A Battle Between Competing Elites

Something like "marriage equality" isn't really about "marriage equality," which is really just an empty slogan: who is actually in favor of all potential marriages being treated "equally"?

In reality it is a weapon in the battle between the old elite of the ancien régime and the new elite of a highly educated bureaucracy. Traditional morality and traditional religions are aligned with the old elite, so the rising elite tries to blast them out of its path to power. What people like Paul Krugman are working for is not an egalitarian society, as that's impossible:

"The conservative position has never been simply that a hierarchical society is better than an egalitarian one. It’s that an egalitarian society is impossible. Every society includes rulers and ruled. The central question of politics, therefore, is not whether some will command while others obey. It’s who gives the orders."

What they are fighting for is a society in which they rule.  And if you are not one of them, and if you are out fighting for "marriage equality" or against "white privilege": well, they need foot soldiers, don't they? And "We educated elite should rule" is not a slogan with which you can recruit many foot soldiers! As Pareto put it:

'A politician is inspired to champion the theory of "solidarity" by an ambition to obtain money, power, distinctions... If the politician were to say, "Believe in solidarity because if you do it means money for me," they would get many laughs and few votes. He therefore has to take his stand on principles that are acceptable to his prospective constituents... Oftentimes the person who would persuade others begins by persuading himself; and even if he is moved in the beginning by thoughts of personal advantage, he comes eventually to believe that his real interest is the welfare of others.'

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