As Only Steven Den Beste Can…

His latest essay on philosophy puts a brilliant light on the “S Factor” response of the Left. Read the whole thing, but in relation to the “the People are Idiots” meme, this was the pertinent part:

They believe that they’re producing material (or ideas) which is somehow inherently better, more refined, more sophisticated than the common fare, but the populist decision inherent in capitalism usually rewards what these intellectuals see as “trash”.

Which means the lunatics are controlling the asylum. It’s supposed to be the elite that lead, and the swarms who follow. Instead, the swarms are doing whatever they want, and it isn’t what the elite think they should be doing.

Part of the attraction of philosophical idealism to the Greeks was that it permitted them to argue that it was right and proper for there to be a class society and for there to be a small group of people who largely ruled the majority. Philosophical idealism permitted them to believe that they (the upper classes) were wiser and more virtuous than the masses.

Cultural products are luxuries, and historically only the rich could afford “culture”, which usually meant the aristocracy, the powerful, and social-climbing bourgeois. It had snob-appeal; being a patron of the arts was a way of getting bragging rights in some cases. So historically speaking, such cultural products were seen as sophisticated, and their creators were thought of as being adjunct to the elite.

But after the industrial revolution, when the benefits and wealth created by capitalism began to move downward, more and more people had money and leisure time to spend on luxuries, such as culture. Initially they often bought the same culture that the upper classes had, but eventually they developed their own sensibility, which I wrote about in an article titled “The Culture of the Commons”. It now dominates the world culturally, and traditional “high-brow” culture, which used to have such snob appeal, is now broadly viewed as pretentious and boring. And its practitioners are no longer given the kind of respect they once got.

And they are pissed off about that. In a populist society there’s no room for an elite. And when winners and losers are determined by the extremely democratic process of individuals deciding where to spend their money, (or whom to vote for) the sensibilities of the elite have little influence.

You bet they’re pissed.

Especially when people they consider morons get results in a few months that their ideas wouldn’t generate in a century.

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