From Pine View Farm

Elitism 1

Will Bunch tears up the argument that someone who talks good and knows a subject from a predicate is somehow a conceited self-important asshole.

Ya know, my mother used to have a saying about persons who had nothing to offer to a discussion and who therefore resorted to ad hominem attacks.

“All they are doing,” she would say, “is tearing down.” The other side of that, which she usually would not say, is that they do not desire nor have the capability to build anyone, or anything, up.

You know, if the definition of “elitist” or “snob” has become someone who loathes any form of racism and who wants a nation where people have full access to education and where people highly desire that access, and who wants a democracy where both voters and the media work together to keep people rooted in facts and not in rumor, then, God yes, I am an elitist. But I never thought that’s what it meant to be an elitist. I always thought that was what it meant to be an American. Forgive me if I am mistaken.


1 comment

  1. Opie

    May 19, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    Coincidentally, I was thinking this week about a difference I notice in attitudes of various people in modern America. Intellectualism is very important to the segment of American liberalism that has been charged with vocalizing the message in this generation. Go to CSPAN and dig up a stump speech by Bill Clinton. He rattles off statistics and studies at a rate any dispassionate observer knows can’t be legitimate, but he attracts a solid core of people who eat it up. Science is their god and they like to hear their gut feelings reinforced by studies. Whether the area of life discussed is even amenable to scientific study is not pertinent – they eat up numbers.

    I don’t even know if this is a majority of liberals, but it’s the segment that has carried the banner publicly. There are indeed other segments to liberalism. I doubt that the liberals in West Virginia who wanted a liberal for president but didn’t want a black man are much concerned with intellectualism. But they are not the media face of liberalism – in fact, the front line has not wanted to even acknowledge their existence.  (Until their unions contribute campaign cash, that is.)

    But the front line is in love with intellect, so much so that they’ve spent a generation calling Ronald Reagan an "amiable dunce," listening intently for any verbal stumble Dan Quayle made,  and ridiculing George W. Bush even though he graduated from a (quite liberal) college most of them never could have met acceptance requirements for. And now the Will Bunches of the world wake up at this late date and feign incredulity: "You thought we were trying to be snobs?"

    Conservatives, as a general rule, lighten up on the numbers and studies and look at the aggregate situation. One case in point is the minimum wage. The conservative stance is simple: the more something costs, the less of it you can afford. Liberals will be the first out with studies, proving with statistics that raising the cost of employing low-skilled workers actually is good for both the worker and the employer. Common sense explanations of how this miracle happens are not necessary because the numbers don’t lie. It doesn’t matter how it happened, because the study said it happened.

    I’ve been on the receiving end of the "conservatives are simplistic" attitude long enough that it’s too late to back-peddle with me.  But at this moment that liberalism is turning  over a new leaf by leaving Clintonism behind and embracing Obamaism, (whatever that someday turns out to be,) it’s probably a good point at which to start rewriting history and teaching the next generation of voters that they were never that way.