The perils of plutocracy should be obvious, but clearly they’re not. This is somewhat ironic among its biblical fan base, which seems to be where the GOP draws its energy. As the truth about Brett Kavanaugh becomes public knowledge, his religious supporters dig in their heels and blame the victims. As one of the many who grew up far from privilege I found Shamus Khan’s analysis in the Washington Post eye-opening. Khan makes the case that those who grow up in rich families and attend the “best schools” are endowed with the constantly reinforced message that the rules do not apply to them. They can get away with things that others cannot and, in general, they are let off the hook for things that lead to imprisonment for other citizens. What’s surprising is the Bible-thumpers applaud this.
It also explains more than Kavanaugh. Trump is also a child of privilege and his entire term in office so far has been one of personal exceptionalism. Many actual presidents were impeached or censured for acts far less offensive than those 45 commits. The wealthy, however, are not held accountable. Where is the Bible when we need it? The Good Book is no friend to those who enjoy great riches. In fact, one of the most constant refrains of Scripture is that against the privileged. With great wealth comes great responsibility—the obligation to help those less fortunate. The idea of getting away with what you can is hardly evangelical.
If the literalists can overlook the misuse of wealth, it is still more surprising that they can pardon lying. Since the rules do not apply to the privileged, their own narrative bears the conviction of righteousness. They can’t have made a mistake since their money proves them right. Morality can be counted in dollars and cents. It is for those of the underclasses to come up with high-minded ideals and hold themselves to them. Wealth is its own justification. Back in the days when America was young, the French lost patience with governance by the elites. But then, the Fundamentalist class didn’t have much of a voice then. It was the Age of Reason. An Age out of which we’ve apparently grown. Fake news, alternative facts, heavy-drinking frat boy justices, and women-groping presidents. Can we not see the parallels with the other great plutocracy of the Roman Empire? Ironically, it survives today only in the form of the church it sanctioned.