I have come to the conclusion that the United States has devolved into an aristocracy. Bear with me though because I doubt that you know where I’m going with it.
Just finished reading Fukuyama’s “Political Order and Political Decay” It’s the second volume to the an earlier one I read “Origins of Political Order.” The first volume traced the history (and pre-history) of human society in terms of political order. In it he made the argument that man, and the apes evolution says we came from, are naturally social animals who naturally give up free will in order to compete better as a society as opposed to naturally self reliant creatures who make a choice to give up free will in some sort of social contract. This has led to a string of social/political structures starting with small family group bands rising through larger groupings eventually leading to some modern states. This has been driven, in fits and spurts, both by natural tenancies such as kin selection and reciprocal altruism and conscious thought.
One of the stops along the line was aristocracy. Large landowners who controlled many people below them not necessarily based on the services they could provide but by the sheer size of their holdings. These holdings were often acquired, at least initially, though violence and often held though heredity, whether the current holder was worthy or not. These ‘nobles’ were then either beholden to a higher noble above them or joined together through cooperation to form larger states. Several examples exist through history of a king and/or country whose government was made up simply of this grouping of nobles controlling their individual territories in the name of a higher state but all the while scrambling and squabbling among themselves for a bigger piece of the pie. All the while the little guys below them simply trying to make a living in peace. Sometimes these little guys could, if motivated, help determine which noble came out on top of a particular fight but no one was actually looking out for them other than as a source of power/income.
Fast forward to modern America. No we don’t have individual aristocrats (for the most part) but what we have are special interests. We have the Duke of Gayness with it’s associated nobles the baroness lesbian and count transgender. We have the Duke of Energy with his often at odds earl of oil, baron of nuclear, and marquis d’solar. Sometimes we have individuals rising in power and prominence to be included, each in their little fiefdom, Koch, Soros, Trump, Jackson. All ‘representing’ some segment of population, power, or money source. Constantly realigning in their cooperation or hatred. Each saying they are fighting for those under them but at best fighting to preserve or increase those under them and often simply fighting for more power to dictate to the other noble/interests what they can and can’t do.