10 questions with ‘The Ruling Class’ author Angelo M. Codevilla

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Jamie Weinstein
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      Jamie Weinstein

      Jamie Weinstein is Senior Editor of The Daily Caller. His work has appeared in The Weekly Standard, the New York Daily News and The Washington Examiner, among many other publications. He also worked as the Collegiate Network Journalism Fellow at Roll Call Newspaper and is the winner of the 2011 "Funniest Celebrity in Washington" contest. A regular on Fox News and other cable news outlets, Weinstein received a master’s degree in the history of international relations from the London School of Economics in 2009 and a bachelor's degree in history and government from Cornell University in 2006. He is the author of the political satire, "The Lizard King: The Shocking Inside Account of Obama's True Intergalactic Ambitions by an Anonymous White House Staffer."

Angelo M. Codevilla, emeritus professor of international relations at Boston University, is the author of the new book, “The Ruling Class: How They Corrupted America and What We Can Do About It.” In his forward to the book, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh calls Codevilla’s thesis “brilliant.”

Codevilla recently agreed to answer 10 questions about his book and other topics of interest for The Daily Caller:

1)   Why did you decide to write the book?

Because I wanted to share the conclusions I’ve drawn from my professional life lived in academe and in the U.S. government, and my private life in the real world of raising a family in rural Wyoming and California. America’s real divide is certainly not between the Republican and Democratic parties. Rather, on one hand, there is a class of people who dominate both parties as well as academe and the media. They run big businesses. Having developed a remarkably uniform set of habits, tastes and preferences, they imagine themselves entitled to reshape an America that they regard as composed of social and intellectual inferiors. On the other hand, there is a whole America composed of people who are really inferior to no one, and who do not feel represented by either of the major political parties, who realize that the country’s major institutions are now in the hands of persons who look down on them, and who are looking to take back control of their own lives. I wrote the book as a diagnosis of the problem and as a basic set of guidelines for doing that.

2)   Who comprises the “Ruling Class?”

People define themselves as “the ruling class” by tying their livelihoods and hopes to government, and above all by a certain attitude toward the rest of the country. Neither money nor even professional position defines a person as part of the ruing class or not. Rather, membership is all about drawing one’s livelihood from one’s connection with government power, from believing that this is proper, and above all from sensing that sharing a certain set of attitudes and tastes makes one superior to ordinary Americans.

3)   Explain this divide between the “Ruling Class” and the “Country Class?”

This divide, this rejection of America’s founding faith that “all men are created equal” came about gradually over more than a century as some educated Americans came to believe that a certain conception of science trumps biblical teachings, and that they themselves are science’s authoritative priests. Well before the Civil War, American intellectual life had absorbed the biological doctrine of evolution, which abstracts from God and denies any essential distinction between humans and animals.

It also had absorbed the philosophical doctrine that human judgments about good and evil are mere reflections of economic or psychological status. By the turn of the 20th century, many thousands of Progressive intellectuals, such as Woodrow Wilson, believed that they were the ultimate products of evolution, that the views of less enlightened folk really should not encumber their reforming America and the world for the better. The Franklin Roosevelt administration began turning this Progressive class into a ruling class by putting them in charge “independent agencies” wielding legislative and judicial powers. Thus, the Constitution notwithstanding, America became an administrative state ruled by a ruling class. As the administrative state has grown more powerful, the ruling class has become more conscious of itself and less patient with any resistance coming from people it considers capable of expressing only what amount to animal grunts of pleasure or anger and frustration.

NEXT: Codevilla talks about the “Country Class”