Saturday, March 12, 2011

What Western Elites?

Tibor R. Machan

Some avid supporters of the free market write a great deal about Western Elites who, among other things, want to impose democracy on the Middle East and are bent on controlling the world’s financial institutions and doings. Since no person or institution is named, at least so far as I am aware, where these Western Elites are mentioned, I am unable to figure out who are these people, what their broader philosophy or ideology amounts to, why they are doing the things they are doing, including attempting to impose democracy on the people of the Middle East and to control the world's financial affairs.

Nor, come to think of it, am I provided with enough information to learn what the people who make these points about Western Elites actually believe other than their broad commitment to the free market (of which, of course, there is no example anywhere on the globe).

The place where the missives making these references to Western Elites are made is a Web Site where some of my columns supportive of the fully free, libertarian polity are featured. These columns appear on my own websites and on some others, including in some newspapers and magazines. And those who edit the web site where the talk of Western Elites is so prominent have been very kind to me and have always published the columns they have chosen to feature without asking for revisions. (I have also been interviewed by them and all my answers to their questions have been faithfully included in the published interviews.)

I am not interested in getting involved in some kind of cat fight with anyone, especially not with folks who publish many valuable essays about financial issues, specifically about the U. S. Federal Reserve Bank and the banking system of many Western countries. But I am concerned about the fact that these references to Western Elites are so frequent and yet so vague. I am unable to check out for myself what these Western Elites say or think or write. Where are their works published, in what newspapers, blogs, magazines, and books can one find their positions laid out? From reading the discussions where the Western Elites are mentioned--just as “Western Elites”--I cannot go an research the positions of these folks, see if they ever answer the criticism leveled at them, etc.

This disturbs me somewhat because even in short discussions of other people’s views it would be appropriate to indicate what exactly those views are, how they are put by the very people who hold them (instead of by their critics). When some people’s ideas are discussed, it is always helpful to have at least a few direct quotes from the horse’s mouth--some primary as opposed to secondary references. This is why in scholarly treatments one offers footnotes or end notes or other indicators so that readers are able to follow up on the discussion and make sure they are grasping the positions being examined. It also enhances trust.

Of course, columns cannot produces all this--few would want to read a usual column with a bunch of notes at the end--yet even there a name or two could steer the reader in the right direction for purposes of more detailed study. So, I am hoping that the sentiments expressed in this brief missive will reach those who discuss the Western Elites--people who are evidently not friends of liberty, nor of ordinary and unsuspecting folks around the globe--and that they will help out readers of their essays with a few specifics that can be used by them to do one’s own research. I think this isn’t too much to ask for.

One may point out here that I, too, am failing to mention names here but I am not accusing anyone of being bent on imposing anything on anyone or belonging to some elite and, moreover, the folks who are making reference to Western Elites will probably know who they are if they read this missive and could help me out without at this point being named.

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