Ed Driscoll

InstaPopulist!

Glenn Reynolds writes that Ted Kennedy–and other elites like him–are the victims of a self-fulfilling prophesy. He quotes Kennedy scion Christopher Lawford, who observed Teddy a while back when he:

“took a long, slow gulp of his vodka and tonic, thought for a moment, and changed tack. ‘I’m glad I’m not going to be around when you guys are my age.’ I asked him why, and he said, ‘Because when you guys are my age, the whole thing is going to fall apart.’ “

Glenn responds:

[blogger Phil Bowermaster] notes that the whole coastal-elites-and-media establishment is not just going to fall apart — it has to a substantial degree already done so. But while this is bad news for the Dan Rathers of the world (and perhaps for the dateless columnists at some big metropolitan dailies) it’s not so clear that it’s bad news for the rest of us. In fact, I suspect that the elites’ discontent comes in no small part from the fact that ordinary people are becoming more powerful all the time, making the elites just a bit less elite with each passing year.

That’s a point I’ve been making in this column for years (you can find some examples here, here, here) and it’s also the theme of my forthcoming book, whose title, An Army of Davids, makes the theme pretty clear. And with the Davids getting more powerful, it’s no surprise that the Goliaths are depressed. No doubt buggy-whip makers felt similar emotions at the birth of the automobile.

But while the members and hangers-on of yesterday’s power structures are mulling their reduced prospects, ordinary people seem to be doing pretty well, as the economy continues to boom, small businesses to form, and new kinds of enterprises take off. We certainly don’t view government with the same awe we felt before Watergate broke, or journalism with the same respect it had before Dan Rather struck, but all available evidence suggests that it was our earlier attitudes that were misinformed.

At any rate, [Peggy] Noonan is surely right that our current elites are not up to the task of steering the country. They’re too ignorant, too insulated, and too concerned with “getting theirs.” Fortunately, they’re also a lot less important than they used to be. As blogger Justin Katz writes:

“if the functional elites are too resigned to that trouble to lead our society through it, the underclasses now have the technology — and the faculty — to pick up the slack.”

Absolutely. And as the rapidly blogged response to Noonan’s column — something that was itself made possible by technology that didn’t really exist ten years ago — demonstrates, people are already doing it. Faster please.

This is a prospect that also frightens not just the elites in government (such as the aforementioned Senator Kennedy) and journalists, but also Hollywood. As well it should.