Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Droit du Seigneur and the Neofeudal Privileges of Class in America

Want to understand the full scope of neofeudalism in America? Follow the money and the power and privilege it buys.
The repugnant reality of class privilege in America is captured by the phrase date rape: the violence of forced, non-consensual sex is abhorrent rape when committed by commoner criminals, but implicitly excusable date rape when committed by a member of America's privileged elite.
Compare the effectiveness of excuses offered by privileged elites (we were both drinking, I didn't hear her say no, etc.) when offered in court by less privileged males on trial for rape. The privileged elite is acquitted or given a wrist-slap while the commoner gets 20 years in prison.
This implicit privilege to non-consensual sex was known as Droit du Seigneur(right of the lord) in feudal Europe. While scholars debate whether the right of lords to have their way with female subjects was institutionalized, it doesn't take much imagination to see the lack of recourse unmarried female serfs had if summoned to the lord's lair.
The "right" to non-consensual sex is simply one facet of class privilege in America. One need only examine the histories of Harvey Weinstein and Bill Clinton to see how Droit du Seigneur works in America: from the perverse perspective of the privileged, the female "owes" the "lord" sex as "payment" for his interest in her, or (even more offensively, if that's possible) the female is "fortunate" to have attracted the violent sexual gratification of the "lord."
While the standard presumption of sexual assault / date-rape is that it's all about sex, the much more disturbing reality is that it's a crime of violence.Force and violence are also privileges of the New Aristocracy, both the direct violence of sexual assault and indirect violence threatened or manifested by the innumerable thugs that surround the New Aristocracy.
This right to violence and force manifests in all sorts of ways: the New Aristocracy constantly threatens and abuses underlings (the neofeudal equivalent of serfs), opponents with less power and other nations; violence and force are rights across the entire spectrum.
Another implicit right of the Privileged Few is a free pass / way out: caught shoplifting? Pressure is applied and charges are dropped. Drunk driving? Ditto, unless the incident is recorded and posted publicly.
The financial crimes of fraud and embezzlement never come back to cost the instigators. Their shell corporations pay a pro forma fine and the criminal New Aristocrats walk away, free to indulge their "right" to insider scams.
The New Aristocrats are also entitled to can't-lose "opportunities" to reap millions from crony-capitalist / insider skims unavailable to commoners. These "opportunities" come from a multitude of sources: from elite-university classmates, well-connected fathers-in-law, senior partners in the firm, political fixers, Hollywood / entertainment execs, etc. that are exclusive to upper-caste insiders.
The existence of a New Aristocracy is now undeniable, and this is upsetting the commoners' faith that America is a meritocracy. The sobering reality is some are more equal than others in America.
Who's in the New Aristocracy? Start with this chart: the top .1%, and everyone they can buy, for example politicos.
The New Aristocrats feel entitled to remain untouchable, regardless of the enormity of their crimes. People are starting to wake up to neofeudal realities of life in America, but the sexual privileges of this class are only the tip of the iceberg. Want to understand the full scope of neofeudalism in America? Follow the money and the power and privilege it buys.
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