Of Elitism, Populism and Aristocracy - Alcyonenews

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Posted August 28, 2022

Of  Elitism, Populism and Aristocracy

It is a-la-mode to disdain “Elitism” and “Populism”. This pair of purposely super-confused words is  pressure-injected into the stash of “Embedded Myths” under which we are forced to live and which J.K. Galbraith euphemizes as “Conventional Wisdom”.

Words exist to convey meanings and this demands commonality of the perception a word invokes.  A popular commonality-gauge  is the Oxford English  Dictionary. But sad to say, the OED.  it is not always sterling.  Look at this:

“elite: > a group of people regarded as the best in a particular society or organization.”

This perplexed me and I sought a second opinion from Petit Larousse, the French equivalent to the OED:  

“Élite: > Ce qui’ il y a de meillieur, de plus  distingué” = “Who are of the best, the most distinguished.”

The variance is disturbing. The OED refer to “group”, “society” and “organization”. It stipulates no qualification –  all one needs to be Elite is that some other people “regard” the “group” he/she belongs as being Elite, “the best in a particular society”. This makes the “Lords” and the “Royals” into “Elite” by virtue of another group, a sector of society, which “regards” them as being the best. Just like the “likes” one gets on Facebook.

One would have expected the Brits to use the Greek word “Aristos” instead of “Elite”. After all “Aristos” is in the English vocabulary, as in Aristo-cracy. But Aristocracy has acquired hues of heredity and using it instead of “Elite” would expose the British “best” to be that “by birth”. But this is a fallacy the OED want to obscure, because it would shrink the number of those who “regard” the Lords and the Royals as being “best”, thereby affecting adversely the flow of privileges to them. Calling them “Elite” hides the fact that Lords and Kings are not necessarily the best. And shelters them from the peril of being qualitatively evaluated by the blokes-on-the-street.

Those who decry Elitism, to wit the Lords and the Kings, surely would be seen as “extremist”.  For this they will be ignored.   

Larousse contrasts the OED  by recognizing the onus of elite to earn inclusion among the “best”. One cannot do surgery or design a bridge merely because some group “regards”   them elite.

Let’s now move on to “Populism”, the antithesis of Elitism, and let’s start with the

OED: “populist > a member or supporter of a political party who seeks to appeal to or represent the interests and views of ordinary people.”

Well ... No! The OED had an option, it could be objective. More than that, it has a fiduciary duty to correctly inform us, the populace who have come to trust it. The OED  ought to inform us that “Populism”  is a pejorative word coined to denigrate Democracy.

The French are honest with Populism, as they are with Elite.

“Populism:  “Often used since the 1980's in the pejorative sense to discredit political adversaries to make them appear being activists, demagogues or proponents of simplistic solutions”. = “Souvent utilisé, a parti des annees 1980, dans un sens péjoratif pour discrediter les adversaires politiques en les soupçonnant d’être activistes, démagogiques ou de préconiser des solutions simplistes”.

The objective of “Populism” is the same as that of Elitism. There are both intended to sustain the hollowed Democracy the Establishment propagate and to mislead us into believing that we are democratically governed. Since we “govern” ourselves, we have only ourselves to blame for our “misfortunes”,  hence we cannot complain about those who screw up our lives – that is the scenario. True to my habit, I will explain further.

Notions, ideas and awareness of the hitherto unknown, generally are born in the mind of an individual. In the pre-IT era, by controling the “Press” and bellowing ad nauseam the  “Free Press” myth and similar nonsense, the Establishment could instantaneously quash notions which, if spread, would cause demand for Change. The advent of IT handicaps the facility to suppress the news about something “New” before it spreads, and triggers  demand for Change. But even in the IT era, news of the New neither reach all instantaneously, nor are  absorbed and espoused equally fast by those whom the message reach. Furthermore, New notions require debate to evolve into their potential.

The establishment gurus take advantage of the lag to neuter the New. They point to the plethora of people whom they have brainwashed into the cult-du-jour and scornfully badmouth the innovators. The attack is further facilitated by that the New being in the formative stage, is frequently not properly articulated and badly in need of what computer-geeks call “debugging”.
The whole thing is a scam. The antidote is known – the elders of my tribe called it Democracy. We need to un-learn much so as to accommodate that, n’est pas?



Carl hits hard the heart  

Carl Sandburg is a poet, a good one at that, and to be such, one has to play with words. The best known of his poems is “Chicago”. It is an ode to that city, the poet  spitting out  love and awe for Chicago as it is.

He does not  mince words:

Chicago: Hog Butcher for the World ... They tell me you are wicked, and I believe them ... Laughing the strong, husky, brawling laughter of youth ...”

He is appropriately unapologetic “Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands and goes to work”, Carl explains to those who wonder why they love Chicago-en-argot.

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