I'll keep it brief, as it covers familiar territory. He refers to the "Castle People" where Angelo Codevilla would refer to the Chautauqua Class, or where Charles Murray would appeal to a "cognitive elite," or where Doug "Lumpy Rutherford" Schoen would see "Agora People" as Mad as Hell, and where Kurt Schlichter would have Kaden provoking the Militant Normals.
Mr Beran gets to his conclusion by an interesting road, invoking Emerson and Arendt and Obama and Lincoln and Trilling and Isaiah Berlin along the way. (A twisting road will get you to Warsaw but you won't get bored.)
Turn to page xi. "Even now, when they dominate the cultural heights, they are conscious only of a magnificent generosity of intention. This is the pathology of the elites." Yes, to the anointed, vision always excuses poor performance.
Poor performance there will be. Onward to page 244.
The newly ascendant castle people [this book appeared shortly after Barack Obama's first inauguration -- ed.] are closer in their politics to the New Deal mandarins than they are to the [discredited -- ed.] financial wizards of the last two decades. But however egalitarian their rhetoric, the new castle elites, like their predecessors, will almost certainly conform to the proprieties of castledom. They will set themselves up in gaudy châteaus in prosperous suburbs, will send their children to private schools done up in revived Gothic, will not probably refuse invitations to appear in America's stud book, the Social Register.It won't turn out well, because the aesthetic preferences of the Castle now include the impulses of Bettering the Agora Culture, or else. Page 256.
In socializing away man's "anti-social" tendencies, the masters of the new social mystique nurtured not independent citizens, but passive conformists who would more easily acquiesce in the social-planning mandate.That passivity is submission to the nudging or governance otherwise by Wise Experts. Wise Experts, dear reader, are people who think they can ride emergence, or they are otherwise immune to the Law of Unintended Consequences.
As the agora shepherd gives way to the postagora social worker and guidance counselor, as the civic focal point ceases to transmit civic culture, the cruder democratic personality ... comes to the fore, and the castle once again becomes a threat to the community. For where agora culture has disintegrated, there is very little to prevent the castle elites from having their way. ... The citizen who, as a result of the paternal policy of the social state, is more acted upon than acting inclines to a fatal passivity.
That usually doesn't turn out so well. (Gosh, in my search for posts about Wise Experts, I turned up a lot of posts that might suggest Castle Lords make poor shepherds!)
(Cross-posted to 50 Book Challenge.)