How to Make America’s Elites More Responsible

Observing Hollywood’s posturing poseurs deliver their goods at the Oscars, as they ooze self-righteousness and narcissism, triggers a pesky thought that no doubt erupts in the minds of normal people. That is, few of those luminaries strutting across the stage are affected by the events or ideas targeted by their ego-driven drivel. Thus, the question arises, what if they were? More than that, what if America’s elites in the entertainment industry, political realm, media complexes, and academic institutions were forced to suffer the consequences of the views they hold, the policies they force on the rest of us? This tantalizing hypothetical is worth a thought experiment or two.

Let’s start with Obamacare, which many pundits on the right predict will collapse, implode, or turn into a pumpkin at midnight. Whatever. But nothing in Washington happens by itself; no policy ever self-destructs; it takes the political equivalent of a pile of plastic explosives to make something happen. Unless, of course, Obamacare suddenly (and inexplicably) were applied to members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, their staffs, and everyone else on a government payroll. Then, before you could say "Affordable Healthcare," Barack Obama’s signature legislation would vanish overnight. In short, forcing lawmakers to obey their own laws would do wonders to clarify minds and speed up lethargic congressional processes.

Next, academic La-La-Land is desperately in need of a kind of intellectual Drano. Try this proposal for starters: Every professor who has published a great deal should be required to relinquish authorship of at least half of his/her publications to those who have published nothing at all. These academic enthusiasts for income redistribution need to understand how ripping off producers to benefit those who contribute nothing works in an endeavor they hold dear. Again, mental clarification is the goal.

What can be done with radical feminists? This is simple, actually. Require the most ardent ones to sojourn for a year in Saudi Arabia, not as pampered celebrities, but as ordinary women forced to endure daily humiliations of male dominance. Then have them return to America to recount their experiences about what a misogynist society is really like. Look forward to them explaining the charms of following Wahhabism to their fellow travelers, who remain convinced that a woman needs a man like a tick needs a trampoline.

Forcing radical environmentalists to face reality is even easier, in theory, at least. Every environmentalist who harangues the rest of us about the hideousness of fossil fuels should be forbidden to use any means of transportation powered by gasoline-related products, along with any material good or service whose existence depends on oil. Let them ride buggies, tend to horses, and raise chickens. This simple step would collapse the global warming industry more quickly than you could pronounce the words, "anthropogenic climate change."

Of course, the point that inspires these speculations is one that should be taken very seriously, regardless how much fun it is to ridicule the antics of the country’s ruling class, which continually sneers at ordinary Americans for being unenlightened slobs.

The point is that there is a chasm separating our country’s elites from regular citizens, a matter that has been addressed increasingly by thoughtful observers of American politics. Although developments in our country have not reached the crisis levels that destroyed Rome, for instance, or France under Louis XVI, clearly the existence of vast, interconnected swath of overseers—actors and activists, professors and pundits, politicians and bureaucrats—who are insulated from reality and the consequences of what they say and do, spells doom for America.

Which means that any measures that force elites into the world of responsibility should be welcomed, regardless of preposterous screeches of protest such efforts would ignite. The normals among us fervently hope that such efforts succeed before it is too late, before our "land of the free" succumbs to the tyrannies (soft or hard) that inevitably ensue when irresponsible elites lose all interest in preserving the country that made them so important in the first place.

–Dr. Marvin Folkertsma is a retired professor of political science and fellow for American studies with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. The author of several books, his latest release is a high-energy novel titled "The Thirteenth Commandment."

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