Are Elites Using ‘Elitism’ Charge Elitist?
Marc Ambinder observes, “[I]t’s silly to debate elitism by pointing to the alleged elitism of your opponent. Because this is Washington, D.C., and if you’re a presidential candidate or a national political figure, chances are pretty good that you’re developed a bit of an ego and a bit of a sense of entitlement.” Not much doubt about that.
Then again, I’ve never really understood what’s wrong with elitism. This definition, from the decidedly un-elitist Wikipedia*, is as good as any:
Elitism is the belief or attitude that those individuals who are considered members of the elite — a select group of people with outstanding personal abilities, intellect, wealth, specialized training or experience, or other distinctive attributes — are those whose views on a matter are to be taken the most seriously or carry the most weight; whose views and/or actions are most likely to be constructive to society as a whole; or whose extraordinary skills, abilities or wisdom render them especially fit to govern.
Really, elitism is almost an inherent assumption in politics, especially at the national level. Campaigns involve people asking “the little guy” to trust them to “take care of” them on the basis that their unique experience makes them best suited to do that. It’s hard to be more elitist than that.
*Then again, despite its populist premise, Wikipedia has a corps of moderators and others with special status who are there to enforce order.