Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Snob or elitist; A snarl for merit

As one wag noticed about half the population are below average by any standard of measurement.

As this article in the Washington Post notes appealing to the ordinariness of people is almost expected of a politician seeking higher office. Unfortunately this validates a celebration of ignorance and a will to stupidity that is corrosive to society and the individuals in it.

I'd like to draw a distinction here between the snob and the elitist. A snob offers an opinion they're better than you, and elitist offers evidence. One person is not as good as another at many things. Albert Einstein, Arthur Schlesinger, jr. and Martha Nussbaum are smarter than me. They have bodies of carefully thought-out work that demonstrate this.

Let us feel shame at our ignorance. Let us feels badly about our inadequacies. If they really didn't matter, they wouldn't be inadequacies, would they? If we feel badly perhaps we will work to overcome these inadequacies, instead of striving to deny them.
And let's feel pride in overcoming these lacks, for ignorance is a lack of knowledge and clumsiness a lack of practice.

This superiority of ability doesn't engender a greater set of rights in front of a court, but it doesn't mean "my opinion is as good as theirs".

1 comment:

Gazoo said...

Quiet wisdom has often been mistaken for ignorance as well.

"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."
-E.M. Forster