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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Why I Know I'm an Elitist

In his deleted post (which I read before it was deleted and presumably will be in the StarTribune) SSC gets his panties all in a bunch because this was on his Venti(tm) Starbucks Dark Roast

Everywhere, unthinking mobs of “independent thinkers” wield tired cliches like cudgels, pummeling those who dare question “enlightened” dogma. If “violence never solved anything,” cops wouldn’t have guns and slaves may never have been freed. If it’s better that 10 guilty men go free to spare one innocent, why not free 100 or 1,000,000? Cliches begin arguments, they don’t settle them.
[Jonah Goldberg, Editor-at-large of National Review Online]
SSC claims to have slammed down his coffee and sworn to never drink Starbucks again because of Goldberg's "elitism." Them's fightin words. Not Goldbergs. SSC's. I don't care if they put Das Kapital or the Grateful Dead lyrics on the damn cup, I want my Starbucks.

But SSC claims that cliches may prevent arguments that never should happen. That is, they may encapsulated hard earned folk wisdom. He's right, of course, that some things simply shouldn't be argued about. For example, Goldberg himself has argued that a country which seriously debates the ethics of getting jiggy with Fido is in serious trouble.

Goldberg was simply making the point that cliches substitute for serious argument and this should be frowned upon once the argument has started. I know that if I'm having a discussion with someone and they say "well you know what they say. There are lies, damned lies, and statistics," I feel like replying "well you know what they say. You're an idiot." I don't see anything elitist about this. Lazy thinking is lazy thinking.

And further, what's wrong with elitism? The next time I have surgery, I sure as hell hope the medical school my doctor graduated from had an elitist admissions committee.