Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Article of the Week - The Failure of the Statist Elite

Walter Russell Mead expands on Stanley B. Greenberg's article Why Voters Tune Out the Democrats with some brilliant follow up. His understanding of the anger against an unelected ruling elite that has seized power for itself to rule our lives is brilliant. Please indulge of few extended quotes.

On the "promise" of the left.

The progressive, administrative regulatory state and more broadly the technocratic and professional intelligentsia who operate it sold themselves to the public as an honest umpire in charge of American life. . . . Instead, we would have government by philosopher kings, or at least by incorruptible credentialed bureaucrats. Alabaster towers of objectivity such as the FCC, the FDA, the EPA, the FEC and so many more would take politics out of government and replace it with disinterested administration. Honest professionals would administer fair laws without fear or favor, putting the general interest first, and keeping the special interests at arm’s length. The government would serve the middle class, and the middle class would thrive.
The reality.
For large numbers of voters the professional classes who staff the bureaucracies, foundations and policy institutes in and around government are themselves a special interest. It is not that evil plutocrats control innocent bureaucrats; many voters believe that the progressive administrative class is a social order that has its own special interests. Bureaucrats, think these voters, are like oil companies and Enron executives: they act only to protect their turf and fatten their purses. . . . The professionals and administrators who make up the progressive state are seen as a hostile power with an agenda of their own that they seek to impose on the nation.
The source of resentment.
The progressive state has never seen its job as simply to check the excesses of the rich. It has also sought to correct the vices of the poor and to uplift the masses. . . . But it’s impossible to grasp the crisis of the progressive enterprise unless one grasps the degree to which voters resent the condescension and arrogance of know-it-all progressive intellectuals and administrators. They don’t just distrust and fear the bureaucratic state because of its failure to live up to progressive ideals (thanks to the power of corporate special interests); they fear and resent upper middle class ideology.

The whole article is worth a read. When Obama tells us to "eat our peas," it is more of the same elitist crap of the left condescending to us and presuming to be our betters and know better than us what we should do.

It is a fight to break the power of a credentialed elite that believe themselves entitled by talent and hard work to a greater say in the nation’s affairs than people who scored lower on standardized tests and studied business administration in cheap colleges rather than political science in expensive ones. I think part of the anger the left feels towards Sarah Palin is that she is a living affront to their belief in the rightful ordering of society. How dare the former female jock take a position of leadership against our the shiboleths the statists hold dear? She graduated from the University of Idaho and participated in beauty pageants for crying out loud.

So take heart, tea partyers, the progressives have painted themselves into a corner. Their policies may be popular in theory, but Americans hate being ruled. We just need to keep up the pressure to restore an America of freedom.


  1. I read that article, too and really enjoyed it. We all want to be open-hearted to everyone, but we all know it doesn't work when applied indiscriminately.

  2. I see much merit to the argument that a good chunk of the population finds people who dare to know more then them to be know-it-all putzes. Your point? Are they necessarily wrong?

    In a broader sense though, there is much to be said for the reinvigorated democratic process the tea party has brought (for good or ill). Just make sure that you don't end up as waterboys for the actual elite--you know--the one that actually has money...

  3. Calivancouver,
    There are always tensions in political alliances. When the Chamber of Commerce works against job killing regulations, we are allies. When they lobby for tax loopholes, subsidies and regulation that kills off competition (see big pharma support for Obamacare) then we will be at odds. But we are often allied because growth of government is the chief threat to both constituencies.