All Commentary
Sunday, October 30, 2016

Condescending Elites vs. The Vulgar Masses

The masses don't need wise elites.

The following quote is from page 619 of the final (2016) volume – Bourgeois Equality – of Deirdre McCloskey‘s soaring trilogy on the essence of bourgeois values, on their transmission, and on their essential role in modern life:

And if the creative destruction producing its irritating novelties is tested commercially we can at least be assured that on balance the mass of the people prefer it, in their vulgar, massy ways.  One suspects that the conservatives of left and right don’t much like the “mass” and its badly informed preferences.  Let us take care of you, they cry.  Let tradition celebrated by wise elders, or planning implemented by wise experts, guide you, oh you sadly misled mass.  And offstage the ancient lords and the cosy monopolists look on such conservative theorizing by the clerisy with delight, assured by it that their rents will be preserved.

Republished from Cafe Hayek.

  • Donald J. Boudreaux is a senior fellow with the F.A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a Mercatus Center Board Member, and a professor of economics and former economics-department chair at George Mason University.