Right now we’re seeing a tremendous backlash against elites. The population feels that the elites have been derelict in their duties, and are not improving society. They feel as if the social contract has been shattered.
Perhaps they are right. At face value it’s clear that the elites haven’t adequately ameliorated the issues which globalization, the refugee crisis, and terrorism have put upon the general population. The reasons for this are debatable, but nonetheless, there is a feeling that experts and elites are to be disregarded.
I vigorously disagree for many reasons, but a conversation earlier today demonstrated to me that it’s a dangerous mindset to frame those who disagree with you as elites, and everyone else as some sort of proletariat rising against them.
Firstly, many non-elites may agree with the elites. Whether it be on merit or via a deference to authority, their voces matter. To denigrate those who yield to authority (even based on reason) may seem American, but one need consider all the facts regardless of who backs them. If a vote is a vote, a vote for the status quo is also a vote. And a common person voting with elites is not necessarily an elite.
Secondly, it is extremely dangerous to characterize those who are against you as being elites. I’ve seen Brexit pinned on Murdoch, and while Murdoch did pursue a strongly Pro-Brexit agenda, the motivation for Brexit was largely anti-establishment, and most elites were against it. It’s clear that education as well as wealth were strong negative correlates for voting for Brexit. We can’t have a reality in which elites are guilty of having whatever opinion you don’t have. THe fact that most elites vigorously argued against Brexit means to me that it’s thorougly inappropriate to pin Brexit on the active efforts of the elites.
Now, perhaps it’s fair to blame Brexit on elites, as they have done too little to resolve the complaints of the common man. But it’s ridiculous to pin the pro-Brexit sentiment as being manufactured by elites, when they generally argued against it vigorously to little effect.
So as reluctant as many may be to admit they agree with elites, when you do, think about why. When you disagree, think about why. Think about what is going on and what can be done to change it. The oversimplification into the virtuous and deceived worker and the overwhelmingly evil ‘establishment’ removes the possibility of progress from within. It’s a possibility that ought not be removed.