Over the summer, Steve Sailer commented on a New York Times editorial by David Brooks, “Why Our Elites Stink,” wherein Brooks contrasts the privileged responsibility of the old W.A.S.P. establishment with the privileged irresponsibility of the new “meritocratic” elite. Sailer interprets Brooks’ piece as a subtle hint to his fellow high-placed American Jews that they are not fulfilling well the role of a social elite: “David Brooks almost goes there.” For how can rabbinical Jews accept the leadership role sincerely and in good conscience when they continue to see themselves as alienated and ever the potential-perennial oppressed victim of the majority? Or so the argument usually goes. The replacement of the old W.A.S.P. establishment and the rise of American Jewry are some of Sailer’s pet subjects, and he writes about them frequently. So, if you are so inclined, read Sailer; he always writes clearly and usually with insight and humor.
I am not sure to what extent there is an ethnic dimension to our sad story, it does seem that the leadership class that has arisen in the West no longer follows the old rules of the delicate social compact in our liberal commercial regime, where privilege entails responsibility, there is a generally peer enforced code of honor (with a noblesse oblige consideration of the underclasses), and the Brahmins have a paternal feeling for the society that they rule, whether in government, business, the arts, and such. Yet, we can see this disconnect as strongly with the undeserving, blue eyed, post-Episcopalian heirs at the Ivies as with the new Jewish (or Indian or Chinese ) elites. Indeed, the condition seems just as rampant, at least to an outside observer, in the United Kingdom and in the rest of the Anglophone world. As our societies have become more truly democratic, they have developed the characteristic vices of democracy. Among such is the rise of individualism, where a man looks only toward his own interests, and of correspondent generational selfishness, where ancestors and decedants are given no thought in decisions.
Why should majority rule decend into such baseness? I think that it relates to the rise of relativism and the obscuring of a natural order that democracy quietly teaches to its citizens. If each man (and woman!), regardless of his wisdom, virtue, knowledge, and experience, is given an equal say in public affairs, then people gradually come to believe that each man’s opinion is equally valid—that each has an equal claim on how the state should be run. Individual will and the seeking after each individual’s approach to whatever he perceives to be his good become the prime mover of the commonwealth rather than adherence to a collective understanding of the common good, which people believe to be transcendent to their whims and desires. Democracy invariably becomes a celebration of the living, voting masses, with no respect of tradition and no concern for consequences to posterity, and of their collective mob will, which paradoxically is simply each man’s jostling to secure a better social position at the expense of everyone else. Our new elites, whether Old American, Jewish, or Persian, are simply adapting to the new regime in the West.