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Ruling Class Sycophants


It is important to understand the relationship the intelligentsia have with the ruling class. The intelligentsia, which includes preachers, attorneys, priests, professors, teachers, and writers, use their intellects to maintain their position in society; to earn their keep. In order to be successful they must give others something they want in exchange for what they have to sell. Thus attorneys sell legal advice while preachers sell emotional comfort and support. Sometimes they use their skills as part of the ruling class, gaining elective office (such as attorney Barack Obama) or in similar positions of influence and power (such as attorney Hillary Clinton).

When not directly part of the ruling class, but wishing to be in the good graces of the ruling class, to be invited to their parties, to be part of the “in” crowd, their position is somewhat different.  Then their job is to support the belief in the general population of the right of the ruling class to rule. It therefore becomes important for the intelligentsia to support the correctness of the policies of the desired policies of the rulers. Examined in that respect, the essays of many writers becomes more clear. This is especially true of pundits such as Paul Krugman, who is always exhorting more government spending and for his efforts remains in the good graces of those who want bigger more intrusive government and so gets invited to speak to others in order to sell his snake oil. But he is not the only one and for purposes of example I use an essay, more exactly, a rant, by Joe Nocera.

Joe Nocera  of the New York Times takes Apple to task for not paying enough taxes. In the linked essay, Nocera uses terms such as “dubious, dummy subsidiary and innovator in tax avoidance” in his efforts to paint Apple as a bad actor in its tax  relationship with the US government. Since it is not the purpose here to try to determine if Apple is making legal tax decisions we will avoid those issues and stick to the issue of a pundit working to maintain the approval of those who determine if he is worthy of their approval.

For many people there is a current bias in favor of larger and larger government. There are many people who want people and business to serve government and many of them are in positions of power. While it is not currently politically correct to use the term fascism, still, the term seems to apply. From Webster’s Collegiate: Fascism: a political philosophy, movement or regime, that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.”  This is not to say this is what we have in toto, but that many of those in positions of influence and power tend towards that political end. Examples in the public realm abound.

As our country was started with the ideal of freedom of speech and of the press, we have a history, a culture, of open political discourse and free elections.  Because of that, at least until recently, it becomes necessary to obtain the support of the intelligentsia in order to help change the opinions of those who might otherwise oppose the political philosophy and direction of those who seek and have power. Since it is often necessary to obscure the goal of the power seeking, the intelligentsia will resort to obfuscation and similar tactics, anything but plain, understandable rational thought, to convince others of the correctness of the position they support. One cannot say outright that their goal is government control over your life, so they must make you believe that the change they support is necessary for an improvement in your life. They must show that the avenue they direct you to is a morally superior place and that the majority will be better off if they abide by such exhortation. Towards that end Mr. Joe Nocera berates Apple for using legal tactics to minimize its tax bill.

HIs purpose is not to argue the legality of the methods Apple used to accomplish their goal of minimizing costs, but to convince his audience that by avoiding US taxes Apple is acting immorally. Neither does Nocera address the reasons Apple makes this effort. It is the reason for many business decisions, the continuing effort to reduce costs. No, the purpose is to make the business,  Apple, appear as the bad guy in comparison to the United States government. An example: “He added that Apple had never shifted any of its American profits to an offshore tax haven when, in fact, that is basically what it has done,”.

He doesn’t say Apple broke any laws, just that they weren’t honest; just tries to make them look bad. Again, his purpose is to support the policies and politics of those who approval he seeks. As their purpose is to continually enlarge government through taxing and regulation, Nocera’s position, the position of the intelligentsia who seek the position of sycophant to the political rulers, is to argue that everything the powerful want is the way things should be. If he can’t make the argue logically, which in this case he can’t, he will make it emotionally, twisting facts and situations in his attempt to convince his audience that what the powerful want is the morally right thing to do. For that he gets told he is a good boy, receives a pet on the head and his position is secure for the day.

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