Nothing is more central to the idea of America than that this is a country where everyone can rise to the top with ambition and hard work. That is the promise of America, but now the promise has been broken.
We’ve become an aristocratic country, where rich parents raise rich kids and poor parents raise poor kids. We’ve been told that the changes are structural, that there’s nothing we can do about this. But that doesn’t explain why other First World countries are beating us hands down on the issue of mobility.
What's different about America is the structure of our political parties. The Democratic Party is an alliance of the poorest of Americans, those who have little chance to rise, and a New Class of the comfortably rich professionals, media leaders and academics who shape the contours of American politics and circumscribe our policies. It’s an alliance of both ends against the middle that recalls the Red Tories of parliamentary countries. The members of the New Class are the Tories of today, and because of their feigned concern for the poor they are Red Tories.
Aristocracy, not mobility, is the natural default position of a society, but what is natural is seldom benign and never necessary. We can become less aristocratic by emulating countries that are more truly mobile.