The jet set

June 21, 2012

Richard Burton

The jet set constitutes yet another inauthentic elite. The expression indicates the very wealthy who live to spend money and enjoy life traveling between the most fashionable places. It includes the most disparate persons: a royal princess, a high-rolling gambler, a famous jockey, a scandal-ridden movie star. The criteria for membership are wealth, a taste for extravagance, and a passion to appear in the public eye. In sum, Money + Desire to Spend + Passion for Publicity = Jet Set.

Here, too, the deleterious effect of the media is noticeable. The spotlights of publicity that do not shine benignly on traditional elites are favorably focused on the jet set. For example, if a member of the jet set is present at the marriage of a couple belonging to a traditional elite, the media will highlight the jet-setter, while largely ignoring the traditional guests.

Doña María del Rosario Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart y Silva, 18th Duchess of Alba de Tormes, Grandee of Spain.

The jet set is a caricature of an authentic elite, as its décor, ambience, and fashion, profoundly marked by a desire to display wealth rather than taste, evidence. The garish and demagogic tone of the jet-set ambiences has nothing aristocratic about it.


Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII: A Theme Illuminating American Social History (York, Penn.: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, 1993), American Appendix, p. 189. Editorial comment: —

Show-off extravagance, gaudiness, and garishness, the raw material for yellow press sensationalist gossip. Eventually, the self-worship can reach the delusional and blasphemous sentiment expressed once by John Lennon: “We’re more popular than Jesus!”
The spirit of authentic elites—and quintessentially of the nobility and analogous traditional elites—is diametrically opposed to this spirit of selfishness. It is rooted in and is further strengthened by sacrifice and self-abnegation in the promotion of the common good of the nation.


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