March 2 2017
We've blogged a lot about the American elite that has been so convulsed by the election of Donald Trump. Victor Davis Hanson raises a question about this elite: is it really all that elite?
An elite of course traditionally has comprised the best people in any given society. Well . . .
In California, state planners and legislators focused on things such as outlawing plastic grocery bags while California’s roads and dams over three decades sank into decrepitude. The result is crumbling infrastructure that now threatens the very safety of the public. Powerful Californians with impressive degrees also came up with the loony and neo-Confederate idea of nullifying federal immigration law through sanctuary cities.
Sophisticated Washington, D.C., economists produced budgets for the last eight years that saw U.S. debt explode from $10 trillion to nearly $19 trillion, as economic growth sank to its lowest level since the Hoover administration. For a year, most expert pundits and pollsters smugly assured the public of a certain Hillary Clinton victory — until the hour before she was overwhelmed in the Electoral College. Rhodes Scholar and former U.N. ambassador Susan Rice lied repeatedly on national television about the Benghazi debacle.
This is a pretty puny elite. It is credentialed rather than educated and politically correct rather than a virtue-seeking elite.
One of my pet peeves: our elite is not well spoken (see: Obama, Barack: lack of subject/predicate agreement in sentences). What they are is high-handed, insular and condescending. Davis sums it up:
The public no longer believes that privilege and influence should be predicated on titles, brands, and buzz, rather than on demonstrable knowledge and proven character.
The idea that brilliance can be manifested in trade skills or retail sales, or courage expressed by dealing with the hardship of factory work, or character found on an Indiana farm, is foreign to the Washington Beltway, Hollywood, and Silicon Valley.
Instead, 21st-century repute is accrued from the false gods of the right zip code, high income, proper social circles, and media exposure, rather than from a demonstrable record of moral or intellectual excellence.
Periclean Athens, you have nothing to fear.