April 14, 2008

Elitists, Snobs, And Aristocrats

I Posted this several months ago, but I thought now would be a good time to post it again, with a little revision. You may agree, or disagree, but I think it is quite appropriate for now, in light of Senator Obama's speech at the fundraiser in San Francisco last week.

I've been thinking quite a bit about this subject--especially the past few days. Some people are elitist snobs and don't even realize it because they are so firmly convinced that they are right, and the rest of the world is wrong--or at least, those who don't view things the same way they do. Of course, there are elitists who are not snobs, and some snobs who are not elitist, but being around either one, sometimes, is like rubbing salt in an open wound.

The following are excerpts from an article that I read a few years ago, written by Jonah Goldberg in the National Review. The entire article is much too long to post here, but I have chosen a few quotes which get the point across quite succinctly.

"In America, 'elitist', 'snobbish', and 'aristocratic' have become largely synonymous. That's a shame. 'Elite' derives from the Latin for 'elect', though not necesarily in the democratic 'electoral' sense. It means those who--through efforts and talent--self-select themselves as qualified to lead, and teach, by example."

"The war on what I like to call 'factual correctness' is a top-to-bottom cultural project. If the truth hurts, change the definition of truth. Facts that might inconveniently intrude upon the self-esteem of others must be demolished. So, as grade schools eliminate keeping score at games, postmodernists try to eliminate the notion of keeping score at anything, ever. Scores, you see, imply winners and losers, and if anybody feels like a loser then they feel bad--and anything that makes you feel bad is necessarily illegitimate."

"Meanwhile, the University of California wants to get rid of standardized tests rather then be embarrassed by the "disparate" results of those tests. Gangster rap gets compared to Mozart and the mentally handicapped are allowed to vote--because who's to say that gangster rap isn't the classical music of today, and who's to say that a man with the IQ of a seven-year-old doesn't have an 'equally valuable perspective'? Animals have 'rights' because they have 'feelings',-- which are so much more important than judgement, intelligence, or knowledge. Grafitti should be considered to be high art, since so much of what was traditionally held as high art is just an amalgam of prejudice and tyranny."

"It's an old fable that the gratest trick the devil ever pulled was to convince the world he didn't exist. Today, the prevailing elite has pulled off a similar trick It has convinced the world that only the ignorant, the unlearned, and the unsophisticated believe there are capital-T Truths; worthwhile standards for merit, beauty, or art; and bright-line distinctions between right and wrong. They've done all of this, mind you, while preserving their own privilieged status for making such pronouncements--like a politician who champions campaign-finance 'reform' just so long as it ensure his own incumbency. In this sense, they are more snobs than elites, because they spend so much time trying to assure the world that conservatives are fakers--'pseudo-intellectuals' and 'pretend-journalist' -- in order to keep them out of their clubhouses."

Well, Senator Obama may not be a snob, trying to keep certain ones out of clubhouses, but maybe he is. He seems to fit this description pretty well:

"Snobs are people who put on airs about who they are and who look down on those they are no different from. Meanwhile, 'aristocracy' (which derives from the Greek for 'rule by the best') sounds quite a bit like elitism, but the chief difference is that aristocrats are born, not made--which is all the difference in the world."

"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them," Obama said. "And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Is Obama an elitist? A Snob? He is condescending at times.

One thing's for sure..he certainly is no aristocrat.



Image:
Portrait of Poet, Itlian painter Modigliani

4 comments:

The Hermit said...

I know what Obama is but this is a "mixed company" blog so I won't say it.

Mrs. K's Lemonade Stand said...

Sadly, I think some people have this "Legend in their own mind" mentality.
Scary stuff...

Jan said...

Hermit..I think I know, anyway! :)

Jan said...

Mrs. K..I think you're right, and in this case I think he believes he is 'chosen' which really complicates matters.