Book of the Month/June 2019

A number of years ago, The American Spectator published an article by Anthony Codevilla called The Ruling Class. That article made quite a splash at the time, and then was reworked into a little book. I read it back then, and thought it really described the lay of the land well. This was all before the rise of Trump, before Brexit, before Bolsanaro, before all that. I just went back and reread it, and have selected it as my book of the month. It was remarkably prescient.

The ruling class is afflicted with what Thomas Sowell calls the “vision of the anointed.” Their prescriptions are righteous by definition, because they arose from an effete class of homogenized liberals who intend for the outworking of their pure thoughts to be marvelous precisely because they are their pure thoughts.

Echoing Sowell again, self-congratulation is the basis for all their policy prescriptions. That congratulatory draught is a heady drink, and awash in their drunken humility, they govern the rubes in fly-over country with arrogance.

Codevilla does a really admirable job in describing the two Americas that have developed—he calls them the Ruling Class and the Country Class. Quite distinct from various political divides, and policy debates, there is an antecedent cultural divide. This cultural divide is where the action really is.

He does tip his hat to the bedrock issues that are upstream from the cultural divide (and that would be the religious divide) but he does not develop that in detail. This deserves detailed treatment from someone sometime, but in the meantime, I would recommend that anyone who is interested in what is happening to our country right now should begin with Codevilla. Well worth your time.