The Heterodox

The Heterodox

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In Defense of Elitism

September 4, 2010 , , , , ,


The gullible nature of the American Bourgeois and Proletariat never ceases to amaze me. They continue to unquestioningly believe what ever spills out of their preferred ideologues’ maw, and why not? After all, it doesn’t take much thought to engage in this kind of behavior does it? Specifically though I am the most incredulous towards a current populist movement which seems to be cresting with all of the animosity that is hurled at the current government. This trend is characterized by deeming elitism within any context as a pejorative and this phenomena is most acute when the slander is intended to have political ramifications. Case in point, a fair portion of the enmity issuing from the Right that is hurled at the President is always characterized by the asserting of his apparent elitism and so-called out of touchness with the “American people” (whenever anyone claims to speak for the “people”, watch out!). The assumption here is that the president’s supposed elitism, if actually extant, is some how anti-democratic or even anti-American. How did this semantic abrogation of the truth happen and how did it take on a populist consensus?

First we have to clarify what kind of elitism we are discussing here. We all are well aware of the ruling elites within our society are we not? We do not always single them out but understand fully the political and economic power that they exert over our lives. This social hegemony is supposedly, or should I say officially, in our best interest. Whether these elites are the CEOs of corporate America or the politicians (including their Coteries of course) of the Government, we never berate them for being intrinsically or intentionally Unamerican. If we are honest with ourselves, what we are talking about here is cultural elitism and the reactionary advertence of not being seen as a part of this portion of society. This reductio ad absurdum has come about by a socio-political consensus which has deemed that populism is coterminous with democracy.

This is where I must come in defense of not only the President but elitism in general. Simply put, being a cultural elite only refers to the fact of one being educated and cosmopolitan in ones world view while never capitulating to the mob mentality, consensus gentium, or any other form of mere populism. If it was not for the fact that within the past two generations there has been a steady stultification of the American people, (and a lionizing of twee intellectual curiosity and malignant postmodernism) we would not have this social distinction to begin with. Due to the societal conflation of the dumbing down of America with the cultural adulation for fatuous entertainment, being an adept autodidact engenders you to be viewed by the popular consensus as an axiomatic enemy of so-called American Values, whether tacitly understood or in any other way assumed.

There is no way that anyone will ever be able to make me feel ashamed of my acumen or aesthetic taste as it has been hard won by diligent self discipline and edification. Is this self made man approach to life not the real and historical American way? That is why I do not see the epithet of elitist or even intellectual as an aspersion to myself. On the contrary, I see it as a compliment, and in most cases I am sure that this kind of slander issues from a place of either jealousy or perceived inferiority. If anything you would think that such puerility would lead to innovation and the desire for self improvement. But it seems that most of our fellow citizens are quite content with sitcoms and sports along with the secure knowledge that they are the preferred mediocre majority. And why not? They receive constant reinforcement of this notion from their political leaders as well as assurance that they are the real Americans. I am not proposing a solution to this social quagmire at this time, but I am leaving an aegis rejoinder for my fellow elites that we have nothing to apologize for or even to give justification for. Of course, we already knew that, didn’t we?

What do you think?

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comments

People seem to disapprove of intellectuals and intelligence in general. You aren’t allowed to think you are smarter than anyone else. You aren’t allowed to think you know more about something than someone else. And so on.

Any idea as to why people have this attitude?

James Gray

September 4, 2010

There are many people in America who do see elitism as a pejorative. The fact is that people want to oppress others. I don’t think you want to rely on cultural norms to defend yourself or others from prejudice.

James Gray

September 7, 2010

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