Donald Trump's putdown of suffering Puerto Ricans reflects a mindset that has long afflicted the awesomely affluent.
Right on! These guys (mostly) always accuse others of their own faults. Just listen to them and they’ll tell you all about their lousy traits.
“These poisons have only one lasting antidote. Greater equality.”
Agreed ! Tribal equality - we know how to live like this.
But - 5,000 years and counting of civilizational hierarchy - can we dig ourselves out of this pit ??
I’m going to see “Blade Runner 2049” with my wife and young son soon. The artists are always way out in front.
Let’s not dismiss the power of either Hollywood or the religious - they seem to be the only major institutions with reach and swat - progressive that is !
There are two types of super rich people, those who grew up wealthy and those that didn’t. Both Trump and Romney fall into the former category which might help explain their attitudes. Super rich people who grew up in families with the usual economic struggles might feel differently.
Gee, struggling early didn’t stop Steve Jobs or Bill Gates from being thoroughly greedy jerks.
this is all true in my experience as well.
i would add one more point: one thing that enrages the rich about the poor is that they are a living refutation of the wonders of capitalism–proof that the system isn’t as amazing as the rich try to portray it.
It’s as if they see the poor as intentionally being destitute merely to make the rich look bad.
Seriously, I’ve heard something akin to this argument from the moneybags I had to work for in another life. They see poverty as an act of systemic spite.
I think the projection thesis explains indifference to poverty nicely. But I don’t think it’s adequate to explain the visceral hatred most of the wealthy have for the poor. The only time the rich actually get angry is if they feel their wealth can be threatened. AS if the poor might, by their very existence, provoke a negative reaction to the capitalism that has made these economic predators so wealthy.
The Super Rich despise the Poor because in their heart they know that they are a big reason for why the Poor are so Poor, and that guilt makes them Mad as Hell.
There’s a Herbert Spencer, social Darwinist mentality here, though few among the ownership class are bold enough to actually say that a person’s poverty means they don’t deserve to exist (Herbert Spencer coined the term “survival of the fittest” with the explanation that those who couldn’t obtain enough wealth to support their families did not deserve to continue to live.)
But switch the scenario around. Imagine some global economic disaster (can’t be very difficult considering how close we’ve already come,) which actually forces someone into a test of their fitness for survival? Would these wealthy pricks who think they’re “all that” really fare better than the people they look down on?
Let’s be honest. The vast majority of people are greedy jerks. Most just don’t get the opportunity to practice it on the same scale.
Difficult subject! I’ve written about this before…but in my younger years, when I was still married and my husband owned his own construction business…I lived in a country club, had a beautiful modern house that my husband designed and built, had 3 young children…we had it all. I spent summers at the club pool drinking Harvey Wallbangers!!! Imagine! But I can remember thinking–talking to other young women at the pool, while we floated and sipped–isn’t this how it should be? We earned it, right? I deserved this. Others didn’t work for it, so they didn’t have it. Ha!
Then came the divorce, the bankruptcy, the move to government subsidized housing, the ex-husband who refused to pay child support because he was vengeful. He hid his money in his books, said he operated in the red, then moved out of state. Never could catch up with him after that. So, there I was with 3 little kids and no child support. Boy oh boy, did my thinking change after that! I had to go on welfare and get food stamps while I went to school for my nursing degree. Talk about a rude awakening. I’ve seen both sides. True, I’ve never been super rich, but I was well off for a bit. Amazing how entitled one feels with money and how perception changes in the absence of it.
Probably not. But then, it may come down to resourcefulness. There are creative people – both rich and poor. Money only allows for luxury versus no frills. Character manifests in individuals in many different ways. Not all wealthy persons are pricks–as you say. Perhaps you should reserve your ire for Corporations! Now there’s a truly evil entity.
You hit the nail on the head with the fact that it’s character, not wealth (or lack thereof). It always comes down to the individual - not their income, their religion, race, country, or any other group characteristic. There are people who do the right thing, and people who are complete a**holes, across any spectrum you care to name.
Stereotypes allow people to avoid thinking.
Blaming the individual allows the system—specifically, capitalism—to deflect criticism. Do you not see the connection between wealth and power, and do you not see all around you the truth of Lord Acton’s dictum made manifest?
Or, for reasons of your own, would you prefer that we not look in that direction?
My mother and father grew up dirt-poor on farms in Iowa in the 40’s and 50’s, and I do mean dirt-poor. Photos of them as children show bedraggled, bare-foot, patched-clothing kids and their parents - my grandparents - looking about the same. They struggled to make the bare essentials, but they grew up relatively happy. They and their parents worked hard from dawn to dusk, but they appreciated the truly important values like family and neighbor helping neighbor and being thankful for the things they had. My grandparents died without a lot of material means, but they prided themselves on a life well lived and managing to put their kids through college through their labors, and giving them a better life than they themselves had.
My parents started out - in my early childhood - lower middle class, probably just above poor. Bad neighborhood, small house, etc. But they worked hard, got better jobs, promotions, and gradually improved their lot; by my teens we had moved to a much nicer neighborhood, had two cars, nicer things, and my parents traded in their friends from the old neighborhood for new, more upper-class ones. My sister and I went to college, and as we focused on our own adult lives, my parents continued their climb in affluence, eventually moving again to a large house in a “rich” community, and retiring quite well-off.
Their ideology and their politics changed as they moved up the income ladder. From proud Union workers voting 100% Democratic when I was young (my Mom used to go on and on about FDR and JFK, who to her were both heroes for fighting for the poor working-class of America) to - today - die-hard ultra right-wing Republicans in their 70’s now. We no longer talk politics. They look down on “poor deadbeats,” who “only want a hand-out from my taxes.” People on welfare or Medicaid or food stamps are lazy, who could pull themselves up by the bootstraps if they were so inclined. George W. Bush was an awesome president, and Trump sits slightly lower than Jesus Christ in their view. Social Security should be abolished, ditto Medicare, as it is evil socialism for hand-out-seeking lazy poor people who want the government to give them everything.
Amazing how money can make people forget the Truth.
Neither Jobs nor Gates struggled during their formative years. Each attended elite, private country day schools and high schools for the hopelessly rich and idle and went on to attend private universities without carrying student loans or having to work to buy books or anything else for that matter. Gates’ mother was a very wealthy woman from an affluent old-money Seattle family (she was a docent for the Univ of Washington and her family virtually built the school’s library) and his father (also from Seattle old money) was a very prosperous attorney and partner in one of the largest most successful law firms in the Northwest that wielded great power in the lobbying realm. The tuition for the HS that Gates attended was more than $24,000 a year OVER 40 YEARS AGO. Tuition at the school is now over $45,000 a year.
Excellent post! Thank you.
Wealth and power allow people without character to do more damage than they would otherwise. I don’t believe that power, in and of itself, corrupts. It certainly provides temptation, and many who lack character seek power, but it is the character of the individual, not the fact of power, that is the source of the corruption.
Why Do So Many Super Rich Despise the Poor?
Its what all parasites do. They suck all the resources from their host, then they kill it.
The rich despise the poor because they know how they would feel towards the rich if they themselves were poor.
You misstate Acton, who said, “Power TENDS to corrupt…”, and you seem not to understand that under capitalism, people seek wealth in order to have power. Under feudalism, by contrast, power was achieved by having a few sturdy lads with pikes at your beck and call, and wealth followed.