I am convinced that a clergyman ought to be three things. Well-read, well-bred, and well-breaded.
Because he’s a friar.
And such men are creatures of the church!
Speaking of church, let’s talk about Church. No, not the concept of the Church. That’ll have to wait for another time. I mean Michael Church, or more specifically, Michael Church’s musings on class.
To be honest, for the longest time, I didn’t really like it. I thought that his division of gentry and elite was mostly a way for him to divide the world into good folk (‘gentry’) and bad folk (‘elite’), and that he arbitrarily divided the professional class between the gentry and the elite so as to put himself on the right side.
But as I got older, I realized that such distortions are informationally valuable in-and-of-themselves, since they reveal the thought patterns and preferences of their holders. A lie reveals more truths than a fact. The Chinese learned this a long, long time ago, and that’s why they play poker with their cards face up. A submarine can be detected by the absence of sound. A mystery can be solved by the dog not barking in the nighttime.
And Church’s choices are informative indeed. They illustrate an important point – differences in perception. When you come up from the bottom, coming up hard, your viewpoints are far different from someone born into the upper middle class. Now, he claims to be a native G2, but he certainly has quite a lot of vitriol towards bluebloods. So if he is, that’s quite a lot of loathing towards himself. Probably a majority of his peers are bluebloods in the truest sense – descent from historical reigning aristocracies. The values of his profession can be traced directly back to Ancien Regime and its values. That someone like this would have more in common with a teacher than an investment banker is *absurd*. Both the investment banker and presumably Church went to elite colleges. Teachers do not, in any meaningful sense, ever work up to or promote into being professionals. They’re teachers. They teach until they become admins or get pensioned out. It’s a stable enough life, but it’s no meaningful sense on the same ladder as a professional. He is of a social rank roughly equivalent to the Oscar Meyer heir. Yeah, the hot dog guy. By no means is this top, but to suggest this is the realm of mere mortals like schoolteachers is absurd.
Let’s look at another group that often comes up hard: conservative talking heads. Or, as they are often called, Cuckservatives. One reaction to one’s new environs is hatred and distancing, as Church does. And we’ll return to that later. But another is to hate one’s origins in order to ingratiate one’s self with one new peers. To do that, one slanders the working and middle classes as brutish, unsophisticated, disgusting flyovers. One places all sorts of follies and ills at their feet. This also serves an important psychic purpose for the class migrant. By making the origin the image of evil, he can convince himself of his worthiness to join his new class, since he’s good and not evil like the rest of the unwashed. And then, having made his new home class the font of goodness, he can adopt its norms to an extent unnatural for any native. Speaking of many of these NGO people… their ties are far, far too straight. Or, to use a conservative example, Buckley is the very image of the platonic WASP precisely because he is not one. Of course, their new peers never truly accept them. To the native elite, the newcomer is gauche, a perpetual outsider. His oddities become emblematic of his crude origins. That exaggerated pose of eliteness? It’s the exaggeration of a clown. They’re considered nothing more than talking apes. Orwell despised these people, and for good reason. They sell out their kin, their honesty, and ultimately even their dignity… for the scraps off their master’s table. Cuckservative indeed.
Anyways, back to Church. The idea that teachers and him are both gentry is ridiculous. But I will admit a similarity. And the similarity lies in where Church places his gentry. In the middle. It is his middle class. And the fracture between his gentry and his elite is real. His self-identification with the middle is driven by another phenomena I’ve noted on this blog. The screeching masses of the middle are society’s conscience. And so too is Mr. Church.
Who does Church put atop his gentry? The media. And that’s because the media are the high priests of the Cathedral, our modern civic religion. And Church, as an ideological professional, is one of its priests, spreading the mores of what some may call good taste, but what I call closed-minded dogma. Teachers are the little lay pastors.
We can this moralizing in what he calls the oppression of engineers. Namely, that they are subject to micromanagement and having to report to bosses and that they paper this over by imagining themselves little owners of capital. But… they are little owners of capital. A millionaire is a little owner of capital. It’s by no means false consciousness. And the business with reports and annoying obligations to bosses and others is nothing more than my great-great-grandfather and uncle had to deal with, and millions lived and died by the word (for a very brief amount of time). That is about as high as you can go, and you’re still saddled with the bullshit. Similarly, when he discusses fascism, he calls it freedom from competition. In fascism, the ruling elite free themselves from competition and force the masses to fight. This has the advantage of being a neat explanation, and thus pleasing to the typical autistic mind of an elite. The problem is that this consistent definition defines out what most people consider actual fascism. Nazi Germany was many things, and it is a regime that I have very few fond feelings for, but it was certainly not a great place to be elite. Many an old family was ruined in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. And those who held on were subjected to Hitler’s ridiculous parallel org charts where duplicated responsibilities led to constant infighting and competition. Now, one could say that Der Fuhrer himself was free from competition. The problem with that is that the remnants of the old aristocracy tried to assassinate him. Constantly. They even made a movie about one attempt. And the far-right of Old China as they transitioned into Taiwan? No, that was a terrible place, full of purges and terror and replacement. The place where my ancestors were free of competition and could live stably and peacefully? America. The America of the working class settlement and class truce. The America of socialist democracy. So yeah, I guess that would be fascism. Right.
Here’s the issue. The things he points out as problems are nothing more than the demands of reality. Sure, being jerked around sucks. But everyone is jerked around, even CEOs. Being both a worker and a capital-holding business owner, I can assure you that both involve lots of micromanagement and bullshittery. That’s just how life is. And competition? EVERYONE wants to be free of competition, not just corrupt elites. Perfect competition is hell. It’s great for consumers – except every consumer is also a producer. And all those producers want some power to determine their own prices and fight their own wars. The corruption of the elite in seeking to end their competition is nothing more than what everyone wants. Workers want to end their competition too. Everyone does. Everyone wants everyone else to compete. But we can’t have that, so life is a constant struggle for monopoly power. Nobody wins forever. The positive is also the negative. There is no utopian state that combines the upside of both. Most work is boring not because of the greed of employers, but because life is honestly kinda boring and not some aspirational, self-actualizing funtime joyride for smiling aristocrats. Socialists like him? What they seek to overthrow is not the government regime but the regime of reality. It is doomed to fail.
These ideologies are nothing more than civic religions. What they seek is not reform, but salvation.
He calls it an issue that corporations would prefer to keep their employees politically bland! As they say, that’s not a bug – that’s a feature! Cuius regio, eius religio. What protects the corporation from his liberal proselytizing is also what keeps out the acolytes of what he considers a detestable little fascist, Donald Trump. The four century truce, as fragile and torn as it is now, is the only thing saving corporate from constant bloodbaths and bickering over civic religions. Sure, he thinks that the masses are tricked into following a false idol… all of the evangelists think that! And allowing that in corporate turns the infrastructure of our world into tools to punish unbelievers. Down that road is either theocracy or civil war. The Thirty Years War was one of the most destructive, in relative terms, in human history. When true believers are fighting for their religion, they tend not to back down. The result is villages reduced to ashes and bones, mothers eating their children, and sons slaying their fathers.
The crux of the Church issue is that his name is fitting indeed. He’s not a baron… he’s a bishop. And while I’m sure he’s a competent, caring man who wants only the best – the intertwining of temporal and spiritual authority makes for a sick society.
But who knows? Maybe I’m just one of the bullies.
Monsieur le Baron
P.S. Parasitic bluebloods? A neoliberal future where the poor are forced to cycle to create power to serve themselves ads and prolefeed? Look, I will readily admit many evil things about Hillary Clinton, but she doesn’t want to strap you into exercise bikes Matrix-style so you can watch MORE YOUTUBE LIKE AND SUBSCRIBE NOW. To my readers, please do read Haidt. Ordinary people understand fanatics, but fanatics cannot comprehend ordinary people. To borrow one of Z Man’s images, everyone outside the walls is evil. They do evil things for evil reasons because they’re evil. Come the fuck on. Everyone in the top level elite is evil? Most of them believe the same things he does! They’re just even more psychopathic, autistic, and bubbled off than even regular elites. Zuck isn’t a lizard or Satan, he’s just a megasperg.