Elite Theory: Role Grooming

Now, if we accept, even if only hypothetically, that Democracy is a game played largely by elites among themselves, and that it is targeted at the Masses only reluctantly, because there is a need for a neutral arbiter, a role played by the Masses for little pay (ever seen a multi-millionaire referee in the English premium league?), then we have the option to either replace democracy or to accept it for what it is.

I haven’t seen many truly superior alternatives to democracy in practice, outside the playing fields of game theory, so I reckon we are going to have to keep it for a long while. If we are indeed going to keep it, despite its nature, then it is obvious that we must look critically at the DYSFUNCTION of the elite.

One of the obvious signs of difference between the formation and grooming of the elites in Africa, on the one hand, and their counterparts in Asia, Europe and America, on the other hand, is the absence of institutions, groups, and individuals with the entrepreneurial acumen to coordinate and prime elites for their roles in the game of democracy on a sustainable basis. Such priming focuses primarily on self-awareness, negotiation, optimisation, group censure, delayed gratification, and other grammars of behavior and social operation.

Even before they became wealthy, Europe, Asia and America were awash with all manner of guilds and societies. Today, they have their Aspens, WEFs, Councils for Foreign Relations, Salzburgs, Central Party Schools, MITIs, and hosts upon hosts of institutions and coordinators whose primary focus is on building intra-elite harmony to keep the game of democracy (or its predecessors) from degenerating into a chaotic, progressively unproductive, farce. That way, they have legitimized systems of social and political organisation that have proved both resilient and materially capable of sustaining the Game over significant stretches of time despite the turbulent shifts in societal attitudes around them.

We on the other hand have continued to deceive ourselves with the ‘bio-mimicry’ of ‘mass institutions’ such as trade unions, political parties, religious congregations, sporting fan clubs, etc. Yet, in no society have these ‘mass institutions’ succeeded without COUNTER-ELITES to ride their vanguard. Counter-elites are also elites. More precisely they are parts of the elite organised and coordinated with an aim to subvert other elites.

But make no mistake about it, in the end, Elites prevail, either as a stable, self-optimising, force, or as a marauding, destabilizing, poorly coordinated, infectious swarm.

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