The revolt against the elite

The revolt keeps growing, from tea parties to angry town hall meetings across the country, an uprising against the attempts of an elite to force on us an all-powerful State, about as welcome as grandma's cod-liver oil.  Examples of revolt go beyond irate callers to radio talk shows.  Take for instance the incident at a Frankie Valli concert recently posted on American Thinker, and the disgust and anger in Joe Sheffat's article.  Sen. Barbara Boxer encountered it, as did Sen. Claire McCaskill, who made the mistake of asking if she was trusted. 

The elite seem unable to comprehend that anyone could possibly oppose their infinitely superior wisdom, hence the strange and radical smears against the town hall opposition.  No one could possibly have a better idea than us, the elite, therefore the town hall "mobs" must be fakes.  Anyone, like Ronald Reagan, George Bush, or Sarah Palin, who thinks differently than us, the elite, surely must be of lower intellect.  The elite are unable to understand that this is not about taxes, or health care, or politics.  It is about them

The American Elite Shoppe carries several varieties (not available in Walmart): Elites in Power, Elites in Towers, Elites in Flowers, and Elites in Choirs

The Elites in Power are much of the Congress and many with powerful positions in the administration or as government bureaucrats.  There they proceed to coerce the rest of us since they know better than us how to run our lives.  The Elites in Towers (otherwise known as intellectuals) are in university humanities and "social science" departments or think tanks where they make the irrational appear rational, turn black into white, and take theories which have never worked and spin them into golden dreams.  They hold a mysterious "wisdom" known only to themselves which invariably is contrary to common sense.  They provide the ideas for the Elites in Power.  Elites in Flowers curse mankind for not bowing before nature.  Elites in Choirs sing from their media posts the praises of the other elites and their ideas.

This is not to impugn the integrity of members of Congress who respect the views of their constituents and the Constitution, professors who think rather than "intellectualize," true outdoorsmen, or responsible journalists.  These do not currently wield any power and the revolt is not against them.

Most elites have spent their lives in universities or politics, or otherwise isolated from the rest of us, and almost never have run a business, or even earned a living in the manner most of us do.  (Community organizing does not qualify.) 

Some examples for Elites in Power (from government web site biographies):

  • Sen. Harry Reid - degree: law, business experience: 0, In Congress since: 1982
  • Sen. John Kerry - degree: law, business experience: 0, In Congress since: 1984
  • Barney Frank - degrees: political science, law, business experience: 0, In Congress since: 1981
  • Nancy Pelosi - business experience: 0 (worked for DNC), In Congress since: 1987

Lack of experience doesn't stop the elite from thinking themselves superior and not subject to the same rules as rest of us.  Congress often excludes itself from laws, as in the proposed health care legislation.  Corruption for them can be overlooked, or pasted over with a sufficient dose of BS.  To erase any accountability when caught breaking the rules, the elite simply use the magic word; mistake.

Some examples:

  • The White House today called Daschle's failure to pay more than $100,000 in back taxes a "serious mistake," but the president still "absolutely" supports his nomination to be secretary of Health and Human Services.
  • The Obama team said Mr. Geithner's taxes have been paid in full, and that he didn't intend to avoid payment, but made a mistake common for employees of international institutions.
  • Rangel has been under fire for failing to report income from a rental property he owns in the Dominican Republic. He admitted Tuesday he had not paid tax on the income, but said it was a mistake and that he would pay whatever back taxes he owes.
  • During his confirmation hearing Thursday, Attorney General-designate Eric Holder conceded that he "made mistakes" during the Marc Rich pardon incident that were "not typical" of his conduct over the bulk of his career.
  • The White House says Judge Sotomayor admits she made a mistake when she suggested a Latino woman would make a better judge than a white male.

The elite think our mistakes are more serious and see us as needing their benevolent care, since we don't have their level of "sophistication".  Such arrogance is the road to tyranny, as warned by writer C. S. Lewis:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.

For the sake of benevolence, the Elites in Power are willing to implement by force the Elites in Towers'  utopian fantasies.  The Benevolent Eliteness accepts the advice of intellectuals with little or no critical scrutiny.  The blind acceptance of global warming is one example.  As a result, unrealistic grandiose schemes are proposed which always seem to result in the need for more Benevolent Elitenesses.

Many of Ronald Reagan's accomplishments were after passing over advice from intellectuals.  As Peggy Noonan says in When Character Was King,

For instance, he did not think that people with great degrees or great success were necessarily smart.  He had little interest in credentials.  He once told me - he told a lot of people - that an economist was a person with a Phi Beta Kappa key on one end of his watch chain and nothing on the other.  Meaning:  A lot of them don't know what time it is.

He didn't dislike intellectuals, and to the extent he had heroes a lot of them were intellectuals - Madison, Jefferson, the founders - and in his own time Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Whittaker Chambers.  But in general he did not favor the intellectuals of his time because he found so many of them to be high-IQ dimwits.  He had a natural and instinctive agreement with George Orwell's famous putdown that a particular idea was so stupid only an intellectual would believe it.

A degree from Harvard does not wisdom make.  In fact, the longer an individual stays in academia, the fewer credits they earn in the College of the Real World.

Implementing the ideas of such intellectuals can result in disaster.  Pol Pot was merely putting into practice the philosophical principles he learned from French intellectuals.  Recent events caused me to dust off my copy of The Ominous Parallels by Leonard Peikoff (1982), which demonstrates the parallels of our situation to pre-Hitler Germany.  Dr. Peikoff discusses the role of philosophy and the intellectuals:

The root cause of Nazism lies in a power that most people ignore, disparage - and underestimate.  The cause is not the events hailed or cursed in headlines and street rallies, but the esoteric writings of the professors who, decades or centuries earlier, laid the foundation for those events.

"[The Nazi] death camps," notes a writer* in the New York Times, "were conceived, built and often administered by Ph.D.'s"

Dr. Peikoff describes the roots of today's revolt:

The hope of the United States lies in the philosophical breach between the American people and the intellectuals

The people admire material wealth, practical success, technological innovation.  The intellectuals dismiss such values as "middle class," and say that machines are destroying the globe.  The people admire self-reliance, productiveness, and the other virtues of the so-called "work ethic."  The intellectuals say that these virtues are impossible, unnecessary, antisocial, and/or "Puritan compulsiveness." 

The people approve of personal ambition, are eager to pursue their own happiness, think that a man should not live on handouts but should earn what he gets, and reject the insistent demands for self-immolation.  The intellectuals denounce this - every element of it - as selfish and therefore vicious. 

The people hotly reject the proliferating manifestations of the welfare state, from soaring welfare rolls to forced busing to sexual quotas.  The intellectuals condemn this as unfeeling, racist, "sexist." 

Leonard Peikoff's observations are just as valid, maybe more so, than 27 years ago.  The gap between the people and the elites has become a chasm, into which the elites are about to fall.

*(Fred Hechinger, "Educators Seek to Teach Context of the Holocaust," May 15, 1979)
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