There is a constant discussion in the public arena about the “Elites.” While recently reading the thoughts of Thomas Sowell, I had a clear analysis session on what makes these people Elite. What qualifies someone as such, and why do we even refer to anyone in the American society as such?
Everything begins somewhere and the Elite began with a professor of sociology at Columbia University named C. Wright Mills. Professor Mills wrote a book, The Power Elite, which first defined the term which became shortened to the one-word definition for conversational convenience. The book describes the responsibilities of certain individuals in post-World War II America. He defines the relationships among the political, military, and economic elite suggesting that they share a common world view. He states power rests in the hands of the elites of American society.
The idea of Elites has evolved immensely since 1956 when Mills first defined the concept. So much so that if he were alive today, I doubt he would recognize his theory as defined within American society.
For example, the educational elite. In 1956, there was a small group of people that achieved the status of having a PhD. Even so Mills did not include educational elites in his original definition, but today though achieving PhD status has been dumbed down, there are now many people referred to as Elites among the largely over-educated class.
As the proliferation of doctorate degrees at even “Elite” universities has become commonplace, somehow the individuals who obtain these degrees are described as part of the Elite. As opposed to the rigors of obtaining a PhD in what we have come to call STEM studies, we now have degrees handed out in university departments where the value of the degree is only to perpetuate the studies within the narrowly defined educational departments which offer the degrees. Which means you do not have to display a particularly high level of scholarship to obtain the doctorate; you just must show a willingness to preserve the limited scope of education being defined by the existing establishment. Then you write some diatribes for publications that are dedicated to sustaining the existence of this meaningless pursuit, and you are now pronounced as part of the Elite. An award by some falsely important but highly slanted organization is soon to follow to further validate your worthiness.
Hollywood Elites are another part of this faction that is often referred to by the media. This is a fascinating element of the current Elite. These celebrities are in fact the more successful actors by having made a greater amount of money and thus can write checks. So, what exactly makes them Elite? Many in Hollywood today have no qualms with sounding off on their political views. Since the in-vogue position to take for almost everyone in Hollywood is lurching Left to be as Woke as possible, who is listening to these people?
Then there is the question of who among these people are stars that can put people in the seats? How many are Cary Grants and Audrey Hepburns? Tom Cruise is still a legit movie star and Chadwick Boseman seemed to on the cusp of being one until his untimely death. Today in Hollywood we have the “Chrises” – Pine, Pratt, Hemsworth and Evans. All worthy in their own right but tell me which movies each one made without confusing them. These people are not worthy of being referred to as Elite except among the MSM who are even more to the Left than these Hollywood players.
Another part of what are considered the Elite are politicians. How did we come to this point where our elected officials have become part of a “superior” class? There is a wide berth between respecting our elected officials and thanking them for their service and them becoming Elites who are exempt from our day-to-day obligations and treated as a special stratified class.
Our elected officials have made themselves into a protected Elite group. A few years back (Los Angeles Mayor) Eric Garcetti was visiting our synagogue for High Holiday services. We have had a multitude of politicians join us for services over the years including Gray Davis who has attended before, during and after his Governorship. Each elected official entered through the main entrance and acted as a normal person while attending services. Garcetti had an entire security team that insisted he enter through a back way as if anyone really cared he was there. This was before he destroyed the streets of the city with homeless people littering every freeway underpass.
Many of our elected officials now act as if they are a special class of citizen. Few act as if they are people of the people. The more they act as if they are Elite, the less they are thought of as Elite.
The Elite — as described by Professor Mills — earned their level of respect. Today the Elite are granted such by an adoring media because those Elite validate their Left-wing values.
This is America where all citizens are created equal and remain equal. We should remember that on this most cherished of our days as free Americans. Again think of people who were truly Elite; Jefferson, Washington, Adams, Franklin, Madison, Hamilton and others.