Thursday, December 30, 2010

Book Review: Superclass

Who is the intended audience of this book?

Certainly not the global elites that it purports to be about-- they are too busy running the world to read a shallow book about how they're running the world.

Not the poor and the weak, which this book laments often for not having enough of a voice in l'affairs du monde. Besides, such people are too broke and overworked to afford the time and the money necessary to trudge through such an "erudite" work.

No, this book was written for the rubes, and not just any rubes, but the self-styled informed, politically knowledgeable rubes. This book was written for the rubes who make the whole system of global governance (Rothkopf's favored phraseology, over the alternative of global government) by an amorphous band of interconnected global elite, the titular Superclass, possible, simply by blinding themselves to the reality of the scam being pulled on them.

Rothkopf has written a book for the rubes who diligently go out every election and vote Democrat or Republican. He has written a book for the rubes who read the papers, watch the news and occasionally complain about the state of the union within the comfort-zone of like-minded friends, the people who willfully believe the best of intentions for their leaders who sometimes err from the path of pure nobility.

In other words, Rothkopf has written a book for the people who take the game of thievery called "politics" seriously because mere consideration of the alternative, that is, the reality that it's a mechanism for knavery, is absolutely terrifying to them.

The author himself is as clueless as he is totally interconnected with the elites he intends to observe, and therefore he is compromised.

On economics, the book reads like an especially amateurish Newsweek or Time magazine article-- the fall of the Berlin Wall and the USSR has demonstrated the failure of communist and Marxist ideology, but the rise of the "free market" in their wake has brought with it its own set of problems and inefficiencies, namely a growing gap between the haves and have-nots which threatens social instability... a constantly trotted out meme about the "free market" that is ten times more applicable to actual communist regimes throughout history, as well as their various feudal historical counter-parts. The solution? Why, a compromise, of course! An enlightened middle-ground between welfare and profit-seeking that leaves no man behind, the precise admixture of which shall be derived and administered by our honest and earnest, all-seeing elites.

On politics, conspiracy and corruption it is even worse. Rothkopf spends multiple chapters clearly and unabashedly explaining just how interconnected the global, superclass elite of the business, political and military castes are, the three main social castes which are increasingly blending into one and the same thanks to lobbying and revolving-door retirement arrangements and interlocking corporate directorships. Then, Rothkopf introduces the "fringe" viewpoints of internet crazies who insist there is a global elite pushing for one world government and he quickly dismisses these people as outrageous and pathetic individuals with overactive imaginations and paranoia issues.

What explains the seeming disconnect? Easy! As mentioned earlier, the machinations Rothkopf himself observes are examples of benign, even benevolent and definitely necessary steps toward establishing global governance, while the conspiracy theories of the loonies represent sinister attempts to grab at an anti-social power and control at which no one he is friends with has ever admitted to aiming. Rothkopf's viewpoint is firmly rooted in the post-World War II establishment mindset, which has since the end of that conflict sought endlessly for a solution to ending the competition of various national sovereignties on the global stage without resorting to out-and-out global government itself.

And if, in their quest to help the world to "live as one" these global elites occasionally get rich from their special connections and behind-closed-doors wheeling and dealing, or even do something verging on the tyrannical and arbitrary, how might the good sheeple appropriately respond? Says Rothkopf, don't worry, trust harder. But how do we know we can trust these people to not abuse their power and privilege?

Because they told me so, says Rothkopf. Why would they lie?

Indeed, that's a question Rothkopf doesn't spend any time pondering. Rothkopf is the dictionary definition of credulous. He starts from the premise that the global elites are a force for social harmony and then uses that premise to prove his belief that the global elites are a force for social harmony. The book is a series of conversations with people covered in chocolate and cookie crumbs repeating, over and over, "I don't even LIKE chocolate chip cookies!", to which Rothkopf smiles and says, "Hey, sounds good enough for me, I'm just happy to be invited to the World Chocolate Chip Cookie-Stealers Forum."

The section on the Internet, replete with an explanation of how it has allowed various people who doubt the inherent goodness of the global elite to find each other and communicate their fears in a public manner when they otherwise would've been unheard worriers in the hinterlands, was a major tell. For a faithful tool bent on elite apologia trying to assure the rubes that everything is okay and the elites will take good care of everybody if we just let them, Rothkopf's insistence on this point seemed to hint in a not so subtle manner that the unregulated speech of the Internet is worrisome to these people and their planning efforts. Combine this with his ignorant citing of search result statistics as if this is somehow scientific and indicative of social trends informing the zeitgeist and I am left to seriously question whether Rothkopf even knows how to check his own e-mail.

I give it 1/5. Concerning the Superclass, the book's message could be best summarized by the phrase, "Nothing to see here, folks, move along."


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