The middle class is the least elitist ruling class we know. Not only is it wide open to all comers, but it aspires to a state of affairs in which things happen of themselves and regulate themselves. Unlike any other ruling class, the middle class has found it convenient to operate on the assumption that if you leave people alone they will perform tolerably well; and under no other ruling class have common people shown such willingness to exert themselves to the utmost. It is this fabulously productive, more or less self-regulating chaos of a society that has given the modern age its singular spirit and set it off from all preceding centuries. Regimentation and minute regulation are as ancient as civilization. Small wonder that elitists of every stripe—aristocrats, Marxists, Fascists, priests, power-hungry intellectuals—have viewed middle class society and the modern age as abominations.

— Eric Hoffer, The Spirit of an Age


The middle class has an important role to play, and it can side with one faction or the other depending on the circumstances it finds itself in. A typical representative of this group might be a highly successful small business owner living in a suburb of a major metropolitan center. He is alienated from the left because it looks down on him for devoting his life to something as boring and small minded as fixing central heating systems instead of overcoming the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. As with the proles, the middle class does not have the bandwith to keep up with political and artistic fashions. While the lower class can’t because it lacks the inherent intelligence to do so, the member of the middle class might be smart enough, but he is either too busy working and forming a family or not very inclined to chase status through the cultivation of certain opinions and aesthetic preferences rather than making money.

…Yet while the Merchant Right is a major force in elections and even governing, it is not one of the major participants in the culture war. This is because the true antagonism is between the upper and lower classes. The middle class (in many cases, the wealthiest class), has more money than the lower class, but its entire identity does not revolve around feeling morally superior to or lecturing the latter. Not being reformers, they just want to be left alone. This stops them from being too angry at either the urban elite or the proles, which prevents the cycle of mutual hostility from starting. Moreover, the two natural elite classes, being of similar levels of intelligence, have more in common with each other than either has with the proles. They socialize and intermarry, and the boundaries between them are more fluid.

— Richard Hanania, “A Psychological Theory of the Culture War