Who Speaks For Whom?

I read the mainstream press and the many “intellectuals” and thought leaders who are routinely trotted out to explain how America feels about politics and race relations and crime and the gender insanity, and I am struck by how few of these people actually represent my thoughts..my political philosophy…my culture. Obviously the great political divide in post-empire America is huge, but I wonder about the majority of Democrat voters who reflexively support anyone with a “D” after his name, and whether they also support what is becoming mainstream thought among the cognoscenti and those “intellectuals” who claim to represent them.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that these elites represent no one but themselves and their insular world of the academic–think tank–media merry-go-round. And insular it is…how many true conservatives are in the national rotation? How many commentators can articulate a coherent conservative political philosophy? How many can explain the philosophy underpinning our Constitution? How many support the idea of limited government and the primacy of the individual?

What they can expound upon is the importance of government spending and government control, the curious anachronism of the Constitution and how it should be used as a guide rather than as a firm and final defense of our natural God-given rights.

But there are a few men…great men…who mount a robust defense of America, American Exceptionalism, and most of all the revolutionary concept that the individual is the most important part of any body politic, and by extension any successful country. And Thomas Sowell may be a the top of that small list of defenders of freedom and individualism.

From a recent “Imprimis” article about Sowell, and his continuing importance:

Sowell would often be asked how it felt to go against the grain of so many other blacks. He would inevitably correct the premise of the question. “You don’t mean I go against the grain of most blacks,” he would respond. “You mean I go against the grain of most black intellectuals, most black elites. But black intellectuals don’t represent most blacks any more than white intellectuals represent most whites.”

This continues to be the case today. Most blacks, for example, support voter ID laws and school choice, while most black elites—academics, the NAACP, Black Lives Matter activists, etc.—oppose those things. Conversely, most blacks oppose racial preferences in college admissions and, as noted, oppose defunding the police, while black elites are in favor of those things. Sowell pointed out these disparities decades ago, and they’ve only grown since then. His writings on intellectual history have stressed, time and again, that intellectuals are a special interest group. They have their own self-serving agenda and their own priorities and ought to be understood as such.

Imagine that! Black America is at odds with the small group of elitists who claim to speak for 12% of America. Does that sound familiar? Do the typical talking heads on the Sunday political shows speak for you? Those vaunted “intellectuals” who pontificate about so much that simply isn’t so?

The question that needs to be answered — the question that America needs to answer for itself — is whether the traditional values of America and Americans are still extant. Does family and church and freedom and self-determination and all of the things that make up American Exceptionalism still matter?

If we listen to those elites, the people who claim to speak for us, those things are ancient history. But America has yet to chime in on the question, and the next few years will be their best opportunity to speak.