What is more beneficial for the state – “equality” or hierarchy?
Let’s remember George Orwell’s Animal Farm again. There, animals rebel against people “for the sake of universal equality.” But it soon becomes clear that the pigs who made the revolution begin to live a privileged “human” (“bourgeois”) life, revise all revolutionary laws and become exactly the same (if not worse) “exploiters” as people were. A similar situation develops after any revolution. By the way, it seems to me that this was one of the reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union. The communist elite was enriched by corruption, it wanted to openly live a “normal bourgeois” life.
But millions, Mercedes cars and luxurious mansions, both publicly and secretly, were impossible to enjoy. This was hindered by communist ideology with utopian claims of “equality”. That is why the communists (they themselves, not the CIA) have destroyed the no longer functioning ideological “roof” and turned into “normal bourgeois” with the corresponding pleasures.
What is equality? In the prophetic novel Demons, Dostoevsky masterfully describes the supporters of this project. One of them suggests cutting off Cicero’s tongue, ripping out Copernicus’s eyes, killing Shakespeare by throwing stones at him. Why is the concept of “heavenly paradise” so cruel? Very simple, because it is impossible to achieve “equality” by raising everyone to the level of Shakespeare. “A new, wonderful world” can be created only by lowering everyone to the level of “pigs” (according to Orwell).
But if the idea of ”equality” is false, if there must be a certain hierarchy and, therefore, an elite, then the question arises: where does this elite come from? This issue is especially relevant in the XX and XXI centuries. As long as there was a monarchy, or at least a society striving for a monarchical hierarchy, there was no need to puzzle over it. It is clear that the role of the “elite” was played by the aristocracy. The puzzle arises when this tribal elite disappears or loses its meaning. Moreover, in many cases, the more the traces of this aristocracy are cleaned out, the worse.
In this sense, I believe that the situation in Georgia is slightly better than ours. Hundreds of people in the neighboring country, rightly or not, call themselves “princes.” This often makes us ironic. But in Georgian society, respect for the nobility creates a more favorable cultural situation than in Armenia, and this includes political culture. I had the honor to communicate with one of the descendants of Ilya Chavchavadze – a famous representative of the Georgian aristocracy, poet and publicist of the 19th century. He was a member of the parliament of modern independent Georgia. Of course, we are talking not only about “blood nobility”, but also about high moral values, delicacy, modesty, generosity – about the ability not to behave petty. But you must admit that there is still a certain connection between the tribal aristocracy and the intelligentsia.
The aristocracy was destroyed over the centuries by foreign invaders and, as elsewhere, in the first years of Soviet power. This was one of the reasons why, by the time we lived to 1991, we did not have moral, and maybe even religious restrictions to curb the brutality of market relations. And when it came to the 2018 revolution (which, I think, was an objective necessity in the stagnation of that time), we could not keep most of our citizens from Sharikov’s dream of “equality”, which, in fact, came true according to the scenario of “Animal Farm” described above. All this gives the current government reason to contemptuously speak of the intelligentsia and the elite, because after any revolution it is the interests of the Bolshevik government that there should be “blind Copernicus” and “stoned Shakespeare”.
The Swiss philosopher of Polish origin, Jozef Bochenski, has an interesting work – a short dictionary of prejudices called “100 superstitions.” According to the author, 3 out of 100 of them are prejudices against the elite.
1 / The elite must constantly descend, correspond to the level of the people, there should be no distance between them and the people.
2 / Members of the elite must come from wealthy and powerful families.
3 / The elite should not receive a salary higher than the average citizen. Bohenski, naturally, did not know how much bus drivers are paid in Armenia.
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