How Thick Is Your Bubble?
A new upper class that makes decisions affecting the lives of everyone else but increasingly doesn’t know much about howeverybody else lives is vulnerable to making mistakes.How vulnerable are you?
O VICE OF
the human heart is so acceptable to [a despot]as egotism,” wrote Alexis de Tocqueville. “A despot easilyforgives his subjects for not loving him, provided theydo not love each other.” That couldn’t happen in the United States,Tocqueville argued, because of the genius of the founders in devolv-ing power:
Local freedom . . . perpetually brings men together, and forcesthem to help one another, in spite of the propensities whichsever them. In the United States, the more opulent citizens takegreat care not to stand aloof from the people. On the contrary,they constantly keep on easy terms with the lower classes: theylisten to them, they speak to them every day.
That’s not true anymore. As the new upper class increasingly con-sists of people who were born into upper-middle-class families andhave never lived outside the upper-middle-class bubble, the dangerincreases that the people who have so much inﬂuence on the courseof the nation have little direct experience with the lives of ordinary