Mankind would never have reached the present state of civilization without heroism and self-sacrifice on the part of an elite.Ludwig von Mises
Why Society Needs to Cultivate a True Elite Class
Elites need to learn how to be elites again. And this will involve the enormous sacrifice of going beyond self-interest.
By John Horvat II
There was a time when the nation was ruled by a group of people that set the course for the country. Their children usually followed in their footsteps. This group of people tended to consolidate their wealth and pass it along to future generations. They formed what has been called a social elite—one that possessed complex connections within society, a network of civil obligations, and many leadership commitments.
Like all things human, this social arrangement of leaders had its defects. No one can deny this fact. But neither can one contest the historic reality that this system did help usher in an era of American prosperity with a certain amount of social mobility, stability and national unity.
In the post-World War II period, this system was largely replaced by a meritocracy, based on personal talent. The new system sought to level all advantages of birth. It emphasized individual achievement and not contribution to society. It stressed intelligence not character.
A Social Revolution Turns Everything Upside Down
To effect this change, many social structures were changed. The university system was opened up to everyone. During the sixties, social conventions were turned upside down, and sexual mores were thrashed everywhere. Extreme individualism became the norm. All this was done in the name of social justice, personal fulfillment and equality.
This social revolution was supposed to create a more just society. And yet, the contrary happened. The social order has not improved. Inequality ratios have soared. Morality has plummeted and created an underclass of those without stable family life. Institutional and civic involvement has declined dramatically. Social trust at all levels has fallen. Government is dysfunctional, and the nation is polarized.
The Rise of New Elites
Instead of the old group of social elites, the nation is now run by a new group of meritocratic elites. Their children are now following in their footsteps. They also tend to consolidate and concentrate their wealth and pass it along.
Thus, the new social justice warriors are back on the warpath demanding the destruction of these new elites simply because they are elites.
They do not realize that all healthy societies must have elites. Destroying elites in a society will eventually lead to the forming of another set of elites. This is because there will always be those in society who take upon themselves the task of leading and directing affairs. There will always be a one percent, a top ten percent in any society. Taking out these top percentages will only give their place to others, usually less qualified.
Eliminating layers of elites is also the way to totalitarian governments, which insist upon absolute power.