Extreme wealth inequality is growing to the point where it might be safely argued that we are living in the midst of the second Gilded Age, replete with the most massive and sinister monopolies ever constructed. The economic divide is but one of the many battle lines drawn in the Culture War between the ruling class and the country class. Employing the analyses of Angelo Codevilla and Samuel Francis, the ruling class is the fundamentally Leftist managerial elite which controls our institutions, including the corporatocracy, academia, the media, and the Deep State bureaucracy, spun out of the Executive Branch. Created as a consequence of congressional abdication, this administrative therapeutic state has become a sort of supreme Fourth Branch. The ruling class uses egalitarianism as their weapon, overwhelming and dismantling the traditions which stand in the way of its reign. The country class is best understood for our purposes as those deplorable American kulaks who reside in flyover country, “bitterly clinging” to the past; this country class is essentially white, Christian (or at least the progeny of Christians), and on the Right.
The Leftist ruling class is bipartisan to the core; nothing separates Koch from Soros. The Right is not currently represented politically, though it is finally making inroads into the Republican Party thanks to President Trump’s Make America Great Again base, allegiant not to the President but to his 2016 platform. The ruling class-country class divide is not simply economic, however; a large portion of the current American economic underclass pledges allegiance to the ruling class. Through the secular theocracy of social justice, multiculturalism, and white masochism, this portion of the ruled has been led to believe that it is in fact the counterculture, that the country class (varyingly known as the ‘patriarchy’, ‘evangelical Right’, ‘heteronormative hegemony’, and a panoply of other meaningless gobbledygook terms) is in fact the ruling class. They proclaim their ‘resistance’, all the while serving as handmaidens to the corporate and political powers-that-be. Thus, much of America’s urban poor cannot be included within the country class.
While precise data depends upon the poll, it is clear that a growing number of Americans are beginning to prefer ‘socialism’ to ‘capitalism’. Whether or not these would-be socialists can define socialism is another question entirely, and certainly they have not read The Black Book of Communism or Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago (though some of Senator Bernie Sanders’ staffers evidently have, and like what they see). Aside from our national decline of intelligence, why would young men and women in the most prosperous nation in human history turn towards a serfdom that reliably generates nothing but misery and starvation? Perhaps a better question is: How could they not? The only ‘capitalism’ that many of them have been exposed to is the sugar-coated cyanide, rapine and plunder of private equity vultures like Paul Singer, insatiable wendigos eviscerating and devouring thriving small towns and leaving addiction and suicide in their wake. The only America that our youngest generation knows is the Bush nihilism of perpetual multigenerational desert war and the Obama cynicism of ‘hope’ and ‘change’. Their earliest memories include the ruling class bailing itself out of the chaos that it created, at the expense of the hostage taxpayer. The ruling class, we were told, is “too big to fail”. Apparently, our nation isn’t too big to fail. Our families clearly weren’t too big to fail. Who is there to bail us out?
America is an oligarchy, a disguised aristocracy; the capitalism that built this country no longer exists as such. Some modicum of meritocracy must be maintained in order for a capitalist constitutional republic of republics, such as the original United States, to survive with general harmony between the classes. At the very least, the illusion of meritocracy must be sustained. In other words, the working and lower-middle classes must have hope. Today, Horatio Alger is dead; he was hung with the bootstraps he was supposed to pull himself up with. The ruling class perpetuates itself through the criminally fraudulent university system. Thanks to federal student loans (these loans themselves, as well as their permanence, the result of brazenly corrupt political lobbying) and the thoroughly disproven lie that everybody needs to get a college degree (see Caplan’s The Case Against Education), an entire generation is enslaved in debt that it can never repay.
There is an agency problem when we examine student loan debt, as these loans are willingly taken, the burden of debt willingly shouldered. It surely is not equitable to merely forgive this debt, for what of those who managed their finances and paid off the debt? What of those who didn’t need to take on debt? Wealth is not something to be penalized. On the other hand, it is not simply the fault of the student alone, for they were promised that with a college degree, wealth lay just around the corner. Just as the diversity bureaucracy mandated that housing loans be extended to minorities who would clearly never be able to repay them, partially precipitating the 2008 housing crisis and Great Recession, these student loans are propping up shoddy ‘universities’ (just look at the proliferation of colleges and the functionally illiterate students they churn out, as well as the fact that as universities are enriched, they employ less and less full professors) and students who should never have gone to college in the first place. This system has produced a revolutionary class of over-educated and under-employed young adults, relentlessly drilled in the dystopic tenets of the Frankfurt School.
Perhaps the most significant difference between the first and second Gilded Age is the respective presence and absence of the spirit of noblesse oblige. Henry Ford paid a family wage because he cared for his workers and their families, for their shared country. The illustrious industrialists Astor, Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Vanderbilt all built hospitals, libraries, museums, schools, and universities. They cared for these United States; they felt an obligation to give back to the nation which had made everything possible. As Americans, they owed allegiance to America. This stands in stark contrast to today. ‘Our’ kleptocratic ruling class despises the country that it rules. It has presided over the decline and fall of America, with no stake in its future; it doesn’t even see itself as American. Bill Gates has certainly contributed massive amounts of his money…to fund the African population bomb. George Soros is a great contributor…to Leftist prosecutors across seventeen states, like Philadelphia’s Krasner and San Francisco’s Boudin (Leftist royalty, the son of Weather Underground cop-killers and the adopted son of Obama confidante terrorists Ayers and Dohrn), who are actively encouraging murder and mayhem in a grand display of anarcho-tyranny. Michael Bloomberg works tirelessly…to run roughshod over the Second Amendment and use his façade of a presidential campaign to donate unlimited amounts of money. Many charitable organizations in America today are nothing but funnels to Leftist causes célèbre and international populations. The private charity of the first Gilded Age rendered public welfare unnecessary; conservatives and libertarians should therefore remember that a world without public welfare can only be achieved by inculcating noblesse oblige in the ruling class once again, or through a large-scale Christian revival. Unfortunately, these scenarios seem highly improbable.
Another marked difference between our two Gilded Ages is the current onslaught of mass immigration, with Americans continuing to be replaced on a vast scale. Manufacturing jobs were the first to go; when these were not outsourced to the Third World, Third World peasants were imported to take the remainder at slave wages. The blue-collar family wage is no more, leading to a precipitous decline in marriage; women do not marry men that cannot provide or that have a lower income than them. The two-income couples that do manage to stay married are further harmed by this wage depression insofar as they are led to believe they cannot afford to start a family. Working class Americans were told that they should simply suck it up and “learn to code”, but as time has gone on, many of those that bought in to the lie and earned STEM degrees have been replaced as well; for example, Big Tech stooge Senator Mike Lee is currently focused on flooding the market with hundreds of thousands of college-educated Asians, deflating white-collar wages. This feeds back into the over-educated, indebted, and under-employed proto-revolutionary class, but belies another disturbing issue. The manufacturing and retail jobs that working aliens currently occupy are in the process of being rendered obsolete, automated away. What is this uneducated underclass to do when the jobs dry up? They won’t be returning home; that much seems certain.
We sit atop a pressure cooker; the revolutionary ferment is frothing. The hatred of the ruling for the ruled is beginning to be reciprocated, sometimes misdirected and sometimes not. The endpoint of this is unknown, but our prospects are disquieting; and this assuming that civil war between the traditional ruling and country classes doesn’t break out first. Fanon’s atmospheric violence is palpable, our urban areas particularly saturated with rage, and Stoddard’s Untermensch may indeed burst forth in florid and fervid violence. What could be in store is something less like Occupy Wall Street and more like the October Revolution. The only ideas percolating in the mainstream are those of the Left: the same stale ideas that have reaped the whirlwind for almost two centuries, repackaged by the credulous idiocy of ‘the Squad’, the intellectual leaders of the Democrat Party. The Right has to have an answer besides the buffoons at Turning Point USA and Young America’s Foundation repeating the tired mantra, “capitalism good, socialism bad”; the answer is not the soulless, deracinated materialist consumerism that empowered the Left in the first place. No, the answer is national populism, or a real national conservatism un-neutered by the likes of Rich Lowry; the answer is a Rightist program that is focused exclusively on promoting and protecting families. Childbirth bounties are but a start.
Paradoxically, underpinning this program has to be our acknowledgment of the virtues of selfishness; we must care for our people, for our country. This generosity with ourselves, for our prosperity, must be distinguished from the hundreds of billions of dollars we cast into the fires of foreign boondoggles each year. Economic protectionism is inarguably superior to the laissez-faire globalization that has accelerated our dispossession; GDP is not a measure of anything. In the midst of our soaring stock market (are you tired of #winning?), do you feel prosperous? Does it feel like our country is strong? Rather than making the world safe for the Weaverian god terms of ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’, we must make America safe for our families. Our drugged and overstimulated society, its hands thrown up to the heavens in despair, is but billions of lonely individuals disconnected to anything but the soul-crushing misery they find in the search for the solace of their own pleasure. We must acknowledge that the community is and will always be supreme over the individual; before this happens, before we rebuild the heart of our nation, from the steeple to the home, anything else we wish to accomplish will be moot.
Neil Kumar is a graduate of the University of Chicago and is currently a student at the University of South Carolina School of Law. He is a proud member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, with roots in South Carolina that extend to the Revolutionary War. He calls Bentonville, Arkansas, home.