Does a socioeconomic elite class have value to people who aren't in it?

There is nothing about being raised in wealth and privilege that makes someone an inherently better leader and quite often, it actually makes them worse. That said, people who come from wealth and priviledge have better access to education and capital for business opportunities. They are more used to being around wealth and the social elite. That does not mean they would be a more effective politician, general, or judge.

I just don’t see that. (Obviously, it would be undesirable for the book, since a story about universally enlightened people lecturing each other about their enlightenment would be even more didactic than Rand is anyway.)

Fussell’s book is humorous and maybe a little inconsistent, but that doesn’t mean there’s no truth to it. I already voiced my discontent regarding class X and a couple other issues above, but I still think the book is basically good.

How do you know when he’s funnin’ you and when he isn’t? His humor is apparently so dry that you can’t tell. I don’t know if that’s intentional or not. all i do know is that I disagree with a lot of what he says, both in this and in his book Bad. A lot of what he says seems to me not observant of class differences, but downright snobbish.

I haven’t read Bad, so I can’t comment on it, but I don’t see the inaccuracies in Class. Perhaps this is a bit of a hijack and deserves its own thread.

Would a totally egalitarian society produce outstanding leaders ? Inventors ? Generals ?

I think they would produce less of these… unless its provides so well to so many that many more have time to devote to things beyond mere survival and daily chores.

There is most certainly an aristocratic upper class in America. Once while traveling I had a friend from another country ask if anyone could really be president in America. I had to explain that yeah, it’s technically possible, but it’s never really happened that way. There is still pretty much a group of people you need to be born in to if you want to be president.

Frankly, if the kind of leaders we’re getting are a result of this, bring on the change!

Was Bill Clinton born into that group? How about Ronald Reagan or Jimmy Carter or Richard Nixon or Harry Truman?

Yes, if you are born into the elite you’ve got a head start. But Bill Clinton certainly wasn’t born into the elite. George Bush, George HW Bush, John Kennedy and both Roosevelts may have been born into the elite and gone on to become president, but we’ve had plenty of counterexamples.

I’d say that, in Class, he pretty much skewers everyone evenhandedly; he’s no more complimentary of rich frivolity or proletarian Lumpenheit than he is of the class anxiety of the middles. And when it comes to professions he is perhaps least complimentary of his own, claiming that university professors tend to be downright boorish outside their own area of expertise.