Elitism, will you define it?

roxanna7

What, exactly, IS elitism? How is it determined? By wealth? By education? Is it different things for different folks? Exactly why is it "bad"?


Please discuss. Give examples. Show your work.

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Kathy

Elitism is an attitude. Someone who thinks they are above others for whatever reason they have determined.

Someone can be elite without displaying elitism, imho.


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foodonastump

An empty charge made by those who are insecure with their socioeconomic or educational condition, or by others who would like to exploit them for political gain.

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Stan Areted

Media.

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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

I have a sense that elitism can be interchanged with snobbery these days. It seems to be a charge of corruption against people who have been successful in our meritocracy and use their position to help themselves at the expense of the masses.

Of course we used to not be a meritocracy, people born to wealth and privilege had an easy time accessing education and power without any proof of merit. And now we have a segment of society that distrusts people based on their ability to move through the meritocracy. (Much has been written lately about the health of our meritocracy, but that is a separate issue.)

The pernicious part of his attitude is that it supports ignoring people with expertise. So while the right use the sobriquet of coastal elites to undermine those they perceive have power and wield it for their own benefit, the left have used the same concept to undermine science by questioning the value of vaccinations and being unwilling to rationally consider the pros and cons of nuclear power.

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Toby

When used by the right to describe the wealthy who live in California and New York and other coastal states, it means those who hold liberal values and who are able to support candidates who support their values. At the same time, the GOP supports huge tax breaks for the wealthy, private schooling and college tuition for their children that only they can afford, private health insurance that only they can afford, and closing off the country to the poor. Who are the true elitists?

The sole purpose of this hypocrisy as a Republican party tenet is to shore up their own wealthy elites, who are in the minority, with the votes of the "unwashed masses" by exploiting their fear and hatred of others, their religious beliefs, and their patriotism. Trump, an elitist, gives them these crumbs that are of no importance to him in return for them protecting his wealth and that of other white wealthy conservatives.

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Del Phinium

Want a good example of "Elitism"?

Read that post. ^

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foodonastump

Yes, she does describe it well. Better than I did, but same idea.

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Stan Areted

Ummm.

That posts speaks for others, insinuating they are stupid to suppport President Trump for imagined "crumbs." (BTW ignoring the fact that the conservative culture votes principles and freedom not handouts)

It assumes people don't support someone for the "right" reasons and assumes the only valid "reasons" are what they declare them to be.


As usual, race has to be brought into the equation because--well, if you don't have a good idea, throw race in the mix and foster resentment and divisiveness--another elitist tool.

Yes, Del Phinium knows how to spot elitism. I agree.

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Toby

I didn't say those aren't the right reasons to vote for the wealthy GOP elite. I'm sure they are valid reasons to you. The crumbs that they give you go beyond financial "handouts". There's catering to your religious beliefs, for instance. Conservatives wanting to return prayer to schools is one example. That doesn't make any difference to Trump so it's a crumb he throws your way. But they did throw a financial crumb at us too. They did give us a tiny tax cut, which is due to expire in 2025, while the corporate tax cuts are permanent.

My point is that the wealthy and powerful GOP elites know what they need to exploit in order to get you to keep them in power. They have Fox News to tell you what to fear and they know it works. Immigration and gun control are the top issues with GOP voters. The GOP Congress has shown us that health insurance, education, affordable housing, low cost prescriptions, and other middle class concerns aren't important enough to them to move forward on legislation.

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margaritadina

Elitism in a few words - YOU live in a lily white neighborhoods, send kids to best schools and preach upon US about multiculturalism and diversity, tell US that WE suppose to live in the neighborhoods full of illegal immigrants and their kids that destroy OUR schools by low performance and drive down prices of OUR real estate. And when WE object call US low brow deplorables with no moral values.


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Toby

Still didn't answer my question, Del Phinium, about where the elitism is in my statement. I think there was something in this sentence that triggered your accusation:

The sole purpose of this hypocrisy as a Republican party tenet is to
shore up their own wealthy elites, who are in the minority, with the
votes of the "unwashed masses" by exploiting their fear and hatred of
others, their religious beliefs, and their patriotism.

The elitism is in the wealthy who control the GOP. That 1% controls the 99% and they can hold that power only if millions of us buy into their policies. It doesn't matter if your priorities aren't in line with their priorities. Most of what matters to you, like health care, education, and housing prices, aren't even a concern for them as individuals. Their survival as the 1% hinges on your vote so it's no skin off their noses to adopt your priorities into the party and pretend to do something about it. I don't think many Tea Party/Trump voters want to shield large corporations from paying taxes and treating their employees fairly or to lose the protection of our national parks to promote business interests, but they do care about abortion and gun rights. So they sweeten the pot with your issues to entice you into their party. What we have now is a do-nothing Congress with a dismal approval rating because your priorities aren't theirs. They were pretty happy to stop with the tax cuts, weren't they?

This is what the Southern Strategy was about that brought the South into the GOP. It'd probably be extinct now without its Southern base, which votes on social issues more than on economic issues that matter to the GOP elites. The majority of Congressional Republicans even voted for the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts (Northern Republicans, not Southern Republicans, btw) so where did their core beliefs overlap in 1964? The GOP just needed someone to keep them in power.

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HU-885118952

Does the Left really pretend Soros doesn't exist? That the DNC isn't tee'ing up a billionaire to take on Trump and buy Senate seats?

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Toby

Now we go into conspiracy theories, another tool for keeping Republicans loyal to the party.

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Del Phinium

Toby

"Still didn't answer my question, Del Phinium..."

------------------------

I don't even have to, Toby. You're answering it for me:

"The elitism is in the wealthy who control the GOP"

^ Are you asking me what I think or telling me what I think?

"Most of what matters to you..."

^ Again, I'll decide what matters to me, thank you very much.

"...it's no skin off their noses to adopt your priorities into the party..."

^ Are you going to keep telling me what MY priorities are?

"So they sweeten the pot with your issues..."

^ Thanks for deciding for me what "my" issues are.

"...because your priorities aren't theirs..."

Again with "my" priorities. ^


Are you seeing a theme here, in your posts, Toby? Is it that difficult to see the point I'm trying to make? The funny thing is, you've been proving my point all morning long, and it seems you don't even realize it.

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Kathy

The GOP is so worried about Soros while Bannon is stirring the Authoritarian pot for the GOP.

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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

I'll address the so-called coastal elites; I have no idea what this term is supposed to mean, especially since no area of the country has a monopoly on institutions of higher learning and/or culture and/or wealth.

Having lived my entire life in a coastal state, my experience is of millions of ordinary people going to work to support themselves and their families; people shopping at supermarket chains, buying furniture and appliances during sales, frequenting public parks, beaches, hills and mountains for recreation.


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patriciae_gw(07)

Why aren't people in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas Costal Elites? Heck, Texas not only has a lot of coast they also have lots of money. Elite seems to refer to Democrats. It cant be where you went to school Steve Bannon went to Georgetown and Harvard and he calls people Elite all the time. Hmm, he even came from a coastal state. Something tells me this is just a silly smear word with no meaning except I don't like you if you don't agree with me.

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woodnymph2_gw

Agree. Other "coastal elites" would be in SC, NC, VA, MD. It's an absurdly meaningless label.

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Kathy

Politicians use elite as a pejorative to describe their opponent. They think the voters will look at them as the guy who will protect the little man rather than their ‘elitist’ opponent.

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live_wire_oak

"You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant." - Harlan Ellison


Elitism is a RW propaganda coopted term. It’s used to appeal to the masses that their ignorance is just as good as anyone else’s education. It doesn’t matter if someone has studied for 15 years on a subject. That means nothing. If someone has a counter opinion, based on nothing, it’s just as equal and relevant as the educated and studied fact formed knowledge.


And if you say that someone who isn’t informed shouldn’t have an opinion with as much weight as a subject matter expert, you’re an elitist snob.



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cattyles

An elitist is anyone that won’t sink to trump’s level.

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elvis

This puzzles me, Zalco:

The pernicious part of his attitude is that it supports ignoring people with expertise. So while the right use the sobriquet of coastal elites to undermine those they perceive have power and wield it for their own benefit, the left have used the same concept to undermine science by questioning the value of vaccinations and being unwilling to rationally consider the pros and cons of nuclear power.

It sounds like you are saying that the right use the sobriquet of coastal elites to undermine those they perceive have power and wield it for their own benefit

It sounds like you are saying that the left undermines science by questioning the value of vaccinations and being unwilling to rationally consider the pros and cons of nuclear power.

Do I have that right, or am I missing something there?

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queenmargo

Kathy

Politicians use elite as a pejorative to describe their opponent.


live_wire_oak


Elitism is a RW propaganda coopted term. It’s used to appeal to the masses that their ignorance is just as good as anyone else’s education

cattyles

An elitist is anyone that won’t sink to trump’s level.

LOL- all 3 answers from the left, contradicting each other.

funny

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Kathy

Not contradicting at all.

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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

Elvis, I am sorry for taking so long to get back to you. My thinking about the charge of elitism is that it is a strand of anti intellectualism that affects both sides of the political divide. I think the the distrust is born of corruption scandals, and abuses of power by those in government and industry. So yes, the right calls out coastal elites for pushing a narrow agenda that helps them more than it helps the rest o rthe country, and the left clings to pseudo scientific explanations for why we should eschew nuclear power. In both cases the people who used to be respected for their expertise and trusted to keep the public safe are now suspect.

I apologize if I am still not making sense.

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lionheart_gw (USDA Zone 5A, Eastern NY)

"What, exactly, IS elitism? How is it determined? By wealth? By education? Is it different things for different folks? Exactly why is it "bad"?"

It could be any combination of the characteristics you listed, or it could be something else entirely, like sheer dominance or being so charismatic that people just easily fall in line to promote a supposed superiority.

The problem lies in giving a characteristic the presumption (A) that it's automatically good and above criticism and (B) that it is always being applied correctly.

Since people create authoritarian structures or hierarchies out of these characteristics, especially in politics, it's reasonable to question it. Devotees/fanboys/fangirls of the leaders within a structure often promote the idea that the structure and its leaders are beyond criticism because the people in the structure are so superior to others. And, by association, they too are superior.

In other words, snobbery and pretentiousness.

There are elite individuals with talent, creativity, and/or intelligence. They deserve to reap the rewards for their accomplishments. They should not be stifled unless engaging in criminal activity. Mostly, though, no one is running out and throwing these people into hierarchies that will create rigid legal systems. It's not the same thing as institutionalized elitism and snobbery.


"Give examples. Show your work."

History is full of them. Monarchies, slavery, feudalism, suffrage, eugenics to name a few. Let's go with one of my favorites.

Eugenics - The concept itself is very old. Plato was one of the earliest to suggest selective breeding to produce a guardian class. At least in writing. Of course, the Spartans were really into selectively-bred people, with councils that would decide if an infant should survive or be killed due to weakness. There have been sporadic attempts throughout history to experiment with eugenics.

But the modern version started to pick up steam in Britain in the 1880s, spread to other places globally. and became a cherished cause of progressive movements in North America by the early 1900s.

Eugenicists were smart, well-educated people. Intellectuals. Many were prominent scientists or highly regarded thinkers of their time. They often had some sort of proximate affiliation with other accomplished people who were even more famous (i.e. Darwin). They hobnobbed with other influential people.

I guess you could call them the experts of their day. Others climbed on board the eugenics train based on the the rather heady intellectualism of the eugenicists. It's a snob's dream.

Their ideas were codified into laws. These laws decided who was worthy of living, who was worthy of reproduction, even who was worthy of life and education - certainly not the weak and sickly or those from inferior stock.

As a result of becoming a state-led effort, instead of an individual decision, in the USA and Canada it led to forced sterilization laws and, in some cases, extended confinements. Eventually it led to much worse on mainland Europe. Even Asian and South American countries started engaging in eugenics campaigns. Of course, mainland Europeans took it to a whole new level, most obviously with the Nazis, but it was in play all over.

It was interesting that California became a leader in the eugenics movement. The eugenics program in California was so robust that the Nazis consulted with them about how to advance their own eugenics program.

The eugenicists became authorities and their ideas were easily woven into political and legal hierarchies. These ideas were fashionable with the rich and famous and the socially woke people of the time. Why not? The entire philosophy was flattering to them and confirmed their suspicions that they were innately superior.

It eventually became a social phenomenon too, with "fitter families" and "better babies" competitions, in addition to books and movies about "heroic" people who broke up families and convinced others of the wisdom of letting family members die. Really not much different than the propaganda used by Hitler. Hitler didn't invent it, although he went to another level with it.

I see this as a prime example of elitism gone haywire.

If the eugenics movement, with all of its intellectuals and trendy followers, doesn't define the inherent flaws created by snobbery within political hierarchies, I don't know what does.

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