Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Larison and Dreher go back and forth on Snobama
See, for me, “elitism” is not a dirty word. I believe in elites, at least in theory, but I am not enamored of most of the elites we have. To say one is anti-elitist, whether you’re on the left or the right, is to assume that The People Are Always Right. Which is nonsense. Does anybody believe that?

If you believe in standards, you will have to have some kind of elite class. In fact, if you believe in society, you are going to have to have an elite class.
Classical liberalism gives equal opportunity not equal outcomes (which of course would be unfair and harm society).
Mocking elites is more widespread and widely accepted because it ultimately has no effect on anything and threatens no one. The elites remain just as they were — on top — and it is mostly a way of letting off steam and venting frustrations.

There will also be much more attention paid to any perceived criticism of small-town America, because it suits the interests of GOP supporters to portray themselves as defenders of small-town America. As Prof. Bacevich noted, “GOP support for such
[social] values is akin to the Democratic Party’s professed devotion to the ‘working poor’: each is a ploy to get votes, trotted out seasonally, quickly forgotten once the polls close.”

Most Republican talking heads will gasp in horror whenever anyone on the left dares speak against corporate elites, who are, of course, the “good” kind of elites, because they are the people with whom the GOP is frequently aligned. When corporate elites are mentioned, the liberal disdain for populist appeals against academia, the media or Hollywood and the like will suddenly be replaced by a ferocious anti-elitism. This typically entails giving more power to the state, which many on the left pretend is populism, just as many on the right pretend that empty symbolic gestures constitute cultural populism.
Larison agrees with me on what Obama was trying to do.

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