Monday, 25 October 2010

In Defence of Elitism


If I needed to go to hospital for an important surgery I would want the most elite, and the most qualified surgeon to operate on me. If I had a problem with one of the tyres on my car, had I opted for someone that was more in touch with the common man instead of someone actually qualified I would not have done the right thing as I swerved off the edge of a cliff grinning stupidly knowing I'd 'stuck it to the man' I would be an idiot, and a soon to be very injured or dead idiot. When it comes to the most important job of all, that of running the country where literally millions of lives are depending on well informed, intelligent decisions and the people in charge have their hands on the nuclear codes I similarly want the best people for the job.

The charge I seem to hear a lot when looking over the pond in relation to Sarah Palin from the American right is one of 'elitism' by a liberal clique. How do I as an Atlanticist, Liberal Bashing, Neocon, Special Relationship spouting, American apologist react to this charge as someone who could loosely be said to agree with Palin on most of the important issues as an outsider? I think the so-called clique needs to be about a thousand times more elitist and utterly eradicate the perceived defensibility of the notion that this woman is a viable Presidential candidate. What is described as elitism (grilling Palin on her knowledge and understanding of basic aspects of government), is essential to discovering whether or not someone is worthy of office. It is hard to imagine Margaret Tatcher baulking at the prospect of being asked what the Bush Doctrine is or on basic queries to do with the economy and then turing around and playing the victim card. No longer could I as a defender of the American right from a broadly Anti-American base in Europe, harbour the notion that right-wingers are any less prone to stupidity and bias having seen so many people I respect defend this imbecile. I have watched with amusement as Fox News has moved from a starting base of, 'oh no she is really qualified' to 'forget the elite snobs, she may not have everything but she is a woman of the people'. It seems silly to list any of the damning incidents to do with Palin (brought on by herself, not by any clique) as no well informed person could have missed these by now, and as such no reasonable person can argue that Sarah Palin (without addressing her intelligence) was remotely qualified or knowledgable enough to be the Vice President at the last election. And to try and paper over these deficiencies with the stupid line that she represents the people is frighteningly reckless. Just as not anyone can be a surgeon or a nuclear physcist, governing is equally a difficult task with a specific set of skills that not everyone can do and as such requires an elite.
Andrew Sullivan: Not blinded by partisanship.

Sarah Palin's so called grass-roots appeal will count for nothing when the American economy is tanking and she doesn't know what to do with it, or when she blows Ohio off the face of the map when she accidentally sets of a nuke while looking for her lipstick. As an outsider it is hard to get a grip on how many supporters of the GOP would seriously consider voting for this woman, but I seriously hope that more Republican and Conservative voices like David Frum and Andrew Sullivan will come out and put this woman to the real test that she needs before it is too late.

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