Aristocracy without Nobility

One of the biggest obstacles to the recovery of classical education is that it is an aristocratic form of education being driven and funded by the working class.

Although we have an egalitarian gag-reflex to any talk of aristocracy in America today, history has shown again and again that the perpetuation of valuable civilization and culture is dependent upon the aristocracy of a nation, republic, or empire. An aristocracy can be defined as “any class or group considered to be superior, as through education, ability, wealth, or social prestige”. The need is always that those persons, due to their vast resources of wealth and leisure, engage in the production and funding of liberal education and higher culture. The working class simply does not have the time or money.

The major problem is not that we don’t have people of means in our society…we have more in America “than we can shake a stick at” (to use a Southern phrase). As story after story of greed and corruption has affirmed in the last several years, it is that our “aristocracy” lacks nobility.

Without an aristocracy that is noble, the recovery of culture and liberal education is an arduous struggle and an uphill battle all the way.

May God grant us wisdom in pointing our culture to nobility and our nobility to generosity.


6 Responses

  1. I suppose a search for wisdom as outsider’s role is just as old as Socrates. I wonder if true nobility can come about without some arduous struggle and uphill battle.

  2. Andrew,

    Would we consider David (before king), Ruth, his great grandmother and the Bereans “noble”?


  3. James,

    Oops. I just realized that you wrote this post. Sorry I did not address my comment to you.


  4. Andrew,

    For some reason this blog reminded me of the movie Braveheart. Here are some quotes from the movie that may pertain to this issue.

    Elder Bruce father to Robert: It is exactly the ability to compromise that makes a man noble.

    William Wallace to the nobles: You think the people of this country exist to provide you with position. I think your position exists to provide those people with freedom.

    William Wallace to Robert the Bruce: Now, tell me what does that mean, to be noble?

    As a nation, just as in the movie, America has no sense of itself, its “nobles” squabble amongst themselves ready to compromise in order to maintain their power. Perhaps we need a William Wallace to lead the common people to freedom. In the meantime we must work to understand and restore meaning to the idea of being noble.

    Perhaps Christian classical education will bring forth a new nobility from which a new “William Wallace” may spring.


    • Suzanne,

      I agree that we need a new genuinely noble nobility, which would require that we discover what genuine nobility is.

      I don’t like the idea of a William Wallace, but then I don’t have that Scottish temperament. Prudence is knowing the difference between compromising your principles and compromising with circumstances.

  5. James,

    I’d draw a distinction that matters between aristocracy and oligrachy. Aristocracy literally means “rule by the best” and it’s hard to believe anybody would want anything else.

    Oligarchy is rule by those with property. That’s what we’re becoming. That’s why we need those with resources to support education reform, which can’t be accomplished by bureaucracies that exist through coerced payments.

    And that’s why I thank God for those with resources who have helped CiRCE survive. We would not be here if it weren’t for the “aristocrats” who have supported us.

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