Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Circulation des elites

Fulgencio Batista (photo: Harris and Ewing)
Imagine having your favorite morning yoga or spinning class interrupted by commandos, who order you to get off the mat or bike. You were going on your merry way lost in thought about whether tonight was going to be steak or sushi and had no idea a revolution was in the offing. Something like that undoubtedly happened in l917 and the again in Cuba in l959, when Batista was overthrown and the one time playground of the rich became the capital of revolution. It’s a wonderful relief and source of hope that there are bad guys, horrible aristocrats and members of the bourgeoisie that deserve to be slaughtered so that the good guys can thrive. Were that politics or religion for that matter were so simple. Power is conservative and self-perpetuating. The sociologist Vilfredo Pareto coined the term “circulation des elites” to deal with the amorality of the realpolitik. Daniel Ortega, the one-time Sandinista leader, had been the hope of Nicaraguans. Now President Ortega is the subject of demonstrations in one of the most troubled economies in the Americas (“Ortega is becoming the kind of autocrat he once despised,” The Washington Post, 7/16/18). Asia Argento one of the first women to come forth about the depredations of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has become the subject of an inquiry concerning her own abuse of a 17 year old ("Asia Argento, a #MeToo Leader, Made a Deal With Her Own Accuser,NYT, 8/19/18). Sanctimony is a warm and cozy feeling, but beware the guy or gal helping you to hoist the outstretched banner. He or she could be your jailer.

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