In Defense of Elitism
by William A. Henry III
Chapter One -The Vital Lie
Esteem for accomplishment, through long labor and rigorous education; reverence for heritage (history philosophy and culture); committment to rationalism and scientific investigation; upholding of objective standards (that one idea or attainment is better than another), all underlie his thesis.
Historically America has always had a tension between elitism and egalitarianism.
Now the push is for demographic equality of results, not attainment.
Writers are chosed for their PC artifacts for their archeological significance.
Curriculum is designed to make people feel better about themselves, not to acquire vocational or reasoning skills.
News isn’t judged as more or less important, but more or less popular.
Someone’s got to be elitist, especially at a time when no one else wants to be.
We have come to embrace the unexamined notion that all are pretty much alike and that the common man is always right. We acdept that a just society should be far more concerned with succoring its losers than with honoring and encouraging its winners (which benefits all).
Not communal splendor, but individual achievement should be our goal (like sports)
Some are better: harder working, smarter, more difficult to replace.
Some art more universal, some cultures more accomplished.
There is a difference between putting a man on the moon and putting a bone in your nose.
Marxist twaddle about the blamelessness of the unaccomplished aside. All differences in attainment are not explained entirely by social injustice. Egalitarians fear and detest the competitive impulse.
Bright children should not help slow ones. This is not justice. Their intelligence is not a commodity owned by the group. It is theirs.
Opportunity doesn’t need to be exactly equal. It needs only to exist. For the talented and motivated, that will be enough.
We have extended sufferage to more and more, motor voter and non-English speakers. Ours is a democratic republic
Lotteries say that success depends on luck.
People are equal in college. But this equality of uselessness ceases afterwards.
The idea of elitism is to provide sufficient rewards for winning, and support for ideas that have shaped past progress and will aid future progress.
History shows that the world got along without much female participation (so women are hostile to it).
The Hispanics want upward mobility without accepting language, but just by right of sheer numbers.
-- criteria for a superior culture--
One - it preserves the liberty of its citizens (fends off invaders, has no slaves)
two - provides a cumfortable life.
three - promotes modern science, medicine and health and longevity of it’s citizens.
fourth - It produces permanent artifacts that produce humanistic principles appreciated by other cultures. The more complex the better. The Notre Dam cathedral is better than a basket.
fifth - It has a widespred , rigorous general education so a meritocracy can happen.
six - it expands by trade or cultural imperialism and is accepted by those it takes.
Seventh, it organizes hierarchically (without tribalism or regional differences) and allows for advancement.
Eighth - (maybe) it isn’t theocratic.
Chapter Two - “Good Old Golden Rule Days”
Egalitarians have proclaimed that the self-esteem and limited learning opportunities of the disabled are more important than the advancement of the fit, let alone the gifted.
Teachers are supposed to judge students against their own potential, not absolute standards.
When schools taught discipline, self-denial, deference to one’s betters, and other elitist values, teachers had little time for encouraging students’ self-expression and consumerist self-assertion.
It was understood that this was preparation for jobs that had little scope for self-expression. School was boot camp, not therapy.
Educators tried to be aware of social problems, but had little illusion about solving them.
---Teachers and administrators are guided to misplaced indulgence by five factors---
one - Schools as social worker, not for education (providing free lunches, counseling, and physical protection for the abused. School is about instruction and assessment, not succoring.
two - Ideological scritiny by organized minority groups. The idea that higher failure rates for hispanics and blacks is the fault of the school.
Three - The feeling of entitlement to a credential without actual mastery (as opposed to just entitlement to a chance.
fourth - Erosion in students regard for authority and willingness to learn. (the make-me attitude). “Consumer curriculum of “what I am curious about” “All about me”
Fifth - The idea that poor test results can lead to administrator and teacher salaries changing. This leads to grade inflation.
Parents don’t teach reverence. Instead they blame the school for their child’s failure. Students who were reared on Sesame Street think learning should bne chirpy, funny, swift-paced and entertaining.
Schools are holy, spiritual places. They are not rehabs.
In the 1950s special meant gifted, now...
Our honors high school texts are no more difficult than an 8th grade reader before World War II.
The pseudo-racial pride is not far removed from hatred.
Touchy curriculum is the Mexican American war and the equality of meso American culture.
native americans should be called Siberian - Americans.They treated their women as subordinates.
The most important advance in human history was the arrival of Europeans to North America. It should be taught as a tragedy.
Only two cents of every One hundred dollars goes to gifted programs. The gifted will determine whether we remain the pre-eminent nation or not.
The homes of successful children have at least a 500 book library.
The very essence of school is elitism. Schools exist to teach, to test, to rank hierarchically, to promote the idea that knowing and undertanding more are better than less. Civilization is elitist. Egalitarians celbrate the blissfullness of the garden of Eden.
We need to give children the capactiy to adapt to and navigate an unknowable future.
Chapter Three - Affirmative Confusion
Americanism says any ethnic group is welcome. But welcome to be Americans. Now people say they don’t have to become American. America must redefine itself to embrace them.
The anti - assimilation posture would, if taken seriously, lead to an ungovernably fissle nation.
---Six basic elements of American multiculturism (that impinge on elitism)--
one - The idea that “fair” competition would result in demographically proportional sharing of society’s rewards. And that any deviation is therefore unfair.
two - The notion of equivalency of cultures
three - Rejection of European heritage (responsible for most advances)
Fourth - Not believing the need for linguistic standardization (Spanish and black english)
fifth - the idea that drugs and gang crime are reasonable responses to a bad situation.
sixth - doing well in school is acting white.
Asians are taking over school by adopting the free market competition idea.
In 1986 only 820 doctorates went to blacks. 1/2 were in education. None were in geology, aerospace engineering, astronomy, astrophysics, theoretical chemistry, architecture ore classics.
2/3rds of blacks at UCB fail to graduate. They might have prospered at less competitive schools.
Latinos don’t say we shall overcome. It’s we shall overwhelm.
Mutlicultural theory is supposed to give a sense of equality about the past.
One of the most troublesome aspects of reaction against Eurocentrism is the idea that reason and science are not absolute goods, but mere cultural choices. Reason and science are indeed the reason for our superiority and worldwide dispersion.
Multi says kids can protect their identity and integrity best without a traditional education and linguistic assimilation.
”It is useful for international business to have so many languages” they say.
If it were used as such. But if it weren’t being used on the street fewer would be alarmed.
Swearing in ceremonies have been held in Spanish!!! It is supposed to have more meaning. The meaning is that you don’t have to learn English to be a good american.
The leaders of bilingualism are leaders whose carreers depend on preserving Hispanic group identity rather than individual achievement.
Can linguistically separate sectors of society adequately appreciate each other’s attainments?
Beyond Spanish street signs will we see further calls for self governance. The implication is there because:
one - the number of Hispanics
two - proximity to the homeland
third - multiculturalism, which validates separationism and brands integrationists as racists.
Undergirding this is the idea that non-whites are fundamentally different in reasoning and values and standards. They shouldn’t then be held to white standards.
It says that any identity is valid, provided that it is embraced with sufficient enthusiasm.
Chapter Four - Why Can’t a Man Be More Like a Woman?
Women have managed to be classified as a minority.
But are equal as financial managers, biologists and managers in the civil service.
They cannot have been poorer than their other half (by definition of marriage).
Victims have the right to determine how they are labelled: What may be said to and about them.
Freedom from “hate” speech is law.
Feminists draw equations between competition and rape. The civilized world was built almost entirely by men.
They want equality and special rights in the workplace.
This is to benefit the economy by using all our human resources. But the uncompetiveness of holding jobs and rigid -flexible schedules is added to children without a parent at home and we may not break even.
The schools must then pick up the social fallout.
Then women claim to be better and different morally.
The glass ceiling is partially sociobiological.
Problems of “womens studies” is they don’t have enough scholarly stuff to be pursued on their own. And they are tribal, not integrationist.
Finally, rejection of “rationalism” will make us weaker, not stronger, and thus diminish women’s benefits.
Chapter Five - Nature and Nurture
Uneven distribution poses four important questions:
One - How much to give to whom?
Social or just survival needs? Should we make wheelchair access and jobs for all? What of progressive taxing? “gifted” sounds like unearned talent and fortune. Should they pay alms in thanks giving?
two - Integration?
What of disabled in regular classrooms?
Third - What of nomenclature and the social contract?
Can you call them “crazy” “handicapped” what of “sizism and Looksism”? Wondering whether a fat person may be less nimble and more apt to get sick is common sense.
fourth - What if poor folks don’t want help?
Homeless folks often want to live outside.
American Sign Language indicate “homosexuals” with a swish of the wrist. Asians by pulling their eyes back.
Amost everything anyone proposes to spend public money on is in some sense worthwhile. Modern medicine doesn’t make people healthier. It keeps chronically sick people alive.
John Kennedy had both a charmed and horrible life. Older Brother killed in war. Older sister in a plane crash. Another sister mentally retarded. Severe back pain and kidney problems. He lost a newborn child. And had his brains blown out at 46.
Winners no longer feel they have a right to exult i their victories. Losers o longer feel responsible for their defeat. Self-proclaimed victimes of society have lost sight of the proportion of their fate that reflects free will.
Social mobility is more or less flexible in time.
Liberals believe in the perfectibility of man , while conservatives believe in the endurance of original sin.
The problem with a genetic basis for intelligence, is that we don’t know what to do with it politically. If we assume equality then all social programs can only be successful when equality of outcomes is reached. If inequality the money is being wasted.
A survey of 3,119 students at 8 ivy league schools, found that fifty percent could not name their own senators.
Chapter Six - The Museum of Clear Ideas
What has been the biggest change since WWII? The emergence of mass higher education.
it has helped to break down the distinctions between the accomplished and the workaday, and to promote pseudo-scholarship based on gender anxiety and ethnic tribalism.
Half a century agto a high school diploma was a significant credential. Now , no longer a mark of distinction or proof of achievement, a college education is right of adolescence. A party.
By world standards 25% getting BAs is humge. Japanes 10-15%. They then rank universities colleges and tech schools.
Tracking by tracking at an early age fills us with sentimental horror.
Mass education is credited with having produced a better work force, a more stable electorate, a more flexible economy, a more civilized culture. An emblem of fairness.
It is seen as a right.
A fifth of state universities are required to accept any in-state high school grad. College used to be the reward for doing really well in high school. Now its a reward for passing.
We spend 150 billion a year on higher education. Is the “investment” paying off?
College grads earn more, but weren’t they the self-selected more motivated to begin with? Might they have earned more anyhow?
Does college make one a better salesman of stocks or real estate or insurance? These jobs used to be filled by people who hadn’t gone to college. 20% of all college folk toil in fields not requiring a college degree.
In Lake Wobegon all kids are above average. In America all will be managers.We are downsizing managers yet “educate” more than we need (journalists and lawyers too).
Huge college would make sense if people were going there for spiritual uplift. But...
one. People are demanding courses that reflect and affirm their own identities. What does a adolescent who minors in gay studies say at a job interview at an insurance company. Actual courses: Gay Male Relationships, Gays in film. There is no job skill there.
two. The curriculum has shifted from what professors desire to teach to what students want to learn.
Textbooks are designed to sell, not educate.
Question authority has turned to ignore authority.
A course in shakespear meant reading all of his plays. Now English majors may not read one all the way through.
Prestigious colleges run remedial programs.
Community colleges cost more per capita than other colleges. There are no research fellowships or endowments. They used to be called “Junior” colleges.
The 150 billion also undercuts the authority of high school teachers.
The financial drain on parents for college is huge. It is often just a holding pattern. We understand the desire to extend adolescence, but at parents expense!?!
Which schools to shut down?
Ones who perform poorly on exit exams.
Those who are in well to do neighborhoods.
The end of tenure (reduce it to five years) will cause competition. It may cause pandering to students, but that’s already happening.
Chapter Seven - Noah’s Ark, Feminist Red Riding Hood, Karaoke Peasants, and the Joy of Cooking
Egalitarianism has caused an equasion of what is opular with what is good; the free rein given in scholarship , entertainment, and even journalism to magic, mysticism, miracles, mind-reading; the dumbing-down of journalism; the emergence of a series of entertainment forms and home technologies that foster the tireless self-celebration of the peasantry for the mere fact of being alive.
Sensory ego trips for the masses and private narcissism based on nada is the melt down of all.
Our culture used to be mocked by Europe as un elite and vulgar. Now our academia is taking popular culture to heart.
The blues and square dancing are lesser forms of art. The techniques are less arduous and less demanding of long learning, the symbolic language less complicated, it’s less cerebral, less abstract, less of a test than opera.
American popular culture does not embrace the certification of art as work. Indeed, the word art is rarely used at all. The preferred signifier is the word “entertainment”.
This conveys that the aspirations are generally escapist. Makes you feel better, forget your troubles and liberates you from having to think.
Some stuff is good, but its awash in a sea of trash.
The dominant mood of contemporary American culture is the self-celbration of the peasantry. This may sound like towering snobbery , he doesn’t apologize. Its not about taste. Its about the values that inspire a society. That make it cohere.
In disasters, people take photos of loved ones. Displaying these photos has become the primary decorating statement in many households (except the posters of rock, sports stars and women in bikinis)
What has been crowded off the walls and desktops: Art chosen for beauty, for esthetic ideal, and instructive quality.
The family photo is the domestic equivalent of entertainment.
When americans are told over and over that familiy is the most important thing in life, what they hear is not a message of mutual responsibility and ambition. They hear that all is equal by virtue of living.
Camcorders film people saying stupefyingly dull things. They can’t bear to watch it back.
We have shifted from heroes to entertainers to celebrities. Entertainers could actually do something.
Wh cheered for people who represented character traits; now for those who amuse us. This is shallower than being inspired.
Montage is a lazy artists form, lacking a moral compass, and explicitly inviting individual audience members to find their own interpretation and values rather than advocate a position.
In a nation where functional illiteracy is widespread music videos are an exacerbator.
Artists have big egos. They say “I am more interesting than you are”.
There are no hour long news shows. And the half hours are soft.
The diving into dirt is not simply an expression of capitalist greed. It reflects the abandonment of the high ground of elitism, of presuming to teach and improve the public, for the swamp of egalitarianism.
Newspapers feature “Styles of the times” and “culture” sections.
Chapter Eight - Politics by Saxophone
Politicians are supposed to represent you. They must, to get all, blur their own views or give contradictory signals. Part of this process is a distasteful egalitarian effort to present oneself as a “regular guy”.
Voters thought Clinton rich cause he succeeded. So he went to McDonalds.
Folks want regular fellas as leaders and so are uncomfortable when they start to preach. So noone can stand up and talk of self-reliance.
Military pensions and Social Securities are exhorbanent transfers from the young to the old and subsidies.
For millions in America and around the world, there is no use. No meaningful place. They have accomplished nothing. They are worth nothing.
Immigrants work hard for a generation. Then they are corrupted.
The pressure for would-be immigrants, will end only “when the levels of population and poverty are equal to those of the third world in America.
He thinks that raised taxes could be sold to the rich as Nobles Oblige. But to say that if fairly done all would automatically be rich is wrong.
Identity politics is wrong. Rugged individualism is missing from education and political and public life. To be like t5he group is to not be creative. Looking for equality of outcomes rather than equality of opportunity means relinquishing responsibility and control. Obsessing about justice and fairness too readily leads to succoring the disadvantaged instead of urging them to make the best of their circumstances.
Individualism maximizes human potential and propels the whole race forward (admittedly at different rates of speed). The expectation that our leaders will be nice guys like us depreives us of leadership that can inspire, challengea dn demand.
The lower half is who demands egalitarianism. But they couldn’t succeed without the surrender of those at the topo.
The surrender has mostly come of doubt about the moral value of the American past, our dreams and ideals, doubt of competition as good. Great nations are not built on doubts. And today, America is needed as a model of greatness for the world.
The rest of the world wants to come here because America is better - not just economically better but politically better, intellectually better, culturally better.
Ours is a superior culture and it is so precisely because of its individualism.
Women were afraid to write because the pen looks like a penis. Book as women’s legs. The wrd I peer into and they thrust into me. The subject object relation is related to the in/out of sexual paradox nature of the universe.
Book title “American Pride”
Social science v. Social studies
Empiricist v. Rationalists
Sociology v. humanities
Better performing v. Better feeling
List the dangers of populism: Low education. Disrespect for achievement. Entitlement. Glorification of immediate gratification.