Monday, January 04, 2010
A gentleman is someone who strives never to be unintentionally rude. The expectation is that when appropriate a gentleman should be very rude indeed. For example to defend women and children, the tombs of his ancestors and the temples of his gods, he should be willing to kill. That could be considered rude or at least unsociable behavior. If the elites refuse to display a willingness to act as needed to protect the community then they prove themselves to be not only poor scholars but not ladies and gentlemen. If they are not gentlemen and scholars then why should they receive the numerous subsidies and benefits that we have offered to members of their self designated elite? Once the respect of the larger community is lost then those who have been deferred to and cosseted will be seen not as elites but as parasites. Here we have members of the intelligentsia who not only will not lift a finger to protect the community that shelters them but which will not even defend one of their own.
We need a functional set of elites, including in the arts and academia. My suspicion, it is not strong enough or backed by evidence to qualify as a prediction, is that we shall return to a very old system of elite production. In recent generations we have created our elites by using the education systems as the sole gatekeepers with selection into the screening machine being determined by the wealth, as expressed in quality of preparation largely, of the aspirants. A small percentage of the credentialed members of the elites stayed to tend the temples and the bulk would produce or accumulate wealth for the next generation of aspirants. During earlier periods there were other more strenuous tests that young men faced before being admitted to the elites. The veterans who have been tested and proven they have the skills to lead and the intellectual aptitude to succeed in fields of law, industry, commerce or art will possibly form the core of our future elites. This would be a return to a prior successful model. We could use more men like Oliver Wendell Holmes in America. To make this work and give use the leadership we will need a larger supply of tested veterans should be available to replace the current feckless aspirants entering our universities. That is one reason why the enemies of our civilization despise the military and want to shrink it. They can't stand the competition.