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The Upper Middle Class: The Usurpers

The wealthiest, highest status people who still work jobs and get paychecks we may call the upper middle class, urban professionals, yuppies.

As far as the subordinate masses of lesser wage earners are concerned, they are the angels in heaven making 6 figures in their “self-actualizing” careers.  A huge proportion of TV, movies, and fiction idolizes the exploits of doctors, surgeons, lawyers, FBI investigators, special agents, police chiefs, jet pilots, and professors.
These heroes are the most talented workers at the top of their craft.

The upper middle class is the glowing source of the culture upper proles and the middle class try to imitate.  If they decide quinoa or yoga is in, it filters down over the next few years.  When the middle classers embrace the new trend the upper middle class dumps it out of disgust and finds a new fad.  Or they escalate, and put expensive twists on their version that sets it safely apart from the riff raff.  Mid to low proles of course are impermeable to these fads and stick with their light beer and doritos come hell or high water.

Those in the upper middle class bask in their position of leadership and indulge in snobbery, but there’s one big problem that’s the bane of their existence:

They’re still hirelings.

Most of them have bosses just like the lowest prole day laborer.  Because they have high demand skills that are hard to replace, they’re treated as esteemed humans, not like animals as proles are.  However, they’re not the ones pulling the strings and they still have a “career” to grind at for decades before they get old and die in an upscale “retirement community”.  They may go to Iceland and Costa Rica on their vacations, but most of the time they’re tied to a “position” that demands intense dedication.  Because they live in a high value market, they must constantly prove themselves against the best competition in the world.
All their SWPL trappings such as hiking gear in the big city, cars with bike racks on top, vibram running shoes, new age crystals, and organic trail mix are trappings of the freedom they wish they had.
All their favorite brands promise meditative bliss, open skies, and airy mountain forests because they’re still slaves that crave freedom, just like any other worker.  In some ways it’s worse for them because their intellects are just sharp enough to perceive the trap they live in and resent it.  This makes them potentially dangerous.

If the middle class is the castle moat, getting constantly assailed from without, getting the castle’s sewage dumped into it from within, the upper middle class enjoys a truly privileged place within the castle walls, dwelling in the royal court.
They may actually have substantial contact with rulers.  To everyone else, the Elites are like Gods living atop an incomprehensible height.
The upper middle class on the other hand gets some access to those at the very top.  Unlike the rest, they get to observe how the rulers are not Gods, but flesh and blood people who often make mistakes.  They might even start thinking that they could do a better job…

So, under the right circumstances, the upper middle class becomes like Lucifer among God’s angels.  Already possessed of enough ambition and talent to get to the very top of the labor force, they begin to have seditious thoughts if the ruling order appears weak or incompetent.
If those with upper middle class qualities get disenfranchised and cut out of the game, they simmer with resentment and use their intelligence and leadership ability to start movements against the establishment.  If the rulers cut too many of the best and brightest out of their racket, the best and brightest turn all their energy against the rulers.
When a wave of discontent from the larger population puts the rulers off balance the ambitious upper middle class may decide the time is right.
A desperate ruler does the one thing he should never do and makes a concession.
Parliament gets called into an emergency session, the estates general is convened…the rest is history.

People of the upper middle class are smart, educated, and organized enough that they often succeed at having a revolution.  The problems begin when they discover that running a government isn’t the same as having a job.  It requires a world view alien to the worker slave mentality.  There’s no boss, no instructions to follow.  They finally must truly think for themselves.
For all their skill, an upper middle class person mostly just does one thing in one sphere of influence.  Though that role may be important, it cannot prepare them for the challenge of controlling many spheres and understanding the larger patterns that govern them all.

Because they still just work a job for their masters, they’re free to indulge in feel-good philosophies about how humanity could be made better.  Upper middle class revolutions usually have catchy slogans with high flung promises of ‘liberty’ and ‘equality.’  When the top slaves win their revolution, though, they very quickly discover that feel-good talk doesn’t make a state run.
They come from a class that spends its entire youth sheltered in prep schools and universities, spending most of their time learning highly specialized skills in the company of others who share their priorities and values.
The problem with Upper Middles trying to rule is they have no idea what motivates most people, no clue how most people live and behave.
Their moral ideologies are possibly suited to other people like them, but they are oblivious that they represent well under 10% of the population and the vast majority of humanity is nothing like them.
To put it simply, they have no street smarts.  Any lower prole teenager would be a good starting teacher to introduce them to the ways of the real world.

Unsurprisingly, upper middles find themselves in way over their heads when they actually take over.  They soon find themselves solving problems just like their bosses used to, but more heavy-handedly.  If the rulers used to hang trouble makers, in no time at all the victorious revolutionaries will have great terrors and great purges.
The revolution that begins with hope and optimism, then devolves into disaster and tyranny.  Tragically, time and again the upper middle class discovers, as Lucifer did, that to rule is above their proper place in the heavens.

The Middle Class: Caught In Between

No one likes the middle class.
They’re like a teacher’s pet trying too hard to please the teacher.
Their masters look down on them with amused contempt.  Servile creatures who sell their souls for larger crumbs.
The working class despises their eagerness to sell out everyone else and envies their standard of living.
Confounded, the middle class tries harder to please yet still finds itself caught in the middle surrounded by enemies.
When things start going bad, they make excellent scapegoats while their masters stay in comfort.
The middle class is a buffer state, the first line of defense for people who matter.

Other than being in the middle of the hierarchy, there’s nothing middle about the middle class.  They’ve always been a minority, perhaps less than 20% of the population even in the best of times.  These are the people who’ve left behind the working class lifestyle, but are far as ever from any real power.  The middle class are the low level functionaries who typically rely on the good graces of the rich for their relatively privileged lifestyle. They are owned people like the workers but live under greater supervision with more responsibilities and expectations.
While a prole wanders from one job to the next knowing it will be the same as the last, losing a job for the middle class person can be a major life crisis that threatens to cast him back down into the seething mass of the working class.

The mentality of the middle class is one of anxiety, like that of a rodent or a deer.  They know they’re among the few who’ve managed to get ahead and are terrified of falling from grace.  If they fall, their family falls with them.  They’ve lost the ability to function in the rougher prole society.  Their sheltered helicopter-parented kids are easy targets in a prole school district.  They’re like cops getting sent to prison if they fail.  For them, there’s no going back.
Paul Fussell in his book, Class, had the insight to notice that they like everything to be bland and inoffensive from their food to entertainment.  So complete is their subservience and desire to avoid offense that it controls their lives even when they’re not working.  They try to imitate their superiors by being verbose and using lots of long words that disguise their real meaning, especially if it’s something possibly disagreeable.  Just think of the grey and boring names we associate with corporate jargon.  If a middle class person tells you their job title, it’s not clear what they actually do.

Peasants have revolts, the upper middle class, revolutions. The middle class has no rebellion.  Their fortunes are tied to the ruling order and they fear losing what they have too much to participate in upheaval.  They’ll usually still be fed when most proles are starving so will have even less incentive to betray their masters and join the destitute multitudes.

Like proles, middle classers are devoid of imagination and ideas.  Curiosity is alien to them.  The ideal middle class person needs to have enough brains to acquire skills and be likable to the right people, but any more than that is dangerous to the blind loyalty required of them.
They’re perfectly plain in looks possessing neither intellect or stupidity.  They’re the insipid gruel of humanity lacking in flavor or personality content to work at the same desk for a lifetime.
Proles are passive and impotent but at least they are passionate.
Proles are collectivist, they stick to the ways of their own kind.
The middle classers are conformist, their culture is their failure to imitate their betters.  They have no love for themselves, they care only for fashions handed down from above.

The lack of of identity and stuffiness of middle class culture makes it the first zone of society with potential for unsocialized malcontents to break off in search of meaning and belonging in life.  At present the middle class is shrinking from an all-time high to return to more normal historic levels.  Plenty of middle class children have failed to get the same status as their parents and find themselves alienated.
Middle class people are harmless to rulers as long as they stay that way.  But if too many of them slip towards proledom their better brains and higher initiative can cause some problems as they bring their resentments down with them and begin to inspire popular anger.

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