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08/18/2003 Archived Entry: "Truth-telling and the fact that some people are better than others"

TWO ARTICLES ON LEW ROCKWELL.COM TODAY resonate with each other and give lots of food for thought. The first, by young troublemaker Tracy Saboe explains how he was fired from clerking at Wal-Mart for telling an inconvenient truth: that people who use food stamps or their electronic equivalent usually load their shopping carts with pop, chips, cookies, ice cream, or prepared foods that cost a lot more than meals they could cook at home. The second, by Fred Reed, reveals another awful truth that everyone used to take for granted, but that we are no longer supposed to admit: that some people really are better than others -- intellectually, morally, and behaviorally.

It wasn't politic for Saboe to express that opinion on Wal-Mart's time, and especially not to some bright little college-student tax suck who inevitably complained. But it's hard to argue with his guts or with a phenomenon that virtually everyone who's ever stood in line at a grocery checkout counter has observed. What Reed states also ought to be obvious: that those who excel and achieve have reason for self-esteem, and that we do nobody any favors by awarding good grades, high-praise, jobs, or anything else (including tax-funded Little Debbie snack cakes) to those whose only notable characteristic is their lack of notably fine characteristics.

Americans hate elitism -- and rightly so, if elitism means that the "superior" people are a class of inbred morons and habitual wastrels like the English aristocracy from which so many of our ancestors fled. And rightly so, if elitism means a political class like the late and unlamented Clintonistas or the always-with-us Tri-Lats and CFRs who (while not technically "conspiring") simply think they're entitled by education, upbringing, or social position to make decisions for us scruffy little folk.

But there used to be an all-American concept of a "natural elite" which simply meant everybody who had the brains, gumption, skill, innovative thinking, or whatever else it took to achieve something noteworthy. In that sense, elitism was what America was -- and at its best still is -- about. In that sense, if we abandon elitism, we abandon ... well, what makes America better than other nations. One aspect of being better is voluntarily taking care of the weakest members of the community. But that's a whole different thing then setting the least able people up as the new privileged class.

We're never going to get rid of elitism. Some group or class will always rise to prominence. All we're doing by favoring the unfavorable and promoting the worth of the unworthy is trading the elitism of ability for the elitism of those who can whine the most loudly while achieving the least. That's a tyranny it'll be hell for the intelligent or the able to live under. So hide your brains while you still got 'em. And be sure not to stand out too much, unless you can be outstanding in your mediocrity.

Posted by Claire @ 03:34 PM CST

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