The clerisy shares a kind of mission which Bell described as the rational “ordering of mass society.” Like the bishops and parish priests of the feudal past, or the public intellectuals, university dons and Anglican worthies of early 19th century Britain, today’s clerisy attempts to impart on the masses today’s distinctly secular “truths,” on issues ranging from the nature of justice, race and gender to the environment. Academics, for example, increasingly regulate speech along politically correct lines, and indoctrinate the young while the media shape their perceptions of reality…

Let’s be clear — this new ascendant class is no threat to either the “one percent,” or even the much smaller decimal groups. Historically, the already rich and large economic interests often profit in a hyper-regulated state; the clerisy’s actions can often stifle competition by increasing the cost of entry for unwelcome new players. Like Cardinal Richelieu or Louis XIV’s finance minister, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, our modern-day dirigistes favor state-directed capital that has benefited, among others, “green” capitalists, Wall Street “too big to fail” firms and, of course, General Motors.

More disturbing still may be the clerisy’s regal disregard for democratic give and take. Both traditional hierarchies, or new ones like the Bolsheviks after the 1917 revolution, disdain popular will as intrinsically lacking in scientific judgment and societal wisdom. Some leading figures in the clerisy, such as former Obama budget advisor Peter Orszag, openly argue for shifting power from naturally contentious elected bodies to credentialed “experts” operating in places Washington, Brussels or the United Nations.