Table of Contents
The Author xiii
Note to the Reader xvii
Foreword by Morton C. Blackwell xxi
Resolving Prior Objections 3
The Universal Scope of the Allocutions to the Roman Patriciate and Nobility 17
The People and the Masses, Liberty and Equality: Wholesome Versus Revolutionary
Concepts in a Democratic Regime 25
Nobility in a Christian Society—The Perennial Character of Its Mission and Its
Prestige in the Contemporary World 31
Elites, Natural Order, Family, and Tradition—Aristocratic Institutions Within
The Meaningful Contribution of the Nobility and Traditional Elites to the Solution
Of the Contemporary Crisis 67
Genesis of the Nobility—Its Past and Present Mission 85
At the Apogee of Today’s Religious, Moral, and Ideological Crisis: A Propitious
Moment for the Action of the Nobility and the Traditional Elites 127
The United Sates: An Aristocratic Nation Within a Democratic State 136
Social Stratification in the United States 145
Authentic and Inauthentic Elites 183
Sentimentalism: An Explanation for the Egalitarian Mentality 197
The Juridical-Social Structure of Colonization 199
The Formation of a Colonial Aristocracy in Various Regions 217
The American Revolution, Independence, and the Constitution 257
The Republic up to the Civil War 279
The Elites After the Civil War 301
Traditional Elites in Contemporary America 315
Lifting Our Gaze Toward the Alienated Elites 329
Genesis, Development, and Twilight of the “Nobility of the Land” in Colonial,
Imperial, and Republican Brazil 331
How Elites Were Formed in Colonial Brazil 337
The Socioeconomic Cycles of Brazil and the History of the Nobility of the Land 349
The Revolutionary Trilogy—Liberty, Equality, Fraternity 381
Forms of Government in the Light of the Church’s Social Doctrine 391
Aristocracy in the Thinking of a Controversial Twentieth-Century Cardinal Who
Cannot be Suspected of Bias in Its Favor 419
Allocutions of Pius XII to the Roman Patriciate and Nobility 431
Allocution of Benedict XV to the Roman Patriciate and Nobility on
January 5, 1920 463
Special Duties of Society Toward the Impoverished Nobility 467
Noble Lineage: A Precious Gift of God 469
The Church’s Doctrine on Social Inequalities 477
The Necessary Harmony Between Authentic Tradition and Authentic Progress 491
Ancient Rome: A State Born From Patriarchal Societies 495
Feudalism: Work of the Medieval Family
The Familial Character of Feudal Government—The King: The Father
of His People 505
The Paternal Character of the Traditional Monarchy 509
What Popes, Saints, Doctors and Theologians Think Regarding the Lawfulness
of War 513
Is Being Noble and Leading a Noble’s Life Incompatible With Sanctity? 519
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“An elite, therefore, is not a mere juxtaposition of preeminent persons. It is formed when such persons develop a relationship among themselves in which there is a mutual exchange of values. This relationship gradually constitutes a particular culture synthesizing the intellectual and moral values of all its members.
“This distillation is done especially through informal conversation. The persons who constitute an elite need not necessarily be drawn together by a concrete theme, but rather by an admixture of subjects introduced spontaneously through the art of good conversation. The result is a natural conviviality wherein each personality contributes to the development of an elite culture.
“This type of conversation broadens horizons in an unfettered atmosphere in which unexpected and unforeseen topics both appear and disappear. Such free mingling of ideas and impressions gives life to the conversation and constitutes the charm and cultural importance of this type of discussion, which is a cherished pastime among elites.
“Take, for example, a great diplomat, a renowned financial expert, an eminent writer, a distinguished doctor, and a prominent lawyer. Let us say these men gather once a month to converse for half an hour. This would be a group of eminent persons, but it would not constitute an elite.
“This group would constitute a true elite only if its members conversed more frequently and for longer periods of time—and without a fixed schedule. They might discuss various issues, exchanging ideas and values, which would ultimately create a specific atmosphere that gives rise to an elite culture.
“This exchange of ideas and values would be more complete and successful if the spouses of these men were to make up an informal social circle in which a similar process could take place. Spontaneity would provide authenticity for this type of relationship, which should be born freely from the natural interplay of human affairs.
“From this perspective, one can better understand the innate creativity of an elite. Only when it generates a way of thinking and a culture common to its constituents does it deserve to be called a true elite.
“This, then, is a first way to conceive of an elite: a group of people who constitute the best within their locality. They excel in their respective activities, which are also the most important activities, and they generate an elite culture through their informal social interrelations.
“A second, more restricted concept is that of an elite composed exclusively of those persons of exceptional importance who transcend the scope of the city’s elect. They are an elite in another sense of the word. Small in number, they do not properly represent the cultural elite of the city, but rather transcend it….
“Consider a city which boasts a military academy, a theological institute, and an art school. The prominent people of the city entertain the higher academic staff of these schools in their homes, thus forming a local elite, whose conviviality, while not as elevated as [national elites], is analogous to it.” (Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites, American Appendix, pp. 183-184.)
“Most will not achieve international renown. Those who do achieve international stature, without ceasing to be the national elite, constitute within it, so to speak, an elite of elites.” (Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites, American Appendix, p. 184.)
“This form of nobility was neither military nor rural in origin, but rather of a cultural and administrative nature, rising from a hereditary tradition of public service or corporate leadership.” (Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites, American Appendix, pp. 139-140.)
“Historically, this is the type of elitist society formed in the West and in the mold of Christian civilization.
“This hierarchy implies two continual movements. One is in a vertical direction, whereby people of real merit can rise from one level to another. The other is in a horizontal direction, whereby people of the same level complement each other from moral, cultural, and other points of view. This double process attains a notable richness in countries with an authentically Christian civilization. This is because Christian charity, with its clearly supernatural mark, has a peerless efficacy in fraternally uniting men.” (Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites, American Appendix, pp. 184-185.)
“Let us return to the example of a small city to facilitate understanding the difference between the two. As noted, the elite of a city is formed by those who exercise prestigious activities and who are preeminent within their fields. But this still does not necessarily constitute a social class.
“A social class is constituted when these individuals and their descendants acquire stability in their prominent positions. Such habitual eminence shapes them, and forms them into a single class. On the other hand, an elite is an informal group of individuals. We can only speak of a social class if the respective families also interrelate among themselves.
“In short the upper class is formed by a group of families who attained a certain degree of perfection by which they are molded and through which they became established.” (Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites, American Appendix, p. 185.)
“How does this process work? A man becomes rich, and a desire for prestige is born in him. To attain such prestige he feels the need to have certain noticeable qualities that distinguish him from the common man: more culture, better education, greater refinement, and the like. He feels the need to adopt a lifestyle that corresponds to the idea that the public has regarding what a man of prestige should be. Moved by this desire for prestige, he begins to refine himself according to this model.
“When this process of refinement began in the United States, American cultural life did not offer adequate national archetypes….
“Those aspiring to be part of the elite were obliged to imitate European models, principally English, the natural archetype for Americans. As a result, they thought that living in the manner of an English gentleman would confer social prestige. And since the English generally acknowledged the superiority of French fashions, the wives of these Americans began to adopt certain French styles in order to have prestige among the American public.
“In this way, rudimentary elites acquired in two or three generations an authenticity that made them capable of being assimilated by the older elites.
“In a well-constituted society, such a process of refinement would take place in all social classes, not just in the highest. For underneath this process lies man’s innate desire for perfection….
“In their journey toward perfection, the different classes naturally develop human types proper to each.” (Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites, American Appendix, p.186.)