Allan Takes Aim Blog

Let’s get rid of faux elites

Posted on: 23 January 2013


Canberra is a place where lots of people who know little about a lot eagerly join the queue of people who want to be seen as ‘elite.’ Such is their vanity that not only do they delude themselves into thinking they deserve the title they also delude themselves that they are people of influence.

Many of these people can be seen at functions attended by local politicians, bureaucrats, business people and people from the Arts who labour under a similar delusion. In an effort to dismiss any suggestion of being snobs they describe themselves as part of the common herd to avoid being seen as discriminatory.

Politicians are urged to use this phraseology by well-paid public relations advisers as protection from being seen as making a politically disastrous comment or engaging in equally disastrous conduct. I confess that in Australia’s egalitarian society I thought everyone was part of the common herd. We live and learn.

Although I can understand the politicians’ behaviour, I cannot say the same for some bureaucrats or business people. The former cannot blame anyone but themselves for being seen not as elites but toadies who hope their reward will be an upward step in the bureaucracy.

And much as I always thought the goal of business people was running a successful business. For some however, status is clearly more important. However in past times this strategy has been seen as disastrous because keeping too close to politicians makes the common herd wonder about their politics.

Another group of self-appointed elitists are to be found in Arts/Culture. These elitists are forever on the lookout for appropriate politicians and business people whom they can butter up in hope they will fund the next great Art/Culture idea that will spread across Australia and the globe.

That said, I think elitism is dying. Why? Elitism is dying because it no longer is it a title conferred on someone with special talent. Today, everyone wants to be seen as elite when more often than not they are big-heads. And if elite ever meant a person of status some so called elite have done a good job of wrecking its meaning.

Current examples of that wrecking can be seen in cycling. Reprehensible as the behaviour of Lance Armstrong and other cyclists’ has been, with major sponsors now threatening to sue him for the return of monies, I haven’t heard any of them say they will refund the monies people spent on their products because of Armstrong et al.

Nor do managers of the various football codes do it when ‘elite’ players are found morally wanting or managers’ of other elite sportsmen and women. The fact is elitism is rampant in sport although one could argue about what is sport these days.

For example I love ballroom dancing and when a young man (so long ago that I scarce remember it), I visited the local palais de danse (by the way though my mother and father were local ballroom champions I never ever heard them describe dancing as a sport), I enjoyed nothing more than taking to the floor for a quickstep, foxtrot or tango.

And what about other games that today are called sport?” Marbles, for example or billiards, snooker and darts, all of which have elite player not to mention angling or tossing the caber plus lots of other activities (now sports) in a list too long to mention.

I find it surprising that in egalitarian Australia they use the word elite so lightly. I think it’s time we coined a new one. Suggestions welcome.

Blog: Allan Takes Aim; web: donallan.wordpress.com; e: dca@netspeed.com.au

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3 Responses to "Let’s get rid of faux elites"

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Wealthy and traveling anywhere and whenever I want with my doggie, plus helping get dogs fixed, and those that need homes, and organizations that do thus and such.

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