It’s impossible to ignore Donald Trump for any length of time. Even if he didn’t have his “finger on the button”, and whether you blame a “basket of deplorables” or “the elites” for his success, the obvious breakdown of trust between the public and those in authority is ominous. So we shouldn’t go about making it worse, right?
Clearly I am one of those who often uses “elites” in a pejorative sense, along with synonyms like “the chattering classes.” I have nothing against people earning respect through intelligence, wisdom, energy and above all character. But I resent those in authority treating leadership as a privilege rather than a responsibility. And I think we have been badly served, indeed badly let down, by those who should know better, in areas from fiscal policy to social policy to, yes, environmental policy.
Because I fear the ongoing dissolution of social cohesion I do not welcome rudeness in public discussion. But I do make a living trying to direct pointed remarks at the right people for the right reasons, including university administrators unwilling or afraid to uphold free speech and free inquiry.
Then there’s this huge ruckus over “man-made climate change.” It has become orthodoxy in the smelliest sense, with dissent treated as heresy to be stamped out frantically, not coolly refuted or invited to dinner and reasoned with.