No sooner than we have declared the dearth of new elite formation, we are presented with evidence to the contrary. Time will tell whether the just-leave-me-be streak of libertarianism is anything but a pastime for eccentric billionaires or whether we are for an age of rule by the no-longer-Aspergers over the long haul.
After closing the last post it occurs to us that a new elite did arise in the West after World Wars – namely the labor elite, whose rise was largely unopposed in the States because the economic pie there was expanding so rapidly due to the Marshall Plan and the prostration of the rest of the nation’s trading partners, and unopposed in Europe because of the prostration of the old elites as a result of the exigencies of war. Since the 1970s, what with the economic landscape returning to the long-run normal of stagnation, labor has increasingly come in conflict with the other major economic elite – the business, with the result that labor has been slowly giving ground in sectors least hampered by top-down regulation.
Towards a theory of societal change and conflict: it can be argued that internal revolutions happen when new elites arise and gain power enough to challenge old ones. A corollary to this would be that revolutions such as these succeed when the old elites are weakened by war, insolvency or famine.
Despite the vaguely Marxist class-struggle overtones, such theory may yet hold merit, as evidenced by a good number of examples – to wit: the rise of generals and plebeian tribunes in the Roman Republic that led to civil war and ultimately to Octavian; the rise of mercantile elites in late-medieval Europe that led to toppling of lately-bankrupt French and English monarchies; the rise of the intellectual elites in the 19th century that led ultimately to Marxist revolutions in war-ravaged Russia and her neighbors.
Today, at least in the United States, no new elites appear to be rising, and even though ranks of old elites continue burgeoning, this theory would not advance an argument for pending revolution – unless, that is, the recent rise of technological entrepreneurs represents in fact emergence of a new and qualitatively different libertarian elite.
Pure democracy is indistinguishable from anarchy.
Populism is where all democracies sooner or later go to die.
Populism is the natural, and perhaps inevitable, consequence of wide-franchise democracy.
What distinguishes art from non-art? Possession of:
Artistic intent – it is earnest and descriptive; if it is persuasive then it’s propaganda, if commentary – parody
Handcrafting – if not it’s manufacture
Uniqueness – else it is craft
Lack of utility – otherwise it is design
Self-containment – if it is place-specific then it is mere decoration
Timelessness – if it is merely topical then it’s journalism
Expressiveness – if it does not convey emotion then it is literature
No assertion that fails demonstrably to follow from a verifiable empirical observation can be accepted as true. No belief that is rooted in such assertions can be accepted as valid.