America’s elites are neither bright, competent, nor qualified

America’s elites are neither bright, competent, nor qualified. By Michael Anton.

This is the core marker of what makes a person part of the elite: do you hold the correct opinions on a certain number of hot-button, social, domestic, and foreign policy issues? Are you pro-vaxx and anti-butter? Pro-jogging and anti-weightlifting? Pro-Ukraine and anti-Hungary? Pro-BLM and anti-PBA? Etc.

Holding the right opinions — i.e., adherence to the doctrine — is the defining characteristic of our elite. With the correct opinions, you are not guaranteed a spot among the elite, but without them, you are certain to be shut out. …

These two elite failures — Iraq and the financial crisis [of 2008] — ironically cemented elite control of the regime. Voters rebelled, understandably, by punishing the party in power. But they ended up installing an administration that was even more elite—more Ivy League, more bicoastal, more tied to Wall Street and Silicon Valley—than any that had come before. …

Most of the things we, or I, consider to be central to the elite agenda were accelerated with increasing urgency in the Obama Administration, especially in the second term. More financialization, more tech ascendency, more globalization, more deindustrialization, more money printing and artificially low interest rates, more overseas intervention, the continued erasure of our borders, elevation of the security state, attacks on law and order, more anarcho-tyranny, more woke unanimity from the media-university complex, and the demonization of America’s past, especially of its one demographic that most cherishes that past.

Trump was a reaction against all that … But elite dominance over the regime proved all but impossible for Trump to overcome. Even more difficult to overcome was the transformation of the regime itself. When half or more of its power centers are outside the government, and completely controlled by a president’s enemies, there is little he can do against their recalcitrance and attacks.

All this came to a head in 2020. But the two big events of that year—COVID and the BLM riots — appear to be yet more examples of regime failure. …

Was it planned? No, it’s just incompetence writ large.

Some insist that this was all planned. If so, what did the elites get out of it? “Control!” comes the answer. That’s possible. But if so, it would seem that this additional control came at a very high cost: the destruction and even dissolution of the society which the elites rule.

We all know Milton’s line that it’s “better to reign in Hell, than to serve in Heaven.” …

As we’ve all noticed, nearly everything we used to take for granted is getting worse. Street and property crime is only the most obvious example. Take another: air travel. Flight cancellations with no warning are now the norm. A very short time ago, this was very rare. The elites fly more than the average person; not all of them can afford to fly privately. How does mucking up civil aviation help them? Or one more example: Europe is about to plunge into a deep freeze because of idiotic energy and reckless foreign policy.

What explains this behavior? I don’t rule out a grand plan, but this seems the least plausible explanation.

Spotted in the US

Their premier conferences such as Davos produce nothing but bromides and pabulum — nothing like a serious plan for world domination. So if they really do have a detailed plan, they have proved very effective at keeping it secret.

I propose, not as definitive but provisional, three related explanations for elite behavior that fit the observable facts.

  1. The elites’ top priority is simply to stay in power and self-perpetuate as a caste; what they do with their power is secondary.
  2. They think only short-term. Whatever they need to do in the here and now, to get them through this or that crisis, they will do, long-term consequences be damned….
  3. They are in the grip of a faith-like ideology that they cannot question. None of it has been thought through, but its basic tenets (the doctrine) are known to all and treated like scripture from which it is heresy to deviate. …

Just as pilots will soon not know how to fly, doctors will soon not know how to heal. (But both will be intimately familiar with the latest in intersectionality theory, which is what really matters.) What explains this? Do elites not get sick? Have they built a parallel medical system we don’t know about, which only they can use? …

A wise, competent, qualified elite would not do this, nor much else beside.

For how long can they remain in charge if their belief system is explicitly anti-nature, contrary to the hard-coded order of things? Right now, America seems to be replaying some of the worse aspects of the 1970s: inflation, a looming energy crisis, humiliation overseas, decaying prospects at home, rampant vice in the population. There are no easy solutions to many of our problems, but the elites could do something about some of them yet choose not to. …

It’s only natural for an elite to want to stay in power. That’s in part what our elites’ bleating about “our democracy” is really about. Things that secure their power are “democratic.” Movements, candidates, laws, votes, etc., that threaten their power are undemocratic. Actually, “undemocratic” has become a passé term, too mild for the present ruling class. No, anything they don’t like is now “fascist.”

One other thing that characterizes our elite is anger: anger at your ingratitude and lack of respect. In their mind, the elites believe they deserve what they have. They are “meritocrats,” the “best and brightest.” They earned their position in the elite via their GPAs, SAT scores, extracurricular activities, and the “community service” work they did to pad their college applications. They believe they are very, very smart and that intelligence is the supreme, and perhaps the only, virtue. They also, as they never tire of reminding you, “work hard.” They thus really believe that they deserve our admiration and gratitude. It never occurs to them that their arrogance, insults and misrule might, to the contrary, earn them the opposite. Hence when confronted with the opposite, they get angry. Just as there is no moderation in them, there is no soul-searching or self-reflection either. They never fail; you, rather, fail to appreciate their superiority. For that, you must be punished. …

Sadly, their grip on power is very strong, for the time being:

At the risk of sounding defeatist, I don’t know how to dislodge the present elites. It seems to me that their grip on power is so secure that ordinary political action — organizing, voting, governing — will not suffice, especially when half or more of the regime is beyond government control.

So instead I will make a suggestion to our rulers; it won’t be heeded, but I will make it anyway. Be better tyrants. …

Treat the country as your estate. When it thrives, you thrive. When it prospers, you prosper. When it’s healthy, you’re healthy. Rule for the common good so that you may better advance your own good. You own the joint. Act like it. Stop looting and start building.

Michael Anton has almost been at the forefront of the most perceptive commentators, IMHO.

The US midterms will be very interesting, especially if the elite again use underhand or illegal means to maintain control of the legislature.