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Feature Story June 26, 2003
Elite versus Elitny
By Mark Ames Browse author Email
Page 9 of 9
The most startling thing to remember about Russia's intelligentsia is how powerful they once were. The Tsarist-era intelligentsia, at least a part of it, was responsible for helping foment unrest throughout the 19th Century. The Russian intelligentsia was, again, brave, radical and essentially left-wing elitist, unpatriotic, anti-feudal. Lenin's Bolsheviks, as the "Vanguard of the Proletariat," made leftwing intellectual elitism a creed. The October Revolution was the leftwing intelligentsia's crowning moment -- and their most fatal. Twenty years later, they were hauled off to the GULAGs.

In the late Soviet period, again the intelligentsia was seen as a bourgeois liberal threat to the nomenklatura, was persecuted, but eventually, it again triumphed, bringing the hated (by the liberal intelligentsia) Soviet state down. And again, like in 1917, their own demise as a class followed. In other words, by their own liberal dissidence, Russia's intelligentsia has twice committed mass suicide. Give the nomenklatura and the oligarchy in America at least this much: they'd never so much as make a phone call that wasn't in their direct selfish interests, let alone bring down a state and their own class's existence with it

Many of the fallen Soviet-era intelligentsia that I've met are as snobbish as the new elite, only they're much poorer and don't use "blya" every third word. However, they constantly deride non-intelligentsia types for being "nekulturny" or "iz provintsii." Just recently, when I pointed at a cute bartender to a friend of mine from the intelligentsia elite who today has the manners and elitny apartment of a Soviet aristocrat but not the money or cars, she remarked dismissively, "The bartender looks like a typical Klava." In other words, a common Russian peasant.

Common -- that's exactly what Russia's elite avoids.

Common is exactly how Bush, an elite if there ever was one, got himself elected president. By being as common as common can be.

The Russian liberal intelligentsia elite twice destoyed Russia in the name of abstractions like revolution and democracy; the American liberal elite has never come close to seriously threatening the right-wing oligarchical elite, but they have oscillated between periods of limiting the oligarchy's power and the other extreme where they are today, ceding all ground but a few harmless reservations in universities and the odd newspaper column. It appears that the only reason that the leftwing intellectual "elite" in America hasn't been completely stomped out is that their continued existence as a harmless Bogeyman serves the Right well. Like Stalin's saboteurs, the American Right's "liberal elite" is blamed for everything that can and does go wrong. The feeble Left plays its part well, still trying to reason things out and work incrementally.

Unlike Russia's elite, America's liberal elite is completely deluded about who they are and what the American people have become. So I'll say it again: stop pretending that you're not elite. Instead, try and be MORE elitist than you really are. It's the only way you'll ever get respect.

First: forget about trying to court Middle America. You just get on their nerves when you try. The more you talk about the NBA playoffs or boxing, the more they fantasize seeing you in an orange jumpsuit and manacles at GTMO. Start off by not talking to The People anymore. Abandon them. At least you'll feel better about yourself.

Next: enjoy yourselves. Take your cue from the Russians: you're better than the common herd, so start acting like it. Life for a Leftie might finally become attractive to the masses if they think you're onto something. And even if they don't follow, at least you'll be treated better if you treat people worse and behave like the Intellectual snob that you are.

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