117: Really Important to Us.

Because of the legacy of resentment and because forgiveness is rare, there is a desire to bring down the mighty and to make distinction either nonexistent or worthless. Not in every sphere — and I think this is extremely interesting. In sport, for example, talent is still universally recognized and widely praised. In some way, we feel we are not judged by another person’s sporting success. I would never have had a chance at American football, or indeed at any sporting enterprise, so I don’t worry. I measured my life so that I don’t compete in that sphere, so to speak. But it’s a very interesting question: why people in general don’t really worry much about distinctions in the realm of sport. One suggestion is that it’s so obvious there — that there couldn’t be a realm of sport if there weren’t people who excelled at it, and how could you possibly play a game if you didn’t have the goal of succeeding? It’s built into the very enterprise. But people doubt that it’s built into other enterprises which are really important to us.

(Roger Scruton, “In Defense of Elitism,” Future Symphony Institute, September 2014).

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117: Really Important to Us.