The Spectator

By Tom Switzer

One of the most intriguing moments of the United States Studies Centre’s Public Knowledge Forum held at the Sydney Opera House on 4 November came during the on-stage confrontation between US journalists Mary Kissel of the conservative Wall Street Journal editorial page and John Judis of the liberal New Republic. The subject? The role of ‘disinterested elites’.

Mr Judis suggested that America’s founding fathers, rather than trusting democracy to work, had desired to see an ‘objective’ elite made up of the political and media classes who would filter and where necessary overrule the wishes of the electorate in aid of ‘the greater good.’ Ms Kissel, who writes this week’s Diary, was appalled by the notion. Mr Judis talked with fondness of a golden era when an all-powerful ‘consensus’ media essentially told the elected members of Congress what they could and couldn’t do, often at the behest of various think tanks or ‘institutes’, wherein lay a superior wisdom to that of the masses.

Whether America’s founders had envisaged such an arrangement, as Mr Judis said, is a matter of conjecture. But one thing is clear: the concept has been adopted holus-bolus by the Left in Australia, who are driven to distraction by the thought that the people have actually elected the man they were clearly told by our own political/media elites was unelectable. Worse, Mr Abbott appears intent on passing legislation that is specifically contrary to the wishes of such elites. As Alexander Hamilton once said: ‘Here, sir, the people govern.’

This article was originally published at The Spectator