We deny to claim "any Superiority to ourself
to defyne, decyde, or determyn any Article or Poynt
of the Christian Fayth and Relligion,
or to chang any Ancient Ceremony of the Church
from the Forme before received and observed
by the Catholick and Apostolick Church."

Norman Simplicity

Norman Simplicity
Click image for original | © Vitrearum (Allan Barton)

Saturday, May 7, 2016


From The Catholic World Report:

CWR: While some political observers have apparently been surprised by the rise of Donald Trump, the appeal of Bernie Sanders, and the anti-Establishment mood, your 2010 book The Ruling Class indicated that something like this was almost inevitable. You wrote, for instance, that "the Ruling Class and the Country Class has overwhelmed [the division] between Republicans and Democrats." How would you define and describe these two classes?

Angelo Codevilla: The ruling class are society’s “ins.” This class comprises persons in government, those who depend for their livelihoods on government, and whose socio-economic prospects and hopes are founded on government. Thus it includes most people in the educational establishment, the media, and large corporations. Its leading elements and its major voting constituencies are the Democratic party. But it transcends political parties because any number of Republicans aspire to its privileges and share its priorities.

Above all, the ruling class defines itself by a set of attitudes, foremost of which is contempt for those outside itself. This contempt stems from the rather uniform education that the ruling class’s members absorbed from universities and which they developed by living in their subculture. Believing themselves intelligent apostles of scientific truth, they regard others as dumb and in the grip of religious obscurantism. Religion is the greatest of the divides between the ruling class and those it deems its inferiors. Whereas they believe themselves morally good and psychologically sound, they regard others as suffering from psychological dysfunctions and phobias — effectively as bad people. The ruling class does not believe that those outside itself have the right or capacity to conduct their own lives.

The “country class” is the term used in British-American discourse since the 17th century to describe society’s “outs.” The rest of us. Lots more people — quite heterogeneous. Though for reasons heterogeneous and often internally inconsistent, more than two thirds of this class is resentful of the ruling class ...

Since 2010, the consciousness of the bitter opposition between these two parts of America has sharpened. By 2014 it was clear to many (including myself) that the Republican Party had discredited itself as the alternative to the ruling class. The country was hungry for someone to stand up to its rulers. It was clear to me that whoever seized the role of defender of the “outs” against the bad management and contempt of the “ins” would sweep aside opposition ...

Christianity, which gave medieval regimes their character, which character endured in the Western world up until recent decades, revolutionized life by recognizing each individual’s direct relationship to God — the creator of the universe, the essence of goodness, and hence the one and only standard of right and wrong. This, including Jesus’s mandate to separate duties to God and to Caesar, made it possible for life in the West to be lived on several independent levels. This is (or was) our charter of freedom. As Luther put it: “Be on you knees before God, that you may stand on your feet before men” ...

The character of any democracy is neither more nor less than the character of its demos at any given time. The United States of America’s distinctive character was obvious to anyone stepping off a ship in de Tocqueville’s time as it was to anyone arriving here up to, say, fifty years ago: a nation equally God-fearing and free ...

The country has been clamoring for some kind of political vehicle for opposing the ruling class. The Republican Party has shown that it is not capable of fulfilling that function. Its leaders no longer have a following. The sooner it goes the way of the Whigs, the better.

From The Spectator:

A nation is more than just a register of voters paying tax to get services; it relies on social capital, and unless there is a shared idea of nationhood then whoever ends up in power lacks true legitimacy in the eyes of large amounts of the electorate. America’s real weakness may be the idea of a ‘proposition nation’, the (relatively recent) concept that American-ness is defined not by shared history but by adherence to a certain set of values. This is the result of the social changes of the 1960s, including the 1965 Immigration Act that opened the borders to non-Europeans, and the transition of the country from being historically white (with a partially excluded black minority) to multicultural.

This is all well and good on paper, or at least on the cinema screen, but defining a country by its values is not only illiberal, but also incredibly weak at creating social solidarity. As it is, America’s social solidarity is in steep decline, as can be inferred by the declining trust people feel. Democracy and good government generally depend on things like trust, without which people are far more likely to put their trust in demagogues.

The logical thing, of course, would be for the country to divide, and perhaps if the Republican and Democrat areas were contiguous, as in 1861, this is what would happen.

Only resolute and urgent action will avert it even now. Whether there will be the public will to demand and obtain that action, I do not know. All I know is that to see, and not to speak, would be the great betrayal.


  1. Am I to understand from this post that you don't welcome the election of Sadiq Khan as mayor of London?

  2. It would not be my place to express a preference. I suspect, as my grandmothers would put it, that the choice was between "six of one, half a dozen of the other." The pictures mixed into my "hash," however, were specifically intended to poke fun at that clown party, the Tories.