This twenty-first year of the new millennium, America remains burdened by aristocracy. Not quite England’s effete policies under George III that created the American colonies Brits fled to America en masse beginning in April, 1607, but by our own political royal linage to which we nonsensically continue to pay homage by electing them to govern us.
Presidential historian Stephen Hess documents in his 2015 book, America’s Political Dynasties: From Adams to Clinton, the families that have loomed large over America’s political history. He argues that our nation was created in rebellion against nobility and inherited status. Yet from John Quincy Adams onward, dynastic families have been conspicuous in our national polity.
Essentially, Americans of both parties elect someone they like and then continue to elect their progeny when the opportunity arises.
This counters Adrian Woodridge’s new book, The Aristocracy of Talent: How Meritocracy Made the Modern World, for this is our political world where noblesse oblige seldom carries the day and politically unearned privileges extended to their children despite character or intellectual flaws.
It’s time to end our fascination with and support of America’s political aristocracy. It has largely been dislodged in Europe and it hasn’t worked so well in America although like Groundhog Day, our political legacies keep