On Liberal Elitism

Turn on Fox News between 8 and 11 p.m. and watch for an hour. There is a good chance that you will hear the words “liberal elitism.” Occasionally, liberal elitism is referred to as “northern” or “coastal” elitism, due to the locations (the Northeast and the West Coast) of these liberal elitists. While the Oxford English Dictionary has yet to define the term, resources such as the Washington Post, National Review, the Huffington Post, and the Independent have attempted to provide a definition. The most concrete definition I’ve found is from Wikipedia, which defines liberal elitism as “a pejorative term used to describe politically leftists, whose education had traditionally opened the doors to affluence and power and form a managerial elite.”

I found it interesting that this is, or has become, a pejorative term. What aspect of the term, as defined by Wikipedia, is inherently negative? Much of President Trump’s popularity came from his and others’ bashing of elites, calling for America to “drain the swamp.” The Daily Signal posted an article on July 31st, 2017 titled “The Liberal Elite Wants to Manage Our Lives. They Must Be Stopped.” These are only two examples of a widespread attack on liberal elitism. They sum up the feeling of many people in this country against liberal elites. That said, there should not be a war against liberal elites. Here’s why.

A republic structured like the United States needs a clear source of authority in its government. Whether that is manifested in a man like President Trump, who has no experience in the public sector, or a member of the “liberal elite” who has years of experience in public office or government, someone needs to provide government for our citizens. Abraham Lincoln, in his famous Gettysburg Address, stated: “government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” The sentiment resonates, but it was made at a time when half of the “people” were attempting secession by means of war. While we are not currently on the brink of civil disunion, there is a great divide in this country over a plethora of issues.

Unfortunately, not all voices will be represented in the government. That is why liberal elitism needs to prosper in our nation. Since it is logistically impossible to represent every opinion, the ones that should count most are those that can create progress for the country. The ones that will bring the future in energy, the future in technology. Those are the views that most need to be heard, not the ones that try to restore, for example, the lesser energy potential and the outdated technology of coal country.

Enemies of the liberal elite often misconstrue higher education as a negative thing, but it is essential for governance. How else can a government rule if not with people who clearly understand its structure, as well as the mistakes and accomplishments of the past? As Ray Bradbury once said about education and books: “Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.” Humankind learns from its mistakes, especially by means of education, and corrects them for the future. In addition, what is wrong with people using their education to open doors to affluence and power? Have we, as Americans, not always taught that working hard and studying would reap awards? Have we not always taught that those who studied would come out ahead?

Washington needs liberal elitism because it was, actually, founded on what many would call liberal elitism. The Founding Fathers tended to be educated lawyers, and to one degree or another intellectuals, who were members of an elite class in the colonies. Sure, switch back and forth between liberal and conservative elites, but do not blame intellectuals because you are losing work to an illegal immigrant who has a better work ethic, or your outdated coal job has disappeared. Education, and the class of people known as “liberal elites,” are not the problem. Take it from Nelson Mandela, who said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Education, and these so-called “liberal elites,” will do a great deal to help the United States break the barriers to more progress and move forward into a hopeful future.