Elite Panic

I hadn't heard of this term before, but it's an interesting one. The excerpt below is from an interview with Rebecca Solnit, author of A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster:

The term "elite panic" was coined by Caron Chess and Lee Clarke of Rutgers. From the beginning of the field in the 1950s to the present, the major sociologists of disaster -- Charles Fritz, Enrico Quarantelli, Kathleen Tierney, and Lee Clarke -- proceeding in the most cautious, methodical, and clearly attempting-to-be-politically-neutral way of social scientists, arrived via their research at this enormous confidence in human nature and deep critique of institutional authority. It’s quite remarkable.

Elites tend to believe in a venal, selfish, and essentially monstrous version of human nature, which I sometimes think is their own human nature. I mean, people don't become incredibly wealthy and powerful by being angelic, necessarily. They believe that only their power keeps the rest of us in line and that when it somehow shrinks away, our seething violence will rise to the surface -- that was very clear in Katrina. Timothy Garton Ash and Maureen Dowd and all these other people immediately jumped on the bandwagon and started writing commentaries based on the assumption that the rumors of mass violence during Katrina were true. A lot of people have never understood that the rumors were dispelled and that those things didn't actually happen; it's tragic.

But there's also an elite fear -- going back to the 19th century -- that there will be urban insurrection. It's a valid fear. I see these moments of crisis as moments of popular power and positive social change. The major example in my book is Mexico City, where the '85 earthquake prompted public disaffection with the one-party system and, therefore, the rebirth of civil society.

Posted on April 8, 2013 at 1:30 PM • 44 Comments

Comments

MichelApril 8, 2013 3:15 PM

"But there's also an elite fear -- going back to the 19th century -- that there will be urban insurrection."
I would have thought that one could go back to the French Revolution (1789) - at the very least. Of course there will be a fear of anarchy in the face of disaster; I am absolutely certain that initially people pull together in the face of disaster but when the survival instinct takes over it becomes dog eat dog. This is as true for the elite as the non-elite. It's just that the elite think that this is somehow exceptional.

lanceApril 8, 2013 3:25 PM

19th Century? the wealthy have always been able to buy protection. Whether acquiring from religion or politics manipulating repression is a codified tool of the moneyed classes, occasionally they turn on themselves. More often it is fear of the classes they must control to maintain a status quo. While not specifically a religious issue it is interesting that almost all fundamentalist religious uprisings start with the impoverished classes. I seem to remember that Christians were terrorists in the eyes of the Romans.

ThomasApril 8, 2013 3:33 PM

Elite panic starts here - at least according to Google, which now presents it as result number three for the term "elite panic"; at least for me.

FeverApril 8, 2013 4:04 PM

"Elites tend to believe in a venal, selfish, and essentially monstrous version of human nature, which I sometimes think is their own human nature. I mean, people don't become incredibly wealthy and powerful by being angelic, necessarily."

Naively I'd scoff and say that human nature was unlikely to vary significantly across social class, being more of an individual/familial trait, but after living for the last few years in one of the richest, most successful places on Earth, I have to admit: people here are much colder, more calculating, more arrogant, more focused on personal gain, and just plain meaner than any group of people I've ever met before. Many maintain a friendly veneer, but there's a nasty streak a mile wide just below the surface. So maybe there is something valid about the above quote after all...

CalvinApril 8, 2013 4:13 PM

Explains the "good for me, not for you" approach to gun control a la Mark Kelly or the Mayors Against Illegal Guns that keep showing up in the news because of ... wait for it ... unlawful gun use.

FeverApril 8, 2013 5:01 PM

@Ben Rosengart, I'd rather not say to avoid unintentionally slighting other blog readers (let me emphasize that my statement applies to the aggregate, and there are certainly nice individuals in my area as well--just rather few of them).

I'll give the hint that it's a place where you'd expect lots of schneier.com readers to be found. That should allow for a pretty good guess without fully incriminating me.

If others who have lived in both rich and poor/middle class environments would like to sound off on this issue, I'd be interested in their observations.

Petréa MitchellApril 8, 2013 5:27 PM

The equivalent concern of the techno-elite is that a rising tide of ignorance is always about to destroy civilization. (In fact, there are quite a few examples in the list of answers to the Edge question about what we should be worried about that Bruce posted about recently.)

However:

Elites tend to believe in a venal, selfish, and essentially monstrous version of human nature, which I sometimes think is their own human nature. I mean, people don't become incredibly wealthy and powerful by being angelic, necessarily.

Not so; elite behaviors can be induced in situational psychology experiments by giving subjects temporary high status.

And more and more of our elites are gaining their wealth and power by being born to elite parents, anyway; see the extensive reportage on declining social mobility.

Jenny JunoApril 8, 2013 5:33 PM

@Fever

I am by no means an expert, or even one with personal experience, but I do recall an example of Afghani culture frequently cited after 9/11. That by tradition any stranger asking for food and shelter will always be accepted into a household. I think that qualifies as an example of a altruism in a very poor community.

Atavia JonesApril 8, 2013 6:04 PM

"I mean, people don't become incredibly wealthy and powerful by being angelic, necessarily. "

Not unless they have a really good cover. :-)

Frank WilhoitApril 8, 2013 6:33 PM

The word "elite" is here being used as shorthand for the phrase "unaccountable elite". This is misleading and lazy.

"It's the unaccountability, stupid."

wkwillisApril 8, 2013 6:53 PM

Frank Wilhoit on unaccountable elite.

I noted that last week the police union rescinded their award for the copkiller cop.
That action surprised me until I realised that as a socially protected and hard to prosecute class, cops don't tend to think in terms of their personal accoutability.
I also note that cops tend to be very, very, cautious when dealing with the public. Kind of strange when their job is statistically so safe. Death rates for cops (and other workers) on the job are dwarfed by car accidents as a cause of death, unlike the few dangerous (legal) jobs still left like fisherman, lumberjack, taxidriver, barmaid, etc.
Not sure that I would classify that as elite panic, though. I don't think cops are considered elite in American society. Upper 10% in terms of income, benefits, whatever, but not 1% in social or financial terms.
But they definitely think of themselves as unaccountable. Causes all kinds of marriage tensions when their job status ends at their house door.

ArclightApril 8, 2013 11:57 PM

My experience working in disasters suggests that you do indeed get a community "pulling together" effect among the decent people in that community. When folks have a common goal of survival and mutual assistance, they do stand together. This works best when there is already a sense of community, neighbors that know each other by names, etc. But it also happens with strangers too.

Unfortunately, every society also has a percentage of predators at the margins. I'm not sure that this breaks down along an "elite vs. non-elite" line. Those predators will take advantage of chaos in order to prey on their fellow man.

This will probably stir up a huge hornet's nest, but interested readers might want to read "On Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs" for additional perspective. Here's one copy of that essay:

http://www.gleamingedge.com/mirrors/onsheepwolvesandsheepdogs.html

Arclight

FigureitoutApril 9, 2013 12:18 AM

Causes all kinds of marriage tensions when their job status ends at their house door.
@wkwillis
--Absolutely, a cop (turned more of a SWAT, former NG reserve) divorced a family member of mine. Thank god (no longer in the family), the individual was involved in a case that went to the supreme court of my state saying basically citizens had NO RIGHT resisting ILLEGAL entry into their homes. Plus, his children have been permanently harmed by the divorce; so I never want to see the individual again.

@Fever
--You're pretty much correct, based on my experiences too. It's that tension underneath the surface that you mention, that's the most disturbing.

Jon EliotApril 9, 2013 12:34 AM

@Arclight,
Regarding the essay you recommended:
I am a sheep. I live in a society that is mostly unarmed (even the police, mostly). The murder rate is 0.6 intentional homicides per 100000 people per year, contrasting rather sharply with the 5 per 100000 reported in the essay. And the point of the essay was?

AndyApril 9, 2013 12:39 AM

@Fever, I've lived in and visited both rich and poor communities throughout the US and in a few foreign countries, and my experience is that there are some bad poor communities and some good rich communities, but they are the exceptions. Money and status seems negatively correlated with good people.

(Also you didn't do a very good job of hiding that you recently moved to Silicon Valley. Visit your local hackerspace for a different view of the community.)

AutolykosApril 9, 2013 5:29 AM

@Arclight: On that article, I want to quote the Principia Discordia: "All statements are true in some sense, false in some sense, meaningless in some sense, true and false in some sense, true and meaningless in some sense, false and meaningless in some sense, and true and false and meaningless in some sense."
It is a way too simplistic observation, and thus without practical relevance. The first problem is that it's damn hard to tell wolves from sheepdogs (to stay within the image). There are lots of corrupt cops and politicians (and some who just plain like to abuse their power). The heroes and liberators of today were often yesterday's terrorists (or vice versa). He defines sheepdogs as defenders of society, but not every society deserves defending (I won't name examples, but I bet everyone knows a few). Even the line to sheep is somewhat blurred. There are also quite a few people in police and military who live in denial about evil (mainly the part located in their own organizations). And some of those he calls "young sheepdogs" never manage to find "their" cause and are impossible to tell from sheep (if they're smart, at least).

paulApril 9, 2013 8:42 AM

I think the term "elite panic" is misleading in a couple of ways. First, there's an observational effect: you notice the people who are running around screaming, but not so much the ones who are carrying on or pitching in. (If I were snarky, I'd say that this might reflect each elite person's level of repressed guilt, but that's too simple.)

Second, there's a big difference between fear of general disorder, which happens in most disasters, and specific disorder aimed at the elite, which only happens in particular disasters, but is (I think) the kind of disorder panicky elites are most worrying about under the surface.

W.G.April 9, 2013 9:31 AM

I remember vividly an extreme winter storm when I was an 8 year old kid. The road was blocked by fallen trees for over a week and it was 10 days before the power and phones were restored. Our village had no shops or medical centre.

The village, regardless of class, pulled together. Cut off from the schools I did schoolwork by candlelight in a big room of other kids in a neighbour's house. I didn't know all the kids there and in other places adults stayed together for warmth. Our house was full of women cooking because we had a gas stove and those with electric ones had no way to cook. My parents didn't know all the people who were in the house.

The limited food, medicine, blankets, fuel and firewood were shared freely and everyone looked out for the elderly and babies. The men carried loads around the village to those who needed things and formed work parties clearing fallen trees from the road since there was no way to contact the authorities.

Only one group was missed out, a dozen or so households of "elite". They didn't have a separate club to the rest of us; they were just going it alone. A struggle for most of them! I was upset when my dad (the only medic) got a shouting at, and practically chased off someone's land, when we walked round seeing if anyone needed assistance.

No other group tried to buy any goods or assistance and the "elite's" attempts to do so usually only caused offence.

Though not in it with the rest of us there was no fear of people turning on each other. It being Europe only a few people had firearms but nobody was concerned about who had them. People didn't start locking their doors or cars (something that didn't become a necessity till the turn of the millennium). Overall no fears of anarchy, looting, etc just some people who saw our rural setting as merely a nice backdrop for their houses rather than a community to live in and be a part of.

It could be that living in an expensive bubble, without those local ties, can cause a fair amount of anxiety whenever anything threatens the pristine "normal" state of affairs.

Old Bull LeeApril 9, 2013 9:32 AM

I have been a member of the lower class, middle class, and upper-middle class. There are plenty of heroes, decent people, and scum in every class level and the distribution is about the same.

It is a simple truth that doesn't make sense to people who see the world through a political lens.

Of course it is much easier to imagine that every one who has money or power must have acquired it through inheritance or evil scheming, or to imagine that the dirty peasants are just itching to rape and plunder.

Impossibly StupidApril 9, 2013 10:54 AM

@Old Bull Lee

I, too, have found myself in different classes as I've progressed through life. My observation is simple as well: It is *understandable* why a lot of the poor people end up doing the things they do, but it is less understandable when you see the "elite" do those same things. And to top it all off, there is a double standard when it comes to punishing people for their misdeeds. Drugs, theft, rape, and murder are all things that the system guarantees will ruin a poor person's life; not necessarily so for a rich person.

lanceApril 9, 2013 11:52 AM

ahhhh @Fever...the worlds largest gated community. That alone explains a lot. I tend to agree with @Old Bull and @impossibly etc., with the caveat that I believe there more elite prone to eat their own children. It reduces the competition when they've achieved immortality.

parserApril 9, 2013 3:29 PM

In an interview with an anti-war activist he shared a discussion he had with a senior general in the US military, sometime during the height of the anti-Vietnam war protests. So you have an outspoken campus activist (MIT professor), who regularly spoke at various colleges and universities, and he's at some campus administrative event where he has the opportunity to speak with a US army general.

The fascinating thing from this interaction is that the General was asking the professor / activist to just "turn off" the campus protests. The assumption being, you're a respected protest leader, don't the students report to you? Can't you just command the students to stop all this protesting?

I always thought that was a good example of how a group could translate it's own way of operating (i.e. command and control) and just assume everybody else operates that way too.

You see this in some of the Red Scare files from the cold war. If some commie was found in the military, nobody from intel concluded that the US military was run by Moscow. But if some commies are found active in the peace movement, then the whole peace movement was presumed to be controlled by Moscow.

RogerApril 9, 2013 4:59 PM

Call me a curmudgeonly old something or other, but I think a lot of this claim is bull! Specifically:

> The term "elite panic" was coined by ...

Like another reader, a cursory survey has failed to find much evidence that this is actually a widely accepted term in sociology. However, it could be. I have recently been reading some history books -- Dark Ages history, and fascinating stuff -- and been struck how much the author is obsessed with what appears to be a current fad in "elites theory". Everything has to be explained in terms of the way elites tricked the masses into accepting their authority.

Some of these observations are interesting and enlightening, but just as frequently they seem to be trying to shoehorn everything into the same theory, and it is often an uncomfortable fit.[1]

> ...the most cautious, methodical, and clearly attempting-to-be-politically-neutral way of social scientists, ...

This is, of course, mere begging the question. As she will be going on to savagely critique a huge number of people, the author expects to be accused of bias, so pre-emptively claims it cnnot occur.

But how do we really know if their methods are cautious and neutral? One of the most marked features of social "sciences" -- one that stops them from being an actual science -- is that they are perfectly happy to make claims that are unfalsifiable, and then expect society to re-order their affairs based on such work.

> Elites tend to believe in a venal, selfish, and essentially monstrous version of human nature, which I sometimes think is their own human nature.

Nice heaping dose of mud, there. Does the author have any evidence of this? -- that is, that such a belief is substantially more common based on political authority rather than, say, being a victim of crime?

> I mean, people don't become incredibly wealthy and powerful by being angelic, necessarily.

Note how she subtly implies that "elites" means "incredibly wealthy and powerful". You can do this because the term is conveniently ill-defined. However in the other "elites theory" stuff that I have read, the meaning is definitely much broader, and includes Solnit herself.

> ... that was very clear in Katrina. Timothy Garton Ash and Maureen Dowd and all these other people immediately jumped on the bandwagon and started writing commentaries based on the assumption that the rumors of mass violence during Katrina were true.

Yes, quite a number of writers (especially bloggers) made strident and wildly exaggerated claims of post-Katrina violence. However all those that I have read were not criticisms of the unwashed masses, but criticisms of the elites that had supposedly allowed this to come to pass! Their actual message was closer to "greedy elites ignore responsibilities to the people by inadequate emergency preparedness, overthrow them!" -- the exact opposite of Solnit's point!

Amazing how the social "sciences" can use a data point to prop an argument when they believe the data to be true, and still make it serve for the same prop when they believe it to be false! (To be fair, they aren't wearing their social scientist hats when they make these sorts of arguments. With hats on, they are much more elliptical.)

> But there's also an elite fear -- going back to the 19th century -- that there will be urban insurrection. It's a valid fear.

As others have pointed out, this is a fear that goes back much, much further than that (I can think of Roman examples!), and is by no means confined to "elites" -- the victims of urban insurrections are anyone who happens to be characterised as outsiders, whether they be the wealthy, intellectuals, Jews, foreign workers, what-have-you.

> I see these moments of crisis as moments of popular power and positive social change.

The naivety is so breath-taking it has to be deliberate propaganda. Yes, there are examples of such things being forces for positive change; there are far more examples of them ushering in nightmares from the bowels of Hell. Rwanda, Kampuchea, Sarajevo, Kristallnacht, ... how many examples do you want? Whether they are a force for good or evil depends entirely on who is most ready to fill the power vacuum, and even then there is a hefty dose of luck.


____
1. For example, group A claims to have invaded and conquered group B. Archaeology shows that at one point, group B did indeed live in the area and group A did not; later, both are to be found there, and while many of group A shows signs of privilege, some of group B do as well. Conclusion of elites theory is that there was no invasion, just a peaceful assimilation, and group A basically made up the invasion to justify their privilege. I think most readers will immediately see that this is nonsense.

itgrrlApril 10, 2013 10:10 PM

@Arclight: The essay on sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs is very little more than a huge heaping of self-aggrandisement of a 'sheepdog' (despite constantly pretending to make no claim to being 'morally superior'), combined with a bunch of flawed analogies.

Sheep rightly fear wolves, and things that look and/or behave like wolves. As Autolykos suggested, it's often difficult to distinguish who is a genuine sheepdog, and who is a wolf in sheepdog's clothing. To be honest, I am more likely to be extremely wary of a self-identified 'sheepdog' who buys into the "hero's path" narrative of that essay than someone who just sees themselves as doing a job serving their community.

Sheepdogs are not airbags, nor fire extinguishers. Both of these protective systems have clearly defined capabilities, and are inherently unlikely to be other than they appear. Sheepdogs (or things that look like sheepdogs) have more-or-less well-defined capabilities (that they may exceed from time to time if they prove to be more wolf-like), and are capable of being very different to what they appear if indeed they turn out to be wolves (or have wolfish tendencies). I'm not aware of any instances where (e.g.) a fire extinguisher proved to be loaded with accelerant rather than retardant, causing the fire to increase, nor of instances where an airbag cavity has been filled with ninja stars that shredded the occupant's face when the car crashed... The same can't be said of 'sheepdogs'.

RR3April 11, 2013 12:27 PM

Just BTW, I think the panic reaction about "urban insurrection" dates to the 1848 rebellions. They broke up the reactionary post-Napoleonic Europe (and had a great effect on immigration to the young USA). They were also the start of most of the ideologies that so bedeviled the 20th century.

BenApril 11, 2013 12:37 PM

The response to the housing crash in 2007-2008 was an example of this. Years later even otherwise intelligent people are still convinced that spending trillions of dollars we didn't have was the only way to save the economy, when what it really did was save the status quo and keep the elite in their elite positions.

Ironically, many of the same people who thought we were that close to collapse that we HAD to spend all that money will mock people who actually prepare for such disasters by storing food and ammunition and such.

Who is crazy? Someone who thinks disaster could come and doesn't prepare, or someone who thinks disaster could come and does prepare?

TBlakelyApril 11, 2013 12:47 PM

"I seem to remember that Christians were terrorists in the eyes of the Romans."

You remember wrong. The Romans viewed Christians as weaklings and disruptive to their society. They were as far from being terrorists as you could get.

It's ironic to see the casual slanders from 'elite' commentators here.

askepticApril 11, 2013 1:35 PM

"...But if some commies are found active in the peace movement, then the whole peace movement was presumed to be controlled by Moscow..."

Like lawyers, 98% of the Peace Movement gave the other 2% a bad name.

It certainly was financed by Moscow, as the KGB files have revealed post-'91.

DenverApril 11, 2013 1:46 PM

@Fever?

Their behavior is because they are Yankees not because they are financially well off.

Nate WhilkApril 11, 2013 1:57 PM

lance April 8, 2013 3:25 PM wrote, "I seem to remember that Christians were terrorists in the eyes of the Romans."

Cite? For certain definitions of "terrorist", perhaps, such as "anything the government feels threatened by". But I've NEVER heard that before.

OTOH, in an Army presentation recently a slide included Catholics, "Ultra-orthodox" Jews, "Evangelical Christianity", and other apparently harmless groups in a list of religious extremists along with Al Quaeda [sic], the KKK, and the Muslim Brotherhood.

JKBApril 11, 2013 2:02 PM

In many ways a functioning police force protects the criminals. When the convention is to leave matters to law enforcement, people don't get involved and tragedies can occur. When the police are minimal or absent, societal misbehavior will be dealt with by "the People".

Think about it, the police, at least in the United States did not spring from some elite. They were constituted and empowered to manage keeping the peace when "the People" handling it took them away from their occupations to often. And yes, the sheriff and formal judicial system did work to mediate mob justice and vendettas by the powerful.

You don't want to be a criminal caught after a disaster before law enforcement is back in place. In a disaster, a criminal held is a burden, just as easy mete out a beating or otherwise resolve the issue in place for the good of the whole.

But when the police are in place, convention is to leave criminals to them and the courts. Since the criminal is removed as a burden, no need to resolve the issue in place.

panOptikoApril 11, 2013 8:29 PM

The original paper of Chess and Clarke is worth reading. And commentators are right to point out that there is no major research on empirical evidence of the concept—mainly because those big names quoted by Rebecca oppose the use of "panic" inside disaster sociology.

I am in the process of publishing some related research from some of the situations in Japan during March 11 disasters. If the topic interests you, it seems to me it is vet close to the "groupthink" idea developed by Janis in the 70's, which, surprisingly enough, is also dearth of empirical evidence.

Best,

KoblogApril 11, 2013 10:36 PM

Having experienced the Rodney King riots in South Central Los Angeles, there were distinct responses by different tribes.

Some tribes banded together and didn't steal anything from their neighbors and neighborhood, extending even to the setting up of perimeter defenses. Other tribes burned their own infrastructure to the ground...and later wondered why business moved out or refused to risk capital to bring new businesses in.

Moral: pick your tribe -- and neighborhood -- carefully.

Eric AshleyApril 11, 2013 11:55 PM

The Last Centurion is an entertaining near future thriller by John Ringo (who has visited the NYT's bestseller list many times). It has a lot of useful things to say about responses to disaster.

Let me suggest another theory for why the elite may predict violence: Everybody believes in their own indispensability. For these sorts I like Gen. Swarzkopf's comment. He was about to become a general with 35 other people, and thinking himself pretty swell, when the orientation person brought him back down to Earth...."Know what would happen if the airplane carrying ya'll crashed? Tommorrow the Army would have another 36 people on their way to becoming generals."

ChadApril 12, 2013 5:36 PM

I live in Los Angeles (west side). I used to do some IT consulting stuff on the side for some wealthy clients, both businesses and personal.

On the personal side, I can tell you that nothing terrifies the ultra-wealthy like the specter of an 8.5 earthquake. I know of at least 2 incredibly wealthy (and relatively famous) people in Bel Air who are "armed to the teeth" out of fear that a mob will come and loot their houses when the shit hits the fan. Probably better to just let them take the diamonds than to play shoot 'em up, I say. But then again, I'm not worth $250M.

I'll memorialize this thought here: Katrina was nothing, NOTHING compared to what will happen here (10M+ people, with a HUGE range of wealth and lifestyles) when there is no electricity for 2 weeks, food and water become scarce, and security is effectively offline. PoTUS will have 20,000 National Guard mobilized the same hour the quake hits.

richard40April 13, 2013 5:49 PM

One of the worst elite panics is their tendency to put out obviously false statements during any disaster, in a misguided effort to keep the public from panicking. Then when the public inevitably discovers the gross falsity of the public statements, they no longer trust the honesty of the authorities, and there is even more panic. Instead if they honestly say what is going on, and what the public needs to do, the public can take sensible mediation steps. Another incredibly panicky elite step is to imediately try and confiscate everybodies guns, which then leaves the honest members of the public defenseless against rogue criminals and rogue corrupt police, and leads to panic, disorder, and lawlessness as the public tries to evade the gun confiscations.

richard40April 13, 2013 5:54 PM

One of the worst elite panics is their tendency to put out obviously false statements during any disaster, in a misguided effort to keep the public from paniking. Then when the public inevitably discovers the gross falsity of the public statements, they no longer trust the honesty of the authorities, and there is even more panic. Another elite panic is when they immediately try to conficate everybodies guns, leaving the public defenseless from criminals and rogue police, and leading to even more lawlessness and panic as the public tries to keep their guns.

gigaybyteApril 15, 2013 8:24 PM

some friend of mine who knows ;p

some friend of mine who got to spend a heap of time with political elites (he works in disease control; he gets to attend the world-controller briefings even if he's not the decision maker there) claims the extreme political elites divide sharply between "completely 1000% niced their way to the top" and "completely 1000% ruthlessly fought their way to the top." he didn't say what the breakdown was, merely that there was little middle-ground at the highest echelons.

I myself have no reason to know either way which is true; safely esconsed in the middlest of middle classes..

WorkerPeasant1917June 1, 2013 5:48 PM

I think many of the people who lived through the worker an peasant revolutions might disagree with you! Angry "proletariat" mobs did not seem to be able to differentiate between elite or just your plain doctor/scientist/farmer/school teacher. Just the fact that someone had a white collar job was an excuse to pillage their home and sometimes a lot worse. As for positive changes due to use of popular power I think some Londoners may disagree as of lately.

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