Calling out Review-Journal’s elitist-in-chief

To the editor:

I typically ignore Geoff Schumacher’s commentary (after having read a few and discovering he is an imbecile), but the heading on his Aug. 3 column, “In art and politics, ‘elitism’ gets unfair rap,” intrigued me. After reading it, I realized my earlier appraisal of his intellect was quite accurate, but I am now enticed to respond to this malarkey.

Mr. Schumacher seems to believe that the “elite” simply refers to a minority group. The first definition on is: “the choice or best of anything considered collectively, as of a group or class of persons.” Because Mr. Schumacher doesn’t seem to understand what all the fuss is about “elitism,” let me give him a clue.

Intellectual elitists think that only a small number of people (all of their friends, coincidentally) have a corner on the “truth” market, and the masses must be protected from their own ignorance. This end justifies any means, including subterfuge. Tell them what the focus groups say they want to hear and do what you really want later.

After all, you cannot convince ignorant people of the “truth,” can you? If they were smart enough to get it, they would be elites already! Consequently, a little misleading dialogue with the vast unwashed is to be expected, if the truly elite class are to create utopia. Non-elites must be fooled into letting elites control their lives, for their own good.

And a real elitist feels sorry for all the ignorant dullards out there. “It’s not their fault,” they may say, “it’s those damn [insert your group here] people!” If only the brilliant elitists out there would just explain to all the lessers how they are their betters, but they’re too dumb to get it, see? It’s tough being elite!

Mr. Schumacher explains that the members of the elite are very democratic. Why, all the people who want to say and believe that they are better than the rest of society are allowed to join the club. How very democratic! Equal opportunity arrogance and condescension!

And the coup de grace holds that the non-elites out there just aren’t “open” to elitism. If they were more open-minded, they would see that being a know-it-all is really some kind of “higher calling.” It’s rough, but somebody has to tell everyone else what to do, you know?

Earlier this year, in the context of jabbering about Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, the claim was made that elitism was about wealth, and because Sen. Obama was not born wealthy, how could he be an elitist? The same way all members of the elite gain entrance to the club: If you think you know something that “most people” don’t know, that makes you a person of greater worth and therefore deserving of the power to control others.

The people Mr. Schumacher quoted in his diatribe seemed to have no problem claiming to be elite. Their issue was, “How come that’s bad?”

Well, again, I will endeavor to enlighten. You see, I think there are many things I know that I think are the “truth” and are at odds with other people’s ideas, however, I do not feel the need to berate my fellow beings condescendingly. I simply live my life my way, vote my conscience and let the chips fall where they may.

“Elitism” is not about “Live and let live.” It’s about “Live my way or you’re an idiot, and someday we’re gonna make that against the law!” That is why “elitism” gets a bad rap, and deservedly so.

Kevin Stockton


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