Common Wisdom & The Out-of-touch Elites

Common Wisdom & The Out-of-touch Elites


Jay B. Gaskill

Elite Dysfunction 101

Example One




Elites are – almost by definition – out of touch with the rest of us “common” folk.

A more formal definition holds that elites are those subgroups among the human family, the members of which enjoy a putative, self-identifying “superiority” (whether assumed via cultural, intellectual, class or economic distinction). This status as “superior” is understood to distinguish elites in some essential way (as opposed to any situational or circumstantial status) from the so called “common” people. And that seductive sense of superiority ineluctably tends to insulate all those it infects from the concerns, sense and wisdom of the common people.

In other words, elites are those “superior” people who are notoriously susceptible to lapses in common compassion, common sense and common wisdom as a direct result of their sense of superiority.


Obviously, an elite primer is needed. I offer here a capsule guide to the common ethos.

The seven word pairings set out below (when expanded and explained) hold the keys to that mysterious realm of common sense and traditional values to which too many elites too often and too arrogantly have refused themselves access.








I propose that every catastrophic mistake made by the “governing” elites (whether they pretended to govern moral opinion, great wealth or mere politics) can be traced to the arrogant failure to grasp the deep human wisdom captured in one or more of these COWARD (Courage, Ordinary Wisdom And Right Direction) categories.


Once again, Hamas, that profoundly anti-American, anti-Western, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic group of bloody minded terrorists posing as the legitimate Palestinian government, has launched rocket attacks on the Israeli population.

Finally, Israel’s elite-minded Olmert government has reacted with common sense and significant force. And predictably, a chorus of European elites has complained that Israel not using proportionate force, providing us with the perfect First Example of Elite Arrogant Stupidity.

For a moment, think like an ordinary Israeli who was born, say, after 1950. Your country was created under the aegis of the United Nations, with the blessing of U.S. Presidents Truman and Eisenhower, and the general support of the Western democracies.

You were born an Israeli with a legacy: to create a safe and viable Jewish state so that never again will the Jewish people of the world face a holocaust without refuge.

You and your fellow Israelis are right in this perspective, not wrong (See [1] above – yes, my elite friends, there still is a difference in spite of the fog of ambiguity you prefer to live in). You have earned your place in history and on this territory [2] and you are entitled to keep it. You are under the shadow of an existential, deadly threat [3] and you are entitled to take all necessary actions in your self-protection. You have been attacked and are entitled to take retaliation [4].

I could go on, of course. Here’s an alternate definition of an elite: A self-appointed member of the intelligentsia for whom the obvious is not. Re-teaching the received common human wisdom to our chattering elites is a bit like forcing aging boomers to watch Sesame Street and take notes.

A Merely Proportional Response to Terrorists Bent on Your Extinction is Folly.

The notion of a “proportional” response to an insult, a tort, of other assault is juridical in origin. The notion is appropriate only in the context of a fully controlled “rule-consequences” system in which the sovereign can afford a measured “justice” response and even mercy within the context of condition of overall public safety.

To apply this civilized dispute resolution model to the problem of controlling nihilistic, hyper-aggressive terrorists is analogous to treating a known virulent biological pathogen with the lowest level antibiotics until sepsis sets in.

It is very hard for me, frankly, to distinguish between this kind of elite naiveté and malevolent disingenuousness.

Hamas needs to be decapitated and all of its bloody minded operatives must be crushed, in my opinion. Ideology-saturated thugs cannot be curbed by soft diplomacy or military half measures. The faux legitimacy conferred on Hamas by Palestinian local elections held under chaotic circumstances is on a par with Adolph Hitler’s super-majority in post-Weimar Germany.

Any elected thug remains a thug.

I can only hope that President elect Obama has learned by now that half measures, like those of the early Olmert administration, virtually guarantee a more deadly confrontation later, and that the common wisdom is common for a good reason…


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