Social Classes: The Upper Middle Class


A series on social class in America. Lower, workingmiddle, and Upper here.

The upper middle class is where it is at in America. Most people, when they think of the upper class, are actually thinking of the upper middle class. They are the face of the establishment. The super "self made" rich often come from this class. They are also the celebs of the world. They are the doctors and lawyers and college professors and journalists and everyone else who "counts." They are who everyone wants to be when they grow up because, really, anyone can be upper middle class if they work hard and obey the rules of upper middle class propriety. And, if you're middle class, they're only one standard deviation away! Wow! Ain't America great?

I'll make no bones about it: I have always disliked and resented these people. I suspect most people in the Alternative Right feel the same way. They are the human embodiment of the Managerial State. Pretty much everything wrong with America was their idea, and almost nothing which is good and true about America is even believed in by these cretins. When I think of "trust fund hippies," they're always a member of this social class: no self respecting member of the upper classes would have hippy offspring, let alone give them money without them displaying enough virtue to not be hippies. Many upper middles inherit their money and self regard, though their kind probably only rarely passes on acutal wealth to the next generation. They're boorish, decadent, stupid (in a way only educated people can be), they dress atrociously and have terrible manners and taste. I blame upper middle class "efficiency experts" for the fact that America has become a giant money vacuum. I can't go to a crummy bar or restaurant or even stand in an elevator without some telescreen broadcasting ad copy at me, coffee costs $5, and upper middle class futures traders have even committed the sin of making my gasoline expensive. It's also an upper middle class idea to raise my taxes and give my money to someone else whose life the upper middle class has ruined.

One of the most unpleasant things about the present upper middle class is the sheer disdain they hold every other social class of American, other than some of the lower class people who, as Churchill put it, share in their immorality. Lots of working and middle class Americans admire the upper middles and attempt to emulate them. I don't; I return their hate. When Paul Gottfried expresses his Nietzschean disdain for milquetoast girlie men and their virago counterparts at his school; I believe he's talking about the upper middle class and people who emulate them. I can get along with these sandal-wearing, mewling, status groping nerdlings if I have to, but I have more or less arranged my life such that I rarely have to talk to any of them. I mostly deal with foreigners, the upper class, middle class software engineers and people like me (educated working class people).

One of the amusing facts about the upper middle class in America is they have the most class anxiety. An upper middle class person can be ruined by an accusation of racism, just as certainly as a Victorian gentleman could be ruined by being outed as a homosexual or bounder. As such, the byzantine courtly manners of political correctness are some of the most delicately amusing folkways developed in modern times. Since these frilled lillies have made my nation uninhabitable by civilized men, I plan on laughing them to scorn for the rest of my naturals.

The upper middle class wasn't always so. In Madmen, we see an imaginary portrayal of the old upper middle class as envisioned by their usurpers. The difference between the old upper middle class (who were strivers trying attempting to emulate the upper class) and the new one: nobody in the future will make television programs about our present day upper middle class which makes them look glamorous. I suspect there are a few members of the old upper middle class remaining, and many of them qualify as "alternative right" or paleoconservative, but in using my simple class model, I prefer to ignore them. Really, the effect of the old upper middle class on society is so negligible, this is a fair thing to do.

The present day upper middle class was also a long time coming; I've gone on about how the modern folkways of these people are a very old thing. For a more recent example of the disease, as told by Roger Scruton (on the subject of mid-20th century poet Roy Campbell and his reaction to the Bloomsbury group):

"Campbell began to see the three aspects of the new elite—sexual inversion, anti-patriotism, and progressive politics—as aspects of a single frame of mind. These three qualities amounted, for Campbell, to a refusal to grow up. The new elite, in Campbell’s opinion, lived as bloodless parasites on their social inferiors and moral betters; they jettisoned real responsibilities in favor of utopian fantasies and flattered themselves that their precious sensibilities were signs of moral refinement, rather than the marks of a fastidious narcissism."

How to be or suck up to the upper middle class:

1) Go to school. Preferably an Ivy or "super state school." Get a degree in Law, public policy, finance, psychology, medicine: something you can lord it over others with your giant throbbing cranium. It isn't important you actually know anything, in fact, the less you actually know, the better off you probably will be: you just need your ticket punched as one of the enlightened ones. Original thinking is verbotten; you are a prophet of the holy experts, whoever they might be.

2) Don't play football in school; you are too smart for that. Only awful brutes play football. The only thing more anti-upper-middle class than football (or any other sport) is military service; that is downright evil. The upper middle class in America as it exists today was invented to avoid service in Vietnam, so, no betraying the hard work of your class brothers! If you must play a sport, "ultimate" or something involving aimless walking about in the woods or hills (hiking? rock climbing?) is acceptable.

3) You don't really work: your career is more like a calling, really. I mean, you're not just punching a time clock, you are an artist -either that, or you are doing something important which is saving the world. Only the lower orders have jobs, poor bastards.

4) You know what is good for everyone else (after all, you are one of the educated ones), and you're going to give it to them good.

5) Marry a neurotic person who has intellectual or artistic pretensions. After all, you want an intellectual equal, don't you? If you don't marry your intellectual equal, you are a bad person. Character, skin tautness, dowry, hotitude, chemistry, morality, helpfulness: none of these are important; it is only important that you marry your intellectual equal. You will know your intellectual equal because she will be complicated, difficult, dyspeptic and fond of her psychologist. These things are signs of intellectual equality.

6) Don't wear a tie unless you need to for your job. Because that would be stuffy. You are not stuffy, you are simply an educated person. Your brain is your tie.

7) hobbies: politics, art, writing, environmentalism (as opposed to conservationism), contemplating the digital revolution, going to your shrink, making your children neurotic with things like Montessori schools, rebelling against the man, pretending you know something, hiking, saving the world, your very fulfilling career, whole grain breads and organic tomatoes, saving the world with your very fulfilling career.

8) The military service the upper middle class is most likely to serve in: Peace Corps.

9) Politics: far to the left. Used to be middle-right back in the "Babbit" days, but now that is reserved for the people sucking up to the upper class. Smart, tasteful enlightened people are all leftists, after all. And, gee-whiz, these guys are damned smart, enlightened and tasteful; they'll tell you all about it. Liberalism is the primary status marker of upper middle class society. The more ridiculous your beliefs, the more impressive your upper middle class moral codpiece.

10) Habitat: wherever one may find "whole foods" markets, volvo dealerships, Davos and TED conferences, places which sell coffee with foam in it, university towns, trendy coastal urban environments, places where authentic native stuff is sold (assuming of course, there are no authentic natives to go with it) etc. Rarely found in the South outside of Austin and College towns; or if they are down there, those are a completely different species of upper middle class not yet encountered by your humble narrator.

Example upper middle class people: Steven Spielberg, Ted Turner, your quacksalver, anyone who drives a Volvo, Subaru or Prius, the local shrink, Bill Gates.