04 December 2011

Elite Clique

The Power Elite by C. Wright Mills, 1956, Excerpts
Those who sit in the seats of the high and the mighty are selected and formed by the means of power, the sources of wealth, and the mechanics of celebrity. As the requirements of the top places in each of the major hierarchies become similar, the types of men occupying these roles at the top – by selection and by training in the jobs – become similar. That it is a fact revealed by the heavy traffic that has been going on between the three structures, often in very intricate patterns.

The chief executives, warlords, and politicians came into contact with one another in an intimate, working way during World War II; after that war ended, they continued their associations, out of common beliefs, social congeniality, and coinciding interests. Noticeable proportions of top men from the military, the economic, and the political worlds have during the last fifteen years occupied positions in one or both of the other worlds. They have come to look upon the government as an umbrella under whose authority they do their work.

The men of the higher circles are not representative men; their high position is not a result of moral virtues; their fabulous success is not firmly connected with meritorious ability. They are not men selected and formed by a civil service that is linked with the world of knowledge and sensibility. They are not men shaped by nationally responsible parties that debate openly and clearly the issues this nation now so unintelligently confronts. They are not men held in responsible check by plurality of voluntary associations which connect debating publics with the pinnacle of decision.

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