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wait, ever since Baron von Munchausen we have been seeing good barons that just happen to be a bit detached, could we note this.
ps. The red link club should remain the absolute tier of destruction and these new blocked pages are a sheer abuse of power.
Do the rich upper class count as Aristocrats for this trope?
The most egregious example are the "Evil Rich Dudes" who torture for fun (Hostel).
I'd hesitate to place it on Corrupt Corporate Executive as their antics aren't tied to where they work, but on them being upper class.
The key difference is that Aristocrats aren't just rich, they're part of a hereditary upper class. They're "better than you" simply because of their DNA and aren't shy about saying so.
Close enough, though American style "old money" isn't quite the same thing. Aristocrats tend to at least theoretically be part of a warrior caste which is why a shift in military technique away from esoteric martial arts and toward easily learned military skills(from cavalry to hoplites among the Ancient Greeks)often reduces the power of the aristocracy. They are less needed.
Also the whole thing makes more sense when one realizes that aristocracy in Europe and a lot of other places stemmed from several sources:
1) Successful warlords needed someway to pay all their warriors especially if they intended to go into retirement rather then continually raiding. There wasn't enough gold but there was plenty of land and plenty of peasants to collect rent from. As an extra said warlord could bribe other warlords into surrendering by making sure their families had a place in his system.
2) The Seven Samurai in fact was based on real events. Real peasants often made protection deals with warriors. Except in real life most "samurai" would get a pretty sharp bargain from the peasants; and perhaps many of them felt that this wasn't so harsh a demand under the circumstances.
3) Or more crudely, one tribe conquered a lot of other tribes. The serfs were simply the "other tribes". That is why the word "free" is descended from the word "frank" because of course franks were the tribe that won in france, and the language was carried over by the Normans.
To put it another way it wasn't originally an ideological belief that one person's birth made him better. That was retrospective. It was really a series of political moves in the past that left a tight knit group of people holding power, most of whom forgetting the original reason for their position.
Those circumstances were absent in America. By the time the English colonists arrived wealth had been coming into the middling classes for hundreds of years and the gunpowder age had made war less dependent on arcane martial arts that could only be mastered by not doing anything else. And the most important sources of wealth were in trade rather then plunder by then. Not to mention that land was cheap in America; Americans habitually treat it as a commodity in a way which would probably shock many Europeans to this day. Any peasant could have as much land as a baron if he was willing to work for it and defend it, which gunpowder allowed him to do. Thus the reason there was little or no aristocracy in America was because the conditions for it had disappeared long ago. Americans talk of their freedom, not unjustly, but in a way it was Europeans who did the heavy lifting to make freedom a viable proposition.
Because of all this, "aristocrat" is not simply a synonym for "rich". It means member of a guild of Military Brats that was extended for centuries and only lost it's power when conditions changed enough to make that practical.
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How well does it match the trope?