Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Social Register: An Artifact of Progressivism's Failure

I last heard of the Social Register in the 1970s when I had a college friend named William Golightly who was interested in that sort of thing.  Since then American society has become increasingly fragmented, and the idea that anyone would care to call themselves the upper class of an idiot-led nation is a puzzle.  I have been doing some research on the Forbes 400, and it seems likely that there is scant overlap between the 400 wealthiest and New York's Finest--or were New York's Finest the police force?--the 400 New York families whom the Social Register deems upper class.    I've requested a subscription to the Social Register to find out whether there's much overlap.  It seems evident to me that the American power elite does not coincide with either the Forbes 400 or the Social Register, but I suspect if you beat down enough hedges you'll start to find a few hedge hogs.

The bottom line is that the nation is in decline.  If the social elite has any power, then they are at fault.  It turns out that the Social Register's publication coincided with the Progressive era: It began in New York and Boston in 1890.  Of course, there was interest in distinguishing the social upper class from mere parvenus a century earlier,  by 1800 or so according to C. Wright Mills in his Power Elite, but American society may not have been concrete and stable enough until the printing of the greenbacks during the Civil War and the advent of Progressivism to permit a rigid listing that, from the 1920s to the 1950s, varied only a few percent (10-20 members) a year. The idea of a firm American aristocracy goes into print at the beginning of Progressivism, and it intensifies a century later.

If the Social Register has any meaning at all, any meaning beyond that of a mutual admiration society or an academic learned society, for I am dubious that it does, then its members must take responsibility for the great American devolution of 1950 to 2014.   If so, then I feel no qualms in calling the Social Register a listing of mental retards who have allowed a once-great nation to decline.  Of course, and this is more likely, social status is in the mind, and most Americans don't have the Social Register in their minds, so it doesn't have much meaning either way.  In either case, it is an artifact of Progressivism's failure.

Obama and the Jay Leno Firing: Will Comcast Comment?

Sent: Thursday, February 20, 2014 12:02 PM
Subject: Jay Leno Firing
Dear Comcast Media Department:

I write for a newspaper in Kingston, NY, The Lincoln Eagle, and the publisher is interested in a story about the link between Comcast’s contribution to the Obama campaign and the firm’s decision to fire Jay Leno following his Obama jokes.  I would be interested in a comment from Comcast. There has been coverage of this claim in several blogs (  , , and ). 
My day job is that of a college professor, but I am a libertarian.  I haven’t watched television news  or commercial television outside of the premium channels on demand since 2008. I have  been intending to terminate my cable service, but my wife has deterred me until now.  However, her brother, a physics professor, has terminated his.   In my case my motivation for wanting to terminate cable service is a combination of cost and politics.  I watch on demand because I can screen out the Progressive programming and the propaganda-cum-news. I consider American news to have the same content value that Pravda and Izvestia had in the Soviet Union. I haven’t watched television news, including NBC, since 2008. and Netflix have sizable on-demand portfolios, yet there is little reason for me to catch the latest episodes of the premium stations’ videos, so your business model and my $350-per-month bill to Time Warner are likely ephemeral.  I would rather watch Hitler’s Nuremburg rally than NBC news, and I don’t see a distinction between Obama and Hitler or between the Soviet news service and NBC.
I would appreciate your comments on the stories about the Jay Leno firing and any other points that may address my concerns about persistent bias and the laughable responsiveness of NBC to  Washington's totalitarians.

Mitchell Langbert, Ph.D.

Key Files Motion to Stay in April Jones Case


Just a reminder that the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on April's case on Friday. This is just an application to stay the competency hearing and get her case back on course to getting resolved. The Supreme Court doesn't grant these very often, so although her case is strong, I am going to have to remain pessimistic about the ruling. 

Here is the link to the docket:
(I uploaded this via Scribd.--ML)

About a week ago, I filed a supplement to that application. It is attached. 

I'm also concurrently dealing with a nursing home director who is removing the people who have assisted April the most. So she is now isolated even further. Of course this is a violation of federal law, but fighting a nursing home where someone is confined by a hostile guardian is about the most difficult situation imaginable. It is beyond words.

Thanks always for listening,