Last modified: 7:58 AM Saturday, 14 January 2017

Ut semper sic hodie: Divide et impera

How the ruling elite keeps us at each other’s throats

The author of this article brings up a question worth addressing: Which explains the dominance of a mostly white global economic elite: race or money? Unfortunately, she has reached the wrong answer.

White pride

“White pride”: a product of differential privilege,
and no accident.
[ Image Source ]

As Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky and other clear-eyed observers have told us for generations, laissez-faire capitalism, with its inherent class distinctions between the wealthy few and the impecunious many, is unstable. As soon as the many come to understand to what degree the economic system dispossesses them, they will demand its fundamental restructuring. For this reason, the elite has become adept in terracing the pyramid of wealth, affording slight and often essentially illusory privileges to selected racial and other demographic subsets of the middle and working classes that encourage their beneficiaries to imagine themselves superior to those denied them and to make common cause with the elite against the latter.

Early in American history, dangerous trends appeared in which black and white workers in the South did begin to stand together, sometimes in conjunction with Native Americans, and demand change. This, of course, was intolerable. The elite responded quickly, instituting the terracing described above as a means of drawing a “color line” to pit one race against the other. How successful they were can still be easily seen: It is precisely the South that, today, is most notorious as a locus of race hate and many similar forms of xenophobia, all covertly cultivated by a ruling class that retains power only so long as its subjects can be kept in ignorance and disunity.

This is not the first time I have written of this, and unfortunately it will certainly not be the last, for the technique still works with dismaying consistency. Racial divisions are artificial, and they exist only because our elite — in common with its predecessors throughout history — has found that it can prosper by assiduous application of the principle that sustained the British empire until the sun of history definitively set upon it: Divide and rule.

Originally published as a review of a article on race and economic class.
As of 27 March 2015, the article cannot be found.

Peace, liberty, unity, justice, equality
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