There is a lot that is common knowledge about elitism in America. That it was founded by the Puritans on the Mayflower manifest who had disembarked on the shores of the New World on November 9, 1620. This religious self-anointed upper crust aboard the ship that was originally meant for the Virginia Colony but had turned north toward what had become Massachusetts has its southern counterpart among the landed, slave-owning gentry to which stock belonged George Washington and Thomas Jefferson who, in their enlightenment liberalism, had tried to stick to the ideals of the American Revolution personally, even though they could not change the society during their life times but had sustainably set the stage for the realization of the soaring idealism in the Declaration of Independence of 1776. This idealism had finally been consummated with the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010” on December 22, 2010.
The founding fathers, it is also known, both from the north and the south, had given the country a republic: a revolutionary form of government for the times of 1787, the year the U.S Constitution was ratified on September 17th, and about a millennium after the Rome of Romulus and Remus had conclusively come to an end having lasted for a millennium since its founding in 753 B.C.E.
Republic, an idea detailed by Plato in his book bearing the same name, is about elitism or monarchy of the mind. It is about grooming a ruling class to run the affairs of the state. To do so, Plato went on to found The Academy. His pupil Aristotle’s most famous pupil was Alexander the Great of Macedonia. Macedonia, however, was not a republic. The Roman republic was the first republic, founded on the Platonic premise of producing a ruling class for the Roman Senate and the military through conscious acculturation. The United States of America had taken after Plato and Rome. The first president of the new republic, George Washington had even visited Phillips Academy at Andover in Massachusetts.
In a country with few or no educational standards but for local school boards and independent secondary schools and private colleges, the founding brothers were a curious bunch of self-taught intellectuals led by Benjamin Franklin, though John Adams had gone to Harvard which was founded to educate the children of the Puritans in 1636. The bond among them was more out of the passion for the vision they shared for the new nation, a menschken among enlightened men that was implicit to the point of secrecy because it could not be widely understood even in the revolutionary America of common men and women who were deeply divided but for their desire for separating from the British Empire.
Education, whether autodidactic (Abraham Lincoln was also self-taught) or imparted through formal schooling, they knew was crucial for the political sustainability of the the United States. America was thus conceived truly as a Platonic republic whose affairs were meant to be run by educated men (and women): the American enlightenment was intended to be taught (and in exceptional cases, self-taught) widely, not exclusively, to cultivate the country’s leadership class by merit. The United States was not established as a country to be led by unthinking and untrained minds even though the country’s people both choose its leaders and replace them.
The democratic process of delegation of power by the people to those who can contemplate about and act on the affairs of the American state on the people’s behalf does not, for good reason, grant absolute power to the educated. The educated in America are not an entitled class but the recipients of the responsibility to be faithful proxies of the people’s interest which also becomes their political self-interest.
Education, therefore, at once becomes necessary to both run the affairs of the state as the people’s representatives as well for the state to be run by the people: it becomes the necessary enabler, whether self-taught or formally trained, to self-govern, therefore, requiring unrationed quality in how it is dispensed in academia across the country, from primary school to college, and the highest standards of intellectual integrity in the creation of knowledge (George Washington and Thomas Jefferson had established the United States Patent and Trademark Office). It is a voluntary honor code of intellectual honesty and discipline, ploughman or professor, for knowledge is the singular property right that America was founded on.
The American elites are its people, not a class of exclusive meritocrats who believe that they can seek knowledge created by others as uncompensated rent because they feel entitled to it either by their level of American education, status due to power and/or personal wealth or because of some arbitrary and un-American notions of social class.
If the American people mislead themselves to being cowered down by the exclusively educated who run Washington and stake their claim over the world, they would only be losing their rights.