The Worst Kind of Elitism

So many conservatives are so quick to condemn “elitism”, which is apparently, from what I’ve gathered, their term for when people actually educate themselves about the world around them so that they can develop a firmer and clearer understanding of something and then try to educate others so that the knowledge and clarity can spread.

Obvious anti-intellectualism and sour grapes aside, isn’t it so much worse, so much more arrogant and condescending and, dare I say, elitist to think that all you need is a small amount of information about something — information usually blindly accepted from a political or religious leader — in order to form and aggressively broadcast what you seem to feel is an expert opinion on it, as though your job learning is somehow completed that easily?

“I’m not a doctor, but Glenn Beck once described gallbladder surgery, which makes me even more of an expert than any doctor. That’s all I need to know is what I already know!”

“I’ve never studied economics, but I’ve learned all I need to know from maybe a dozen phrases repeated ad nauseum on FOX News. I heard all that and thought, ‘welp, I’m done learning! That’s all I need to hear!’ So now, I can tell you EXACTLY how to fix this recession. Because my understanding of the issue is definitive. What’s that? You’ve actually read economics textbooks? Taken some classes? Didn’t just refuse to keep learning once you got a single piece of information about the subject? GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE, YOU ELITIST. I’M the expert here!”


8 thoughts on “The Worst Kind of Elitism”

  1. I had that same thought! I have a friend named Sonia who believes that it is a form of personality disorder. She calls it AIPD(Anti-Intellectual Personality Disorder) and even has a set of “traits” listed!

    Anyway, I don’t know where you’re from(I’m new to your blog and haven’t read all of the entries yet) but here in Louisiana folks have that type of attitude about alot of things. And no one challenges them on it, not frequently at least.

  2. You mean that being able to see Russia from your house *doesn’t* qualify you as an expert in foreign affairs?

  3. Personally, I see the term “elitism” as a negative term, but I perceive/use the term in a different way than what you described. To me, “elitists” are asshats who think they know everything about certain subjects, one example binge the Glenn Beck comment you mentioned.

    Really, elitism isn’t as bad as conservatists see it. But what really pisses me off is that it really seems they’re anti-intellectualists.

  4. @alexaudrey: When people realized that their faith was in contradiction of the facts, and decided to throw out the wrong one.

  5. I read an article the other day (I know, cite my sources) that quoted Glenn Beck as saying “If you believe what I say, you’re an idiot” or words to that effect. Basically, the article said that Beck is just an actor who acts crazy for ratings (though that doesn’t preclude him from being actually crazy) and his producer even went as far as to say that he didn’t believe Beck has any political leanings.

    Food for thought, at any rate.

  6. I always wondered why they described Obama as an elitist and acted like that was a bad thing. I mean, honestly — isn’t it a GOOD thing if the guy running the country is smarter than you? 99.999995% of people, no matter how often they might say “If I was in charge . . .”, if given a chance to step back and give a good hard look at the situation and all the bullshit being president would require of you, would admit that they wouldn’t really want to be president. Though, most don’t have the capacity for self-analysis to admit to this.

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