Is Elitism Really Necesarry?

When reviewing the recent USA election season the really interesting factor is the reaction, in the UK perhaps even more so than the USA, to the Tea Party, or more correctly Tea Parties.

The old, not to say archaic, media has stigmatised these people as dangerous simpletons. And from their perspective they are right. Ordinary folk, when they band together, are dangerous to any self-aggrandising elite.

We rarely see our cultural elites so clearly display their contempt of ordinary people, and their angry bafflement when they discover that contempt returned. One of the most amusing incidents of the election occurred at the ‘Rally to Restore Sanity.’

Just how smart are you if you carry a placard claiming to be smart?

This supposedly neutral rally was organised by the likes of Jon Stewart a left of centre comedian and Oprah Winfrey a long time Obama backer. The aim was to reclaim the USA from the idiots.

Bearing in mind the obsessions some conspiracy theorist have concerning Obama’s birthplace watch the following clip and  ask whether there is a monopoly on stupidity.

Let’s not feel superior to the USA. Have you ever watched either front bench perform in Parliament, watched them on Newsnight or listened to them on Any Questions? Next time you tune in, really tune in and ask yourself if these people really know and represent you and the folk around you. Or perhaps they are part of a self-perpetuating, internally obsessed political machine, people who have never known any employment other than politics. Even the most idealistic on either side can quickly go native.

If what you are rebelling against is a generation of smug, out-of-touch professional politicians, then a little dose of amateurishness, innocence or even naivety might strike you as positively refreshing.

That the elite are shocked and lash out when ordinary people raise their voices and refuse to buy into the elite’s concept of their own superiority should not surprise us. We need only read the Old Testament to see a record of social, political and religious elites going their own way, doing their own thing and congratulating themselves on their astuteness, to realise this is nothing new.

There is a world of difference between meritocracy and elitism, our ‘masters’ would do well to remember that we little people realise this.

Not for a moment do I give blanket approval to everything emanating from the Tea Parties, or think they have the answers to the problems of the USA, or the UK. In fact with the upsurge of political idealism I think there will be tears before bedtime.

I am saying that if our governing elites, left or right, do not stop imposing their own agenda and begin to acknowledge that we hoi polloi do not necessarily buy into their vision of society then could well have problems.

Unfortunately I suspect that the ground swell in the USA may slacken and even retreat now they have won the election. The Republican Party which reluctantly tapped into grass roots rebellion will not stay in touch with the grass roots, pretty soon it will be business as normal.

As for change in the UK, don’t hold your breath.

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About Campbell

Now retired but once upon a time a parish minister in Glasgow, before that the South West and initially the Black Isle. Been a prison chaplain and lecturer. Still am constantly bemused by the weird world around me.
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