Just Be Better

Lexington Green wonders where the ruling class gets the nerve:

Why does an elite that is actually not admirable in what it does, and not effective or productive, that has added little or nothing of value to the civilizational stock, that cannot possibly do the things it claims it can do, that services rent-seekers and the well-connected, that believes in an incoherent mishmash of politically correct platitudes, that is parasitic, have such an elevated view of itself?

He proffers as three planes of potential justifiable confidence the material, the intellectual, and the moral and then takes a decidedly negative approach toward a remedy:

It seems to me this group is vulnerable to strategic, permanent defeat if the conversation and the spot-light can be relentlessly focused on their deficiencies and the ludicrous nature of much of their behavior and their beliefs.

I’m as guilty as anybody of shining that negative light; in the quick-hit commentary that is the only thing for which economic reality has left me time, it’s the most efficient means of affecting the conversation. And there is a place for pointing out error and mocking the arrogant and powerful.
Looking away from the world of opinion writing and wonkishness, the more effective approach is probably to highlight the positive. Mockery only shames those with a reason to believe that people about whose opinions they care will find uncomfortable truth in it, and the defining characteristic of our ruling class is its insulation from the trials of everyday American life. The long-term realignment of priorities, principles, and power would be better served simply by those outside of the ruling class proving themselves just to be plain ol’ better people.
Like a soothing breeze over stagnant water, exemplary conduct will draw away the haughty until the pool has evaporated, but for the dregs.

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