Time for another dip into Atlas Shrugged. At his wedding reception, Jim Taggart proclaims "We will build a society dedicated to higher ideals, and we will replace the aristocracy of money by - "
"- the aristocracy of pull." Thus Francisco D'Anconia completes his sentence, as a prelude to his famous Root of Money speech.
One reasonable definition of this phrase and its practical illustration: a group of powerful individuals who have reached their status not through talent or initiative, but through political connections.
Today James Delingpole reports on Sarah Palin's speech to a rally in Iowa on 3rd September. Just to take one passage: -
"Yeah, the permanent political class – they’re doing just fine. Ever notice how so many of them arrive in Washington, D.C. of modest means and then miraculously throughout the years they end up becoming very, very wealthy? Well, it’s because they derive power and their wealth from their access to our money – to taxpayer dollars. They use it to bail out their friends on Wall Street and their corporate cronies, and to reward campaign contributors, and to buy votes via earmarks. There is so much waste. And there is a name for this: It’s called corporate crony capitalism. This is not the capitalism of free men and free markets, of innovation and hard work and ethics, of sacrifice and of risk. No, this is the capitalism of connections and government bailouts and handouts, of waste and influence peddling and corporate welfare. This is the crony capitalism that destroyed Europe’s economies. It’s the collusion of big government and big business and big finance to the detriment of all the rest – to the little guys. It’s a slap in the face to our small business owners – the true entrepreneurs, the job creators accounting for 70% of the jobs in America, it’s you who own these small businesses, you’re the economic engine, but you don’t grease the wheels of government power."
Sarah Palin may be a divisive figure. She may be a little bit eccentric. But when she can speak as electrically as this, and subconsciously identify the aristocracy of pull as something that is the cause of so many political problems and has to be stopped, doesn't she have a point? And if the USA does not want her in the highest office, can we have her over here in the UK, please?