Sunday, March 29, 2009

On Elitism

A very good question was posed to me recently that I didn't have an answer for. It was, wouldn't you want elites to run the country?

I guess my answer would depend on the meaning of elite. If by elite we mean people of extraordinary ability, then perhaps so. If we mean people of exceptional character, then perhaps so. If by elite we mean people that graduated from the right school and associate with other elites, then perhaps not.

I want elites in the private sector. I want someone who is certain that he can cure cancer or design an I-phone that I will purchase. In the private sector, elites will succeed and become wealthy by producing something that others will want or need. If they fail, it is their problem. Well, it used to be only their problem.

The public sector is a different matter. Elites by their very nature, are not humble. They think they know better than the common folk. They think they can direct our lives better than we can. They will be inclined to think they have all the answers. They will grow the size and scope of government while diminishing the liberty and responsibility of the electorate. The problem as I see it is that while someone might just be elite enough to know how to cure cancer or design a great I-phone, there is nobody elite enough to direct the lives of millions of people.

Being elite and therefore lacking in humility, they may think they can. They can't, but they will try. And they will fail. And this is why elites are dangerous people to elect.


Anonymous said...

Amen. Paul Ryan needs to read this.

Rich said...

"If by elite we mean people that graduated from the right school and associate with other elites, then perhaps not."

Elitists are not a protected class, so legally you can dis them all you want.

But (here's the hugger in me) Elitists are people too, and they deserve the same respect as everyone else.

i.e. they deserve to be judged not on their associations, but on the actions and the content of their character.

Denis Navratil said...

I hear you Rich. I guess I was referring to people elevated by others to elite status, not via accomplishments but rather through the right college, the right friends etc...

Anon, thanks. Perhaps you could elaborate on the Ryan comment.

colt said...

The elites in Racine have IMHO destroyed this city.

need to be held accountable too bad we cant jail them for what they have done

Who is John Galt