The New 9.9 Percent Aristocracy

A recent PBS Newshour segment is something I think provides tremendous insight and value, especially given current events.

You can view it HERE.

When you watch it, you’re going to notice a few topics that we’ve discussed here on the blog over the months and years. First is the prioritizing of Education, an Old Money Core Value that we emphasize frequently, by those who are members of the ‘9.9 percent’. The second is the need for more dynamic, consistent interaction between people of all classes in order to preserve our democracy, nourish our society, and address our challenges.

It might seem ironic that I advocate for the values of Old Money, America’s Upper Class, while at the same time encouraging people to mix it up as much as possible in their daily lives. ‘The rich man needs to know how the poor man lives, and the poor man needs to know how the rich man works.’ I’ve said that before here, and it warrants repeating.

I’m not a fan of gated communities, even as I completely understand why people live in them. Gated communities are symptomatic of societies which have not been equitable in their policies. They haven’t provided adequate and equitable schools, healthcare, or policing to everyone in the community. Therefore, anger arises from real and perceived inequality and injustice among allegedly equal citizens.

This perception of inequality combined with limited opportunities for everyone to participate in the economy–or to simply have hope for a better tomorrow, or not get shot and killed today–leads to frustration and often violence. This sends the affluent fleeing to gated communities for (the feeling of) safety.

Of course, I’m not saying that all violence is a reaction to social injustice. Crime is crime, whether it’s committed during peaceful protests on the street, or simply on Wall Street. And some people just look for opportunities to take advantage and profit regardless of legal, ethical, or moral considerations.

What we can’t do is think that we can outrun injustice of inequality. People will always have different abilities, tendencies, and ambitions. We simply have to endeavor to provide equal access to social tools: education, healthcare, safety in all neighborhoods, decent housing, a clean environment, and a fair system of law enforcement. When these systems are in balance, then everyone truly has the chance to rise to whatever level they can imagine and work toward.

We can’t outrun injustice. And we live less of a life if we build walls instead of bridges. Enjoy the video.

  • BGT





2 thoughts on “The New 9.9 Percent Aristocracy

  1. That is a perceptive comment about gated communities. In 3rd world countries, the wealthy, even the upper middle class, go to great lengths to distance themselves from the “envious.”There are armed guards and an expansive list of ‘dos and don’ts’ designed to ensure “continued good health.”

    Gated communities are on the rise in my state and, I’m with you,I can understand why, but it’s not a good sign. If opportunities for some educational, economic and health advances aren’t made that it will be hard to tell the difference between my state and the southward countries.

    Along with those opportunities,it’s important to remember that we’re all equal in God’s eyes. No human being is inferior to another, or “3/5 of a man.” Once we believe a person is not quite human our hearts harden; it’s easy to ignore them, injure their dignity, experiment on them, or even kill them as if they were annoying mosquitoes.

    Really, ignoring people and disregarding their dignity is enough to ignite a rage in the hearts of the disdained that make gated communities not just a choice, but a necessity.

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