It fascinates me, the Alt-Right’s (or whatever we’re calling it today) obsession with the “Deep State.” I mean, yeah, I get it — there is such a thing as a “Deep State,” and they really do run things, but c’mon, y’all, we’re not Liberals. We read history, so we really should know that the “Deep State” is simply what they used to call “how kingdoms get run, old chap.” Pick any monarch, any time before about 1700, and you’ll find that the king’s decrees are all drawn up by Some Commoner, the Vicar of Nowhere-in-Particular.
This system had two huge advantages. The first, obvious, one is: You get competent people running things. The Earl of This and the Duke of That were good at besieging castles, but, being illiterate lance-thrusters, were notso-hotso at the paperwork that actually got stuff done, even back then. This was even, perhaps especially, true of monarchs who fancied themselves intellectuals — Henry VIII really was pretty smart, but it took grasping, ambitious commoner Thomas Cromwell to make the kingdom go.
The hidden advantage is: It binds grasping, ambitious commoners to the system. It was obvious, though of course unstated, that after so many years of loyal service the Vicar of Nowhere-in-Particular would get promoted into the ranks of the minor gentry. Or his son would, which was even better — he’s got all of his Dad’s brains, combined with a first-rate education and a lifetime’s experience hobnobbing with real aristos. Dad will never be more than a jumped-up commoner despite his titles; the Second Baronet Nowhere-in-Particular will be the kind of crashing snob that even other bluebloods find hard to take. However great he is at hiding it, Dad will always be suspected (rightly) of nursing a grudge against The System, having endured a lifetime of slights from titled morons whose very lives depend utterly on his brains and drive. Junior, though, will be the most loyal servant the Crown ever had — nobody is more vehement in defense of the aristocracy’s ancient privileges than a guy who bought his patents of nobility six months ago.
Our Deep State has dispensed with all that, to its great detriment. We never had patents of nobility in the USA, alas, but we had a fair approximation of it in the Ivy League. Read any F. Scott Fitzgerald novel to see how it worked. Fitzgerald’s parents were nouveaux riches, hicks from the sticks in the frozen ass end of Minnesota; Fitzgerald was the Ivy League’s Ivy Leaguer, a preppie snob that would’ve put Bret Easton Ellis to shame.*
You’ll never quite measure up to the real Skull and Bonesmen, and you’ll never marry a Daughter of the American Revolution, but you’ll live a pretty nice life somewhere in the upper-mid levels of the government. Your kids, which you’ll have with a cousin of a Daughter of the American Revolution, will be legacies at Harvard, and their kids will make partner at a white-shoe law firm in Manhattan (after a brief stint in the JAG corps, because we all must do our bit for Uncle Sam)….
But now that’s gone. The Ivies, like all American universities, have been transformed by an obsession with collecting Diversity Pokemon. Instead of expensive finishing schools, where hicks from the sticks learn to use the correct salad fork while rubbing elbows with their betters, they’re now nothing but holding pens for those minorities who are best at gaming the system…. Actually, it’s worse than that, because after a few decades of this, kids from the sticks no longer realize that it’s “The System” that they’re gaming. Hell, they don’t even know it’s a game. They think this is just the way it is — being slightly darker than your classmates while writing #BlackLivesMatter 100 times on your admissions essay just is being Better Than You.
History is full of lessons about what happens when grubby, ambitious commoners no longer buy into the system. It’s not good. It’s time to take a second look at aristocracy.
*Ellis is, or at least until recently was, sometimes described as the modern F. Scott Fitzgerald. Whether that’s a bigger insult to Ellis or Fitzgerald is an excercise left for the reader.