Left, Right, Up, Down

2010-01-31

A lot of people think that American politics, even American society, has become increasingly polarized in the last ten or twenty years, marked by a widening chasm of left vs. right, liberal vs. conservative, secular vs. religious, etc. On the surface, that's true. But I think the deeper division is the elite vs. the people, the political class vs. the productive class, those who govern and those who are governed. Indeed, once you notice that nothing ever changes in the District of Columbia or your state capitol -- that the elites follow essentially the same policies no matter which gang is in charge -- you start to realize that the supposed divisions among the people are extraordinarily convenient for the political class, because they keep the people from realizing that their real enemies are not the folks to their left or their right, but the elites up above. And while I am duly cautious about the dangers of popular rule (as were the Founding Fathers), I think Americans have much more to fear from elitism than from populism, especially in an age when knowledge and information are more dispersed than ever.


Peter Saint-Andre > Journal