Published on January 29th, 2019 | by Todd Smekens0
The Age of the Pampered Princelings
What in the world is a Pampered Princeling? How about Donald J. Trump for one. His son and son in law for another. As Naomi Klein recently wrote in The Intercept:
Trump has been sucking on a spigot of his father’s cash nonstop since he was in diapers, becoming a millionaire by middle school. According to the Times, when all was said and done, “Mr. Trump received the equivalent today of at least $413 million from his father’s real estate empire, starting when he was a toddler and continuing to this day.” Moreover, “much of it was never repaid.” As for the rest of the mythology, not only was he spending his father’s money, he blew much of it on disastrous deal after disastrous deal. Only to be bailed out by his father’s millions time and time again.
I have written for years about the denigration of our body politic and why we are experiencing so much dysfunction in Washington all the way down to Muncie, Indiana. Corruption accounts for much of the dysfunction, but there are other factors at work.
Quite frankly, I believe Naomi has nailed it and you’re not going to like it one bit even though we’ve had first-hand experience of this in Muncie. Read this quote carefully:
What makes the Times’ revelations more important is that they are a rare window into an even larger story about the growing political and economic role of inherited money in the United States — the culmination of decades in which a handful of sons and daughters of bequeathed wealth waged a fierce and relentless battle of ideas against the very concept of equality and majority rule, all based on the same corrupting belief in their own inherent superiority.
The New York Times shredded Donald Trump’s “Horatio Alger” story of being a self made billionaire. It was a scam and Trump’s rebuttal…”the story was boring.”
What he meant to say was it was too long and too difficult for him to read. Nice try, Donald. Ignoring it may work for the dolts who’ve bought your scam story, but others want to know more:
Naomi writes, “The Koch brothers were raised in luxury and inherited Koch Industries from their father (who built his fortune constructing refineries under Stalin and Hitler). Scaife was an heir to the Gulf Oil, Alcoa Aluminum, and Mellon Banks fortunes and grew up in an estate so lavish it was populated with pet penguins. Olin took over his father’s weapons and chemicals company.
And so it goes, right down to Betsy DeVos, who was raised by billionaire Edgar Prince and married into the Amway fortune — and who has devoted her life to dismantling public education, now from inside the Trump administration. And let’s not forget Rupert Murdoch, who inherited a chain of newspapers from his father and is in the process of handing over his media empire to his sons. Or relative newcomer Rebekah Mercer, who has chipped off a chunk of her father Robert’s hedge fund fortune to bankroll Breitbart News, among other pet projects. In short, these people are Downton Abbey lords and masters, play acting as Ayn Rand heroes.
Ouch, that’s going to hurt the Princes of Pomp and Circumstance. The meritocracy paved the way for the Kavanaugh’s and the Trump’s. Their money buys influence in the political world allowing them to bend the rules to their favor. And the other side of the equation is the weak money grubbing politicians who will do anything for the pampered princes and princesses because they aspire to be millionaires.
Sadly, it’s been this way since our country was founded by stealing the land from Native Americans. We justified the theft because we were entitled to it by being Christian, white and European (superior). As Naomi writes:
“We like to pretend that no such thing as a ruling class has ever darkened an American shore or danced by the light of an American moon,” former Harper’s editor Lewis Lapham once remarked.
This was never true. The American political system began as a protection racket for propertied white men, granting inalienable rights to a minority at the direct expense of enslaved Africans and women. Serious proposals to level the playing field — from a truly integrated public school system to fair wages for domestic work — were squashed again and again.
I’ve written plenty about the great marketing campaign our founders engaged when claiming, “We the people…” while their documents protected the capitalists of the time–Oligarchs (property owners) while excluding everyone else, especially women and slaves (white Euro male dominance).
There are many folks who will clamor about Trump’s blatant racism but our country has been an overtly white European patriarchal system since we landed at Plymouth Rock. Nothing has really changed except the wealth accumulated by white land owners and entrepreneurs since our inception have been allowed to pass their wealth down from one generation to another. Their money used to buy our political class and all other major U.S. institutions, including the press/media.
Don’t blame Trump for this and don’t get disillusioned into believing this is a result of Trump. Donald is just a symptom of the problem – a Pampered Princeling. A classic example of our Meritocracy in play when oligarchs transfer their wealth from one generation to another.