As talked about in a previous post, people feel that the rich are meritorious/virtuous/the best/elite because they succeed in the competition and rose to the top (upper class). This, when viewed as a class structure, is considered OK because they “earned” it instead of being granted it or inherited (as in a title).
To complete this idea we have the idea of the fair playing field. That is, the idea that we all enter contracts freely and we compete in our “competitions” with the same amount of leverage-power, except were modified by our own “natural” merits (intelligences, experience, etc.). More or less, people ignore any and all social constrains; normally their argument is that due to the market mechanisms within Capitalism and people’s desire to make money, they will not turn down a deal which would other wise benefit them because the person is black or a woman, etc. Because of this the only kind of restraint that can be placed on the “playing field” are those that come from the government (think of affirmative action and the harsh reaction against it). This is the general liberal (or neoliberal, and libertarian) perspective. That is, if government involvement were removed from the situation then humans would be able to work things out for themselves. As we can see the underlying assumption here is the fair, or level, playing field. People assume that the playing field is naturally level (excepting “natural” advantages, which most people see as being acceptable). This idea is just another in the long line of social constructs that are involved in the Hegemony of today. As with all of these social controls inherent in hegemony many things are assumed. It tends to be when people feel that they are not assuming anything that they are assuming the most. The idea of reification is heavily involved in this social control, and hegemony in general.