Originally Posted by Amelorn
I don't see why social climbing is so despised, unless you see it as threatening as the established upper crust.
Actually, I think there is a simple evolutionary argument to explain the venom. First, let me define some terms: by a social climber
I will mean someone who tries to climb away from the class of his birth, where by class
, I mean the set of habits and ideas one has about living, especially about what is proper use of money and what is frivolity. As a group of like-minded people, each class is interested in perpetuating itself; the reason that a group of like-minded people is interested in doing so, is that each member of the group is more likely to "˜perpetuate himself', i.e. procreate, if their class is doing so. In other words, the darwinian interest of each member of the class to procreate induces the darwinian interest of the class to perpetuate itself.
Now, onto the social climber! By trying to remove himself from his class, the social climber is putting his own darwinian interest ahead of that of the class, in particular, the social climber is putting his own darwinian interest ahead of that of the other members of his class. Since, by the above paragraph, this harms the darwinian interests of the other members of the class, they hate the social climber. (In other words, the social climber makes it harder for the other members of the class to hit it rich and get laid, so they hate him.)
The members of the class into which the social climber is trying to break also detest him, but for a different reason: the upper classes derive their wealth more from property
, in the sense of material property and political power, than work. This means that the more people join their ranks, the less property there is for those already in the class.
This analysis also explains why the mafia, who are proletarians that hit it rich but keep their proletarian tastes and behaviours, are not despised but idolised
by other proletarians! Ditto for highway bandits in early America or early modern Greece, and French train robbers. It also explains why rappers, or Joe Biden, are so publicly committed to keeping it real: they are signalling to their classmates they haven't graduated to the middle or upper class, even if they have money!