We do not live in the Holy Roman Empire or Victorian Britain or early modern Spain. We live in an age of hyper-democracy, where the opinions of university-age Brahmins and Dalits are exalted because they are part of the leviathan and therefore considered worthwhile in the first case and “authentic” in the second by the intelligentsia.
In democracies, people have been granted power over things most of them have no knowledge or understanding of. Do we get to vote on what medicine best treats certain diseases? No. Then why do we vote on economic policy, given that only a small minority of the population has ever read anything about the subject?
Take any number of street protests in the west today. One will see protesters holding placards saying such things as ‘Solidarity with Greece,’ or ‘We Want Jobs.’ Journalists reporting on these events will paint protesters in a neutral or even positive light, photographers will snap some images from the occasion, and the whole thing will be put together in a neat little package conveying the message that what the protesters are doing is the normal behavior of responsible citizens, and that they are legitimate in their grievances.
Protestors have much to protest, to be sure. When the state decides to reduce funding to the Transgender Disabled Immigrant Alliance people will complain, and when the state raises taxes in order to fund the Transgender Disabled Immigrant Alliance, people will complain. Often it is the same people doing the complaining. But how many protesters have even a rudimentary understanding of economics? Should basic knowledge of public finance and the global banking system not be a prerequisite for taking part in such cocksure demonstrations? By prerequisite I don’t mean legal sanction from the state, rather that the protester might show some humility and restraint, that they might think to themselves: “I’ve never actually picked up a book about economics before. Where am I getting the confidence to march about something I know very little about?”
Yet, their opinions on economics and politics are not just ignored in a democracy, but cherished.
The Cathedral has significant interest in legitimizing demonstrators’ grievances. Treating as credible the protests of angry and envious hordes is a primary function of the left; riling up the mob is necessary if it is to achieve its aims. Seeing articles in the following day’s newspapers (accompanied by images of riot police on horseback) the protesters view themselves as slingshot-bearing Davids and are emboldened in their belief that their struggle is righteous, even if their understanding of economic policy is as scant as it was the day before.
Egalitarianism is nothing new of course, but it is a particular bugbear of reactionaries, who witness equality nowhere in nature, yet see the drive towards this contrived singularity accepted as normal everywhere they look. Now it is expected that everyone should finish high school, the outcome being that standards have to drop in order to pull the less able over the finish line. Vocational schools and apprenticeships are sneered at, and equal outcome is the expected result of public education, regardless of a natural and clearly unequal distribution of intellectual gifts.
Every year in the United States one in five students entering university enrolls in remedial classes to bring their English up to standard. This jumps to 60% for community college applicants. We can continue to deny reality and blame this (as the left does) on poor teacher salaries or some other underfunded area in education, or we can acknowledge the fact that too many people are attending university. Like the literate peasant in early modern Europe, an abundance of physics, engineering and medical graduates is probably beneficial to a society. But are all literature, gender studies and queer studies graduates as worthwhile? The answer clearly is no, but the democratization (“College for all!”) of university education means dumbing down is essential.
During the course of these various victimology degrees students are imbued with Marxist fervour by ideologically deranged professors and deposited after a few years onto the street indebted and brainwashed. In the real world, they find few job-creating capitalists with any use for uppity feminists and race-obsessed professional victims, and inevitably their bitterness spills over into community activism where their egos are indulged just as they were on campus.
All of these people can vote. In Scotland, sixteen-year-olds can vote. A sixteen-year-old can make a decision based on something like national independence. That they can hold an opinion is not in doubt. What is in doubt is their ability to make a measured decision based on evidence and broad, prior knowledge. Speaking candidly, few people can, but sixteen-year-olds certainly can’t: the human brain finishes developing only around the age of 25. Overwhelmingly, young people vote progressive, which is why the left supports their suffrage. Children seldom like whiskey, coffee, oysters, or Brahms. They like orange soda, Frosted Flakes, fish sticks and the Pussycat Dolls. The insane situation we find ourselves in is summed up neatly by Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn in his 1974 tome Leftism:
The 21-year-old semiliterate prostitute and the 65-year-old professor of political science who has lost an arm in the war, has a large family, carries a considerable tax burden, and has a real understanding of the political problems on which he is expected to cast his ballot—they are politically equal as citizens.
The point is that the ignorant (i.e. the left) choose what is simplest, what is most palatable, what gives instant gratification. Revolution over gradual change. Blaming others for one’s woes. Envy. Covetousness. It is simpler to believe rent is too high and that there should be rent control rather than face the fact that these policies cause shortages due to single-person occupancies and property moguls’ lack of interest in developing anything less than luxury accommodation in such a market. It is easier to believe wealth is a zero sum game and that the Mercedes-owning banker across the street has an ‘unfair’ share of the pie. This fascination with equality traditionally only extended to our ability to make money. More recently with the proliferation of cultural Marxism this compulsion for equality has extended to appearance (“All women are beautiful”, “Gender is a social construct”).
This desire for equality is at odds with human nature. We delight in sports and games which have clear winners and losers. We love film, music and food critics who trumpet the superiority and inferiority of certain subjective things.
In reality there is little difference between children and most adults when it comes to political sophistication. Conditioned like Pavlovian dogs, when there is dissatisfaction in their lives they respond with faux-outraged and obsequious demands to government to fix the problem without comprehending how this is supposed to happen. Platitudes abound. Vicissitudes in the job market manifest as anger against government on the streets, yet for the wrong reasons. Demonstrators believe that the very corporations producing jobs should be taxed more and not less and that the state in its beneficence could end poverty, war and hunger if only it had the desire. Lessons are not learned from past attempts to engineer utopian societies and it seems humanity’s fate that we must relearn this basic truth first-hand every generation.
Winston Churchill famously stated that “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” Early in the twenty first century trending topics on social media give us a good indication of the West’s collective passions: Kim Kardashian, her transgender stepfather, “The dress is blue”. But these are all fictions, distracting us from reality. And the reality being ignored is that the people for whom these are the important issues can vote, and our civilization is falling apart because of it.