Re: What's so wrong with being an elitist?
What's so wrong with being an elitist?
You could be wrong. Whether your elitism is to think that you are among the elite (for intellect, physical skill, artistic talent or appreciation), or whether your elitism identifies any certain group as superior--you could be wrong, may well be wrong, and therefore have a flawed basis for judgment.
But why? The one question no talking head seams to be asking is, what's so wrong with being an elitist? I cannot find a reason myself, at least not through introspection. To the extent that I myself want to be governed at all -- a very small extent, but that's a different discussion -- I emphatically don't want to be governed by average rulers. I want to be governed by the most competent, most honest, most courageous personalities we can possibly elect. These people are an elite by definition, and my wish for them to govern me clearly makes me an elitist.
I don't think I'm the only one who feels that way. Indeed, wouldn't most people prefer the best possible rulers to mediocre ones? My impression from asking around is that they would.
So what, to repeat the question, is so wrong with being an elitist? I'm not getting it.
It is unlikely that you will get any but "average" rulers. Suppose that someone's background is in law--the best of the lawyers will be making the big bucks with a prestigious firm, or on retainer to a generous individual or corporation. If someone's background is in business, they would most likely go into politics either because they're not making it in business as they hoped, and think to find advantage in politics, or have made their pile, and think to manipulate government in the ways they always longed for when sitting at the head of the boardroom table, frustrated by what they saw as the inadequacies or injustices of government.
You are hardly likely to find the most honest people going in for a political career. In the first place, political careers (at least in the United States) are not financially remunerative unless one can get advantages for oneself or one's cronies from political participation. Even those with honest motives often fall afoul of the casual (and i suspect "head-turning") experience of hobnobbing with the rich and famous--witness John McBush . . . er, i mean McCain, someone whom i genuinely think is basically honest, but who nonetheless got involved with Keating, and was censured by the Senate for it.
Albert Sidney Johnston, while visiting Washington in the 1830s, attended the Senate one day, while luminaries such as Daniel Webster and John Calhoun were speaking. Johnston wrote to his father-in-law that he thought politics would be a good career for a third or fourth son who didn't show much ambition and lacked any talents or skills. I wouldn't necessarily go that far, but politics does tend to attract either those who are ambitious for power (and therefore likely easily to be corrupted and become venal, if not venal at the outset) or those who lack the skills to compete effectively in their chosen profession.
I think you are living in the clouds with that one, Thomas.