Is “elitism” automatically and always a bad thing?
No. Think about it. Albert Einsten belonged to an elite group of intellects. Olympic gold medalists belong to an elite group of athletes. Thomas Jefferson belonged to an elite group of political thinkers, and Leonardo da Vinci to an elite segment of artistic talent.
The problem with elitism as we know it, in places like Washington DC or the circles of millionaires/billionaires that support them? It’s unearned. Well, in the case of the politicians, it’s totally unearned. They operate as parasites, redistributing privately earned wealth based on whim, perks and privilege. It’s as simple as that.
As for the people who actually earned the millions, it’s hard to tell how much of it was authentically earned and how much of it is the result of government subsidies, grants, perks or indirect favors. The extent to which the money was earned by honestly pleasing willing customers, it’s genuinely earned. The extent to which it came as a result of politics and government meddling in the private sector, it’s likely unearned.
It isn’t right to scorn “elitists” simply because they have a lot of money. If they earned that money by persuading people voluntarily to buy their goods and services, or even making risky but ultimately sound decisions in the financial marketplace, then that money is theirs. They earned it. There’s no reason to scorn, and there’s every reason to admire.
But if millions or billions are made because of one’s capacity to pat the right backs, make the right bribes (or “donations”) to politically connected entities like the Clinton Foundation, and all the rest, then there’s a reason for scorn.
People who survive and thrive in the politicized economy have nothing to fear by ending government involvement and letting every business, big and small, survive or fail on its own merits or lack thereof. The best will do well, and don’t need government perks to do so. It’s the people who could never make it without the stern and slimy hand of government who deserve our real contempt.
Elitism is not the most fundamental problem. Without people to distinguish themselves in the fields of art, science, technology and business, we’d still be a wilderness, like America started out as only a few centuries ago. Thank goodness we have earned elites who distinguish themselves in fields where they’re smart, and that includes the very important enterprise of business.
When we start to redistribute the wealth of those who earned it to those who did not — and who probably cannot — that’s when we create the political, often wealthy class of the unearned that has caused a populist movement to take off not on the left, but on the right.
The mixed economy — that toxic, unsustainable mixture of government controls/subsidies/handouts/socialism mingled with free enterprise — got us to where we are.
Either we collapse into pure, totalitarian socialism or Communism, as the Democrats now want us to do, or we decisively move in the direction of fully free market capitalism.
Sooner or later, we’ll have to decide. And the time for doing so is getting very, very close.
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