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arts / rec.arts.books / Elites and good people

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o Elites and good peopleIlya Shambat

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Elites and good people

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Subject: Elites and good people
From: ibsham...@gmail.com (Ilya Shambat)
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 by: Ilya Shambat - Sat, 11 Nov 2023 08:56 UTC

There is a lot of anti-elite sentiment out there. I seek to make sense of it.

First of all, what is an elite? An elite is a group of people who got good at something or another and acquired one or another kind of power. Some are good people, and others are not. Some treat others well, and others don’t. Some have good will toward people, and others do not.

I attended an elite school called St. Stephen’s School on a full scholarship. As an immigrant, I was poorer than most other students, and many other students treated me badly. But I was also treated badly by people who weren’t a part of any elite, including people whom I once lionized: the self-made men.

When I talked to a co-worker about my experience at St. Stephen’s, he said that the problem was elitism. There is a problem with that analysis.. A big problem. I had a girlfriend from the other side of town, whose classmates were terrible to her. These kids were not a part of any elite. Whatever was their problem, it was not elitism.

At least kids at St. Stephen’s were taught to excel. But in many American schools, a kid who takes school seriously is thought to “think he is better than everyone else.” That these people are not in the elites does not make them good. Poorer people can be just as bad as anyone in any elite. When they destroy ambition and intelligence in their youth, or when they advocate for slaughters of propertied class, or when they dump on immigrants or on people from other ethnic groups, they are vastly in the wrong and need to be checked.

The principal of St. Stephen’s told me that they are now focusing their efforts on teaching the students to be good people. Their efforts appear to be paying off. I am impressed with a lot of what I have seen come out of St. Stephen’s. Only one of my former classmates has become a jerk. Many others became good people even in cases that they didn’t start out as ones.

So here is an elite institution that has been directing its efforts to teaching its students to be good people. This puts a lie to the claim that people in the elites are worse than the average person. I would like to see more public schools adopt a similar policy. Teach more people who are not in the elites to be good people. And see the place improve across the board.


arts / rec.arts.books / Elites and good people

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