Consider the observations of James Burnham–an insightful man–on the ruling class

Troubling events and bad trends cause me to worry, and you do to–admit it.

Continetti is a well known writer, regular columnist for the magazine Commentary and essayist for Weekly STandard.

Burnham was a dominant intellecutal influence from his post at National Review for 2 decades.

He was a pedantic and sometimes boring, not always an easy read.

My favorite writer on ruling class/country class clashes and the rise of the oligarchs is Angelo Codevilla.

Here is one of his most valuable contributions.


4 responses to “Consider the observations of James Burnham–an insightful man–on the ruling class

  1. I had a friend whom I loved named Jill Petoniak. Exotically beautiful – slender with straight black hair, green eyes, and pale skin – as only someone of Eastern European ancestry can be, she grew up in working class Detroit. Sadly she is dead now, and I miss her beauty, company and wisdom each and every day,more than you can imagine.

    Once, when we were talking, I trotted out a carefully reasoned political analysis like those above. She looked at me and then exploded: “Dammit Victor! Let me tell you something. The guy driving a truck doesn’t care anything about any of that! What he cares about is keeping a roof over his family’s head and putting food on the table. *That’s* what he cares about, all he cares about, and not this B.S. you keep coming up with!”

    I took that bit of wisdom to heart then and there. In my mind it’s codified as ‘The Jill Test,’ aka ‘What-Does-The-Guy-Driving-The-Truck-Think?’

    I read both of the above articles. Well written, carefully reasoned, they nonetheless serve only to allow the learned and political classes to impress each other with their erudition. But really, they’re both in their own way disconnected from reality. the everyday reality of the guy driving the truck. And that guy driving the truck wouldn’t be impressed. They, neither one of them, pass the Jill Test.

    If people are wondering why someone like a Donald Trump – a demagogue in so many ways – so very suddenly has a lot of media traction, it’s because he *is* talking to those truck drivers. He *is* giving them simple answers as to why they’re losing their jobs and neighbourhoods. He *is* telling them why their money is worth less and less at the grocery store. He *doesn’t* offer up mealy mouthed P.C. platitudes, but promises to actually, truly do something to make their lives and the lives of their families easier.

    In short, he does pass The Jill Test.

    Promises are not delivery to be sure. But to those in the vast middle, the ones who really matter, an attractive, easy to understand message is being offered up. Easy and basic, not learned and impressively rarefied. And it’s selling; they like it. That is something that the present Leadership, an disconnected and entrenched Establishment on both the left and right that resembles in so many ways that of Pre-Revolutionary France, should bear in mind.

    Just a thought.


  2. vic, i read the burnham related discussion and I must say I am inclined to agree with you–about how the world reallly works and how little social sciences seems to reveal.

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