Are You An Elite?

Republicans have devoted a great deal of effort to demonizing the “elite”. But they never say what that means. In fact they cannot, because they contradict themselves.

When you think about it, being “elite” in the US can only boil down to either of two conditions: wealthy or highly educated.

“Elite” in the US can only boil down
to either of two conditions:

wealthy or highly educated.

Now, it would be truly curious if the Party of the Rich scorned the “elite” if they defined them as wealthy people. The Republican Party has devoted its entire existence to giving more and more money to the rich. So obviously, when they heap scorn on “the elite” they have to mean people with advanced degrees. This too is curious, because they say they value education, and we certainly want those in charge of things to have the best training. Yet they scorn the educated “elite”. Remember how they mocked John Kerry because he speaks French? And they don’t even want to allow foreign graduate students who have trained here to remain and benefit our economy. (Makes you wonder about their commitment to education, doesn’t it?)

Oddly enough, they also have nothing but scorn for the ordinary person, the working stiff, who may not even have graduated from high school. This person, who works full time, is considered a freeloader who contributes nothing to society. However, the job he does, whatever it is, is a crucial part of our economic functioning. So they scorn the educated and the uneducated in equal measure, both of whom make an important contribution. It’s self-evident that this is contradictory, if for no other reason than that it encompasses all people.

They scorn the educated and the uneducated
in equal measure.

And yet, they not only do not scorn the wealthy, but elevate them to a sort of aristocracy, and virtually worship wealth itself. Virtually all Republicans in Congress are millionaires, and will become richer before or shortly after they leave office (and take a highly paid job at one of the companies they were supposed to regulate). The Republican worldview says that the rich (usually white) man (I use the term purposely), the one who created himself by his own superior powers, as they suppose Ayn Rand’s superman heroes did, is the only man of any real worth. And all these supermen are business leaders. They hold up the world, preventing its collapse at the hands of the total incompetence and laziness of the rest of us.

I find this stupidity wearying. The Rand superheroes of the past have all died, and the world went on. They didn’t hold us all together after all, because we’re still here, and society hasn’t crumbled to dust. And the same will happen in the future. CEOs have a level of expertise that is useful, but that hardly makes them the pinnacle of humankind. The rest of us may not be interested in business or pursuing wealth, but that hardly makes us incompetent and lazy.

I find this stupidity wearying.

Wealth worshipers believe every man is an island, and fail to understand the vital role of community and government, which assists everyone who seeks wealth every inch of the way. The solitary, self-sufficient superman is fantasy, and an evil one at that.

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