Inauthentic elites

June 7, 2012

Marjorie M. Post, leading American socialite and the founder of General Foods, Inc.

"These persons...frequently assumed an attitude of sympathy toward international communism."

Any study on elites in the United States encounters a problem. Elites are, by nature, the result of a process of refinement in society and should thus represent the best and most elevated the country has to offer. However, it is undeniable that numerous persons within the elite have a blatantly revolutionary mentality, and that certain groups of the elite are the paladins of transformations of a liberal and socialist character in various spheres. It is also undeniable that these persons and groups frequently assumed an attitude of sympathy toward international communism.

A group may control a sizable patrimony or hold extensive power; nevertheless, if it has not had sufficient time or the will to develop the excellence proper to authentic elites, it cannot claim to be such. It lacks the horizons, refinement of style and manners, and the delicacy of sentiments that distinguish the authentic elites.

 President John F. Kennedy in 1961

If he has not had sufficient time or the will to develop the excellence proper to authentic elites, he cannot claim to be such.

In other cases, it may have acquired the qualities of an authentic elite. Moved by ideological preferences or other factors, however, it chooses to adopt—along with its refined manners, high education, and aristocratic habits—a revolutionary ideology or, at least, a liberal democratic mentality that favors a welfare state that is detrimental to the intermediate bodies of society.

Eleanor Roosevelt at the United Nations

One could ask, then, if a generic defense of elites favors even implicitly the destructive action of these liberal elites.

Nobility.org Editorial comment: —

Understanding “inauthentic elites” is of the utmost importance, particularly today, when populist and anarchical rage is railing against all elites.
Some of this rage is misplaced in that it is directed against individuals who are perceived as elites by many in society when in fact they do not claim or pretend to be such.
The general outrage is merited on the part of those who claim to be elites when they are not and by those authentic elites who have subscribed to a revolutionary mindset. These individuals do great disservice to the nation stirring up the hostility of all against the upper classes in general and effective leadership by elites in particular.

 

Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII: A Theme Illuminating American Social History (York, Penn.: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, 1993), American Appendix, p. 187.

 

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