- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 8, 2010

By Angelo M. Codevilla
Beaufort Books, $12.95, 145 pages

America now divides ever more sharply into two classes, according to Angelo M. Codevilla, a professor emeritus of international relations at Boston University.

As he explains in “The Ruling Class: How They Corrupted America and What You Can Do About It,” the smaller of these two classes “holds the commanding heights of government,” from which it presumes the right to direct our ways of living. The ruling class jealously guards the self-claimed prerogative in its belief that most Americans - the country class - are incompetent to run their own lives because they are stupid, racist or violent in their tendencies.

All “public affairs” issues are best left to professionals, or so goes the rationale, including what used to be considered private decisions such as medical care, the use of energy and water, and the consumption of food.

More and more, the ruling class (via government diktat or its guidance of societal pressure and often through its media outlets) tries to tell us what we can drive, what we can drink, what we can wear, how we shower, how we set our thermostats and, more alarming, what we can say. Much of this intrusion comes through government rulings, court edicts and other pressures related to “political correctness.”

The country class, as the author sees it, can be compared to “the frog that awoke to the fact that it was being slow-boiled only when getting out of the pan would require perhaps more strength and judgment than it had left.”

The two classes do not divide over station in life. Presidents (i.e., Ronald Reagan) and Supreme Court justices (i.e., Clarence Thomas) are not taken seriously by the ruling class.

Though much of the divide stems from cultural and lifestyle factors, America’s political trend lines are deeply affected by the conflict between the rival classes.

Stated another way: Mr. Codevilla thinks the ruling class is using the “slow-boiled” method to lead the country class into an “aggressive intolerant secularism” that the ruling class sees as the “intellectual basis” for its claim to rule.

The ruling class has the political support of one-third of the electorate: most Democrats and a few Republicans. The country class is roughly the home of a few Democratic voters, most Republicans and all independents.

The latter seems to be coalition of convenience. Most Democratic voters are satisfied their party officials represent them well. By contrast, just one-fourth of Republican voters feel the same way about their party officials. This may reflect country-class concerns that some Republican officials yearn for junior status in the ruling class.

As examples, Mr. Codevilla cites Sen. Lindsey Graham (backed “global warming” hoax) and Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (wanted to be like Teddy Kennedy).

Members of the ruling class cover for each other in much the same way that old fraternity buddies, in their later careers, open doors for former college chums in the business world.

Mr. Codevilla cites a timely instance:

Let’s say that in 1984, you are Laurence Tribe, Harvard professor and pillar of the liberal establishment, who writes his “magnum opus” with the help of his student assistants Ron Klain and Barack Obama. Ten years later, Mr. Klain admits to having written some parts of the book, and other parts of the work are word-for-word or paraphrases of another book published in 1974.

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