The People as an Annoyance

As all generations before us, we live in interesting times. Not unlike our predecessors, we also evince difficulties to determine what around us is trivial, and what might define our time. This means that all efforts to take the pulse of the moment are speculative even if some guesses seem to be more convincing than others.

An established trend makes it appear that we witness a widening gap between elites and their once docile followers. In reacting to this process, the “leading circles” are disappointed by their reluctant people – which, anyhow, they have never quite trusted. At the same time, the barefooted citizenry feels that their leaders are of limited ability and do not care for their interests.

If one peels away the hype that surrounds the message of the political class to its wards, we bump into subliminally made revelations. One of these is that “the people” needs to be instructed in order to keep it from choosing whatever is disapproved. Democracy, that is, the rule of the people, remains a formally applauded ideal, however, in practice, it manifests deficiencies. None dare to state it clearly, but the elites’ behavior reveals that the chief hindrance to realize genuine democracy as they define it, is the people. A sign of that is to call those that hold that the will of the people should determine politics derisively “populists”. Clemenceau, France’ World War One leader observed that war is too important to be entrusted to soldiers. Paraphrasing that, “democracy is too good a thing to be entrusted to the people”. Those that wish to assign the management of the community’s affairs to its members, are accused of advocating that the keys to the monkey cage be handed to the gorillas, that the turkey be put in charge of Thanksgiving dinners.

Let us reconstruct the roots of the mistrust between the select class of leaders and the led. For one thing, the two groups have divergent perspectives. The political class is characterized by formal education, the holding of offices, influence, a network, and an above average income, as well as expert status. Being often active in areas funded by the state whose organs it runs, the elite is tax dependent and, therefore, statist. These traits catapult the leading class above the masses that it claims to represent, into a sphere within which lives are determined by other forces than in the realm of the working, trading, sweating throng.

Taking into consideration backgrounds, ways of life, access to wealth and power, the governing class’ and the common people’s interests differ. Our time’s disconnect, the awareness that propels the citizens’ critical disobedience, expresses the latter’s discovery that it is not being optimally governed by its leaders. In response, our stunned elites feel insulted by the reluctance of those in whose name they exercise power. Attributing that defiance to extremist right-wing conspiracies, reveals a hurt and it also tells that the core of the problem is not understood.

The political class likes to attribute the challenge it faces to the rank-and-file’s inability to comprehend the advantages it receives from its leaders. For that reason, elites invoke an abstract “people” to legitimize their rule and to claim that “educating” the existing immature majority is a right and a duty. Elitist rule does not always talk about “guided democracy”, however, it tends to discover its mission as a form of brainwash.

Governing oligarchs might be skilled politicians. Yet, by being also part of an intellectual elite, they represent the scribes. These are attracted to developing abstract theories suited to justify the division of power within society. In ancient Egypt the scribes were bureaucrats and the high priests of a government cult. In modern times, secular ideologies, socialism being an example, pretend to know why the existing human order is imperfect and how to remedy that condition by creating a new order. Such systems of thought assume that, at present, only a vanguard is qualified to lead the march to a perfect world. The suggested redemption, being an expression of the leaders’ perception and agenda, might be of limited attraction to the majority.

Feeling protected, the privileged that know best, wish to experiment and to overcome reality for the sake of a utopia. Reflecting an addiction to fall for irrational worldviews, elites like to construct bold structures. The attraction of ideologies that endow them with a mission to redeem the downtrodden is understandable. Being down-to-earth, the common man desires to improve the terms of the life he knows. Those on top wish to defy gravity when they construct bold speculative edifices. Common folk, being practical men, calculate their rise while including gravity in their calculations. In this case, the common man’s will is found to be a hindrance to be surmounted dictatorially. To the extent that he is an obstacle, his instincts, as expressions of being “deplorable”, are dismissed as “reactionary”.

With that, the people’s future interests appear to be opposed by a present majority that thereby expresses its false consciousness by not wanting what it should. According to the dogmatic design by which the enlightened govern, the present’s left-behind people need to be rescued in the name of a majority that will emerge as the future unfolds. Ergo, it will be asserted that this suppression of the existing people is tutelage in the interest of a future people. Terms, such as “The People’s Republic of X” and the “Peoples Democracy of Y” is Orwellian “new speak” to spin the dictatorship meant to achieve bliss for the ignorant. Thereby, an unpopular tyranny prevents democracy from producing the wrong results -whereby it becomes progressively democratic on paper.

The chosen ones are inclined to use their power to develop schemes for an ideal future that interrupts mankind’s organic development. “From above to the bottom” is what this form of imposed deliverance from the bondage of tradition amounts to. Such projects betray that their advocates misunderstand something fundamental that defines free societies. The liberties of these express the mature consent of the citizen and not the designs of the benevolent elites in favor of subjects. This means that they are built like a house, from the bottom up. Blueprints ordained from above ignore the sentiments of the average person; the imposition of policies in the “interest of the people” will provoke resistance.

Although modern elites claim to be democratic, when confronted with disinterest or with defiance, they react violently and suppressively. The resulting carnage, as did Robespierre’s rule of “virtue”, will know few restraints. A quote tells it all. “We are the judges of the People’s Republic, the judges of the dictatorship of the proletariat, whose duty it is to strengthen the state of the proletariat, and to destroy its enemies without mercy”.

There is a logic to this. After all, those that oppose the “good” do so because they are “bad”. On this level, moralizing dictatorships become their own justification. Acting in the interest of the unknowing lay patient, the professional knows that diagnosed tumors must be removed. Ideologically guided elites find the foes of their saving solutions in the narrow-minded, visionless inertia of their tradition-shaped wards. In response, they tend to feel deputized to wage war on their peoples in an attempt to overthrow them.

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