Wednesday, February 19, 2014

On the Conservative Rhetoric of Entitlement: "Our Upper Class--Our Meritocratic Cognitive Elite" Really?!

Call me dumb--call me very dumb--but on what earthly grounds do the current lords of Wall Street and the banking industry imagine themselves "entitled"?--as Joan Walsh says,

These men who rigged the rules of the game to make themselves obscenely wealthy are trying to convince themselves, and us, that they’re entitled to those rewards.

Are they "entitled" in the sense that they are what conservative philosopher Peter Lawler recently called (apparently without even the slightest bit of redeeming self-mockery) "our upper class—our meritocratic cognitive elite"? 

The lords of Wall Street and the banking industry are the current holders of the equivalent of the titles held by European aristocrats? 

They set the standards for the rest of us by behaving with nobility, by exhibiting good breeding, by excelling at fine manners?

They merit their elite status because they have bigger brains than the rest of us, and so they form a "meritocratic cognitive elite" that is equivalent to what was called, in a pre-modern world, the "upper class"?

Does anyone honestly believe this about the current robber barons of Wall Street and the banking industry? The ones who crashed the global economy, have impoverished the rest of us in order to line their own pockets, and have rigged the political system so that it serves only them and none of the rest of us?

Do conservatives honestly believe this about themselves--that they merit their elite place at the top? Because they're smarter? And because they have finer manners and nobler insights than the rest of us?

If so, do conservative houses just have no mirrors at all in them?

I'm indebted to Andrew Sullivan's Dish site for the link to Peter Lawler's discussion of "Downton Abbey" and its implications for "our upper class--our meritocratic cognitive elite."

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