This is an interesting article by Joel Kotkin. He argues that Romney is the last patrician and he is being replaced by the a new power elite more akin to a secular congregation.
Like the old patricians, this new group shares a basic ideology. Indeed they can be seen as something of a clerisy—members of a secular congregation whose shared faith is in a society run by experts such as themselves according to the dictates of accepted science. That those experts would profit from their own advice is seen as merely part of a virtuous circle, scarcely worth the notice of the high-minded citizens scientifically calculating the common good. For the most part, the clerisy believes not so much in economic growth but in enforcing an agenda of ever-increasing urban density, racial redress, cultural experimentation and “green” energy. Obama reigns largely as high priest of this class….
Not surprisingly, all five of the largest donors to the Obama campaign—Microsoft, Comcast, the University of California, Harvard University and Google—represent the clerisy’s bases in academe and the information sector. Not a manufacturing, construction or traditional energy company made the top of the list….
In contrast, the clerisy generally feels indifferent or even contemptuous toward the basic industries—home building, fossil fuel energy, basic manufacturing—that still provide the best route to increased wealth and opportunity for the middle and working classes. The rejection of the XL Keystone project by Obama last week represents just the most obvious expression of this agenda. In a second term, we may see this approach amplified as the EPA and other government agencies seek to regulate any tangibly based economic growth…
In this sense, then, the decline of the patrician class—like their antecedents in the late Roman Republic—represents something of a tragedy for the rest of us. With the middle and working classes divided by social and cultural issues and with no credible champion for their economic concerns, power may simply shift to the clerisy, supported by their media enablers. As the Who once famously put it: “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”
No matter how much we might dislike Mitt Romney and his aristocratic ilk, we may someday look back at him and his class with something approaching nostalgia.