Thursday, November 17, 2005

Elitism and Opinion

No wonder all that we hear on TV and radio is about how many soldiers die each day and how Iraq is a "quagmire" with no hope of success or end in sight. I'm writing this slightly tongue-in-cheek, because I already knew why. However, the Economist throws it down:

The Pew Research Centre periodically asks a sample of opinion leaders, and another sample of the general public, a barrage of questions about "America's place in the world." Their answers are getting gloomier.

This is especially true of the elite. Asked whether America will succeed in establishing a stable democracy in Iraq, only 33% of journalists, 27% of academics and 13% of scientists and engineers thought it would. The general public were more optimistic - 56% thought their country would eventually prevail. Among the elite, only military officers were cheerier, with 64% predicting victory.


As for George Bush's calls for democracy in the wider Middle East, most Americans thought this was a good idea, but few thought it would succeed. A large majority of the elite thought it a good idea that would probably fail, with the exception of military and religious leaders, who were more optimistic.


Two-thirds of Americans thought their country was less respected than in the past. The most popular explanation was the war in Iraq. A whopping 88% of the elite cited Iraq as one of the main factors driving anti-Americanism, as did 71% of the general public.

Are the elite smarter than the rest of us? The Pew report admitted that most of the "elites" they interviewed were Democrats. We already know that the majority of journalists and professors are liberal, but is that why they think that we will fail in Iraq?

Although the Economist argues that Bush can "ignore" the elite and their opinion, I disagree. The elite are the ones teaching children in schools and reporting the news on television. How can they be ignored?

I'm not sure where I'm going with this. Just a thought...

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