Jim Kalb on the 1960s

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Paleo Retiree (né Michael Blowhard) cites Jim Kalb on the 1960s:

The ‘60s claimed to be about liberation. In fact, they were much more about the rise of a new ruling class of experts, managers, and media people. That class, which is still with us, has some unusual qualities. The most notable is that it denies that it is a ruling class, and claims instead to be a neutral means through which expertise, rational administration, and the machinery of publicity help people attain their goals. Our rulers today tell us they are here to help us: to educate us, free us from the prejudices of the past, let us know what we really want, and make sure we all get it. They claim their power is liberating, and back up the claim by pointing to their suppression of authorities that compete with them, such as family, custom, religion, and traditional hierarchies. If we can go shopping, play video games, surf the Internet, and sleep around, and we don’t have to listen to Mom, Dad, or the Pope, we must be free. Aren’t suppression of incorrect thoughts and safeguards like the Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) mandate worth having to protect that?

Commenter Fabrizio also enjoyed this passage:

The new elite claimed to be democratic, since it was a meritocracy open to all, it claimed to interpret popular needs and aspirations, it included people who had been outsiders under the old regime, and it mostly avoided the direct use of force. In fact, it was narrow, self-selected, and utterly uninterested in views other than its own. It was composed by definition of those who knew better, so why should they listen to anyone? Hence the increasing insistence on formal certification and propagandistic educational materials informing us that everything we thought we knew was wrong. The new, rational, democratic, and liberated order turned out to mean that people can’t be allowed to do much of anything without training and supervision by their betters. Otherwise they won’t do it right, and they might hurt themselves or others. They are required to be free in the way they’re told to be free, and that is decided by committees whose expertise exempts them from any need for personal knowledge.

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