As things are, and as fundamentally they must always be, poetry is not a career, but a mug's game. No honest poet can ever feel quite sure of the permanent value of what he has written: He may have wasted his time and messed up his life for nothing. T. S. Eliot
Wealthy Families have Capital. But not all Capital is financial. Families have 3 kinds of Capital, or they have 6 kinds, depending on which follower of James Hughes you read. I prefer, since we are dealing in metaphors, to, as Ezra Pound says, "make it new." So let us list the six kinds of capital under the heading of Suck, or Pull, or Clout, so as to emphasize that what we are discussing is a hidden order of governance in our society by wealthy families pulling various strings, or using their Six Kinds of Suck. Basically, we are talking about how the game is rigged by and for wealth.
- Financial Suck: Money
- Social Suck: Status in society, membership in Skull and Bones, degrees from Harvard and Yale, whether or not the student is particularly bright, seats on Boards daisy chained to positions of power in all walks of life
- Political Suck: Via lobbying and placing Junior in the Senate
- Legal and Regulatory Suck: When Sissy who works for the SEC works with Junior to deregulate Dad's derivatives business, his middle east oil company, his rigs in the Gulf, his subprime banking conglomerate, his efforts to corner the markets in corn or gold.
- Philanthropic Suck: When Dad gives to Alex's charity, and Alex clears a Zoning permit for Junior's Ball Park, when Sis gives generously for kind and gentle causes with a tenth of a cent of every dollar Ruthless Dad extracts from his monopolistic interests, and the family as a whole gets a name for nobility of purpose.
- Intellectual and Spiritual Suck: When a Borgia becomes Pope, or when Junior finds God in a whisky bottle, or when Dad funds Heritage, Cato, or Rooster Foundation: Crowing in a New American Dawn, to promote deregulation of Dad's empire and war in the Middle East to open new markets for Dad's industries.
I am an Anglo-Catholic in religion, a classicist in
literature and a royalist in politics.
S. Eliot. High Culture comes at a price. So maybe Hughes is right. A good Aristocracy may be the best we can realistically hope for.
Neither a classless society, nor a society of strict and impenetrable social barriers is good; each class should have constant additions and defections; the classes, while remaining distinct, should be able to mix freely; and they should have a community of culture with each other which will give them something in common, more fundamental than the community which each class has with its counterpart in another society. - T.S. Eliot, Notes Towards a Definition of Culture
As we assist the wealthy in creating a dynastic legacy, one that spreads its influence throughout a local or national or global field of force, what vision of a better world might guide us?