For as long as I’ve been alive, the image of the ruling class has been the WASP. The caricature was of a horse faced, toothy guy named “Prescott” that liked to wear a tennis sweater draped over his shoulders and used the word “swell” a lot. Alternatively, it was the old guy sitting in a leather chair at his club, reading the Financial Times while smoking a pipe and drinking brandy with the other aristocrats. The point of these caricatures was to highlight the ethnic and cultural divide between the people in charge and the rest of us, not just the financial differences.
Like all stereotypes, the origins of this are rooted in fact. For a long time, the ruling elite of America was very WASPy and somewhat inbred. A relatively small number of ruling clans out of New England ran government, finance, big business and foreign affairs. The Brahmins were folks who traced their roots to the founding, often claiming to have had ancestors on the Mayflower. They went to the best schools, knew the best people and accepted their duty as the caretakers of the nation. They were of course, almost always Episcopalian.
Even back when I was a little kid, this was no longer reality in America. It remained a popular stereotype because it is comforting to people. The people in charge are not there because they are smarter or better. They were born into it or they had connections that allowed them to gain access to the halls of power. The Irish and Italians still carry on like the world is run by guys named Pemberton and Forbes. Jews, of course, love this motif and are endlessly reminding us that they were kept out of golf courses by the WASP elite.
Despite the mythologizing, the fact is we no longer have a WASP ruling class. The real ethnic nature of the ruling class in America is Jewish. As I pointed out in my Mokita post, Jews are smart and we live in an age when being smart counts for everything. The stereotype of the Jewish banker or Jewish lawyer is obviously true. The titans of global finance are all Jewish guys. The US Supreme Court is 30% Jewish and Obama has a Jewish guy warming in the bullpen to replace Scalia.
The argument has always been that Jews dominated banking because of historic discrimination and that’s not entirely false. Catholic prohibitions against usury allowed Jews to dominate the lending business, but that does not explain why Hollywood has always been dominated by Jews. It does no explain why 30% of the Fortune 1000 are people of Jewish descent. Jews are one percent of the population, but represent 47% of major American sports team owners.
Ownership of sports teams is a great metric because it requires more than just money to own a team. You have to have connections in finance, politics and, of course, the sport. These sports leagues are clubs and they don’t just let anyone join. These are clubs for members of the American elite to show they are at the top. It’s the ultimate trophy for the most connected. The fact that close to half the people in sports ownership are Jewish is a reflection of the new American ruling class. It’s guys named Herb, not Prescott.
Despite this amazing dominance, Jews still act as if they are a put upon minority, scrambling to make a go of it in the teeth of ethnic hostility. The show Mad Men, from what I understand, is based on the myth that the Jews were kept out of advertising until last week. The guy that invented the ad business in America was a Jewish guy from Chicago back in the 1920’s. Then there is the whole golf club business that Steve Sailer writes about a lot.
It’s a powerful bit of mythology that probably works as motivation for young Jewish kids setting out in the world. Every ethnic group in America, except Germans and the English, has a similar sort of mythology. The Irish swear that their uncle Seamus was denied jobs because he was Irish. Italians claim they have been forever slandered by the whole Mafia thing. Poles work the Catholic angle. East Asians are quick to remind everyone about Fu Manchu and coolies.
Someone has to be the ruling elite in every society and having Jews in charge is probably not the worst choice. The Irish would be the worst choice. But, a ruling elite that nurses a grudge against the society over which it rules, because of past discrimination, sounds a lot like Syria where the Alawites angrily rule over Sunni majority. America is a not Syria, so there will not be a violent uprising against the ruler sect, but it does mean Jews will have to stop whining and accept their role as the ruling elite.
It also means that Americans will have rework their idea of the aristocrat. The Talmud is a best seller in South Korea because Koreans want to be successful so they are setting out to emulate the most successful ethnic group. Eventually, Americans will do the same thing. Instead of a striver changing his name to “Blake Ashcroft” and claiming Mayflower ancestry, the ambitious will change their name to Murray Goldblatt and claim Holocaust ancestry.
This is already happening at the fringes. Guys like John Podhoretz are constantly demanding to see Bar Mitzvah photos because they believe people are faking their Jewishness in order to gain access to the club. Whether or not people are “trying to pass” is tough to tell. Podhoretz is an evil little slug of a man. He could just be trying to damage his betters in the scribbling community. Still, it is not far-fetched. There used to be a time when you had to prove you went to Choate before gaining access to the elite.
On the other hand, Jewish fertility rates in American are around 1.9, with the highest being among ultra-orthodox sects at 4.1. The Jews in charge are not breeding and it only takes a generation or two of these sorts of TFR’s before Jews in America begin to look like the Amish. Then there is the inevitable out-breeding and falling away from the faith that challenges all religious minorities. It is entirely possible that Jews in America are at their peak and are about to experience a slide into oblivion.