I was forced to think about it having read Nien Cheng's Life and Death in Shanghai. It is an horrific tale of a brilliant and powerful woman who was imprisoned and tortured because she was a member of the upper class in China during the Cultural Revolution.
Millions of people were killed and tens of millions had their lives distorted and mutilated in Mao's effort to turn the Chinese people against the hereditary elite. It was only the remaining elite that had not left the country for Hong Kong or Taiwan in 1948.
I realized that nearly as many people have been brutally killed by class warfare in France, Russia, China, North Korea, Cambodia and many other places in the name of replacing the hereditary upper class. I think more people have been killed in this cause than for any other reason except warfare and epidemic.
The great tragedy is that it has not worked. Hereditary elites have always seemed to survive everywhere in the world except in the United States.
Therefore, for all people who care about human life, it is incumbent upon us to understand how the United States replaced its hereditary elite with meritocracy. We did not have to kill or mutilate anyone.
There were two forces that combined to eliminate our hereditary class. First was the military in WWII that promoted on the basis of merit. Initially college graduates were made officers. As the war went on, competence and bravery resulted in battlefield promotions to officer class. Additionally very open enrollment in public land grant universities created a meritocratic class of officers as well.
After the war, corporation's, which constituted a major force in America, began promoting former military officers into high management positions. By 1960, so many of the meritocratic Americans who had moved from the military officer class to corporate management were in charge of American corporations, that the previous corporate managers in the hereditary elite had been effectively replaced.
No other society, except Israel, seems to operate on this meritocratic military basis.
It is because of commerce, corporations, that are so deeply committed to meritocracy that I do not believe a new hereditary elite will emerge in America.
Nor do I believe that most other nations have any chance of replacing their hereditary elite effectively without the combination of the open military and the power of corporations.