The New Elites. Making a Career in the Masses (Relié)

  • Allen Lane

  • Paru le : 15/11/2000
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In the brave new classless Britain we keep hearing about, elites - an affront to the democratic conscience - have been declared surplus to requirements.... > Lire la suite
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In the brave new classless Britain we keep hearing about, elites - an affront to the democratic conscience - have been declared surplus to requirements. Everywhere you look self-interested social cliques are giving way to enlightened meritocrats, as men and women of the people make public policy and set the cultural tone. Finally we are becoming a representative democracy in the full sense of the word. Henceforth all is for the best in our more equal, more compassionate and more sharing world. Except it isn't. In a controversial reassessment, George Walden argues that elites are perennial. What matters is who they are, and ours is the first era where ruled by elites in disguise. Far from being , or a functioning meritocracy, Britain is dominated by oligarchies of professional egalitarians. Their power bases, like those of the old elites, lie in education, the media, culture, politics and commerce, but their behaviour is radically different. Unlike more benign Establishments of Left and Right in the postwar period, their aim is not to raise popular aspirations but to exploit mass taste, mass gullibility or mass spending power to their own advantage. Though of course it is all done piously, priggishly, in the sacred the People. The new elites make play with an outdated up/down society, the better to portray themselves as on the side of virtue, which is to say, of the anti-elitists. Worst of all, they encourage the culture of condescension, all too visible in our politics, our media arts. We should never confuse the popular with list. 'Populism implies a manipulation from above and a disdain for the manipulated. It is a perversion of democracy, the sickness of the age.' For elites populism is a means to power, wealth and self-advancement and, of course, behind their anti-elitist rhetoric lies the old urge to dominate. For the less fortunate masses, bread and circuses are once again deemed enough. In a performance as witty as it is merciless, Walden unmasks the new elites, a class whose ambitions for social control rival their aristocratic forebears, whose populism is as damaging to democracy - and whose final affront to society is to deny that they exist.
  • Date de parution : 15/11/2000
  • Editeur : Allen Lane
  • ISBN : 0-7139-9317-0
  • EAN : 9780713993172
  • Présentation : Relié
  • Nb. de pages : 210 pages
  • Poids : 0.4 Kg
  • Dimensions : 14,4 cm × 22,3 cm × 2,3 cm

Biographie de George Walden

GEORGE WALDEN was educated at Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith, Jesus College, Cambridge, and spent periods at Moscow, Hong Kong and Harvard universities, and at the École Nationale d'Administration in Paris. From 1962 to 1983 he worked for the British Foreign Office. From 1983 to 1997 he was Conservative MP for Buckingham, and from 1985 to 1987 Minister for Higher Education. His previous books include Morality and Foreign Policy (1990) and We Should Know Better (1996). His memoirs, Lucky George, were published to acclaim and controversy in 1999. In 1997 Walden gave up his seat and left the Conservative Party and politics in order to write.

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