of the EPA, OSHA, etc.) in a way that makes a mockery of federalism, wastefully violating, not just the letter and spirit of the Tenth Amendment, but the most basic, prudential principle of the distribution of political power as promulgated by the likes of Jefferson, Madison, etc. Already above we have seen Jefferson say:

But it is not by the consolidation, or concentration of powers, but by their distribution, that good government is effected. Were not this great country already divided into States, that division must be made, that each might do for itself what concerns itself directly, and what it can so much better do than a distant authority. Every State again is divided into counties, each to take care of what lies within its local bounds; each country again into townships or wards, to manage minuter details; and every ward into farms, to be governed each by its individual proprietor. Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread. It is by this partition of cares, descending in gradation from general to particular, that the mass of human affairs may be best managed, for the good and prosperity of all. [Autobiography, color added]

In the saddest and most ironic testament to the hopelessness and cluelessness of Establishment Republicans, Bob Dole waved a copy of the Tenth Amentment during his 1996 Presidential campaign, as though to endorse its principle, after, of course, having ignored it for his entire political life.

At the moment, the prospects of cutting back the Federal Government seem slim. The States calling a new Constitutional Convention may actually be the best bet. Otherwise, something must also be done about the status of politicians. Professional politicians are a plague on the land. The first line of defense against this, enthusiastically endorsed from the beginning by Thomas Jefferson himself, is term limits. Politicians hate them, and we see, again and again, that professional politicians, even in States controlled by Republicans, plot and scheme to deceive the voters and remove or emasculate limits. The voters must be deceived because limits are always strongly endorsed by them, in almost any jurisdiction. Thus, when California voters passed term limits, including for members of Congress, Congressmen had to go to their buddies on the Supreme Court to get them set aside. In a characteristic bit of sophistry, the Court ruled that States did not have the power to limit Congressional terms -- which with deft dishonesty stood the Tenth Amendment on is head (not unheard of in Supreme Court decisions), since the Amendment says that States have all the powers that are not denied to them, or reserved to the Federal Government, by the Constitution. There's nothing in the Constitution about term limits -- until the 22nd Amendment limited the President to two terms, or ten years.

But it turns out that term limits are not enough. Professional politicians remain professional politicians just by moving on to different offices, where they can add a new chunk of years to their careers. The remedy for this is to restore a situation that was actually generally the case for most of the history of the United States:  a part-time legislature. This always meant that most politicians could not make a living as politicians. They needed to have some other life first, and then, every so often, they go to the State Capitol or Congress in order to pass some needed and worthy laws. When George McGovern lost his Senate seat in 1980 and tried to go into business for himself, he discovered, and admitted it, just how difficult people like him had already made to it to succeed with a small business. His businesses flopped. At the top of this page, we have already seen the cautionary message of John Locke:

But in Governments, where the Legislative is in one lasting Assembly always in being, or in one Man, as in Absolute Monarchies, there is danger still, that they will think themselves to have a distinct interest, from the rest of the Community; and so will be apt to increase their own Riches and Power, by taking, what they think fit, from the People. [The Second Treatise of Civil Government, §138, color added]

There are still legislatures that observe this principle. The Texas State legislature still only meets for five months every two years. Even in Texas, of course, the warning is that no one's life, liberty, or property is safe as long as the Legislature is in session. But there was also the edifying dynamic that in Austin, when it was a much sleepier place than at present, the occasional spectacle of the drunken and whoring legislators in town gave everyone an excellent picture of their moral character. In Washington, no one bats an eye about such behavior in Congress. The rich stories, for instance, about Teddy Kennedy, who never held a job in the real world, and who might sometimes be visibly the worse for drink even in public appearances, did not seem to have any effect on his political fortunes (i.e. his hereditary, sinecure seat in the Senate) -- not even that one case where a young nubile staffer didn't quite make it alive out of a dalliance (although this may have sunk, as it were, Kennedy's Presidential hopes).

On the other hand, the modern poltician has often sold a bill of goods to the public, no more obviously than when Democrat Jesse "Big Daddy" ("money is the mother's milk of politics") Unruh (d.1987) turned California's Legislature into a full-time business (and criminal enterprise). The "professionalism" of this body then launched California down its long, sad road of decline into the welfare-state, crony capitalistic, and public employee union candy store that it is today. Once upon a time, "professional" was a word that aroused suspicions of self-interest. No longer. Now it is "amateur" that makes people think of clumsiness and incompetence. Yet the professional politicians of Sacramento have supplied a wonderful object lesson in the wisdom of restoring the original connotations of the words. In 2014, despite national disillusionment with Obama, the welfare state, and Democrat class warfare rhetoric, California voters remain hoodwinked. As con artists know, you can run the same con on the same people over and over again as long as you limit your rapacity just a little bit. Jerry Brown has mastered this (as opposed to the Democrats, for instance, in Bell, California).

Of course, most politicians are lawyers; and they have no difficulty going back to a law practice that they probably did not entirely leave anyway while in politics. This calls for additional precautions. It is not always unethical for lawyers to benefit from laws that they have passed themsleves. But it should be. I have already proposed that lawyers who pass legislation should actually be disbarred. If we have term limits and part-time legislatures, this may be too harsh. However, conflict-of-interest rules should absolutely prohibit lawyers from benefiting from laws that they have passed. Sometimes this may be left to the vigilance of opposing counsel and the judgment of the Court, but it should also stand as grounds for the appeal of adverse decisions where misconduct is suspected. Lawyers who have been instrumental in passing reform legislation in areas where their practice has exposed injustices, which they have honestly and sincerely worked to remedy, would be protected from suspicions or sanctions just by taking relevant cases pro bono. They can continue to make a living from other areas of the law.

Lawyers, indeed, are one of the principle constituencies and participants of the Ruling Class. Their entire profession, although necessary for civilized life, nevertheless manufactures nothing, compels actions in others or deprives them of their substance or liberty by force, and thus is vulnerable to sinking to grotesque levels of parasitism and rapacity. This is a manifest evil, not only in private practice, but among public prosecutors, who often see an abuse of their powers, in violation of honor and conscience, as an avenue to political advancement.

None of this is going to be easy. Perhaps it is not even possible to defeat and dethrone the new Ruling Class. Certainly, if Republicans countenance the corruption of modern government as much as the Democrats, and third parties remain marginalized, there will be no end to these evils.

The Hunger Games

Books by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic), The Hunger Games, 2008, Catching Fire, 2009, Mockingjay, 2010; Movies (Lionsgate), The Hunger Games, 2012, Catching Fire, 2013, Mockingjay, Part 1, 2014, Mockingjay, Part 2, 2015

Books such as The Giver, Divergent, and The Hunger Games triology are, whether intentionally or not, substantial attacks on many of the foundational projects and aims of the left:  big government, the welfare state, progress [!], social planning and equality...

If you see yourself as a left-leaning progressive parent, you might want to exercise some of that oppressive parental control and limit your kids [sic] exposure to the "freedom" expressed in Y[oung]A[dult] dystopian fiction.

Ewan Morrison, The Guardian, 1 September 2014, color added

The Hunger Games is a series of books and now movies that began with a 2008 novel by Suzanne Collins. It is set in a fictional and apparently post-apocalyptic version of North America in which a malevolent "Capitol" has enslaved 12 subordinate "Districts" to supply its excessive desires for luxury and entertainment. As with the sacrifices to the Minotaur, every year each District sends a boy and a girl to the "Hunger Games," where they hunt and kill each other until only one is left. This is supposed to engender pride in each District as its representatives fight for their lives, but it really is a way of punishing and humiliating the Districts after they lost an earlier rebellion against the Capitol.

Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence in the movies) is a young woman from the mining town of District 12. As the story begins, she volunteers to replace her younger sister as the offering to the Hunger Games. She survives the Games, with her friend, Peeta Mellark, but in a way that angers the government of the Capitol, especially President Snow (played by Donald Sutherland), who plots to force them back into the Games in the second book (Catching Fire), so that they can be killed, but from which she is actually rescued by the forces of the rebellion that has been organized from the secret and hidden District 13.

In the third book, Mockingjay, the rebellion succeeds, the Capitol is overthrown, and Katniss is actually given the privilege of personally executing President Snow with her trademark bow. However, Katniss has come to believe that Alma Coin (played by Julianne Moore), President of District 13 and leader of the rebellion, has been using her for 13's own purposes and has actually arranged the death of her sister in the final battle for the Capitol. Katniss shoots and kills Coin instead of Snow.

This extraordinary turn of the story is bound to be disturbing to many at the time of an increasingly unpopular American President, whose values and policies have deeply wounded the Nation -- and whose ideology exalts and privileges the Washington elite exactly as with the Capitol of the story. While there was a movie made in 2006, Death of a President [Optimum Releasing, Newmarket Films], about the imagined (and doubtlessly wished for) assassination of George W. Bush in 2007, the Democrats of the Ruling Class in the press, academia, and politics thought of this as little more than good fun. Of course right thinking persons want a Republican war mongering, Big Oil lackey President killed! Now, however, when many would like to make the mere criticism of Barack Obama a political crime (it's all racism!), the very idea that a faithless President might be assassinated would probably move the Ruling Class to call for mass arrests. I seriously wondered if the producers of the fourth movie of The Hunger Games (separated out from the third book), out in 2015, would actually allow audiences to see Katniss kill her own President. They might worry it would give someone the wrong idea.

Since Katniss was a War hero, built up and sanctified by President Coin herself, it was not clear what was to be done with her after the assassination. Before long, she goes home, there to face the other difficulties in her life. Suzanne Collins herself is from a military family, and she portrays Katniss as suffering from a severe case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She is stunned by her experiences, shattered that her sister, for whom she did everything, was killed anyway, and left with very little will to live. She is also deeply conflicted about the men in her life. Her true love at the beginning of the books, hunting companion Gale Hawthorne, is someone she has drifted away from. While she really doesn't love Peeta Mellark in the same way, she feels obligated to him and bound to him, both because of their shared experiences and because he was not rescued at the end of book two, as was Katniss, but was tortured, brain-washed, and deeply damaged psychologically by the Capitol. They allowed him to be resuced in the third book because he had been conditioned to assassinate Katniss, which he almost did. Pulling him out of this terrible state took a great deal of time; and in the end his own love for Katniss slowly prevailed, not just against her original preferences, but in the face of her own passivity, depression, and reluctance to get on with life. This is not exactly a happy ending, and the realism of Katniss's difficulties adds considerable depth to the story.

Meanwhile, we cannot help but notice that the Ruling Class in and around Washington, D.C. operates much like the arrogant, vicious, and privileged class in the Capitol city of The Hunger Games. Curiously, this comparison sometimes escapes people closely associated with the movie. In an interview at the time of the release of the first movie, Donald Sutherland commented that the story was very topical because of the recent Occupy Wall Street protests. Of course, the communists, anarchists, and lunatics of Occupy Wall Street were not protesting the Capitol and its minions, but private business and finance. Mr. Sutherland, despite being a fine, attactive, and engaging actor, nevertheless did not seem to be aware of that difference. I wonder if he had even read the books at that point and knew that, as President Snow, he was himself going to be killed as the result of the rebellion and the overthrow of the Capitol (killed in the confusion after Katniss kills the other President). He does not get to play a good guy, and the evil of his character does not consist in his being a businessman or financier. There is no Wall Street evident in the books or movies; and the economy of the country, such as it is, is run by the State entirely for the benefit of the Capitol. This is itself the Statism desired by Occupy Wall Street and the Ruling Class both.

How Donald Sutherland could get all of this backwards is remarkable, but it seems to have become characteristic of the delusion and self-deception of the Left. When you just tell lies all the time, like Debbie Wasserman Schultz [], you may actually start to believe them. The Hunger Games is thus a curious phenomenon. The enemy is centralized Government, as many Americans have come to believe of our own country, and yet the Ruling Class partisans of such government would rather not see or understand that this is precisely the message of the books.

Update: 2017

While the movie of Mockingjay (Part 2) faithfully showed Katniss assassinating President Coin, there was little comment or reaction about it at the time. Julianne Moore does not look like Barack Obama, and that seemed to handle any uncomfortable implications. Things are much different in 2017. Donald Trump won the Presidency in 2016, and the Ruling Class, together with the entire International Communist Conspiracy, detests him with a passion.

One of the New York Shakespeare in the Park productions (by The Public Theater) in 2017, of Julius Caesar, featured modern costume and a Julius Caesar who looked like Donald Trump. His assassination was done in an explicit and bloody way. The theater company expressed surprise that anyone would object to this. It was "art"; and no sensible person would think that they were calling for the assassination of Donald Trump, which, of course, they were. The Public Theater released a statement:

Our production of Julius Caesar in no way adovcates violence towards anyone. Shakespeare's play, and our production, make the opposite point:  those who attempt to defend democracy by undemocratic means pay a terrible price and destroy the very thing they are fighting to save. For over 400 years, Shakespeare's play has told this story and we are proud to be telling it again in Central Park.

It is curious for someone to say that Julius Caesar is about defending "democracy" when democracy didn't exist in Caesar's day, and its advocacy in the 16th Century could have been interpreted as criticism, if not disloyalty, to the established Monarchy of England. Since Caesar himself represented the Popular Party in Rome, his opponents were themselves partisans of the Senatorial Party. Although their assassination plot was therefore on behalf of the Roman Republic, no one at the time thought that this meant democracy. On the other hand, no Monarchist could object to the assassination of a popular tyrant, which is how the Senatorial Party viewed Caesar.

Shakespeare could have agreed with the assassins since, after all, Burtus was "the noblest Roman of them all"; or, Shakespeare could have seen Caesar, retrospectively, as the beginning of Roman Monarchy, i.e. the government of the Emperors, and therefore represented a form of legitimacy comparable to English government.

The Public Theater, obviously, is not interested in advocating Monarchy, whether of Caesar and Augustus or of Queen Elizabeth I. The alternative, then, with the assassins anachronistically construed as Democrats, is to present Caesar as a popular tyrant. Indeed, this is how the American political elite, the Ruling Class, view Donald Trump, as a pompous, Mussolini-like Fascist, with mobs of racist yahoos supporting him. A Caesar indeed.

Thus, I can only view the statement of The Public Theater as disingenuous or dishonest. The Left is quite happy with violence these days (Google "Berkeley"), and Shakespeare in the Park is not the only place we can see the killing of Donald Trump. And this blather about "undemocratic means" is not meant sincerely either, since the Left believes that "democracy" consists of the demostrators and rioters against Trump, not the election that Democrats almost immediately called "illegitimate" and now are constantly portraying as something stolen for Trump by the Russians. So when we see "undemocratic means" here, it means Trump, not his assassins. It is not a story of "400 years," but of the last year.

Meanwhile, comedienne Kathy Griffin had created a stir by posing with a bloody, severed head that looked like that of Trump. It was hard to deny what this was supposed to mean, and Griffin was condemned even by some Democrats; and she lost her job at CNN. This made her a victim, and she soon complained that Trump and his family were ruining her life by complaining about her stunt.

That was rich. She seemed to have forgotten that in 2013 a rodeo clown in Missouri, Tuffy Gessling, had been fired and banned for life from the Missouri State Fair and the Professional Rodeo Clown Association because he wore an Obama mask during his routine. He had been doing this sort of thing for 25 years, with all previous Presidents; but somehow it was beyond the limit, and racist, if done with Obama. All sorts of people were up on their high horse about it. The press has never shown much curiosity about how Mr. Gessling has done, after his life was destroyed by Leftist vengeance; but I think that Griffin should get together with him and design an act for the two of them.

Meanwhile, a crazed Bernie Sanders supporter opened fire on a group of Republican Congressmen and staffers who were practicing for the annual charity baseball game with Democrats. No Democrats were present. Several people were wounded, including one Congressman, gravely. The shooter would have been free to, perhaps, kill them all, but one Congressman, in the Congressional leadership, had two Capitol Hill Police Officers with him, who killed the gunman.

This followed riots and vandalism by anarchists and communists, not only during the actual Trump inaurguration, but at the University of California at Berkeley, to prevent a speech by gay conservative/libertarian Milo Yiannopoulos (), and on several other occasions since. Violent students had also disrupted a speech by mild mannered libertarian Charles Murray at Middlebury College, and had actually assaulted a faculty sponsor who was escorting him away, putting her in the hospital. This should have qualified as "violence against women."

The University of California had told the police to stand down, allowing the riot, and no rioters were arrested. This allowed leftist professor and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich to claim that the rioters were Republican agents provocateurs in disguise. However, rioters were arrested in Washington, and since elsewhere (e.g. Seattle), and none were Republicans -- although we have heard little to nothing from the press about who they actually were, and who paid for them to travel to their riots. Middlebury College promised disciplinary action against the violent students, which seems to have amounted to some probation and letters of admonition in their records. Perhaps "double secret probation" would have been good.

After all this real violence, Democrats and others actually had the gall to claim that the shooting of the Congressmen was due to inflamatory Republican rhetoric. What kind of rhetoric that was supposed to have been was left deliberately vague -- although the new theory on campus is that disagreeing with the Left is itself violence -- but it is not to hard to fill in the details, for instance that merely claiming the right to keep and bear arms was sufficient; and along with it has come the constant drumbeat from the Left that supporters of Trump are racists, sexists, homophobes, Islamophobes, and, even better, "white supremicists."

This was Hillary Clinton's "basket of deplorables," and the Left still doesn't seem to understand that smearing millions of Americans is what helped get Trump elected in the first place. The contempt of Democrats for most Americans is palpable; and the "protesters" who march with signs saying "American Was Never Great" tell everyone what these people are really all about. Voters got the message, with the added irony that no one before had ever thought that Donald Trump was a "racist" or "homophobe," although he had occasionally said some curious things about some women. Indeed, Trump expected election support from some black leaders, with whom he had always been friendly, and was surprised and hurt when he didn't get any -- black "leaders" sold out to the Democrats and the unions of public employees and teachers long ago. But the narrative, for the Left, is always more important than the truth. Voters also notice that.

Thus, while threats against Barack Obama were never heard from responsible sources, and Republican leaders confessed that Impeachment was "off the table," despite Obama's many unconstitutional acts, Democrats exult in the prospect of Trump being murdered, and they talk about Impeachment constantly, along with other strategies they think might get him out of office. Meanwhile, "what democracy looks like" to them means demostrations and riots, while the actual election is something they constantly labor to reverse, despite telling Republicans in 2009 that their electoral losses meant that they could be ignored, as they were. Now, however, Democrats don't need to be ignored, because, as the "Resistance," they are not going to participate in governing anyway. Just as well.

The panic, of course, is on the part of the Ruling Class, including all the bureaucrats doing their best to sabotage the new Administration, with leaks, lies, and disloyalty. As in The Hunger Games, this is the Vengeance of the Capitol, and the future of America and the American People hangs in the balance.

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The Ruling Class, Note

Oddly enough, "Mitt" is one of Romney's actual given names. He was born "Willard Mitt Romney" in 1947. "Willard" is probably not the best name for a modern politician, or anyone, and so it is not surprising that he fell back to the use of his middle name -- although one then wonders about the origin of that name (it does not occur in A Dictionary of First Names, by Patrick Hanks and Flavia Hodges, Oxford University Press, 1990). Romney's son "Tagg" has another odd nickname, but it also seems more reasonable on close examination. Born "Taggart Romney" in 1970, "Tagg" bears a given name that will be familiar to all libertarians and Randites, since it is the name of the exemplary railroad, a combination of the historical Great Northern and Pennsylvania Railroads, in Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. That Mitt Romney gave his son a Randite name perhaps bespeaks a respect for Rand and libertarian ideas that his recent political positions no longer reflect so well -- or there may be some other explanation for it.

Less explicable are some nicknames from the Ruling Class on the opposite side of the political spectrum. The late publisher of the New York Times, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Sr. (1926-2012), was known as "Punch." His son, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. (b.1951), who took over the job from his father, is known as "Pinch." While these names may have some reasonable explanation, I am not aware of them. Instead, they may be more representative of the culture of the Northeastern Prep School elite than the names of the Romneys. At the same time, of course, the New York Times tirelessly promotes Leftist ideology, even as in the 1930's it was already helping to cover up the Terror Famine and other crimes of Joseph Stalin. The slanted stories featured by the Times are virtually the marching orders for the rest of the Mainsteam Media every day.

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