Tuesday, May 29, 2018

David Brooks Argues That The Professional Class Created Populism and Trump

This is the third article that I have read in the last week which attacks the upper middle class for the rise of populism and Trumpism.  Brooks, and other conservative commentators, are making a case for an enlightened aristocracy which has the proper values that are absent in our professional class that is based upon meritocracy.  That critique is the foundation of Trumpism.  He promised to drain the swamp of the educated elite and replace it with officials who care about the less educated class.  It turns out that he has populated his swamp with billionaires who cut their taxes which will be paid for by cutting social programs, and the public education system which produced the meritocracy.  The billionaire class in the Republican Party is also responsible for making our elected officials dependent upon their generosity.  The cost of running political campaigns has been rising dramatically since the Supreme Court opened the gate for unlimited contributions to political campaigns.  Its impossible to run for congress, or the presidency, without funding from the billionaire class.

I attended several protests this year which attacked Trumpism.  The bulk of the protesters came from the "educated elite" which Trump, and now conservatives like David Brooks,  are blaming for our problems.  The "educated elite" are also leading the defense of our institutions that protect our society from demagogues like Trump.  A social hierarchy based upon merit has its faults.  On the other hand, it has served us better than the aristocracy that preceded it.  There is probably no better example of a meritocracy than the graduating class from Harvard's school of Medicine and Dentistry.  The students selected to speak at the ceremony, as well as the deans,  focused their attention upon better serving a public that does not have sufficient access to healthcare.  The graduating class was heavily populated with women and minorities as well.  One speaker reminded the audience that the aristocrats that managed Harvard's medical school in its early years led a protest movement to reject a black student who had been admitted.  Several of the key speakers at the ceremony were black and many were from other nations that will benefit from the leadership in healthcare that will be provided by the Harvard graduates.  Most of the Harvard graduates will earn a good living.  Their children will also have advantages that will enable many of them to get a good education.  However, they will better serve our nation and the healthcare system that requires their leadership than the aristocracy that they have replaced.  Ever since the publication of Thomas Piketty's book, which focused our attention about the relationship between capitalism and inequality,  conservatives have stepped up their attack on the liberalism that they see in our education system.  They have joined Donald Trump in blaming our "educated elite" for the rise in inequality.

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