American Decline

Lifestyles of the Rich and Paranoid

By Robert Weissberg, Intellectual Takeout

What do super rich people with multi-million dollar summer homes in the Hamptons and similar enclaves think about today’s troubled, often violent politics? Frank answers are seldom forthcoming given that an impolite answer might invite social ostracism and exclusion from A-list parties. But actions often speak louder than words, and a recent article in AVENUE lets the taboo cat out of the bag.

Home construction is a competitive sport among today’s mega-wealthy. Small fortunes are spent on amenities including climate-controlled wine cellars, lavish home entertainment centers, infinity pools, gourmet kitchens, and other extravagances. What, then, is the most recent costly amenity favored by America’s super-rich? The answer: safe rooms, also called “panic rooms,” where the incredibly rich can flee to safety when the enemy is at their doorstep.

A-listers are worried, deeply worried, about America. Since many earned their millions by anticipating the future, perhaps we should heed their worries.

The boom in the panic room business in places like the Hamptons is a trend that may have begun in London when Russian oligarchs and Middle Eastern sheiks, accustomed to having such rooms in their home countries and having serious enemies, built panic rooms into their British residences.


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