In regards to Bruno’s post about the “elite”: The Tea Party has done a great many things in advancing the ideals of liberty, freedom, and limited government, and its done so in a truly unique way. The tea party groups have pushed forward the agenda for much of the libertarian causes, so it is with great hesitancy that I pick this one fight with them.
In battling for the “forgotten man”, the small business owner, and middle America, they’ve started battling against an idea they call “elite”, and its the worst thing they could do to their cause.
I can remember the massive support around George W. Bush, as the (then unformed) tea partiers cited him as the everyman; the guy that’ll surely get the keg primed at our next backyard barbecue. This rallying call for a leadership built of commoners might even trace its history to one of my favorite (yet flawed) figures, Bill Buckley, when he opined that he’d rather “entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.”
As much as I’m in no position to question the logic of the founder of modern conservatism, I know wrong when I see it – and this is wrong.
Tea partiers always cry out for the days of the founders; the figureheads of liberty; the Thomas Jefferson’s, but they forget that those people were the elites. Hell, they built a system of elitism, by which we don’t have direct democracy or a direct popular vote. They saw the commoners as under-educated to make policy decisions or even voting decisions. Yet, the current incarnation of tea party constitutionalists make it common practice to bash a class of people that made everything great about this country.
So, today I get sick when I hear Barack Obama being chastised for being an “elite.” Nevermind that he and Bill Clinton are ten times the commoner that George Bush will ever be, this is insane. The idea that learning a lot, going to a great school, thinking you know more than most, and wanting to use your knowledge to help those who don’t have it, is a character flaw – well, it goes beyond the bounds of reason and beyond the bounds of capitalism.
We embrace this beautiful economic system called capitalism because we know it works for society. It produces great products and doesn’t infringe on personal liberty. Capitalism works because of competition, and competition works by separating elite from the rest. Elite products and people win in the market and drive innovation and prosperity. Getting an elite education makes you an elite product and helps drive your success in the labor market.
So, why not embrace elitism? Why not let elitism drive innovation and prosperity in the world of public policy?
This is not just rhetoric, but a call to action. I urge fellow liberty-minded peoples to embrace the term elitism, work to make themselves elite, and support those that already have. Sarah Palin, GWB, and Christine O’Donnell are not inherently good because they are commoners—in fact, they’re inherently bad for that reason. Find an elite who embraces liberty and you’ve found the future success of America.