The weakest position belongs to envious characters

Dmitry Kosyrev

Here is a recent regional election story: the fight was between two female candidates. One is the owner of an elite university diploma, worked in the diplomatic department in various positions, was also a lawyer, flickered a little on television, co-author of a book about why the whole world needs her beautiful country. In general, the metropolitan celebrity. The second never left her region for a long time, as a lawyer she defended protected forests there from being placed on the list of ordinary forests and fought other metropolitan encroachments to include something local and tasty in federal property.
We chose the second one. And the clever author of the article says: this is what should happen, our entire elite should be updated from below, relying on people who will come from the regions. Because with such an elite, as now, we will not go far (I would like to add to help him: we will lose the state).
Actually, we’re talking about the US . And not about the recent elections themselves, but about the primaries – the internal party selection of a Republican candidate for the Senate from one of the states. We know the first woman, if only because her dad was vice president of the United States under the second George W. Bush , that is, we are talking about Liz Cheney. And the second name is Harriet Haigman – and she, and not Liz, has now become a senator from the deaf and reserved state of Wyoming (apparently, the choice of the candidate turned out to be correct: Harriet was well voted for).
And here it is interesting for us that not only in Russia there are and always will be those who want to understand the acute issue: the elite is, in general, what? Which have? What should be? Well, it is understandable that in tense times such conversations become a furious cry. And Russia does not have a monopoly here, in the United States now, too, the time is nowhere more tense. And for some, it’s not even about making America great again, but simply about keeping it functional as a society.
Now an article from The American Conservative that describes this situation. The article is not brilliant, sometimes naive, sometimes confused, but there are good thoughts there. Here is the simplest of them: the author guessed to turn to dictionaries. And th-at’s what happened. Cam-bridge Dictionary: Elite is “the richest, most powerful, best educated or best trained group in society.”
Yep, says our author. This is the same muck that we suffer from – visitors to the glamorous Washington cocktail parties and so on and so forth. But there is another dictionary – British, from Oxford . Everything is not so hopeless here. Here the elite is “a select group, superior in their abilities or qualities to the rest of society.”
Feel the difference? People have certain qualities, abilities and, let’s add to the British vocabulary, merits. And if today they are rich, or powerful, or better educated than others, it is because of their abilities and their deeds. That is, money or power (aka influence, well, or popular enthusiasm) is their reward for being an elite. And not vice versa.
Shifting the conversation to today’s Russian realities, we are now ending a high-energy philosophical discussion, in which almost the entire society participates. It, observing the demonstrative escape from the country of ardent supporters of the West, is trying to clearly determine why these people are not the elite – more precisely, they are no longer the elite.
The weakest position belongs to the envious characters, who were inspired by the idea that any elite is evil and that any elite that exists needs to be radically changed. Such people are hopeless, because when they see how a new layer of elites has formed, they will start their cry again. Well, such characters do not like that in any society, if it is not subjected to regular bullying, some people turn out to be more respected (and, perhaps, richer and more powerful) than others.
Therefore, their position looks very weak when they try to claim that “I didn’t really want to” – all these Grebenshchikovs, Khamatovs, Pugachevs and other characters from the very beginning were mediocre and miserable upstarts who made their way only thanks to the corrupt connections of their parties, so “bring another elite” – artistic, literary, political, business.
No guys, it’s not. “On the other side” turned out to be not mediocrity, but often really talented, once wonderful people, whose names cannot be erased from our history, our past. They will remain in our history. Just today with them (and us), at a sharp turn in history, an absolutely operatic plot happened. There is Wagner, who is very popular today – who is a composer, they said about him “joyful as the sun.” But he had one dreary and muddy opera – called “The Death of the Gods”. And what happened to a small but noticeable group of our former elite is a completely different opera: “The gods screwed up.” And therefore (see above, according to dictionaries) – since their abilities and deeds failed, then such people ceased to be an elite or at least went down several steps in terms of public respect.
Returning already to American torment, there has long been a heated discussion that the current American elite is rubbish. We read about it: “elite” universities, churning out semi-educated children and grandchildren of former people with merit, looping status and wealth in a narrow circle of families. Because of this, today’s inadequate decisions on global military and economic policy. In principle, the usual situation for any kind of society. That very sharp turn, when the elites have to be updated.
Here is the author of an article in The American Conservative and is trying to offer his own solutions for such a situation – we repeat, not necessarily brilliant and unique, but interesting. Something like this: the country will be saved by its regions and purely local elites growing up there, who benefit these regions. The winners will be those children whose parents, if not entirely taught at home (away from today’s universities), then helped the process – they gave good books to read, generally taught to read. Also, such families should become members of strong and active religious communities, in which like-minded people are attracted.
Bottom line: “We need local communities where the most talented will associate with good people, read good books and discuss good ideas, while desiring to put such ideas into practice for the benefit of all.”
Well, everything is correct. Maybe America can do it. And not only her.