Latin Catholic by birth, Byzantine Catholic by the grace of God.
Pro: Restoration of the Holy and Universal Christian Roman Empire.
Caveat: The author makes no claim to being an exemplar of Catholicism or Monarchism (or blogging).
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Location: Upstate, New York, United States

Thursday, May 26, 2005

We should pay for a leisured class

Nothing would do more for Western Civilization than the re-establishment of a leisured nobility. Any stripe of monarchy or republic would do well to look into it, even if that the lumpen might never support the idea.

My formulation:
  • They should comprise between two and four percent of the population.
  • The status would be passed on to children only when both parents are nobles.
  • They should (of course) be originally selected from the English speaking Catholic population.

And their rights and responsibilities:

  • They receive "half the median U.S. commoner household income" from the federal treasury.
  • They receive "half the median state commoner household income" from their respective states.
  • They receive no compensation for any government service, civilian or military.
  • They cannot vote, sit on juries, or hold elective office.
  • They may not be "enlisted men" in the military, but receive no advantage in joining the officer corps or being promoted.
  • If direct taxes on income and property exist (which they shouldn't), they are exempt.
  • In place of two elected senators, each state would have one hereditary peer and one peer appointed to a life term by his state.
  • They alone may comprise the judiciary.
  • In all other cases, they are treated exactly like commoners.

So why ask the people of the Democratic Era to hand over about 4% of their income to fund such a group?

Because the new class would form a disinterested nobility. Such people would be guaranteed a middle class lifestyle with no effort, and would be prevented from making any money in public service. They would have nothing to gain and nothing to lose from the government, thus their decisions could be made more within the pure light of reason and without self-interest.

The "middling free income with public service restrictions" would encourage the ambitious to work in the private sector, and those with convictions could serve the state without giving up their ideals. And they would not be objects of scorn and envy, as half the commoner population would be richer than those who choose not to work.

As a side benefit, once again as in the Christian Era (Middle Ages, that is), a small chunk of the citizenry could exercise its artist and cultural skills without bowing to marketplace pressure. Further, if no one else, than at least this small minority would be expected to act with class in public and maintain their business and personal property in an aesthetically tasteful way. That is to say, at least 2% of America would dress well, be polite, write quality novels, and not build modernist concrete monstrosities. The bourgeois and dandies would follow by example.

We could easily pay for this by steep reductions in wasteful handouts, like personal and corporate welfare programs, which subsidize little more than bastard children and crack smoking in the former, and ugly chain stores and traffic jams in the latter.


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