The Corner

Frum Pro-Elite, Anti-Populist

David Frum has an interesting column on the limits of populism and the upside of elitism. These are two of my favorite themes. And since Huckabee seems to be a champion of the former and a foe of the latter, I thought (in the spirit of bloggy self-promotion) I’d call attention to one of my broadsides against populism and one of my defenses of elitism.

Regardless, I agree with David that populism is a useful and healthy passion when aimed at the liberal elite. But conservatives can get drunk on it when they proclaim that elites are bad simply because they are elites. Conservatives respect authority — the authority of ideas, traditions, morals, religion, customs, reason, law, excellence and so on. One cannot believe in this kind of authority while having a blanket hostility to elitism in any form.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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