Why are the rich such diligent and unquestioning believers in utopian fantasies of all kinds, why are they enthusiastic advocates for and purchasers of snake-oil in politics, engineering, and science?

If there is a foolish, half-baked proposal to “change the world” why does it find so many supporters amongst the rich, and proportionately so few amongst the middle classes and the poor?

Because the rich believe the world to be infinitely plastic, and they believe this since it is a rational inference from their daily experience; the world bends to their will, food drops into their mouths on demand, they move across the surface of the earth with little resistance, as if gravity and friction were all but completely absent. Nothing stands in their way, for long; they want for nothing, and fear nothing.

The rest of us, by contrast, are pessimistic; we see the world as inflexible, because that is our experience. We move in a viscous and obstructive environment in which, like small flies in air, which is treacle to them, we must struggle to make progress. But like those flies, we are also supported by the stable conditions that impede us. Hence the paradox that the poor are often also very conservative. What little advantage we have is threatened by change, for change is, in our experience, driven by others, frequently rich others, and for their own advantage not ours.