Sunday, September 28, 2008

Elitism


“Ask yourself: How has elitism become a bad word in American politics? There is simply no other walk of life in which extraordinary talent and rigorous training are denigrated. We want elite pilots to fly our planes, elite troops to undertake our most critical missions, elite athletes to represent us in competition and elite scientists to devote the most productive years of their lives to curing our diseases. And yet, when it comes time to vest people with even greater responsibilities, we consider it a virtue to shun any and all standards of excellence. When it comes to choosing the people whose thoughts and actions will decide the fates of millions, then we suddenly want someone just like us, someone fit to have a beer with, someone down-to-earth -- in fact, almost anyone, provided that he or she doesn’t seem too intelligent or well-educated.”

-- Sam Harris, Newsweek, 9/29/08

(Photo: Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Sept. 2008)

9 comments:

Barbara said...

I do want someone just like me, but I also feel rather elite when I read descriptions of many of those who are using the E word most vociferously!

The photo, on the other hand, would have been perfect for your recent post on Equus! A most elite horse.

Merle Sneed said...

Elite can mean different things in different pursuits. An elite pilot is one who has shown great skill in piloting. An elite athlete is more athletic, and so on.

An elite politician has often become extraordinarily adept at self-promotion, which may or may not be related to the skills necessary to lead.

Adrianne said...

That photograph is amazing. A horse with a hook through its face on the left, and a shadow hand dangling a ring from its index finger on the right. Wow. I also love the changes in the texture of the background along the left-hand side.

tut-tut said...

Interesting . . . I took the shadow to be a face, with a ring through its nose. Reminding me of a segment of the public being led around by the McCain/Palin ticket.

Reya Mellicker said...

Hello!! Thanks for this...wow.

And YES about the marigold pic, yeah! I love being on your wavelength!

e said...

I have to agree with tut-tut here but in addition to those being led around by McCain-Palin, what about the public and the pols being led about and lied to by the financial industry elite who now expect the tax payers to bail them out without any apparent consequences?

Perhaps a picture of a horse hiney would have been the better choice here, although that is an interesting photo.

J. David Zacko-Smith said...

GREAT photo AND GREAT article. I almost blogged this one myself, but had used up my political quota for that day -- and a few days in advance. So, I Facebook'd it instead. ;-)

bulletholes said...

From Websters:
Elite-"a group of persons who by virtue of position or education exercise much power or influence"

among the several definitions I never saw a single reference to capable or adept, intelligent or sensible...

Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

A good quote. It was good meeting you, Steve, and I need to check your blog more often. I was glad to hear that you served in the Peace Corps.