Views October 2001 No More Nonsense About Elites By Claes G. Ryn A fish starts rotting from the head, it is said. That a society starts rotting from its head needs to be much better understood. Blaming the decline of Western society on a "revolt of the masses" absolves elites, who must bear the brunt of the blame. To read the full article, please sign in or create a free account to view Chronicles content for 30 days. Claes G. Ryn Claes G. Ryn, a professor of politics at the Catholic University of America, is the chairman of the National Humanities Institute and the president of the Philadelphia Society.