They have only figured out how to tell us what we want to hear, for the most part.
They wouldn't be telling us this... IF we didn't already want to hear it, because these people are not leaders, they are (court, lol) followers. They are not TRUE intellectuals, and I am going to be provocative, Dinky, they are FALSE prophets, as people way back when used to say.
I am currently wading through a book by Eric Maurin called "La peur du déclassement", (see title of my post for translation), and it is.. opening my eyes.
Mr Maurin seems to think that this fear is peculiar to French society, which has remained highly hierarchical and devoted to rank since l'Ancien Régime (remember that France had and still has, one of the most centralized States in Europe ; IT is the Western European country that reacted the most violently to putting constitutional government in place).
I am going to quote Mr Maurin in his comparison between French and Anglo-Saxon societies :
"The French notion of déclassement hardly has an equivalent today in the Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian societies. It is a symptom of our old inegalitarian and hierarchical society, which retains its aristocratic bent, where rank, and reputation are granted for life and are destined to remain in the family. The hereditary transmission of charges disappeared with the Revolution, but social dignity remains attached to the conquest, and retention, of status. The fear of déclassement is the passion of societies based on status that are subjected to democratisation when rank and class cease to be protected by heredity, but are up for grabs for every generation. It is for this reason that the propagation of this fear can be found in the attitudes of the privileged, and the most protected. What is occurring today is NOT the déclassement of the working classes, but the FEAR of déclassement among the middle and upper middle classes, with everything that this implies in the apartheid behavior in residential and school choices."
Now... I suspect that Mr Maurin has a few "liberal" or "neoliberal" prejudices about Anglo-American society, as many French intellectuals and academics tend to have.
It is certainly true that French society is extremely hierarchical. It is certainly true that losing one's job in France is a major psychological, financial catastrophe, because it is VERY VERY difficult to find a new one. It is certainly true that the French people have OVERINVESTED the capacity of work to provide a sense of individual self esteem and identity. It is true that NOWHERE in the Western world has the IDEAL of democracy, of the abolition of privilege retained its power to mobilize a nationalistic identity (except for perhaps, in the U.S.) as it has in France, while AT THE SAME TIME, the State's institutions and society's organization are geared to perpetuate privilege among the elites.
But.... WHEN people get their hands on wealth and status they are extremely LOATHE to give them up, and this is a psychological fact. When you create an "aristocracy", (and creating aristocracy is as natural as breathing, even in our modern democracies/republics, whose aristocracy seems to be based on HAVING, versus BEING...) it has A MAJOR desire : to pass on what it has acquired. (Nobody here is going to contradict me on this one, I hope...)
I submit that the fear of déclassement is extremely present in American society these days. And that it is a fear that is globally affecting our Western civilization.
Now... fear of déclassement may not touch YOU, in your lifetime, but it is a fear that you are NOT LIKELY to escape... if you have children. Our children are our projections of ourselves, in the future. They are US, to a very great extent.
And, just for Dinky, fear of déclassement is on a parr with the attitude of the third servant in Jesus' parable. That's why I harp on the parable.