Sunday, August 2, 2015

our self-destructive elites


Every society is ruled by an elite of some kind. There’s nothing necessarily harmful in that. It seems to be more or less inevitable. There are however some important differences that distinguish the elites that currently rule what passes for western civilisation.

Most elites are fundamentally conservative. Not conservative in the sense of being right-wing but in the sense of being essentially in favour of the status quo. This of course makes perfect sense. If you’re a member of the elite then society is working very well indeed from your point of view. Any change might well make your own position less comfortable or less secure. If you’re a member of the elite then the last thing you want is for social cohesion to be threatened.

Our current western elites are quite different. They set out to destroy their own civilisation. Other elites have been responsible for the collapse of their own societies through stupidity or short-sightedness but this is surely the first time in history an elite has consciously and deliberately set out to destroy its host society. This is very strange. It requires some explanation. I don’t claim to have the definitive answers but I can put forward a few possible explanations.

The first explanation would be that the elites genuinely believe that they will never personally have to pay the price for their follies. This has been to some extent true of all elites. If the French aristocrats of the 18th century had known they were going to be guillotined en masse as a result of the collapse of the ancien regime it is fair to suppose that they would have taken more active steps to prevent that collapse.

The second explanation is more specific to our own case. It is extreme isolation from reality. As Theodore Dalrymple has pointed out, the elites of Britain genuinely have no idea what life is like outside of their own safe protected havens. They have no idea how the underclass lives. They have no idea how the underclass thinks, or of how violent and destructive that underclass really is. They have no clue as to what the drug culture has done to the underclass. They have no notion of what multiculturalism means in practice. They’ve never seen it. None of these problems exist in their cozy little enclaves of wealth and privilege.

This is certainly true in the US as well. Wealthy white liberals tend to live in exclusively wealthy white neighbourhoods, or exclusively wealthy white towns. Many of them live in exclusively wealthy white states. It is undoubtedly true in most western countries. 

There is a third explanation. Those who care most about their own society are those who have a stake in that society’s future. Having a stake in the future means having children. But our elites are, to an astonishing degree, virtually childless. Wealthy middle-class university-educated white people have stopped reproducing. If you are worried about the world in which your children are going to grow up then social experiments are something to be regarded with extreme caution. If you have no children then social experiments aren’t worrying at all.

A fourth explanation is a lack of identification with their own countries. In the past the elites  may have been isolated from the lives of ordinary people but they still identified as belonging to their own countries. The ruling classes in England had a strong sense of Englishness. Even those hapless French aristocrats had a certain sense of Frenchness. In fact even the party elites who ruled the Soviet Union had some sense of national solidarity. It was not a narrow Russian national solidarity but it was at least a sort of pan-slav ethnic solidarity. Our current elites have no such sense of national identity. Any member of the elite who expressed national pride today would be torn to pieces in a Two Minute Hate feeding frenzy.

I don’t claim to provide a full explanation for the self-destructive insanity of our present-day elites, but it is a mystery that requires at least some attempt at understanding.

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