Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-28-2019, 01:26 PM
Boycott is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 299

What exactly is a "liberal elite"?


I know conservatives love to talk about lifting yourself from your bootstraps but that's not monopolised by one politically aligned group of people.

Wealth and nepotism is not subject to one group of politically aligned group either.

Donald Trump is the product of inheriting wealth. His kids are even more notorious for living off a silver spoon. Just look at this picture:

https://media.guestofaguest.com/t_ca...ump-family.jpg

George W Bush campaigned in 2004 portraying John Kerry as a liberal elite despite Bush attending Yale like his father and benefitting off his name, and the fact Kerry enlisting to serve in Vietnam, getting the Purple Heart, ended up with conservatives doubting his record of service. Bush of course had doubts over his National Guard record.

Then you get conservatives like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh make a living by using that distinction. Neither completed college. There's no shame in dropping out of a course but the way they talk it's like the shame is in completing the course.

Meghan McCain appears on a hugely popular debate show as the conservative point of view, but her use of "my father" as a qualifier has become a running joke. Meanwhile someone else, who now may be living a cushy life, had to overcome several barriers to get to the same position.

You get conservatives who went to top class higher education institutes, like Ted Cruz at Harvard, frequently use the "liberal elite" tag to degrade opposition points of view as out of touch. What makes him - a conservative - in touch with the ordinary folks anymore than a liberal at Harvard?
  #2  
Old 10-28-2019, 01:29 PM
Velocity is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 15,827
Well, you're right - a conservative elite is an elite, just like a liberal elite. They're not necessarily any closer to earth.


That being said, for examples of liberal elites, I suppose the Kennedy family would count as one.
  #3  
Old 10-28-2019, 01:48 PM
nelliebly is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Washington
Posts: 2,070
I've always interpreted "liberal elite" to be code for "educated liberals." I think it's supposed to imply that college-educated liberals live in an ivory tower of idealism while the masses toil away in the "real" world. In reality, of course, most politicos using that term are also college graduates, but what matters to the masses isn't the educational level of those who use the term; it's that it reflects their own world view while reassuring them that good ol' common sense is more useful than a fancy degree.
  #4  
Old 10-28-2019, 02:09 PM
DCnDC's Avatar
DCnDC is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: The Dueling Grounds
Posts: 13,105
It's a boogeyman invented by conservative "leaders" as a scapegoat for gullible, low information voters who they know will just take them at their word.
  #5  
Old 10-28-2019, 02:12 PM
iiandyiiii's Avatar
iiandyiiii is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 36,155
Appears to me to be no fixed definition, and is used by conservative blowhards to dismiss any group of people they don't like.
  #6  
Old 10-28-2019, 02:41 PM
Moriarty's Avatar
Moriarty is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Denver, CO, USA
Posts: 2,984
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boycott View Post
I know conservatives love to talk about lifting yourself from your bootstraps but that's not monopolised by one politically aligned group of people.
Interestingly enough, pull one's self up by one's bootstraps is impossible, and describes an absurd premise.

Meanwhile, I understand the term 'liberal elite' to describe a class of wealthy people who, at least in theory, "look down" on those who have less wealth as them, and judge them to be inferior in all respects, including taste and class. For these elites, this creates a sort of sympathy for these others, based on a conclusion that they must be dreadfully suffering with their pedestrian way of life. As such, and due to the sense of superiority it reinforces, these 'elites' feel perfectly qualified to not only judge these people but also interfere and try to change them.

It's a stereotype, and not necessarily an accurate one. But perhaps the best example I can think of would be white people who kidnapped native American kids to raise them in white society. Ostensibly, they are 'offering assistance' and trying to 'improve lives', but the reality is that they are destroying another culture due to a misguided belief that they know better.

When it comes to modern society, and the threat of the 'liberal elite', I think this is what is being discussed: it's an apprehension that people from elsewhere, thinking they know better, will swoop in and destroy the culture and its value under the guise of improvement.

"Those liberal elites are gonna come here and take away your traditions, your beliefs, your way of speech, your cherished sports, your style of dress, your taste in food...because they think they KNOW BETTER."

Last edited by Moriarty; 10-28-2019 at 02:44 PM.
  #7  
Old 10-28-2019, 02:43 PM
Kearsen1 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Austin
Posts: 398
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moriarty View Post
Interestingly enough, pull one's self up by one's bootstraps is impossible, and describes an absurd premise.

Meanwhile, I understand the term 'liberal elite' to describe a class of wealthy people who, at least in theory, "look down" on those who have less wealth as them, and judge them to be inferior in all respects, including taste and class. For these elites, this creates a sort of sympathy for these others, based on a conclusion that they must be dreadfully suffering with their pedestrian way of life. As such, and due to the sense of superiority it reinforces, these 'elites' feel perfectly qualified to not only judge these people but also interfere and try to change them.

It's a stereotype, and not necessarily an accurate one. But perhaps the best example I can think of would be white people who kidnapped native American kids to raise them in white society. Ostensibly, they are 'offering assistance' and trying to 'improve lives', but the reality is that they are destroying another culture due to a misguided belief that they know better.

When it comes to modern society, and the threat of the 'liberal elite', I think this is what is being discussed: it's an apprehension that people from elsewhere, thinking they know better, will swoop in and destroy the culture and its value under the guise of improvement.

"Those liberal elites are gonna come here and take away your traditions, your beliefs, your way of speech, your cherished sports, your style of dress, your taste in food...because they think they KNOW BETTER.

My understanding of the term is that.
Liberal elites will just fix you right up because they know better than you do what you need.
  #8  
Old 10-28-2019, 02:45 PM
manson1972's Avatar
manson1972 is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 12,676
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moriarty View Post
"Those liberal elites are gonna come here and take away your traditions, your beliefs, your way of speech, your cherished sports, your style of dress, your taste in food...because they think they KNOW BETTER."
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
It's a boogeyman invented by conservative "leaders" as a scapegoat for gullible, low information voters who they know will just take them at their word.
That checks out.
  #9  
Old 10-28-2019, 02:47 PM
Velocity is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 15,827
Here's a YouTube video, for instance: Senator Maggie Hirono (D-Hawaii) says that "We Democrats know so much, we have to kind of tell everybody how smart we are."

To be fair, I think Hirono meant her words in the sense that Democrats should not try to talk over voters with this mindset of "I know more than you do, so you should just obey me," but rather, that Democrats need to use more emotional persuasion rather than just cold logic or facts. But there is indeed this prevalent attitude among many liberals that they are the educated, they are the informed, and it is their job to tug along the uneducated dirty unshaven masses by the ears.
  #10  
Old 10-28-2019, 02:58 PM
ASL v2.0's Avatar
ASL v2.0 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Various
Posts: 682
I think there’s also an implied accusation of hypocrisy. As in "If these liberal elites are so worried about the poor and think the wealthy should be taxed to fund their pet social programs, then why don’t they take all of their own substantial wealth and donate it to charity?"

Those are my own words, presented as a summary of what I’ve generally considered the term "liberal elite" to be shorthand for as an accusation. Not that I necessarily subscribe to such a view myself.
  #11  
Old 10-28-2019, 03:05 PM
Ravenman is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 27,167
I heard a very funny segment on the radio this morning describing the two real elites in America: the boat elite and the intellectual elite.

The boat elite are a reference to Trump's comment that his supporters have bigger boats. To an intellectual elite, the very idea of owning a boat is already kind of stupid, as though one should establish one's social dominance by piling up large amounts of cash and setting it on fire, all Ozymandias-style. But that's my take on it.

The author interviewed describes the concept in his own words, which you can sample here. One funny part:
Quote:
The biggest difference between the two elites is that the Boat Elites are steeped in honor culture.... If they get cut off, they honk. Then they yell at the other driver to get out of their car and fight. The Intellectual Elite don't do this because we know that honking and yelling makes it hard to hear NPR stories.
Or, you can hear the interview here.
  #12  
Old 10-28-2019, 03:05 PM
Buck Godot's Avatar
Buck Godot is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: MD outside DC
Posts: 6,162
Quote:
Originally Posted by nelliebly View Post
I've always interpreted "liberal elite" to be code for "educated liberals." I think it's supposed to imply that college-educated liberals live in an ivory tower of idealism while the masses toil away in the "real" world. In reality, of course, most politicos using that term are also college graduates, but what matters to the masses isn't the educational level of those who use the term; it's that it reflects their own world view while reassuring them that good ol' common sense is more useful than a fancy degree.
That would be my interpretation as well. Although as other have said its really just a catch-all insult designed to deflect attention away from Republicans Plutocratic policies, it only works because there is a strong resonance among conservatives. It goes back to city slickers with degrees in agriculture from universities trying to tell farmers how to grow their crops. More recently it involves, kids leaving small towns for college and coming back and lecturing their parents on the moral importance of secularism, multiculturalism, and environmentalism. The other place its used is in attacking those in the entertainment industry who promote similar ideas.
  #13  
Old 10-28-2019, 03:06 PM
XT's Avatar
XT is offline
Agnatheist
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: The Great South West
Posts: 35,675
I've always interpreted the term to be about liberals (obviously) who are elitist. This doesn't necessarily mean rich, but who have elitist mindsets which I always summarized by, to paraphrase 'we know better than them what they need' or 'what's best for them'. There are certainly a group of liberals who DO look down on many of their fellow citizens and DO think they know what's best for the majority because they are smarter, better informed or whatever other props they use to decide they just know best.

There are, of course, conservative elites as well, but as this was more about liberal elites that's my take. I know several people who I would consider 'liberal elite'...there are quite a few on this board in fact. Hell, I'm probably one myself, though I don't consider myself either liberal or an elite, but I'm sure that on some specific issues I'd be considered one (certainly several in my family THINK this is the case) by those who use that term a lot.
__________________
-XT

That's what happens when you let rednecks play with anti-matter!

Last edited by XT; 10-28-2019 at 03:07 PM.
  #14  
Old 10-28-2019, 03:18 PM
Czarcasm's Avatar
Czarcasm is online now
Champion Chili Chef
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 63,195
It is an appeal to the common man, telling them that they are more worthy because they are common, and that those who strive to be better are striving just to spite them.
  #15  
Old 10-28-2019, 03:24 PM
Bone's Avatar
Bone is offline
Extrajudicial
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,026
Quote:
Originally Posted by XT View Post
I've always interpreted the term to be about liberals (obviously) who are elitist. This doesn't necessarily mean rich, but who have elitist mindsets which I always summarized by, to paraphrase 'we know better than them what they need' or 'what's best for them'. There are certainly a group of liberals who DO look down on many of their fellow citizens and DO think they know what's best for the majority because they are smarter, better informed or whatever other props they use to decide they just know best.
This is my understanding as well. A key underlying sentiment that usually permeates the theme of knowing better than the other person is arrogance.
  #16  
Old 10-28-2019, 03:25 PM
Larry Borgia's Avatar
Larry Borgia is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Washington DC
Posts: 10,701
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
I heard a very funny segment on the radio this morning describing the two real elites in America: the boat elite and the intellectual elite.

The boat elite are a reference to Trump's comment that his supporters have bigger boats. To an intellectual elite, the very idea of owning a boat is already kind of stupid, as though one should establish one's social dominance by piling up large amounts of cash and setting it on fire, all Ozymandias-style. But that's my take on it.

The author interviewed describes the concept in his own words, which you can sample here. One funny part:

Or, you can hear the interview here.
He's also on This Cracked Podcast. It's worth a listen, as he's pretty entertaining and he tries to be even handed. The only omission he makes is that there is a conservative intellectual elite with access to their own politicians and celebrities.

He's pushing a book, but I'm not sure he'll make any points beyond the interviews.
  #17  
Old 10-28-2019, 03:46 PM
Typo Negative's Avatar
Typo Negative is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: 7th Level of Hell, Ca
Posts: 18,121
Liberal Elite means "people who think they are better than us real people". The irony is pre-loaded.
__________________
"Just love everybody. I'll sort 'em out later"

-God
  #18  
Old 10-28-2019, 03:49 PM
XT's Avatar
XT is offline
Agnatheist
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: The Great South West
Posts: 35,675
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCnDC
It's a boogeyman invented by conservative "leaders" as a scapegoat for gullible, low information voters who they know will just take them at their word.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
It is an appeal to the common man, telling them that they are more worthy because they are common, and that those who strive to be better are striving just to spite them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Typo Negative
Liberal Elite means "people who think they are better than us real people". The irony is pre-loaded.
There is certainly quite a bit of, obviously unintentional, irony. No doubt about it.
__________________
-XT

That's what happens when you let rednecks play with anti-matter!
  #19  
Old 10-28-2019, 03:55 PM
chappachula is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 5,801
You know the phrase "flyover country"?
That describes the liberal elite....they are not only disconnected from the heartland, they are proud of being disconnected, and very happy to fly over it--- while telling those poor country folk how primitive they are.

Yes, this is a real thing.
And yes, the term "liberal elite" is way overused by Rush Limbaugh types.

But I have met more than a few New Yorkers who fit the stereotype.

People who were born,raised and lived their entire lives between 1st Avenue and 9th.
Never learned to drive a car, and are proud of that fact. Never had the slightest desire to take a road trip and see America.They have never had a conversation with someone who served in the military, and are proud of that. They will go to a concert where an anthropologist plays primitive music on a wooden pipe made by a tribe in the Amazon,but would never listen to a banjo or a country song on the radio.
If they read a New York Times story about the strict and modest dress code at Brigham Young U (the Mormon university in Utah), they fill the comments page with reactions of horror, that women must be free to wear shorts, etc. But these same people will gladly change their clothes to cover up their entire body if they visit a Muslim site.


Pompous asses exist everywhere. There are plenty of farmers who are proud that they are ignorant of big-city culture. But somehow that seems less irritating to me than big-city folk who do the same.
Maybe it's 'cause I like the smell of a barn more than the smell of smog.

Last edited by chappachula; 10-28-2019 at 03:59 PM.
  #20  
Old 10-28-2019, 04:06 PM
Czarcasm's Avatar
Czarcasm is online now
Champion Chili Chef
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 63,195
Quote:
Originally Posted by chappachula View Post
You know the phrase "flyover country"?
That describes the liberal elite....they are not only disconnected from the heartland, they are proud of being disconnected, and very happy to fly over it--- while telling those poor country folk how primitive they are.

Yes, this is a real thing..
Yeah. Your one bit of evidence is a letters page where students seek freedom of expression, but there is no evidence whatsoever that these same students "will gladly change their clothes to cover up their entire body if they visit a Muslim site." In fact, your "evidence" doesn't seem to tie in with your first paragraph at all(which seems to be nothing more than blather that can be found on any number of right-wing websites).
  #21  
Old 10-28-2019, 04:18 PM
HMS Irruncible is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 8,728
Liberals are all unemployed layabouts who steal money from hardworking Americans, unless they're employed, in which case they're stealing jobs from hardworking Americans. If they are wealthy then they are probably sports stars or entertainers who are stealing attention from hardworking Americans. If they aren't sports stars or entertainers then they are George Soros.

(giant sarcasm tag if it's not clear enough)
  #22  
Old 10-28-2019, 04:37 PM
wolfpup's Avatar
wolfpup is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 11,233
Quote:
Originally Posted by nelliebly View Post
I've always interpreted "liberal elite" to be code for "educated liberals." I think it's supposed to imply that college-educated liberals live in an ivory tower of idealism while the masses toil away in the "real" world. In reality, of course, most politicos using that term are also college graduates, but what matters to the masses isn't the educational level of those who use the term; it's that it reflects their own world view while reassuring them that good ol' common sense is more useful than a fancy degree.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
It's a boogeyman invented by conservative "leaders" as a scapegoat for gullible, low information voters who they know will just take them at their word.
I believe both of those are accurate. The myth of the "liberal elite" is an ironic and intentionally divisive falsehood invented by a certain subset of conservatives (a subset currently well represented by mainstream Republicans) to disparage liberals in a way that resonates emotionally while being completely meaningless. It's ironic because it's actually conservatives who tend to be the elitists to the extent of possessing the more disproportionate wealth and therefore being isolated in their own communities and detached from the struggles of the middle and poorer classes -- at least, the conservative leadership that sets the conservative agenda, if not necessarily the low-information rubes who believe them and vote for them. It's further ironic because educated people in general tend to understand social and economic issues better than their less informed counterparts, which indeed is why certain kinds of conservatives brand them as "liberals" in the first place, and consider institutions of higher learning to be "hotbeds of liberalism".

Think about the Bush dynasty, where George W. and his gaffe-prone mother both famously could never figure out poor people, or Mitt Romney, or Donald J. Trump and his entire family, or the privileged life of Ronald Reagan, he of the "trickle-down theory" fame. Those are the true elitists -- people who have never had to worry about a crappy public education system, or about their kids having successful careers, or about community safety, or about social injustices, or mortgage payments or car troubles. Their governing style can be described as "by wealthy elitists, for wealthy elitists".
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moriarty View Post
Interestingly enough, pull one's self up by one's bootstraps is impossible, and describes an absurd premise.
Yes, it's physically impossible, but if I may digress for a moment, it describes a figurative concept that is actually quite important if applied correctly, and to that extent conservatives touting it aren't necessarily wrong. The figurative concept is the idea of creating stepping stones that let you achieve goals incrementally that would not otherwise be achievable. It's a pervasive and important concept in computer science that has existed since long before PCs. For example, it's generally not feasible to load the entirety of an operating system in one single operation to get a computer started, but it's easy to load a very small number of instructions. That small program can then load a much larger loader, albeit inefficiently. The larger loader can then efficiently load key parts of the OS, which then loads the rest of itself. Computer science is replete with methods by which the information processing power of the computer itself is used to assist with -- or "bootstrap" -- programming tasks.

In the same way, someone starting a small business might use the modest wealth created by that business to incrementally grow it into a larger and more diversified business that they might not otherwise have been able to do. This part of conservative ideology is sound; the fallacy is in the implication that this is the only kind of value there is, or that starting a business is a sure path to success, or that government's primary role is to simply clear away all obstacles to that one and only noble goal.

Last edited by wolfpup; 10-28-2019 at 04:39 PM.
  #23  
Old 10-28-2019, 04:45 PM
HMS Irruncible is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 8,728
Quote:
Originally Posted by XT View Post
There are certainly a group of liberals who DO look down on many of their fellow citizens and DO think they know what's best for the majority because they are smarter, better informed or whatever other props they use to decide they just know best.
If we're deciding who knows best, are there better criteria than being smart and informed?

I mean, in my experience, people do not go around saying "I am more smart and informed". They make arguments and present information. Then the losers of those arguments stomp off, disparaging the very concept of being informed.

To be quite honest, the only folks you hear trumpeting a superior "Facts and Logic" approach are conservatives like Ben Shapiro, Rush Limbaugh, and countless other stooges. Conservatives really love being smarty-pants on the few occasions that they can make it work for them.
  #24  
Old 10-28-2019, 04:47 PM
QuickSilver is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 19,628
Quote:
Originally Posted by chappachula View Post
Pompous asses exist everywhere. There are plenty of farmers who are proud that they are ignorant of big-city culture. But somehow that seems less irritating to me than big-city folk who do the same.
Maybe it's 'cause I like the smell of a barn more than the smell of smog.
So you're admitting that the opposite of liberal elite is bullshit bias.
__________________
St. QuickSilver: Patron Saint of Thermometers.
  #25  
Old 10-28-2019, 04:55 PM
XT's Avatar
XT is offline
Agnatheist
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: The Great South West
Posts: 35,675
Quote:
Originally Posted by HMS Irruncible View Post
If we're deciding who knows best, are there better criteria than being smart and informed?

I mean, in my experience, people do not go around saying "I am more smart and informed". They make arguments and present information. Then the losers of those arguments stomp off, disparaging the very concept of being informed.

To be quite honest, the only folks you hear trumpeting a superior "Facts and Logic" approach are conservatives like Ben Shapiro, Rush Limbaugh, and countless other stooges. Conservatives really love being smarty-pants on the few occasions that they can make it work for them.
Well, they THINK they know best, but often folks think that. And generally they are elitist of one stripe or another who do think that. I've rarely seen any historical evidence that elites of any stripe actually DO know what's best for others, especially when they disdain them and belittle them. YMMV of course.

Look at the posts in this thread. There is a ton of denial here. Very few are attempting to actually take a deep look at this to see WHY there are so many who think there are 'liberal elites'. Instead, it's about denial that it's a real thing, projection that it's conservatives or Republicans or right wing media that created it out of whole clothe, and, of course, belittling various versions of 'the common man' or 'gullible, low information voters'. Hell, we have one poster who seems to need some sort of extraordinary proof that people use the phrase 'fly over country' in a disparaging way...or maybe at all. I'm not sure, as they are pointing at inconsistencies in a post as proof of...well, something.

This is, IMHO, when the 'dope becomes more of an echo chamber than it normally is. This board DOES have a lot of liberals on it. And they are more than happy to point out the mote in the conservatives eyes. Hell, I am as well. But when confronted with something they don't want to hear, this thread is the general response. Using the tools of skepticism in some cases to pick apart a post to prove...something. And going into automatic denial, with a touch of CT to be honest...as if this is all a manufactured construct by Right Wing Media(tm) or some other loopy shit like that.

It's fine. It allows me to kick back and feel superior, which is really the reason I'm a moderate elite in the first place. Which is silly, of course since in another thread, it was proved that there ARE no moderates.
__________________
-XT

That's what happens when you let rednecks play with anti-matter!

Last edited by XT; 10-28-2019 at 04:57 PM.
  #26  
Old 10-28-2019, 05:00 PM
Bone's Avatar
Bone is offline
Extrajudicial
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,026
Quote:
Originally Posted by HMS Irruncible View Post
If we're deciding who knows best, are there better criteria than being smart and informed?
I think there is a demarcation between objective things and subjective things. Being smart and informed is pretty damn useful when it comes to objective things. The stereotype of liberal elites comes into play when that attitude is shifted into the arena of the subjective.

Rocket scientist talking about the engineering feats of launching satellites into orbit doesn't elicit liberal elitism criticism. Rocket scientist saying that their work is more important than XYZ is closer along those lines.
  #27  
Old 10-28-2019, 05:15 PM
wolfpup's Avatar
wolfpup is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 11,233
Quote:
Originally Posted by XT View Post
... There is a ton of denial here. Very few are attempting to actually take a deep look at this to see WHY there are so many who think there are 'liberal elites'. Instead, it's about denial that it's a real thing, projection that it's conservatives or Republicans or right wing media that created it out of whole clothe, and, of course, belittling various versions of 'the common man' or 'gullible, low information voters'.
I thought the look I took at it upthread was plenty deep enough. The short version is that the word "elite" doesn't actually mean anything except some vague sense of disparaging someone who allegedly thinks he is better than you or me. It resonates well with Republicans as a disparagement of liberals because it fits with the idea of an educated person who cites facts that the listener has never heard of or that Rush Limbaugh has told them are wrong, and which undermine the listener's emotionally held beliefs.

The true concept of elitism is a real or feigned disconnect from the everyday reality of the common man and his struggles to raise, support, and educate his family. It's George W. Bush's frankly stated inability "to figure out poor people", it's Barbara Bush saying that the displaced New Orleans flood victims now get better food and better housing than they've ever had in their (presumably miserable) lives, it's Ronald Reagan and his henchmen pushing the "trickle-down" fraud to get the rubes to support even more tax cuts for the rich, it's Trump and his family literally living in a gilded cage in a gaudy Manhattan penthouse and so detached from reality that I honestly think they regard self-serving corruption as just normal business practice.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bone View Post
Rocket scientist talking about the engineering feats of launching satellites into orbit doesn't elicit liberal elitism criticism.
Only because it doesn't pose a threat.

Last edited by wolfpup; 10-28-2019 at 05:16 PM.
  #28  
Old 10-28-2019, 05:19 PM
QuickSilver is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 19,628
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bone View Post
Rocket scientist talking about the engineering feats of launching satellites into orbit doesn't elicit liberal elitism criticism. Rocket scientist saying that their work is more important than XYZ is closer along those lines.
Some examples:

Liberal elitism is more often correlated with agnosticism and atheism.

Liberal elitism is more often correlated with climate change science.

Liberal elitism is more often correlated with social justice and equality.


Now, is liberal elitism an indicator of advanced progressive ideas, or, are advanced social and scientific ideas something that attracts people who tend to identify as liberals and thus get labeled "elites" when they espouse/promote these agendas?
__________________
St. QuickSilver: Patron Saint of Thermometers.

Last edited by QuickSilver; 10-28-2019 at 05:19 PM.
  #29  
Old 10-28-2019, 05:28 PM
XT's Avatar
XT is offline
Agnatheist
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: The Great South West
Posts: 35,675
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfpup View Post
I thought the look I took at it upthread was plenty deep enough. The short version is that the word "elite" doesn't actually mean anything except some vague sense of disparaging someone who allegedly thinks he is better than you or me. It resonates well with Republicans as a disparagement of liberals because it fits with the idea of an educated person who cites facts that the listener has never heard of or that Rush Limbaugh has told them are wrong, and which undermine the listener's emotionally held beliefs.

The true concept of elitism is a real or feigned disconnect from the everyday reality of the common man and his struggles to raise, support, and educate his family. It's George W. Bush's frankly stated inability "to figure out poor people", it's Barbara Bush saying that the displaced New Orleans flood victims now get better food and better housing than they've ever had in their (presumably miserable) lives, it's Ronald Reagan and his henchmen pushing the "trickle-down" fraud to get the rubes to support even more tax cuts for the rich, it's Trump and his family literally living in a gilded cage in a gaudy Manhattan penthouse and so detached from reality that I honestly think they regard self-serving corruption as just normal business practice.
So, let me ask you a question. If there was a thread started on this board about conservative elitism, what do you suppose would be the reaction if a poster basically ignored the question, but instead focused solely on liberal elitism, using various liberals to demonstrate it? I'm curious how you think that would go over...and what your own reaction to that might be. Would you post a rebuttal saying something like 'your entire post is ignoring the OP and basically doing a whatabout rebuttal'? I think that there would be a lot of posts that would.

That seems to be the theme to be honest. But, let me ask you a further question. Do you honestly think there aren't any examples of liberals who are elitist? You cherry picked some very good ones for conservative elites...but do you think there aren't any for liberals? That there isn't any basis, at all, for the seemingly wide spread notion that 'liberal elite' is a thing? Outside of right wing media planting it of course. Outside of that, do you honestly think there just is no basis for the meme at all? Enough that it's entered the general lexicon and basically is a term that is instantly recognized AS a thing, and not just in the US?

I'm genuinely curious, not just about your answer but other 'dopers in this thread who seem to disbelieve this is a real thing. To me, that will be a more interesting answer and will tell me more than pointing fingers or doing whataboutisms and cherry picked examples.
__________________
-XT

That's what happens when you let rednecks play with anti-matter!

Last edited by XT; 10-28-2019 at 05:29 PM.
  #30  
Old 10-28-2019, 05:31 PM
Czarcasm's Avatar
Czarcasm is online now
Champion Chili Chef
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 63,195
Quote:
Originally Posted by XT View Post
That seems to be the theme to be honest. But, let me ask you a further question. Do you honestly think there aren't any examples of liberals who are elitist? You cherry picked some very good ones for conservative elites...but do you think there aren't any for liberals? That there isn't any basis, at all, for the seemingly wide spread notion that 'liberal elite' is a thing? Outside of right wing media planting it of course. Outside of that, do you honestly think there just is no basis for the meme at all? Enough that it's entered the general lexicon and basically is a term that is instantly recognized AS a thing, and not just in the US?

I'm genuinely curious, not just about your answer but other 'dopers in this thread who seem to disbelieve this is a real thing. To me, that will be a more interesting answer and will tell me more than pointing fingers or doing whataboutisms and cherry picked examples.
I'll honestly think about the possibility if you can provide honest examples.
Sound fair?
  #31  
Old 10-28-2019, 05:35 PM
XT's Avatar
XT is offline
Agnatheist
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: The Great South West
Posts: 35,675
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
I'll honestly think about the possibility if you can provide honest examples.
Sound fair?
No, I'm really not interested (nor, to be honest, should you be) in me Googling examples of 'liberal elites', as, for one, it's trivially easy, and two, it would prove nothing. Hell, there would be quibbles, as conservatives could quibble, about wolfpup's examples. I found them compelling and agree with him, but that's not going to be any sort of universal acceptance.

No, if you don't want to answer that's fine. If you feel there really aren't any, and that it's a completely made up thing, that's fine too. From the posts, I think that IS what many in this thread think. So, I just wanted someone to go into detail....or maybe, genuinely, think about it and not go into automatic denial, and see there are always examples on any side of bad shit that folks who might align, generally, with your world view think or feel. Or maybe not.

For my part, I answered the OP so I'm really in it to see what others on this board think about the subject and what they say in the thread.
__________________
-XT

That's what happens when you let rednecks play with anti-matter!
  #32  
Old 10-28-2019, 05:44 PM
Bone's Avatar
Bone is offline
Extrajudicial
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,026
Quote:
Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
Some examples:

Liberal elitism is more often correlated with agnosticism and atheism.

Liberal elitism is more often correlated with climate change science.

Liberal elitism is more often correlated with social justice and equality.


Now, is liberal elitism an indicator of advanced progressive ideas, or, are advanced social and scientific ideas something that attracts people who tend to identify as liberals and thus get labeled "elites" when they espouse/promote these agendas?
I'm not sure how to respond to this because I'm not sure if it's relevant or a response to me.

For me, I view the term is accurate when describing ideas that are subjective in nature as if they are objective. More specifically, the assumption that one person knows what's best for the other, not recognizing the idea that each could have different evaluations of the relative utility of a given choice set.
  #33  
Old 10-28-2019, 05:52 PM
Czarcasm's Avatar
Czarcasm is online now
Champion Chili Chef
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 63,195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bone View Post
I'm not sure how to respond to this because I'm not sure if it's relevant or a response to me.

For me, I view the term is accurate when describing ideas that are subjective in nature as if they are objective. More specifically, the assumption that one person knows what's best for the other, not recognizing the idea that each could have different evaluations of the relative utility of a given choice set.
Would you call this a common definition used by those who toss the term around in the media?
  #34  
Old 10-28-2019, 05:54 PM
HMS Irruncible is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 8,728
Quote:
Originally Posted by XT View Post
Look at the posts in this thread. There is a ton of denial here. Very few are attempting to actually take a deep look at this to see WHY there are so many who think there are 'liberal elites'. Instead, it's about denial that it's a real thing, projection that it's conservatives or Republicans or right wing media that created it out of whole clothe, and, of course, belittling various versions of 'the common man' or 'gullible, low information voters'.
I see a lot of people claiming that their perception of liberal elites proves that there is a perception of liberal elites, which seems a little bit circular to me.

Quote:
Hell, we have one poster who seems to need some sort of extraordinary proof that people use the phrase 'fly over country' in a disparaging way...or maybe at all.
I'm not going to try to argue a negative, but the author of "The View From Flyover Country" does not share your take.

Quote:
This is, IMHO, when the 'dope becomes more of an echo chamber than it normally is.
Echo chamber protestations are lazy and worthless. True, everyone made fun of Columbus, and everyone also made fun of Bozo the Clown.
  #35  
Old 10-28-2019, 06:27 PM
Voyager's Avatar
Voyager is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 46,774
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bone View Post
I'm not sure how to respond to this because I'm not sure if it's relevant or a response to me.

For me, I view the term is accurate when describing ideas that are subjective in nature as if they are objective. More specifically, the assumption that one person knows what's best for the other, not recognizing the idea that each could have different evaluations of the relative utility of a given choice set.
But lots of people can't seem to distinguish between objective and subjective. Does Inhofe's snowball qualify as subjective climate change denial or objective climate change denial?
How about Trump ignoring the advice of foreign policy experts and stabbing the Kurds in the back. (I'm charitably assuming this was done by himself.) Foreign policy is not objective, but ignoring those with decades of experience because you think you are an expert because you are smarter than the generals is just stupid. And a great example of anti-intellectualism and anti-experience that the right is full of.
  #36  
Old 10-28-2019, 07:06 PM
wolfpup's Avatar
wolfpup is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 11,233
Quote:
Originally Posted by XT View Post
So, let me ask you a question. If there was a thread started on this board about conservative elitism, what do you suppose would be the reaction if a poster basically ignored the question, but instead focused solely on liberal elitism, using various liberals to demonstrate it? I'm curious how you think that would go over...and what your own reaction to that might be. Would you post a rebuttal saying something like 'your entire post is ignoring the OP and basically doing a whatabout rebuttal'? I think that there would be a lot of posts that would.
Is that what you think I did -- ignore the question and offered cherry-picked examples of conservative elitism in a mere attempt at "whataboutism"? Because that's certainly not what I think I did. What I think I did was quote and agree with the idea that the conservative "liberal elite" moniker was a fabricated attack meme that was an unspoken synonym for "educated", knowing that many of said conservative followers are already contemptuous of education because it tends to be associated with uncomfortable facts that they don't like, everything from universal health care to social justice and equality issues to the reality of climate change and questioning their religious beliefs and their promotion of pseudo-theocratic public policies that they wish to impose on everyone in the name of "religious freedom". I can't speak for other posters, but my reaction to the kind of post you describe would be to cite facts showing it to be wrong, or else, if I was feeling impatient, just ignore it altogether.
Quote:
Originally Posted by XT View Post
That seems to be the theme to be honest. But, let me ask you a further question. Do you honestly think there aren't any examples of liberals who are elitist? You cherry picked some very good ones for conservative elites...but do you think there aren't any for liberals? That there isn't any basis, at all, for the seemingly wide spread notion that 'liberal elite' is a thing? Outside of right wing media planting it of course. Outside of that, do you honestly think there just is no basis for the meme at all?
Again, that isn't the theme, as I just noted. And I never said that there aren't any liberal elites. Of course there are "elites" of one kind or another in all segments of society, representing all ideologies. That isn't the point. The point is whether this "elitism" that conservatives are touting is something real, something that for some reason is intrinsically tied to liberal ideology and therefore quite common among liberals, and if so, what is that intrinsic causative factor?

My position is that I find no such factor for alleged liberal elitism (a common factor of being educated is something I associate with being well informed, not being "elite", and being informed is in an important sense the exact opposite of being a disconnected elitist), but that there is a substantial commonality between being very wealthy and being born into wealth and being disconnected from the realities of the everyday life challenges that most of us face. That kind of elitism found among the wealthy in their guaranteed secure lifestyles in protected gated communities far from the violence and poverty of much of their own country is true elitism, the kind that usually (with some exceptions) tends to make for very poor political leadership. That's why the examples I cited were so easy to come up with, and so egregious. Every single Congressional Republican who currently blindly supports Trump in defiance of all the facts is guilty of it.
  #37  
Old 10-28-2019, 07:18 PM
leahcim is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 3,688
Quote:
Originally Posted by HMS Irruncible View Post
I'm not going to try to argue a negative, but the author of "The View From Flyover Country" does not share your take.
From that article:

Quote:
A search through Google’s massive archive of scanned books and periodicals finds that many subsequent occurrences of flyover country come from people who, like McGuane, put the phrase in someone else’s mouth. Rarely is it ever used by a New Yorker or Angelino as a pejorative.
This matches my experience of the term -- it's a term used by aggrieved midwesterners to describe what they think coastal (or non-coastal) big-city people think of them. In reality big-city folk don't spend a lot of time thinking about the midwest at all, much less disparagingly.
  #38  
Old 10-28-2019, 07:43 PM
Tamerlane is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: SF Bay Area, California
Posts: 13,913
Quote:
Originally Posted by leahcim View Post
This matches my experience of the term -- it's a term used by aggrieved midwesterners to describe what they think coastal (or non-coastal) big-city people think of them. In reality big-city folk don't spend a lot of time thinking about the midwest at all, much less disparagingly.
Being dismissive, even if it is not ill-intentioned will usually be taken as insulting snobbishness. I was born in Ithaca, lived in NYC as a youngster and have lived in other urban areas for most of my life. But even I get my nose slightly out of joint when New Yorkers start crowing proudly about how great their city is .

Last edited by Tamerlane; 10-28-2019 at 07:44 PM.
  #39  
Old 10-28-2019, 07:43 PM
DrFidelius's Avatar
DrFidelius is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Miskatonic University
Posts: 12,571
I thought "liberal elite" meant Jews.
__________________
The opinions expressed here are my own, and do not represent any other persons, organizations, spirits, thinking machines, hive minds or other sentient beings on this world or any adjacent dimensions in the multiverse.
  #40  
Old 10-28-2019, 08:46 PM
Voyager's Avatar
Voyager is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 46,774
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamerlane View Post
Being dismissive, even if it is not ill-intentioned will usually be taken as insulting snobbishness. I was born in Ithaca, lived in NYC as a youngster and have lived in other urban areas for most of my life. But even I get my nose slightly out of joint when New Yorkers start crowing proudly about how great their city is .
We do, but nothing compared to how Texans crow about how great their state is. Even liberal ones. Even atheist ones.
  #41  
Old 10-28-2019, 09:23 PM
Bryan Ekers's Avatar
Bryan Ekers is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Montreal, QC
Posts: 59,478
It's a label useful for making people hostile to people better educated than they are. It's a pity, because one should be trying to emulate smart people rather than sneering at them, but sneering is lazier so it's an easy sell.
  #42  
Old 10-28-2019, 09:28 PM
F. U. Shakespeare is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Baltimore or less
Posts: 4,269
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrFidelius View Post
I thought "liberal elite" meant Jews.
I'm pretty sure the code for Jews is "eastern liberals".

The Clintons are liberal elite, since they hail from the midwest/south.

In contrast, Patrick Buchanan (who was born in DC, went to private Catholic schools in DC, and private Catholic Georgetown in DC, and was nicknamed "Mr. Inside" when he worked for the Nixon White House [take a guess where?]) is a man of the people.

Last edited by F. U. Shakespeare; 10-28-2019 at 09:30 PM.
  #43  
Old 10-29-2019, 12:09 AM
ASL v2.0's Avatar
ASL v2.0 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Various
Posts: 682
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers View Post
It's a label useful for making people hostile to people better educated than they are. It's a pity, because one should be trying to emulate smart people rather than sneering at them, but sneering is lazier so it's an easy sell.
I guess I’m the lone dissenting view in this. Or at least, I’m the lone dissenting view who sees it as an allegation of implicit hypocrisy rather than of merely being "out of touch."

To break it down, the natural counter to the term "liberal elite," if you believe the term is meant as a pejorative related primarily to extraordinary wealth and advanced education, is to point to the extraordinary fortunes and Ivy League educations of your Bushes and your Romneys. If the argument were strictly an argument against wealth and education, then that would be sufficient to at least negate it as an argument for your prototypical arch-conservative over your classic "liberal elite."

But if, as I believe, it is meant to suggest that the liberal elite are hypocrites, then you can’t simply negate it by reducing it to the absurd, you must directly refute the assumptions that underpin the argument (which probably have something to do with a belief in the efficacy of trickle down economics, the idea that unfettered capitalism is the best and only way to run a "free country," and that the government should function only to provide a safe haven for the same). That’s what I think "the other guy" really means when he throws around the term liberal elite as a pejorative.

Other guy says, "Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are just out of touch liberal elites and so have no business running this country full of good, honest, hard-working folks like me and my audience."

You reply, "Oh yeah? Well what about the Bushes, and for that matter what about you, mister syndicated talk show host with a six-figure income?"

Other guy snaps back with, "Hey, my problem isn’t with people working hard and making money, I’m all for capitalism. What me, Bush, and my viewers have in common is we all believe that if someone works hard, they deserve to succeed and to make money and ultimately achieve the American Dream (tm). The ability to pass that wealth on to the people we care about is yet more motivation to work even harder. What you and your liberal elites want his to have us all living in shitty public housing, with the government controlling every aspect of our lives and taxing us into mediocrity so that a bunch of welfare queens can get buy for nothing."

You say, "No, we just want a social safety net, so people who fall on hard times—"

Other guy interrupts with, "Oh? Well then why don’t you give to charity? I bet you could give me—and to worthy causes—if you weren’t already getting taxed so much. I mean, look at Bush the Elder: he donated to cancer kids. Uncle Joe, Bernie, and Elizabeth Warren just want to raise taxes so they can force you to pay for inefficient government programs that THEY choose, and in the meantime I don’t see them living in public housing or donating their money to charity. Nope, they’ve got posh New England homes on top of their DC town houses. They refuse to live the life they would foist on the rest of us."

/dialogue

The term "liberal elite" is, in a sense, an accusation of class-treason levied by a capitalist against a socialist, but of course they can’t actually call it "class-treason" or refer to the so-called liberal elite a "class-traitor" because those are socialist terms, not suitable for use by a committed capitalist.

Last edited by ASL v2.0; 10-29-2019 at 12:13 AM.
  #44  
Old 10-29-2019, 12:30 AM
Bryan Ekers's Avatar
Bryan Ekers is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Montreal, QC
Posts: 59,478
You're putting way more thought into it than people railing against the "liberal elite" expect their audiences to, I speculate.
__________________
Don't worry about the end of Inception. We have top men working on it right now. Top. Men.
  #45  
Old 10-29-2019, 12:42 AM
ASL v2.0's Avatar
ASL v2.0 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Various
Posts: 682
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers View Post
You're putting way more thought into it than people railing against the "liberal elite" expect their audiences to, I speculate.
Right. That’s why it works as a pejorative for their audience but not for me. QED.
  #46  
Old 10-29-2019, 08:36 AM
JRDelirious is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Displaced
Posts: 16,048
Can't help but wonder, if deciding we can and should decipher and libsplain what is behind the notion of "liberal elite" and why it's wrong... makes us an example of the liberal elite?
  #47  
Old 10-29-2019, 09:34 AM
octopus's Avatar
octopus is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 9,470
Thomas Sowell’s book Vision of the Anointed gives a good idea of what a liberal elite is and why they are so dangerous.
  #48  
Old 10-29-2019, 10:16 AM
Velocity is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 15,827
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers View Post
It's a label useful for making people hostile to people better educated than they are. It's a pity, because one should be trying to emulate smart people rather than sneering at them, but sneering is lazier so it's an easy sell.
Ironically, this sounds exactly like the question/type being referred to by the OP.
  #49  
Old 10-29-2019, 10:29 AM
Czarcasm's Avatar
Czarcasm is online now
Champion Chili Chef
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 63,195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
Ironically, this sounds exactly like the question/type being referred to by the OP.
I think the word "ironic" is being used as an excuse to dismiss any response that doesn't buy into this "liberal elite" crap. Defending their position-that's just what I expect the Liberal Elite to do. How ironic!

If you are going to see any response that doesn't agree with the premise as "ironic", what's the point in conversing about the matter?

Last edited by Czarcasm; 10-29-2019 at 10:29 AM.
  #50  
Old 10-29-2019, 10:39 AM
wguy123 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,191
Quote:
Originally Posted by octopus View Post
Thomas Sowell’s book Vision of the Anointed gives a good idea of what a liberal elite is and why they are so dangerous.
Can you give us a hint what they are and why they are dangerous?
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:33 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017