The Secrets of America’s Elite, Revealed

America is divided. The coastal elites who have controlled Washington and much of the nation’s economy were, with the 2016 election, resoundingly defeated by a newly invigorated populism, personified in Donald Trump.

As a member of this demoralized elite–I live and work within the Washington, DC Beltway–I recognize that the rest of America has a low opinion of my social class, and also recognize that, when it comes down to it, America, the real America, just doesn’t get us.

So, in an effort to begin healing that divide through increased understanding, I’m taking the risky step of breaking the coastal elite code and revealing our secrets to ordinary Americans.

What follows, made public for the first time, is our core cultural artifact. It contains all of our most cherished beliefs and values and informs the whole of how we view the world. It’s our urtext and our secret handshake.

I will likely get in serious trouble for revealing what I’m about to reveal. But I can’t let that stop me. With an outsider administration ascendant, with populism shaking off its shackles, I feel I have no choice but to do whatever I can to help those now taking the reigns of power better understand the people they’ve overthrown.

So, apprehensive as I may be, I plunge ahead in exposing our secrets. Here goes:

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Elites vs. the Working Class

Here’s two common “sides” in the argument about the current cultural and political showdown and divide between elites and the working class:

  1. Elites are unjustifiably condescending toward and dismissive of the working classes and don’t recognize how much their preferred policies may have made things more difficult for them, and this has legitimately angered the working classes.
  2. Segments of the working classes possess cultural pathologies that have hurt and continue to hurt them, pathologies that are not the fault of the elites, and some reactions of the working classes to the anger the elites have provoked—supporting and voting for certain candidates and public policies—are irrational, ignorant, stupid, bigoted, or hateful, and will in the near and long term do more harm to the working classes (as well as everyone else) than any of the policies the elites have supported or would prefer, or any of the policies and behaviors by the elites that have angered the working classes in the first place.

They’re generally presented as mutually exclusive. But both of these points can simultaneously be true—and, likely, both are true. To admit the truth of one does not, and should not, immediately entail denying the truth of the other.