American Aristocracy and Societal Devolution

News & SocietyPolitics

  • Author Randy Gonzalez
  • Published July 10, 2021
  • Word count 2,979

Aristocracy, the brevity for a metaphorical assertion of upper-class dominance, rule and hereditary perpetuity. By indirect inference, the special interests of the wealthy elite, the up and coming elite, generational replication, that furthers the materiality of the privileged few. Of this landed gentry, the upper crust “nobility” of fortunate inheritance, is diverse and multifaceted. Within the “tribal” spectrum, again a symbolic reference, the in-group is a layered or dynamic framework of materialistic distinctions. To say wealthy, describes a range of material worth and the inherent complicity to ensure the sanctity of a privileged status in American society.

Continuity of wealth remains essential to the perpetuation of America’s “dynastic” enclaves. A dynasty in this regard pertains to the perpetuation of socio-economic and political influence beyond that of the average middle class American citizen. It is a matter of power and control over whatever enhances the dominance of affluent self-interests. Particularly in relation to political processes, lines of succession perpetuate a family’s, or group’s, influence over particular “reigns” of “imperial” benefits. Fascinating is the idea that for a democratic republic that opposed the tyranny of foreign aristocracies, American society appears to embrace its own version.

In article appearing in an online news publication in 2018, the perspective discusses issues pertaining to what characterizes the “America’s New Aristocracy”. As a tentative descriptor, the author applies the phrase, “ruling class”, to the status of the wealthy few. In furthering the discussion, the article delves into the efforts of the societal elite to ensure the expansion of honored or noble status. Particularly, the use of while the lower economic realms are held to “laws and regulations” of one sort or another, the upper classes become except. Instead, or as opposed to equal justice for all, some are more equal than others are. The divide is worsening.[1]

The fraud, the deception, the blatant con-artistry baffles the average imagination, which may or may not perceive the sinister underground expansionism of materialistic disparity. From politicians and pundits who spew fallacious rhetoric, to the rich handlers that back their cover story stupidity, the hidden agenda remains all too human. That is, the power, control, manipulation and domination of the many by a few. Of course, none of this as a story-telling exercise is new. Empires rise and fall, replaced by other empires that rise and fall. For humans, not much changes.

From the perspective of a human devolution theory, whereby humankind purposefully pursues regressive antics to bring about a final extinction. Under that expansive matrix of maladaptive behaviors, one viewpoint alludes to the critical issues relative to an American aristocracy. As power and wealth increasingly consolidates among an “elite” few, the prospects of social collapse loom closer. Dangerously divisive and deconstructive to a democratic republic, an American societal nightmare unfolds. Historically, empires rise and fall throughout history. Typically, the eventual demise traces the fault lines to an expansive divide between rich and poor.

As a broad generalization, exceptions acknowledged, more than a few investigative resources allege the growing power of oligarchic enterprises. From a research project at two major universities, reported in a long-standing magazine publication, investigators concluded public policymaking dominated by the increasing influence of powerful business interests. In the future, the trend could result in the decline of democracy in favor of the “corporate state”. If so, would there be another American revolution? No probably not. A weak, submissive and subservient culture, pampered, coddled and “dumbed down”, will not rise up in rebellion.[2]

Briefly stated, an oligarchy is a structural form of governance whereby a small group of powerful individual control the vast majority of the population, as well as the political processes. In so doing, those in power, regarded in terms of their rank within the structure, involve levels of authoritative influence. These distinctions include nobility or aristocratic heritage, wealth, family connections, educational, corporate or religious alliances. Power, control and domination exercise significant manipulation often for corrupt or selfish purposes. In contemporary mainstream reactivity, many might think an “oligarchy” pertains to the former Soviet Union.

However, and increasing number of investigators are applying similar description to post-modern America society. In order to proclaim societal dominance, and stage-manage monetary and political resources, financial power translates into electoral interference. For the astute observer, a developing perspective suggests that American society has devolved a “supper class” of wealthy people intent on developing an “American Aristocracy”. To that end, the deceptions are many and the sleight of hand tactics are clever. While many politicians have achieved financial success in public office, they remain primarily the means by which richer elite ensure power continuity. Donors, benefactors, and contributors marshal their collective financial resources to protect their self-interests. A financial culture becomes a political culture for the few.

As a form of power structure, an immense and diverse social class system or multiple systems, the degree and extent of influence is challenging to measure. For many, it is even more difficult to understand. While some might argue the necessity of such powerful interests, or the inevitability, others would counter with fears of eventual socio-political disintegration. Meanwhile, still others will expound upon a variety of conspiracy theories, from a small group, to wealthy families, or the so called “money men” who run everything. With that, “conspiracy theories” tell stories and storytelling reveals how people interact and respond to their environment.

According to one university film production, examining the role of “power elites” in the U.S., discourse follows similar commentary from the 1950’s. Conspiracies come is different forms. Some are mythological based on “magical thinking”, while others involve collusions that are very real. The challenge for the investigator is figuring out the real from the unreal. Regardless, in the documentary portrayal serious inquiry focuses on the perspective of a “superclass”, beyond the earlier assessment of the “power elites”. As economic and political interaction grows in a global context, the desire to centralize control of wealth and limited resources increases.[3]

In furtherance of dominance in the hands of a few, a few argue the rise of a “superclass”, which influence institutions, politics, and the law. Of this select “community” of upper class privileged persons, a driving impetus points to the relentless pursuit of globalization. As though a kind of “corporate state”, the transition from elected leadership decision-making transitions to the powerful and influential dominance of the private sector. In one assertion regarding the powerfulness of commerce and industry in modern times, relates to the fact the largest corporations in the world that have monetary resources larger than most countries.

Some would argue that the development of such powerful interests, due to the interconnectedness of various linkages, business and politics for instance, gets smaller and smaller over time. Increasingly, the dominion and control falls to a limited number of key players, including individuals and large multinational corporate structures. More and more frequently, potency of such economic sovereignty uses its weight to manipulate domestic and foreign political systems. For most people, swiping a credit card for a latte, or punching a pin number for gas, masks the reality from the massive financial nature of the entity providing the service. Behind the scenes, who really knows, other than skillful investigators, where the paper trail leads?

In a broadcast production in 2014, a major British broadcasting service alleged a “rich and powerful elite” dominates the U.S. On first reaction, for the serious social analyst and astute observer, the inference should come as no surprise. Actually, no big surprise at all. To factor in the potency of consumerism, capitalizing on gluttonous consumption, the perpetuation of materialistic enrichment animates incessant mass marketing. In particular, the so-called “American Dream” illusion represents a never-ending push to build wealth and prosperity.[4]

Citing a related 2014 study from a prominent U.S. Ivy League college, nearly ironic in a sense, attempts to confirm the suspicion that American society is dominated by an elite few. The irony here summons the average person’s conception of an Ivy League school. That is, very prestigious, expensive, upper class achievement, exclusivity, and wealthy families send their kids. Not to forget of course, rich donors give healthy contributions to all aspects of such colleges. Then again, perhaps a good place from which to study the “power elite” is where the rich go to school.

Alleging “data driven analysis”, researchers claimed to conduct extensive inquiry to back up notions of “aristocratic rule” in the U.S. By way of family influence and connections, groups representing certain business interests, and well-placed political associations, a few wield extraordinary impact on public policy. Meanwhile, across the American continent, average persons, within the ranks of the middle and lower classes, exercise limited power. With little independence of influential potency, most people lack serious political power.

In light of such viewpoints, some question the future viability, if not already lost, of the American democratic republic. A few historians would argue for a devolution from attempted democratic processes to a regression into oligarchic power and control. With an intricacy of narrowly defined social, governmental and economic interactivity, utilizing extensive political connections and patronage, domination by the few overrides the general welfare of the many. The manipulation is so well stage managed most do not comprehend the sleight of hand.

During an election season, maybe that explains why politicians get away with saying so many stupid things. While a handful of big corporations own news outlets, spurts of reporting here and there, interrupted by lengthy commercial messages, are egregiously superficial at best. Sound bites contribute very little to social utility. At the same time, reporting commentary from political candidates is even more limited. Instead of substantive problem-solving discussions, politicians blather shallow nonsense to pander whimsical notions of status quo mediocrity.

By animated gestures, the waving of the arms, the pointing of the fingers, and the sweeping exaggerations of rhetoric, the clownish antics of political pontification ought to annoy the viewing public. Modern politicians in most cases, as there are always exceptions to every conjuring provoke rather than problem-solve. Spewing the superficiality of inappropriate fallacies of inference, and deploying sleight of hand tactics to distract from serious problems, shallow commentary achieves very little. In an era of anti-intellectualism, in which IQ scores are slipping and scientific validation ignored, puppets are easy targets for puppet masters.

In a grossly materialistic society, where “wealth building” takes on divine personification, an aspect, or typology, of modern day slavery emerges. Gluttonous consumption avoid the reality of future repercussions. While enslavement diverges into different oppressions, the mythology of the “American Dream” masks a more sinister contrivance. Some would ascribe to this a private realm of upper class elites, relishing in their control of limited resources, as “pathology of the rich”. As an oligarchic reference to the upper echelons of society, a number of researchers express concern as to the regressive and destructive actuality leading to the collapse of social structures.[5]

Meanwhile on the political front, the mantra of “study hard and work hard”, and one succeeds in whatever one wants, tends to perpetrate an illusion that hastens a devolution. In what a few voices characterizes as “welfare for the rich”, a handful of closed oligarchic circles control and manipulate institutional processes. In the safe mediocrity of less than stellar competence in communal problem solving for the greater good, the oligarchic influences maintain status quo for the few. Complicity in these machinations are a handful of giant corporate enterprises that dominate so-called news media. Of course, that is the tip of the societal “iceberg”, of which what is seen is not observable. A vast depth of colossal social behemoth lives below the surface.

Among the rich, the celebrity super star, the wealthy sports person, and the corporate magnate, and all the characters among the landed gentry, how do they understand the rest of the people? Where they assert their dominion of influence, such as the public political arena, how do they appreciate the problems of the many? Where 1% dominate two thirds of the resources what is the societal connection with those of lesser means? For many in the oligarchic class, their interactions with those at lower levels in the “food chain” is somewhat limited. If a connection exists, in all likelihood, such interactivity relegates to a “superior-subordinate” relationship. More or less, this is a serious class distinction of upper to lower domination rife with condescension.

According to one article on the issue of a “new American” aristocracy, or plutocratic sovereignty of an elite few, within the top 1% is an even smaller percentage. Of this tiny group of powerfully wealthy, the potency of material worth has the potential to influence elections. Much like the exalted conjecture of the “social studies realm” in academia, many researchers insist hope spring eternal. That is to say, somehow things will change and by some mystical transition, social progress with transform society into utopia. For others, a little more prone to appreciate the sinister or dark side of human nature, not much changes and things will get worse.[6]

Humanity faces the tipping point, as inequality elongates or expands the divide between the elite upper realms and the over-burdened lower ranks. A few perceive a gloomy societal environment in which an entrenched aristocratic minority prefer two opposing American classes. One is the elitists who are in control, and the other is those subject to them. By way of connections, linkages, heritages, affiliations, and so forth, domination perseveres in diverse ways. Under the “rulership” of the aristocracy, those subjected to the status of vassals are supposed to submit willingly. Submission has a price and many acquiesce depending on the enticements.

For some at the top of the “food chain”, a sense of entitlement pervades the thinking processes, along with various notions that include birthright, wealth, inheritance, and educational credentials. Aloof, insulated and remote from connectivity in the realms of the commoner, the elitists find safe mediocrity in status quo stagnation. With contrived consensus, by the vast reaches of “infotainment” networks, the perpetuation of illusions of the “American Dream” continues unquestioned in general. Reinforced by constant sales bombardment, the smoke and mirrors of social mythology cloak the hidden consequence to befall an entire society.

In disparaging fashion, what might be called the “cult of self-interests”, upper realms of society reside in a mind-set seemingly determined to maintain their status quo. While many boast of noble accomplishments and unmatched philanthropy, there is an uncanny hint of callousness, selfishness and hedonistic self-promotion. As to that, the subterfuge of what is seen, as opposed to what is not seen, infers a deeper darkness to the sinister realms of the American aristocracy. For the oligarchic elite, the necessity of deception is crucial to ensure their dominance. Maintaining control for the wealthy “requires extraordinary behind the scenes influence over economic and political systems. To ensure the satiation of dominion, manipulation of commercial interests, swaying political processes, and controlling politicians is crucial to an “entitled” ruling class.

An escalating complexity of diverse societal structures, given the power and control of an upper elitist dominance, does not offer a positive picture for future democratic processes. For some observers, the sense of a democracy presumes an illusion to satiate the herded masses. On the more dismal track of perception, an “entitled” landed gentry, or aristocracy, is no guarantee of intellectual transformation to heightened levels of enlightenment. On the contrary, an argument is probable that a dumber class of oligarchs runs a dumbed down society.

Similarly, in the critique of modern American culture, the early founders in post 1776 lamented related concerns. Whereas it was possible to rebel, resist and otherwise defeat aristocratic oppression, as well as oppose titles of nobility, there was no certainty that some other form of oligarchy would rise up. For some notable representatives of the American Revolution, restraining potential of the monstrous creature of aristocracy required serious vigilance. To this endeavor, limitations on the ability of individuals and groups to have too much power was essential.[7]

To oppose a monarchy, to keep watch over the republic, and ensure freedom from oppression, demands an enlightened and well-educated electorate. Yet, a healthy sense of skepticism, tempered by seasoned cynicism, would immediately object to that notion. The last part of the assertion raises scary prospects, that is, the hope of enlightenment. With that, comes the concern regarding education, intellectual ascendency and maturity in productive thinking. With an extensive interactivity of special interests, corporate intrigue, patronage, linkages of preferentialism, privileged materialism, and hereditary entitlement, resistance is nearly futile.

With the rise of a subculture, or perhaps, several subsets of an American aristocracy, over time, society devolves. Historical references point to the eventual collapses of “empires”. When movie stars and other celebrities are viewed as “philosopher”, in a celebrity worship society, it is a warning signal of eventual social regression. As “educators” insist that one size fits all, and the public educational systems operate like a factory assembly line, creativity, inventiveness and imagination fade. While politicians spew nonsensical irrelevant rhetoric, and pundits ignorant of history foment disingenuous and divisive “political correctness”, mainstream society fragments. In the process, the politically powerful ensure their “hereditary” entrenchment in the continuity of dominance that favors the “entitled” few. In the meantime, waiting under their protective wings are the offspring. Progenies of the American aristocracy inherent the political domains of the elites to the eventual detriment of the republic. Social devolution ensues at a rapid pace.

[1]2018 articles, online newspaper sources focusing of economic issues and related topics;

[2]Traditional magazine with long standing history of articles relating to cultural and political issues;

[3] A documentary from 2013, from a major university’s public affairs program, examining the role of power in the U.S.;

[4]2014 British broadcasting news service focusing on economic global perspectives;

[5]Social commentary in documentary media discussing the counterproductive nature of upper class elitism;

[6]Historic traditional magazine with a history of politically oriented commentary;

[7]From an online national reporting service covering contemporary political and social issues;

Randy Gonzalez is a multi-genre published author, retired police officer, and college professor of criminology.

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