Are You An Elitist? Class Warfare And The New Nobility

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

Class warfare reflects a dysfunctional divide-and-conquer society.

One of the easiest ways to put someone on the defensive in America is to accuse him/her of being an elitist. The power of this accusation derives from a complex mix of dynamics. At least one goes all the way back to the founding principles of the nation: a profound and abiding distrust of monarchy and landed nobility, and a well-grounded fear that democracy could be subverted and a new form of feudal monarchy returned to power.

It is increasingly clear that a new form of feudalism has indeed subverted democracy, and that the New Feudalism is powered by concentrations of private wealth and centralized state control: what I call the New Nobility.

Recall my Feudalism Corollary #1:

If the citizenry cannot replace a dysfunctional government and/or limit the power of the financial Aristocracy at the ballot box, the nation is a democracy in name only.

This is why politicians bred in the hothouses of elite universities must perform "I'm one of you" rituals such as publicly enjoying low-brow snack food and attending mid-brow music performances. That such transparent immunizations against charges of elitism still work is testament to the credulity of a media-soaked populace.

There is an uglier aspect to the accusatory power of charges of elitism: as the sense that hard work and integrity are no longer guarantees of upward mobility in America, a corrosive class envy is coming to a boil.

This is the subtext of the emergent topic of the day, wealth and income inequality.

Since the vast majority of us cannot lash out in any satisfying way at the top .01% who own most of the wealth and control the political machinery--in other words, the New Nobility--we seek some other accessible target.

Expressing anger at the representatives of authority--police, Homeland Security, etc.--is a risky proposition, as being beaten and hauled off to jail or being shot are distinct possibilities.

Beyond the overwhelming use of raw force, authorities maintain an arsenal of soft weapons such as false public accusations, vague legal charges that keep morphing as the accused demolishes each specific charge, IRS audits, and so on.

This rage at the dominance of essentially feudal elites and their armies of underlings willing to enforce their rule is increasingly being directed at the elected toadies and lackeys. In response, craven politicos are restricting their exposure to angry serfs.

That leaves the top 10% as the only accessible target for class envy and the generalized rage of a peasantry that cannot identify the causes of their servitude.This is misdirection, of course; the top 10% of professionals and technocrats have benefited within the New Feudalism, but they are functionaries, not the New Nobility.

It's clear that the top 10%--the class of technocrats, professionals, entrepreneurs and creatives--has managed to increase their wealth despite the dominance of the top .01%, whose wealth and power has pulled away from the top 10% and even the top 1%.

The Richest Rich Are in a Class by Themselves: top .01% and top .1%

The top 5% has done marginally better than the top 10%, and the top 20% have done better than the bottom 80%:

A household income of around $150,000 a year qualifies as a top 10% income:
$145,000 to $149,999: 90.20%
$105,000 to $109,999: 81.09%
$190,000 to $194,999: 95.21%

Because the super-wealthy are in the top 5% and top 1%, the average incomes of these groups are heavily skewed by the enormous incomes of the top 01%. As a result, it would be more accurate to remove the top .1% from the top 10%, top 5% and top 1%, but I haven't found any statistical charts that reflect this.

For their part, the top 10%/5% are feeling unfairly targeted by this class envy, as they pay the vast majority of income taxes: CBO:Top 40% Paid 106.2% of Income Taxes; Bottom 40% Paid -9.1%
The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes
While inherited wealth plays a part in the top .1%, most of the top 10%/5% have earned their wealth the old-fashioned way, by obtaining professional degrees or starting businesses, and by being married/having two incomes: Explaining income inequality by household demographics.

Rather than being "the enemy," the top 10% feels they're the good guys, the ones providing jobs and paying most of the taxes that support the bottom 40%. While the bottom 90% focuses on their own set of resentments, the top 10% have their own resentments: the public services they pay for are often marginal or poor quality.

This reality is fueling a movement of wealthier communities to incorporate into new cities that are operated for the benefit of their residents: services are run more like businesses than spoils systems (the default model of large urban cities), taxes are kept low and feedback from taxpayers keeps service quality high.

I have covered the various class fault lines emerging in America many times: The Three-and-a-Half Class Society (October 22, 2012)

The New Feudalism a partnership of the Tyranny of the Majority, entrenched incumbents and the top .1% Elites. If the political Status Quo alienates the majority by making them pay more taxes, they risk losing power in the next election. If they alienate the top .1% who fund their multi-million-dollar campaigns, then they will also lose power. So they heap the tax burden on what remains of the middle class.

There is a social dimension to this emerging class warfare, a topic I discuss in Bifurcation Nation (June 24, 2013). The top 20% is characterized not just by wealth but by a set of cultural behaviors, values and norms that are increasingly divergent from the norms and behaviors of the bottom 80%.

The haves are married, have college degrees, rarely have military service, attend religious services, and have little contact with those outside their own upper-middle class.

The have-nots are divorced/single parents, less educated, more likely to have served in the military, less likely to attend church, and earn much less than the haves.

I myself am routinely accused of being elitist, on the grounds that few can afford the meals I present here. I have repeatedly proven this assertion to be absolutely false, as home-cooked meals are cheaper than fast-food "value meals" or packaged convenience food. America's Excuse Book: Take Your Choice, Victim or Heartless Hypocrite (December 2, 2013)

These accusations are especially irksome because I have been low-income for most of my adult life and have carried far too much lumber on far too many jobsites to tolerate any accusations of elitism. I suspect many others routinely accused of elitism feel the same way.

The urge to accuse everyone with something better than you have of being part of an exploitive elite reflects not just generalized rage but the victory of victimhood. Sadly, one of the few ways for the marginalized in our society and economy to "get ahead" is to make claims of victimhood to secure disability, social services, etc. The core of victimhood is "it's not my fault." The system rewards victimhood, so it's no surprise that has become a dominant social norm.

And where does this set of norms lead us? To a dysfunctional divide-and-conquer society in which the top 10% paying most of the taxes is increasingly resentful of the .1% New Nobility above them and the masses below that look at the 10% as the only accessible target of their generalized anger at the injustice of their servitude and powerlessness.

The top .1% New Nobility, which of course includes all the craven politicos in thrall to the super-wealthy, have the means to sequester themselves away in gated estates and private jets. No wonder the top 10% is actively pursuing whatever means are available to avoid the resentments of those below.

Meanwhile, those running the mainstream media and the machinery of governance have to generate targets for the generalized rage other than the actual sources of dysfunction: the centralized state itself and the private concentrations of capital that partner with the state's elites in the New Nobility.

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Gringo Viejo's picture

Nope. I'm a redneck. Don't care how much or how little others got and just want to be left alone to live my life as I see fit.

Headbanger's picture

Why yes I am!

I don't shoot anybody else's re-loads but my own

(Unless they have some for a good trade..)

And BTW.. That's called being a Woodchuck around here..

jbvtme's picture

piece of cake to be an elitist in amerika. read one book a year.

chumbawamba's picture

Charles overlooks (or is ignorant of) the fact that this nation was intended to be for those who owned land or property (which is not necessarily synonymous).  Rights derive from property ownership.  Our rights derive from our primary property, which is our body.  From there, rights derives from claims on property and land.

If you want to be an elite in this country, buy some land.  It doesn't matter how small or pathetic; if you own land in this nation, you have rights.

I am Chumbawamba.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

The problem with your logic is that it is virtually impossible to get allodial title to land in this country. All land is owned, via property taxes, by one or more government entities.

chumbawamba's picture

Not virtually, actually.  There is no such thing as allodial title in America.  However, the Supreme Court has held that "fee simple" is the highest form of title and it is "like allodial".  You can get fee simple ownership of land in America that is not subject to any taxation.  I'll write about it once I figure it out.

In the meantime, here's some good background information:

I am Chumbawamba.

g'kar's picture

They atually tried to pass legislation in Nevada to allow you to "buy" your title back from the king. It didn't pass. It would have required you to pay all the taxes on something you already own into the future. If you go to the assessor's office or the treasurer's office and ask how you can obtain your allodial titles you get a blank stare and are put on a soveriegn citizen watch/hit list.

You are issued a "certificate of title" on property. land, mobile home and vehicles all have "certificate of title" issued to me which means even though they are paid for, the state (king) holds the "allodial title" which entitles them to tax me on them and to confiscate them upon failure to pay the king's rent (tax).

Been there...done that....Land of the fee, home of the slave.

Ignatius's picture

Old British Rhyme:


They hang the man and flog the woman

Who kills the goose upon the common

But the other man they let loose

Who steals the common from the goose


This is a BIG topic historically and one probably needs to go back to the 'Enclosure Movement' when European royals allowed nobility to fence off as big a piece of the lands as they had thugs to defend it.  Prior to Enclosure there was no rent as we know it today.

A scholar's topic and probably requires a scholar's time (10 years?) to fully understand.

Chump's picture

" they had thugs to defend it..."

And herein lies the problem.  Total (allodial, fee simple, or what have you) ownership of land doesn't mean a whole hell of a lot if you can't personally defend it, consistently.  Common law concerning land ownership evolved as it did for precisely this reason.  Today, if someone encroaches or trespasses on your property you can seek redress in court.  In your example, redress came at the end of a sword, provided you had enough swords.

I'll readily concede that a court system honoring centuries of common law that settle disputes among land owners is a good thing, however I don't see how that makes government the superior landlord over all property in the United States.  The property tax system is a heinous violation of basic human rights.  And don't even get me started on eminent domain.

chumbawamba's picture

See what I wrote below in reply to someone else.  Land is not taxable.  But property is.  So what is property?  Property is an attribute of something real.  Property is the right.

PROPERTY.  That which is peculiar or proper to any person; ... in the strict legal sense, an aggregate of rights which are guaranteed and protected by the government.

So, for example, "Real Property" is simply property rights pertaining to physical land, but the property is not the land, it is the assignment of various rights to the land (title, interest, use, control, possession).

So the question is, how did you create a taxable "property"?  And if it can be created, it can be destroyed.  And once destroyed, with it goes the property tax.

I am Chumbawamba.

sleigher's picture

You are right and there is a guy in Wisconsin who has done what you say.  He owns the land/property, not a "grant" deed (granting you use of the land).  It is all in the language.  If I remember correctly, he had to find the original land patent to show no other claim on the land, and then had to do something in court.  I will see if I can find the info.

EDIT:  I think you have to buy the land with lawful money too.  Not FRN's.

chumbawamba's picture

Correct, you must PAY for the land, i.e. by exchanging something of substance, such as gold.

The court procedure is a quiet title action.

I am Chumbawamba.

chumbawamba's picture

Nevada did have a statute that allowed a property owner to pay off the tax lien on their land at an accelerated rate (i.e. minus 50 years of accruing interest payments) and gain "allodial" title but those provisions were rescinded in 2011 or thereabouts.

However, it demonstrated (to me at least) that the only thing between you and your land ownership in "allodium" (i.e. without even taxation) is discharging the tax lien.  Figuring out how to do that is the rub.

I am Chumbawamba.

msmith9962's picture

Fee simple just means it has all the bundle of rights in-tact.

Control, posession, exclusion, enjoyment, disposition.  Still subject to taxation and taking.

I'm a commercial RE appraiser.  Have yet to come across anything with Alloidial title, but I work in the mid-atlantic states where that would likely have been aborted long ago.  Not sure if TPTB would care about it if they wanted to take it.

chumbawamba's picture

As you know, the highest title to land in America is a land patent.  Once a land patent is assigned by way of a land patent grant, the title goes to the assignee.  The wording I've always seen in every land patent I've researched is "TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said tract of Land...unto the said claimant, and to the heirs and assigns of the said claimant, forever".

I have researched the "TO HAVE AND TO HOLD" part, which is the habendum and tenendum, terms from older feudal law I believe, where the words "to have" denote the estate to be taken, while the words "to hold" signify that it is said to be held of some superior lord, i.e. by way of tenure. (Black's Law Dictionary 4th)

So, either that right there is the nexus that obligates a land patent claimant to pay some form of property tax on the land (land is not taxable, property is; there is a difference) or there is something else.  Perhaps it is the recording of the deed, which is not actually required under the law.  Here's some interesting case law I found for California:

Recordation is a device to establish priority, but has nothing to do with conveying title. Lawler v. Gleason, 130 Cal. App. 2D 390

Also, generally speaking, failure to place an instrument on record is not a violation of law or infringement of public policy. It follows that a delay in recording an instrument for a long period does not impeach its validity. Knox v Kearney, 40 CA 290.

I'm pretty sure I'm on the right track, I just have to figure out how to lawfully discharge whatever tax lien may be on the record.  Or it might be a matter of removing the property on the land that creates the tax obligation.

That may not make any sense.  I'm still researching.

I am Chumbawamba.

msmith9962's picture

You've done a lot of work on this I see.  I solve word problems all day based on the common definitions of fee simple, leased fee and leasehold.  And have not spent much time on anything else.  Alloidial title is not something I have come across in any of my formal education, not something eagerly advertised by any formal organisations.

sleigher's picture

An interesting blog post for you chumbawmba.  Maybe you have seen it.

Land Patent Process

1) update the original Land Patent with the legal description for your parcel in metes and bounds.

2) research the abstract of titles, make a claim as a heir or assign, and bring the title forward minus any exclusions.

3) re-record the updated Land Patent at the County Recorder?s office in the " Great Book."




Federal Liens and Property Taxes

In the de jure united states of America and under the Common law, the land patent is the highest evidence of title for the sovereign American "state" Citizen, evidence of allodial title and true ownership. But in a bankrupt and de facto federal United States inhabited by U.S. citizens and directed by its creditors under Admiralty law, the Land Patent is collateral hypothecated against the debt which has been fraudulently transferred to the international bankers.

Freewheelin Franklin's picture

Made a comment before reading the thread.



1) Allodial title

2) Homesteading rights 

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Envy is the most pernicious of the seven deadly sins.

Headbanger's picture

Damn right!  And fucking proud of it!'

Now what was the question??

Dr. Everett V. Scott's picture

This article misses one major point: the churn.


Most people do not remain in the same quintile for their entire lives.  There is constant movement into, and out of, the 1%, the 5%, the 20%, etc. That is the churn.   In fact, one out of 12 Americans will be in the top 5% at some point in their lives. The 'churn' applies to all quintiles.


The attacks on "the rich" are just Alinsky-style rabble rousing. As the late, great Reverend Ike often said, "If you hate the rich you ain't never gonna be rich, because you don't want to be what you hate."


Even the poorest Obamaphone user secretly wants to be among the 1%.  But it's easy to generate their hate via envy. So they will never be rich. Class warfare will see to that.


My hatred is for people like Alinsky, who are leading 'the poor' to hell in a handbasket.

Oh regional Indian's picture

How can anyone or entity pay a 106% of anything?

Huh? Did I miss something?


Bananamerican's picture

"Class warfare reflects a dysfunctional divide-and-conquer society"
Divide and conquer, my butt.
There IS class warfare occurring.... and the common man is getting his ass kicked...
so much so that even Princeton picked up on it....

Confused's picture

Funny, 'class warefare' is only mentioned when the it comes from the bottom up. Even though its been going on from the top down on a daily basis for decades. I wonder why that is? 



Ignatius's picture

Whomever owns the media frames the debate, so yes.

Stuck on Zero's picture

I've spent more than enough of my life with the rich elitists and sonbbish liberal intellectuals.   They are a different breed.  They sneer at the middle class and express empathy with the poor but rob both.  They are stingy, racist and believe that their wealth and position was gained by superior abilities.  I could fill a book a quotes about this group that sear anyone else to their souls. All in all I'd rather spend time with the homeless than this breed of asshole. 

There should be a requirement that everyone in the top 1% spend 2 weeks of every year on a farm or construction site just to appreciate their fellow man. 

Jungle Jim's picture

When I was a poor, shabbily dressed, badly housed, often-unwashed and poorly groomed college student, no one looked down on me and sneered at me like all the liberal academics and intellectuals/pseudo-intellectuals and wannabe "hipsters."

Of course, part of the problem was that I was 32 when I started college. I had already long since done most of my formative reading and thinking, and had even kind of "been around" in odd, non-regulation/disreputable ways, and so I was not an easily-molded/brainwashed blank slate like all the kiddies.

 And I held, and expressed, views and attitudes that could be called vaguely small-L libertarian and/or anti-statist. To the liberal academics, who deified the State, that made me a dangerous heretic, a radical extremist. A lot of them would have had a net thrown over me if they could. They certainly wanted to drive me out by hook or by crook.


nmewn's picture

Oh-My-God, my long lost brother Jim ;-)

Amish Hacker's picture

If you don't work too often, you might break even.

Smegley Wanxalot's picture

Are you that fucking stupid?


Total revenue = 100.

One entity pays 106.  Another pays zero but also gets 6 bucks refunded to them directly or thru subsidies.

So yeah, you missed something ... the ability to think.

Wahooo's picture

We just flushed an elitist!

Wolferl's picture

The IRA says as long as you have a gun and some ammo at home everything is fine. Stupid people tend to believe that.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

The Irish Republican Army? Or the Individual Retirement Account?

SAT 800's picture

I'm an elitist; and I like it. But I want to be left alone to live my life too; Probably most people have the same desire. Maybe that's why they had an American Revolution and Consitution in the first place? Could be.

snodgrass's picture

Just another guy selling a book.

kchrisc's picture

Leave me alone or speak to my secretary, Mr. Guillotine.

TheReplacement's picture

You should care about how others got what they got.  The criminal class (.01%) doesn't care if you want to be left alone or not.

Alternative's picture

So why whine on the public board?

kliguy38's picture

Classic bullshit......a household income of 150K makes you just dirt to the real "elitist"........DIRT!  Just another divide and conquer to make those in the "top 10%" to think they have real money......Most are just debt slaves like everyone else.........hehehehhheehe.......SUCKERS!!!!!!

Winston Churchill's picture

They pay $150k pa for their domestic ,live in , couples over on Palm Beach. From their beer money, or petty cash.

dizzyfingers's picture

Winston Churchill  Probably also true in Hawaii too...where Smith lives. (Like OB's family.)

Atomizer's picture

Sadly, when most of these statist have a pre-designated bullet hole in their head. US media will be spinning terrorist attack. This is when the MSM gets the silver bullet extinction for following the script of deception. Always cover up your tracks when logged onto Xkeyscore.. Fuck off MSM assholes. You’ll get the bullet first. Too bad your employer will pull the trigger.


Give me a moment to expose your ass

kchrisc's picture

You're assuming that the state's propagandists won't share their fate.

To collude it to conspire TOGETHER. If they wish to share the loot, they can surely share the fate.


"My guillotine will eat propagandists too."


Mad Muppet's picture

I don't have a guillotine, but I have a really nice wood chipper.

trade4cash's picture

I don't think enough attention is given to the 0.00000001%ers.

HardAssets's picture

Likely no one has ever heard of them.

It costs a lot of money to make that happen.

kchrisc's picture

They'll all just 'return' or will already be there when the time comes for rolling out the guillotines.

God help them if they are still here.