Tuesday, December 24, 2013

why did the wasps lose their will to rule?

WSJ |  The U.S. once had an unofficial but nonetheless genuine ruling class, drawn from what came to be known as the WASP establishment. Members of this establishment dominated politics, economics and education, but they do so no longer. The WASPocracy, as I think of it, lost its confidence and, with it, the power and interest to lead. We are now without a ruling class, unless one includes the entity that has come to be known as the meritocracy—presumably an aristocracy of sheer intelligence, men and women trained in the nation's most prestigious schools.

The acronym WASP derives, of course, from White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, but as acronyms go, this one is more deficient than most. Lots of people, including powerful figures and some presidents, have been white, Anglo-Saxon and Protestant but were far from being WASPs. Neither Jimmy Carter nor Bill Clinton qualified.

WASPs were a caste, closed off to all not born within it, with the possible exception of those who crashed the barriers by marrying in. WASP credentials came with lineage, and lineage—that is, proper birth—automatically brought connections to the right institutions. Yale, Princeton and Harvard were the great WASP universities, backed up by Choate, Groton, Andover, Exeter and other prep schools. WASPs tended to live in exclusive neighborhoods: on upper Park and Fifth Avenues in New York, on the Main Line in Philadelphia, the Back Bay in Boston, Lake Forest and Winnetka in Chicago.

WASP life, though, was chiefly found on the eastern seaboard. WASPs had their own social clubs and did business with a small number of select investment and legal firms, such as Brown Brothers Harriman and Sullivan & Cromwell. Many lived on inherited money, soundly invested.

The State Department was once dominated by WASPs, and so, too, was the Supreme Court, with one seat traditionally left unoccupied for a Jewish jurist of proper mien. The House of Representatives was never preponderantly WASP, though a number of prominent senators— Henry Cabot Lodge and Leverett A. Saltonstall, both of Massachusetts, come to mind—have been WASPs. Looking down on the crudities of quotidian American politics, Henry Adams, a WASP to the highest power, called the dealings of Congress, the horse-trading and corruption and the rest of it, "the dance of democracy." In one of his short stories, Henry James has characters modeled on Adams and his wife Clover, planning a social evening, say, "Let us be vulgar and have some fun—let us invite the President."

So dominant was WASP culture that some wealthy families who didn't qualify by lineage attempted to imitate and live the WASP life. The Catholic Kennedys were the most notable example. The Kennedy compound at Hyannis Port—the sailing, the clothes, the touch football played on expansive green lawns—was pure WASP mimicry, all of it, except that true WASPs were too upstanding to go in for the unscrupulous business dealings of Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. or the feckless philanderings of him and some of his sons.

That the Kennedys did their best to imitate WASP life is perhaps not surprising, for in their exclusion, the Irish may have felt the sting of envy for WASPocracy more than any others. The main literary chroniclers of WASP culture— F. Scott Fitzgerald, say, or John O'Hara—were Irish. (Both Fitzgerald and O'Hara tried to live their lives on the WASP model.) But the pangs weren't limited to the Irish alone. To this day, the designer Ralph Lauren (nĂ© Lifshitz) turns out clothes inspired by his notion of the WASP high life, lived on the gracious margins of expensive leisure. Fist tap Vic.

14 comments:

John Kurman said...

Epstein misses the waspocracy days? I say we pool our monies to send him to summer nostalgia camp. He can work hard, lose weight, get a nicely numbered forearm tattoo, and best of all, get to see his Aryan elite heroes up close and personal.

CNu said...

Nice. But the fact of the matter is that the WASP-ocracy went to total war with the unrepentant Aryans - and rampant Yamamotos - and apparently hasn't been the same since. What happened?

John Kurman said...

Isn't it obvious? We contracted kuru from eatin' their brains.

John Kurman said...

Put American Chumps at the top of this list. We never tire of riding the Ameri-go-round.

CNu said...

No argument http://subrealism.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-poisoning-of-americas-soul.html
Outside of that, however, concessions had to be made to regional forces, factions, and elites from outside the WASP-ocracy - for their cooperation and contributions to world war II. That level of elite compromise has never been entirely well managed, otherwise, I don't think Kennedy would've been shot in Dallas. 50 odd years of comparative calm has once again erupted into the elite conflict now written large all across American politics as world-wide-wrestling. The two party/one ideology system is not holding up well under the stresses of contraction and collapse under the lens of the Internet.

Nowhere is the extent of the conflict more evident than in what has just happened with the NSA.

Civil war would not be helpful at this juncture, but the internal pressures tending in that direction continue building toward violent catharsis.

CNu said...

That's pure Cathedral hyperbole. Wouldn't be no gottdayyum Cathedral if the WASP-ocracy hadn't lost its bearings and fallen into a prolonged crisis of self-recrimination now feminized, multi-culti-ized, slack-jawed, and degenerate beyond all reason and reconciliation.

Nakajima Kikka said...

The money shot: meritocrats, those earnest good students, appear to be about little more than getting on, getting ahead and (above all) getting their own.
To some extent, this way of thinking has been part of American life since the early 1600s. It's the classic thinking of the immigrant, who plans on being here only until he makes that big pile of money and can return to his home country rich as Midas. And as the warrior aspect declined (the abolition of conscription being the final stake in its heart), the above individualistic, commercial thinking ballooned to full-spectrum dominance. Freedom these days means little more than the freedom to make money.
The importance of being a warrior and respecting a warrior were ideas that WASPs transmitted to the larger society. It was one of their "roles". Whatever else you may say about them, they were no "pantywaists" on the battlefield. Another concept transmitted by WASPs was the importance of physical fitness and athleticism to living a balanced life. Its wholesale disappearance from American life since 1980 has been nothing short of catastrophic.

Nakajima Kikka said...

Fighting that total war took a lot out of the WASPs. On the surface, they seemed to come out of that war with renewed self-confidence, but underneath, they knew that the entire colonial order upon which WASP culture/society was built was finished. Already gravely weakened by the combined struggle against Fascism, Nazism, and Yamatoism, that order buckled and broke apart under the pressure of Soviet and Chinese Communism. India, Korea and Vietnam brought it to an end. And with it went the WASP's primary reason for being.

CNu said...

Now we're cooking with gas..., Eclipse of their cultural hegemony happened neither quietly or unanimously. It happened in fits and starts over the intervening 60 years, with lots of entrants into the marketplace for rulership. Hell, the Kennedy phenomenon was itself a huge compromise overture which ended very, very badly for reasons still uncertain. Methinkst that WASP dominance of the elite echelons of the military industrial "unspeakable" may have proven their ultimate undoing. The piece they've been most loathe to relinquish, yet, the piece that has brought them to their knees both in terms of its serial failures post WW-II, and, its internal governance challenges and the constant struggle for control of its apparatus by upstart others.



Who can say where that all stands at this moment in time? Other than to say that in its totality it has been institutionally and reputationally ravaged by the past decade's misadventures. Since WASPs have been pushed from Center state status to Edge state status, what now has the critical mass required to push into the breach and sustain itself for the next 100 years? What are the tipping point factors militating for one or another cultural hub? Whose hegemonic network and infrastructure is next up at bat?

CNu said...

The moneychanging riff-raff desperately needs a ruthless caning on the steps of the temple, the cathedral needs to be defunded and its overwrought oppositionality put back on a tight leash, and finally, military conscription for warmaking purposes (forget about public works - that's the business of the catholic church) needs to be reinstated.

NK-San is school! Accept no substitutes....,

Vic78 said...

Who are the cathedral?

CNu said...

It is necessary to ask, rather, who do capitalists pay for political favors, how much these favors are potentially worth, and how the authority to grant them is distributed. This requires, with a minimum of moral irritation, that the entire social landscape of political bribery (‘lobbying’) is exactly mapped, and the administrative, legislative, judicial, media, and academic privileges accessed by such bribes are converted into fungible shares. Insofar as voters are worth bribing, there is no need to entirely exclude them from this calculation, although their portion of sovereignty will be estimated with appropriate derision. The conclusion of this exercise is the mapping of a ruling entity that is the truly dominant instance of the democratic polity. Moldbug calls it the Cathedral.

shorthand - the leftist, feminist, proxy negroe puppet operating, homosexual, jewish face of higher-ed and the mainstream media. Malcolm was one of the first to call out this scum waaaaaaay back when brothers still had bass in their voice and spoke in plain english that everybody could understand http://youtu.be/7kf7fujM4ag?t=10m30s

Vic78 said...

What gets me is how far behind the times they are. The days of making justice claims were over by the 80s, yet these assholes wouldn't sit down and let the qualified step in. They're still making justice claims today while foreigners are coming in and taking advantage of this country's new opportunities. The great Malcolm X tried to get his people to take advantage of the opportunities he foresaw. He tried to get in on the global game early. http://youtu.be/bxYQv_iw_6Y

CNu said...

They're still making justice claims today while foreigners are coming in
and taking advantage of this country's new opportunities. Vic is truth! Accept no substitutes....,


Not to mention, that faux aggrieved stuff they peddle is as hostile, oppositional and offensive as they can make it. Not, "can't we all get along?" but, "kiss my rank, dank, stankass and you BET NOT SAY NOTHIN about anything I say or do either!" lest you be branded a sexist, racist, anti-semite, homophobe...,


They create no jobs, study or learn anything useful (vocationally) and have effectively become an instrument for weakening and dividing. As counterinsurgencies go, the Cathedral is pure, evil genius.

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