The Elders: Global Gallivanting Gasbags Who Refuse to Leave the Stage

AP Photo/South Bend Tribune, Robert Franklin
AP Photo/South Bend Tribune, Robert Franklin

A group calling itself “The Elders” met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow for the first time a few days ago. “The Elders” were keen to discuss Russia’s place in international affairs.

Because their existence has gone largely unnoticed in the United States, most Americans will not have heard of this group that goes around the world offering their advice to political leaders.

“The Elders” are a self-styled group of former office holders. What they have in common is they are uniformly on the left politically, they are having a hard time leaving the stage, and they think the world is hungry for their “wisdom.”

Some of “The Elders” you’ll know — Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan, and Nelson Mandela, the deceased founder.

Most of them will be a mystery unless you’re up on former presidents of Finland, or former foreign ministers of Algeria, or the name of the woman who founded Pakistan’s first “all-woman law firm.”

Elders “no longer hold public office; they are independent of any national government or other vested interest. They should have earned international trust, demonstrated integrity and built a reputation for inclusive, progressive leadership.” They must be “peace makers, peace builders, social revolutionaries, pioneering women [except the men] and changemakers (sic)…”

The Elders feel deeply about the “Israeli-Palestinian” conflict and come down soundly on the side of Palestine. The Elders are foursquare in favor of abortion rights. They are cheerleaders for combating “climate change.” And they support the Iranians’ aspirations for regional hegemony.

The Mormons use the term “Elder” for the lowest level of what they call the “Melchizedek priesthood.” There are no doubt many other uses and origins of the term “elder,” but it is clear this group takes it from the African notion of village elders, the wise old leaders the villagers gather around.

Indeed, “The Elders” website has a button labeled “Global Village” that extols the site’s 58,3567 Facebook shares. As a comparison, some individual stories on Breibart News have gotten more Facebook shares than that.

No word on where “The Elders” are going next. 

Follow Austin Ruse on Twitter @austinruise.