An Analysis Of Political Elitism Essay Research — страница 2

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toward political elites. As a common sense definition we see the actual people who are elites as “fat cats”: Rich, privileged, with no concern for the middle-class. Essentially, we see elites as people who can bend the laws, which are the bases of our democratic system. Who were and who are currently these elite individuals in Canada? We must look back many decades to find out. In the dawn of Canadian political history (early 1800’s), simply due to the military superiority of the British, the head monarch and his or her councilors were the ones who were elite. Elitism was rampant these days. Those who were middle-class Canadians at the time had very little say in the decisions that were made concerning our nation. The monarch had final say in any decision that was made.

Next was the King or Queen’s representative – The Governor-General. This person was always appointed, not elected, was always a man, and absolutely had to be British. His council was appointed, and though some were Canadian, all were wealthy, privileged, white men. It is believed these men had little or no interest in the majority of the people. Thus, the Canadian political system at the time was more like a “boys club” rather than a democracy. In those times, the poverty gap was much wider, and therefore an even smaller amount of people controlled political power and all were incredibly wealthy. By the time of confederation, the basis of the way our nation is run had changed. Representatives were elected and they were also Canadian. However, there was no representation

by population, the British still had a large influence on the decisions made by the federal government, and those who were rich still wielded an incredible amount of power. Today, due to much political and social upheaval, political elitism is different. Those who are middle class wield some power these days, but it is through interest groups and labor unions. Also, Britain has little or no say in our decision-making. However, the wealthy still control some political power through big business. Also, there are some forms of government that are appointed (now by the Prime Minister), and not elected. The Prime Minister’s cabinet and the senate are two good examples. Those who are seen as “popular” or “important” are the people who are appointed to these positions. For

instance, to a politician, to hold an election for the Prime Minister’s cabinet or to appoint an average, working class individual to the senate would seem absurd. Though this would make things more democratic, it probably would not work. Nevertheless, a step in the democratic direction would be to make the senate elected, equal for each province, and as effective as the House of Commons. This is an issue clouded by many opinions and will be tackled later on in this paper. Therefore, if these elites do indeed control much of the power and money, and do perhaps have little concern of the less powerful individuals that make up the majority, why hasn’t democracy fallen, with a great “Canadian Revolution”?! It is because, as Van Loon and Whittington describe, the “irony of

democracy”, in that only these elites are committed to the values of democracy. “Democratic values have survived because elites and not masses govern. Elites in America – leaders in government, industry, education, and civic affairs; the well educated, prestigiously employed, and politically active – give greater support to basic democratic values and “rules of the game” than do the masses. In short, it is the common individual and not the elite who is most likely to be swayed by anti-democratic ideology; and it is the elite and not the common individual who is the chief guardian of democratic values. This is likely equally true in Canada.” (Van Loon, Whittington, 1981.) In a nutshell, the middle-class is geared to a democratic system because they wish to enjoy each

individual freedom to which they are entitled. However, they take on attitudes that at times mirror socialism and communism due to frustration. John James Guy describes our political culture as pluralist, and that the majority of the Canadian people “consist of competing elites: groups of powerful people found in the economy, the political system, the media, and the military.” (Guy, 1995) It is these political elites, those who are politically motivated, who take on every last democratic value. Ironically, the fall of democracy would occur only if these political elites were to be exterminated. The process in which elites control government is really quite simple. As described above, those who are politically elite are politically active. This idea can almost be measured on a