Upward Mobility: Mixed Signals From Society

It suddenly hit me. Why everyone is so obsessed with Britney Spears and Kevin Federline. Its because they have zero class! This is highly problematic however. You see, we have this myth of upward mobility that keeps everyone who isn’t rich laboring under the assumption that they too, can transcend their caste. Aside from naked racism and religious pandering, its the primary recruitment vector for Republicans.

But this produces a state of psychological conflict. On the one hand, every good boy (and to a far lesser extent, girl) knows that they can one day become wealthy enough to care about the estate tax if they work super hard. The problem is that they will never, ever, be valued as wealthy people. For a country that once put so much patriotic emphasis on being common folk, we are obsessed with the idea of American royalty.

Thus as we go about our national folklore, making princes of paupers, we leave one very important proviso set in stone: You will never be elite. While the majority of Americans are stuck within a rigid economic caste system, those few who do escape it and move up the financial ladder remain forever caught within the social caste system. The resulting effects on our culture and our politics are toxic.

The essence of democratic thought is that we are all equal as citizens. Right now, people don’t buy that for a second. Right now, we don’t have a democracy.

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