Written by Eric Zuesse
In every era throughout history, the aristocracy have been the wealthiest class and also have controlled their Government. Whereas in former eras, they were granted formal titles by the monarch or else by (in theocratically ruled countries) the clergy, the modern type has mainly eliminated that step and instead reigns only by buying the politicians who (usually by ‘democratic’ elections) win public office and rule the country on behalf of the aristocracy (but nominally on behalf of the public).
As-of 2 November 2022, Forbes magazine counted on their “World’s Billionaires List” 2,668 individuals whose net worths were at least a thousand million dollars — a billion dollars — and excluded, from that list, such individuals as the King of Saudi Arabia, whose net worth is well over a trillion dollars; so, this is a list of only billionaires who don’t own an entire country (and, in his case, the world’s largest oil company, Aramco). But, anyway, there probably aren’t more than 3,000 billionaires; and any one of them whose main residence is in the U.S. or in one of its allied countries is sufficiently wealthy to be able to donate to his or her nation’s politicians enough money for political campaigns so as to either select that nation’s leaders or else be able to veto from its leadership a politician whom none of the other billionaires will financially back. Each of them recognizes that their dictatorship is a collective affair. There are fewer than a thousand of them in the U.S., and they all — both the Democrats and the Republicans amongst them — share many interests in common against the general public. The Democratic ones select that Party’s nominees, and the Republican ones select that Party’s nominees. In other words: at least within the U.S. and its allied countries, these individuals effectively can control their Government by swaying the voters in its elections, so that both Parties will nominate billionaire-acceptable leaders. This isn’t to say that all billionaires are active in doing that, but each one of them can do it if he or she wants to, either by donating to political campaigns or else by buying news-media so they won’t even need to donate to politicians but can control the voters in a more direct manner. The politically inactive billionaires, who donate little or nothing to political campaigns, and who haven’t purchased or inherited a controlling interest in a news-medium that can sway electoral results more directly than by donating to politicians’ campaigns, are satisfied with whomever their politically active billionaire colleagues have been selecting to lead their Governments, and therefore are participating passively, or by default, in the continuation of the control over their Governments by the billionaires. (Whereas Karl Marx had said that in capitalism the governments are controlled by the middle class — “the bourgeoisie” — that’s false, and empirical political-science studies of the United States have conclusively shown it to be false: only the super-rich, the aristocracy, those very few individuals, not the “bourgeoisie” at all, control the U.S. Government.)
I call every Government that is controlled by its billionaires (with, perhaps, also the participation of only the most politically active of the centi-millionaires) an “aristocracy” as opposed to a “democracy” (which latter is a Government that represents the majority of the land’s inhabitants, not merely the super-richest of them such as in an aristocracy).
Every aristocracy throughout history has been obsessively concerned with three things: wealth-power, heredity, and zero-sum (win-lose not win-win) games. (Therefore, too, many of them own sports-teams or otherwise fund and promote win-lose competitions instead of win-win ones.)
Wealth-power defines what they are. Heredity defines their type of divine-right belief that justifies their dynastic aspiration and does not require a Pope’s or other theocratic justification for their wealth and power. And zero-sum games or “supremacism” — the belief that there is only one winner in any game and that all losers are inferiors to that person and should therefore serve the interests of its winner and not merely their own interests — or respect for the hierarchy, and rejection of any sort of equality of rights — justifies, in their own mind, whatever they might need to do in order to be and remain a winner — someone at the very top of a wealth-power pyramid. Whereas in a democracy the needs of the public are the Government’s top concern, in an aristocracy the Government serves only the billionaires’ needs: wealth-power (their control over the Government), heredity (low or no taxation upon property-inheritances so as to advantage the super-rich at the expense of all other taxpayers), and zero-sum games (weakening the public so as to strengthen yet further the aristocracy’s control over the Government). (Of course, within their own organizations, teamwork is respected and therefore mutually cooperative behavior and win-win competitions are encouraged, but all outward-facing activities are intensely win-lose: us-versus-them — and the public are very definitely in the “them” category.) In international policies, the billionaires’ needs come down to one thing: expanding yet further their empire — imperialism — and this means expanding international subversions, sanctions, coups, and invasions, so as to add new lands to their existing empire. Imperialism is the international policy of wealth-power, inheritance, and zero-sum (win-lose not win-win) games. In the U.S.-and-allied countries, this imperialism is specifically of the neoconservative type: for Anglo-American control over the entire planet — the Rhodesist type of imperialism. Any economic competitor they want to crush so as for there to become a global monopoly on power — a ‘world government’ by the U.S. Government, and NOT by the U.N. or any other democratically consensual system of international law: instead a global dictatorship over all nations, by the American billionaires’ Government and imposed by its military (including its currently 900 foreign military bases).
Although not everyone in the aristocracy was born as an aristocrat, usually more aristocrats are born to immediate ancestors who were aristocrats than are “self-made” or original producers of their family fortune, and every aristocracy is intensely dynastic and its members are not only deeply committed to inequality of rights but are intensely proud to be the winners that they are — regardless of how they won it. They are deeply committed to the idea that not only is there naturally an inequality in personal abilities and attributes but that their children have a right to inherit whatever privileges, including wealth, that the child might inherit from the parents not genetically but in terms of inherited property. This right of social (and not merely of natural) inheritance — inheritance of property — is the actual foundation-stone for any aristocracy. Not only does it intergenerationally amplify the naturally existing inequality of wealth, privileges, and power, that exist within any society, so that winners will win even more than that, and the masses of losers will lose even more as the decades and centuries pass, but it provides to any aristocrat the hope of participating in the creation of a future dynasty that will amplify even more the existing inequalities within society and therefore serve the overriding supremacist (win-lose — either “us” or “them” but NOT both) objective of any aristocracy.
Whereas the Forbes and Bloomberg lists of the world’s billionaires focus on their wealth and not on their personal and social lives, a list of 64 female billionaires provides a more direct overall picture of how stunningly glamorous many of them are and of how important to billionaires is their right to pass their fortunes on to their descendants, so that, in this list, one can see today the formation of some of the future world’s leading family dynasties. That list is here, and for each of this golden 64, it also shows photos of the person, along with a brief description of their dynasty. None of the listees there is at all described as to her political leanings or involvements, but, in many cases, their parents’ political involvements — if any — are well known to the public (and, of course, all of them are imperialists, advocates for U.S. global hegemony). Any one of the 64 COULD donate, say, $100 million, or even break all records and donate $200 million, to a progressive politician’s campaign against the intensely imperialistic Joe Biden so as to win the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination and end neoconservatism, but this won’t happen, because no aristocrat has ever done any such thing. For any billionaire, imperialism is an objective, instead of a bane. And each of these 64 individuals is a billionaire.
Numerous empirical political-science studies have been done on how a person’s wealth, or increases in the person’s wealth, correlates with that individual’s (then or subsequent) political beliefs and values — in other words: the differences between the general public on the one hand, and the aristocracy (the super-rich) on the other. Here are some of the most interesting findings:
CONSERVATISM, POLITICS, & WEALTH
During 13-15 March 2015, CNN polled on whether respondents preferred that “The candidate has never been wealthy,” or instead that “The candidate has had economic success in their life”; and Republicans chose the rich by 63%/27%, while Democrats chose the rich by 52%/43%. Independents chose the poor by 49%/44%. Independents there were the least conservative, the most progressive, though not very progressive; Republicans, by contrast, were extremely conservative, very authoritarian, wanting their boss as their President. The most authoritarian region of the country was the South, which chose the rich candidate by 59%/35%. The West was close behind: 54%/39%. Third was Midwest: 49%/42%. Least authoritarian was Northeast, which preferred the poor candidate by the bare margin of 47%/46%.
As regards population-density, Urban and Suburban were both authoritarian by 55%/38%, and Rural were barely authoritarian, by 48%/43%. Young were the least authoritarian, old were the most. Overall, Americans were authoritarian, preferring the rich candidate by 53%/40% (as-if, other things being equal, the poor candidate shouldn’t be expected to have overcome greater obstacles and shown more skill of political leadership in order to achieve a given degree of political renown and appeal than the rich candidate who has achieved that same political level). It’s a population unlikely to sustain democracy — fundamentally hostile toward democracy, favorable toward aristocracy; more respectful of people who take for themselves than of people who give of themselves; more trusting of people who exploit than of people who serve; more-comfortable being led by the callous than by the compassionate — a fundamentally myth-dependent deceived population.
Here are some of my prior reports summarizing the research on that political-cultural disease — the disease of a nation rather than of merely a person — conservatism:
Concerning that last-mentioned one, more should be said here about it:
That February 2014 study, by Andrew J. Oswald and Nattavudh Powdthavee, is one of the most important ever done. Its title was “Does Money Make People Right-Wing and Inegalitarian? A Longitudinal Study of Lottery Winners.” It was important because, as it noted at the end, “To our knowledge, these are the first fixed-effects results of their kind, either in the economics literature or the political science literature.” Freed of scholar-speak, that was saying: No previous scientific study has been done of whether the correlation that conservatism generally accompanies wealth is causal in either direction: from wealth to ideology, or from ideology to wealth. They found a definite causal relationship: wealth causes conservatism. Or: “[lottery] winners tend to support a right-wing political party, and also to be intrinsically less egalitarian.” Furthermore: “This money-to-right-leaning relationship is particularly strong for males (we are not certain why). It is also of a ‘dose-response’ kind: the larger the win, the more people tilt to the right.” There was no other difference between people who won lotteries and people who didn’t; the winners simply became more conservative after they won. Here is how the “Abstract” put that: “Money apparently makes people more right-wing.”
This helps to explain why other studies have found that “Successful People Tend to Be Bad,” and why “Gallup Poll Finds Democrats More Compassionate; Republicans More Psychopathic,” and why “Study Shows Republicans Favor Economic Inequality.”
It also helps to explain why the exit polls in the 2012 Obama-Democrat v. Romney-Republican U.S. Presidential contest showed that Romney’s voters tended to be much higher income than Obama’s voters. Unfortunately, public-opinion polls don’t often ask questions to find correlations between party-affiliation and income, but all of the evidence that does exist on this important topic indicates that conservative voters tend to be richer than progressive voters. (This fits with the finding that “Money apparently makes people more right-wing.”)
Furthermore, the Americans on both the Forbes and on the Bloomberg lists of billionaires are about 70% Republicans and 30% Democrats, versus the usual norm amongst the U.S. population, of 55% Democrats to 45% Republicans (not including Independents). The Oswald-Powdthavee study helps to explain why that’s the case: lucky people tend to be conservatives; it’s not the case that conservatives tend to be lucky people. Conservatives are no luckier than non-conservatives. They’re also not more competent than non-conservatives. Instead: Success causes one to be a conservative. No matter how progressive or conservative one is before one becomes rich, one become even more so after one has become rich.
And, throughout history, the aristocracy has been far more conservative than the general population. (However, in the post-WW-II world, aristocratic hypocrites or “liberals” have been needing to pretend not to be conservatives, in order to fool hypocrites among the electorate to vote for liberal, or fake-‘progressive’, candidates, such as on ‘environmental’ and ‘human rights’ issues. After all: everything comes in at least two flavors, such as chocolate and vanilla.)
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse’s new book, AMERICA’S EMPIRE OF EVIL: Hitler’s Posthumous Victory, and Why the Social Sciences Need to Change, is about how America took over the world after World War II in order to enslave it to U.S.-and-allied billionaires. Their cartels extract the world’s wealth by control of not only their ‘news’ media but the social ‘sciences’ — duping the public.