Formerly known as "Studiously Uncool"
The piece about the Top Class is true, and it was always that way with old money. Its unfortunate that membership in the Top Class is dwindling. What the article refers to as the Upper Class is what we used to call nouveau riche. Unfortunately, you see a lot of that nowadays, the Top Class continues to blend in and remain largely anonymous.
That's certainly true but I think there is a further cheeky suggestion hidden in the subtext and that is that you can join the class above the upper class without being particularly rich at all.
Oh absolutely, good point. The top class also knows how to live comfortably below their means if it comes to that, while many in the upper class live way beyond their means. How many times do we read stories about those in the upper class filing for bankruptcy or their mansions going into foreclosure. They try too hard, I think it must be a reflection of their own insecurity that it could all be gone tomorrow, which of course it could.
I was thinking, Charles Murray--who is a conservative and whom I admire--has referred to the behaviors of the upper class as "unseemly." He is as critical of their ostentatious display of wealth and other things as he is of the poor or lower classes losing their moral values as reasons our society is in meltdown mode..
Jane Austen and Edmund Burke had a very similar attitude. Neither was under any illusions about how actual members of the upper class were likely to behave but they believed that the stability of society depended on enough of the upper classes accepting moral leadership was their duty in a spirit of noblesse oblige. It is still very much the moral basis of the classic English novel style story as seen in Downton Abbey.
Absolutely, Murray validated what I had been thinking for quite some time. But you're right, this goes back to Jane Austen and Burke. The upper class today has no understanding at all of noblesse oblige.