“A truthful view of men and women in the mass would throw the entire English social game out of kilter. All the fun and ferocity would go from the debate if we were deprived of our traditional up/downery and forced to think.” Penguin Books published George Walden’s The New Elites in 2000 and it is growing in importance and relevance ever since as it dissects the increasingly mindless culture in which we live. More than praise I think quotes give us a good idea of the book. “ … feelings are supreme, simply because we all have them. Intellect, being less equally distributed, is seen as divisive, a non-profitable product.” Irony is good for a smile but there are also guffaws.
Walden quotes a waiter recommending a wine to Randolph Churchill by saying it is very popular. Randolph Churchill wasn’t pleased. “What makes you think I want to drink anything popular?”
Walden calls up Ortega for whom man in the mass was “anti-rational, anti-intellectual, anti-culture, someone who, in his chilling phrase, wants to have done with discussion. Ortega says that for the first time in Europe appears the kind of man who does not want to give reasons even to be right, but who is determined to impose his opinions. Today, you might say, there are more of these kind of people than in the 1930s. Walden writes an “honest view of the mass society might even rid us of our parasitical elites.” If you enjoy thinking it is typical of the sorry state of our cultural life that one of the best, one of the most gifted and talented persons of our time in the country is largely being ignored. They are more or less invisible but people who feel more alive when they think are still around. And if you are one of them, George Walden’s book would brighten up the dismal winter.