belief or attitude that some individuals, who form an elite, are those whose influence or authority is greater than that of others

Elitism is the belief or attitude that some individuals, who form an elite—a select group of people with a certain ancestry, intrinsic quality or worth, higher intellect, wealth, specialized training or experience, or other distinctive attributes—are those whose influence or authority is greater than that of others; whose views on a matter are to be taken the most seriously or carry the most weight; whose views 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. Alternatively, the term elitism may be used to describe a situation in which power is concentrated in the hands of a limited number of people.

Burmese nobles

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Allan Bloom:...Elitism is the catch-all epithet expressing our disapproval of the proud and the desire to be first. But, unsupported and excoriated, this part of the soul lives on, dwelling underground, receiving no sublimating education. As with all repressed impulses, it has its daily effects on personality and also occasionally bursts forth in various disguises and monstrous shapes. Much of modem history can be explained by the search of what Plato called spiritedness for legitimate self-expression.

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Hugo Chavez:What is the U.S. government looking for? And the elite governing this country? They're looking for oil.
  • What you're saying is that 'I, the superior elite, will take care of you.' Why? Because, you see, that superior, elite group needs to feel superior and elite. And they can't be superior and elite unless you have a whole lot of people down there groveling around. So you keep them down there by feeding them.
  • There are people in government who don't want other people to know what they know. It's just another example of elitism. And I spit on elitism. Show me an elitist, and I'll show you a loser.
  • The control of information is something the elite always does, particularly in a [[*The control of information is something the elite always does, particularly in a despotic form of government. Information, knowledge, is power. If you can control information, you can control people.

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  • If you believe, as I do, that on the whole ordinary people are more competent than anyone else to decide when and how much they shall intervene on decisions they feel are important to them, then you will surely opt for political equality and democracy. But if you believe that the ordinary person is less competent in this fundamental way than some particular person or minority, then I imagine that like Plato your vision of the best government is a government by this qualified person or elite.
    • Robert A. Dahl, After the Revolution? (1970; 1990), p. 26

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Newt Gingrich: Part of why the Tea Party so deeply threatened the elite media is the tea party looked around and suddenly realized, there are more of us than there are of them.
  • I know very well that we are not all equal, nor can be so; but it is my opinion that he who deems it important to keep aloof from the so-called rabble, in order to maintain their respect, is as much to blame as a coward who hides himself from his enemy because he fears defeat.
  • Elitism is repulsive when based upon external and artificial limitations like race, gender, or social class. Repulsive and utterly false—for that spark of genius is randomly distributed across all cruel barriers of our social prejudice. We therefore must grant access—and encouragement—to everyone; and must be increasingly vigilant, and tirelessly attentive, in providing such opportunities to all children. We will have no justice until this kind of equality can be attained. But if only a small minority respond, and these are our best and brightest of all races, classes, and genders, shall we deny them the pinnacle of their soul's striving because all their colleagues prefer passivity and flashing lights? Let them lift their eyes to hills of books, and at least a few museums that display the full magic of nature's variety. What is wrong with this truly democratic form of elistim?
    • Stephen Jay Gould, "Cabinet Museums: Alive, Alive, O!" Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History (1995)

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Hitler’s Fascism:The common elements of fascism, such as extreme nationalism, social Darwinism, the leadership principle, elitism, anti-liberalism, anti-egalitarianism, anti-democracy, intolerance, glorification of war, the supremacy of the state and anti-intellectualism, together form of a rather loose doctrine.
  • Ask yourself: how has "elitism" become a bad word in American politics? There is simply no other walk of life in which extraordinary talent and rigorous training are denigrated. We want elite pilots to fly our planes, elite troops to undertake our most critical missions, elite athletes to represent us in competition and elite scientists to devote the most productive years of their lives to curing our diseases. And yet, when it comes time to vest people with even greater responsibilities, we consider it a virtue to shun any and all standards of excellence. When it comes to choosing the people whose thoughts and actions will decide the fates of millions, then we suddenly want someone just like us, someone fit to have a beer with, someone down-to-earth—in fact, almost anyone, provided that he or she doesn't seem too intelligent or well educated.

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Florence King:Americans worship creativity the way they worship physical beauty - as a way of enjoying elitism without guilt: God did it.
  • This distinguished corruption will teach the distinguished person that he exists only for the distinguished, that he is to live only in the alliance of their circles, that he must not exist for other people, just as they must not exist for him.
  • The distinguished person ... may very well use an exaggerated courtesy toward the more lowly, but he must never associate with them as equals, since that would express that he was—human, but he is—distinguished.

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Andre Rieu: Mozart composed his music not for the elite, but for everybody.
  • People with advantages ... come readily to define themselves as inherently worthy of what they possess; they come to believe themselves 'naturally' elite, and, in fact, to imagine their possessions and their privileges as natural extensions of their own elite selves.

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Camille Paglia:Are we like late Rome, infatuated with past glories, ruled by a complacent, greedy elite, and hopelessly powerless to respond to changing conditions?
Steven Pinker:By denying people's sense of visual beauty in painting and sculpture, melody in music, meter and rhyme in poetry, plot and narrative and character in fiction, the elite arts wrote off the vast majority of their audience...
Iggy Pop:...it's a term Punk Rock that's based on contempt; it's a term that's based on fashion, style, elitism, satanism, and, everything that's rotten about rock 'n' roll.
  • There's a very small group of elite actresses who are my age, who people want to work with. It's not easy to get a good job with good actors.

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