I’m currently reading a collection of H L Mencken’s essays, The Vintage Mencken. In one essay, “The National Letters,” Mencken describes George W Bush (err, the American plutocracy circa 1920), thusly:
It is badly educated, it is stupid, it is full of low-caste superstitions and indignations, it is without decent traditions or informing vision; above all it is extraordinarily lacking in the most elemental independence and courage. Out of this class comes the grotesque fashionable society of our big towns, already described. Imagine a horde of peasants incredibly enriched and with almost infinite power thrust into their hands, and you will have a fair picture of its habitual state of mind. It shows all the stigmata of inferiority–moral certainty, cruelty, suspicion of ideas, fear.
Mencken’s argument is that what’s needed is a real aristocracy. I’m not sure I buy into that necessarily, but his description of the American plutocracy then and now is dead on.