The Insanity of the Elites

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Regardless of what form a state may have, it shall always have its ruling minority and its ruled majority. This reality is somewhat camouflaged in Western countries by what is called “democracy.” Hard to define at best, it certainly functions fairly well the more closely those who wield power are connected both to the interests and worries of the majority of their subjects and to objective reality. (To be fair, those two elusive targets are not always the same.) But the further removed the elite are from either or both, the more grotesque the situation becomes. That we are enveloped at the moment by grotesquerie has been underscored in the past two weeks by four incidents in France, Great Britain, these United States, and Germany—a veritable Foreign Legion of elite insanity.

The first example took place at Paris’s Élysée Palace, official residence of France’s president Emmanuel Macron. On Sunday, January 26, Macron hosted a group of children’s rights activists who are concerned over the ramifications of a government-sponsored bioethics bill. In response to a question from the leader of one such Catholic organization, Macron declared, “Your problem is that you believe that a father is necessarily a male.” I would invite you to reread that sentence.  The idea that a man in his position could utter such a sentence tells us much; it also explains the ongoing anger of France’s gilets jaunes.

We have to cross the English Channel for our next event, which occurred the following Sunday, in the Streatham section of London. Sudesh Amman, a 20-year-old with a prior conviction for terrorism (he had been released a few days earlier after serving half of a 40-month sentence), stole a knife from a store and then immediately proceeded to go on a stabbing spree with what appeared to be an explosive device strapped to his chest. While managing to stab a couple of people, he was gunned down by police who had been tailing him. If he was known to pose a risk sufficient to require being tailed, why was he released? His mother is Sri Lankan and his father is living overseas. As a foreign national, ought he not to have been deported?

Our next case occurred two days later in our own capital of Washington: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tearing up of her copy of the State of the Union address to show her disapproval of its contents. This infantile display of pique is highly unlikely to win her votes in the upcoming election—although it is as least consistent behavior for her. One can only wonder what would have been the reaction had President Obama received the same treatment from Speakers Boehner or Ryan.

 

Lastly, the excitement in the German State of Thuringia this past week provides a real capper. In October of 2019, an election there gave a majority of seats in the state’s parliament to the renamed Communists—the party that had run Thuringia and the rest of East Germany as Soviet puppets for four decades, cheerfully murdering and abusing their own people all the while. But the next largest winner, the Alternative für Deutschland, had enough seats—together with the “conservative” Christlich Demokratische Union (the party of Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel) and the tiny “liberal” Freie Demokratische Partei—to deny the premiership to communist leader Bodo Ramelow. With AfD support, FDP leader Thomas Kemmerich beat Ramelow, who had connections to the East German ruling party before the Berlin Wall fell) for the Premiership of the State by one vote.

The shrieking outrage by the German establishment was immediate. Chancellor Merkel declared that the maneuver was “unforgivable,” though who needed absolution (the people or the politicians of Thuringia?) and who was capable of giving it (the unseated Communist apparatchik or the Chancellor herself, whose immigration policies have done so much to destabilize Germany and have opened up a whole new chapter in that country’s history of rape?) is unclear. The AfD were roundly condemned as Nazis, fascists, and, above all, “extremists.”

Now, to be sure, the AfD does have some members who might justify their being called the first two names. But far worse than that is their official adherence to traditional gender roles, opposition to abortion, and the like. Regardless of their oddball members, bear in mind that those who condemn them as “extremists” consider abortion, same-sex marriage, transgenderism, and all the rest of it sacred, and they have no problem with a ruling party that was committing crimes against humanity a scant three decades ago—nor that that party’s current leader was safely in the West, in contact with and sympathizing with said party while it was covering its hands in blood. This is what the establishment in Germany considers “moderate.”

Despite the many differences among them, public discourse in all four countries (and many more beside) is dominated by governmental, cultural, academic, and media elites who are at once emblematic of St. John Paul II’s famous description, “the culture of death.” They are removed from reality—that is to say, in a sense, they are insane and, worse still, not all that bright. Not only do they ignore the various clear and present dangers with which the West and the world are confronted, but their fecklessness and lying make anything they oppose—including fascism—look attractive to the innumerable uninformed their educational policies have created.

What can we do about it? As a start, let’s drop their false dichotomy, the meaningless words “moderate” and “extremist,” and replace them with true and false. Not only do these have objective reality, but they force their users to prove their assertions. Best of all, they can only be applied to ideas, not people.

Photo credit: AFP via Getty Images

Charles Coulombe

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Charles A. Coulombe is a contributing editor at Crisis and the magazine's European correspondent. He previously served as a columnist for the Catholic Herald of London and a film critic for the National Catholic Register. A celebrated historian, his books include Puritan's Empire and Star-Spangled Crown. He resides in Vienna, Austria and Los Angeles, California.

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