Elitism is the single biggest equality killer in the world. Since recorded history humans have been practicing it.
Elitism is no more than a mind game, it’s what the millennials would call head-trash. We think that we are better than others. We believe that there is a reason that others don’t deserve as much as we do.
We tell ourselves it is okay for ourselves to have more because, we live in America and, after all, we have earned it. If we didn’t earn it and we are just plain wealthy, we have a different story, such as, “I am entitled to my family’s money.” The point is, that it’s all a story that we tell ourselves.
This kind of thinking works particularly well in America because we are all about rugged individualism and earning our keep. If someone doesn’t earn their keep, we ignore them, or denigrate them. If they die, oh well, not our fault. Homeless are homeless because they want to be, or because they are drug addicts.
Elitism is everywhere! In politics, if you lose, you just weren’t tough enough (I’m tougher). This is true in sports and, of course, in business. Elitism is the process whereby we make our selfishness and greed okay to ourselves. We tell ourselves whatever it takes to continue with our consumption behavior. We don’t want to be wrong about how much that we purchase for ourselves and our family. If we do feel guilty, why we can just contribute a little bit to charity and that takes care of it.
Elitism is what allows us to indulge in religious wars. We have decided that our God is the best and so much better than others. We believe that our culture answers all questions.
This kind of thinking has hurt us for thousands of years and it is time that we started a new way of thinking. It is time that we acknowledge that we do not deserve wealth just because we have it.
The Catholic church believes in it’s own wealth because they believed that they were closer to God than anyone else. It is time to acknowledge that people don’t deserve wealth that is at the expense of another’s life or another’s well being. An example of putting wealth and its acquisition above life and well being is healthcare in America. It is not true that capitalism is more important than healthcare, and yet in America we have made capitalism more important than anything else, including people’s health and their lives. One person dies every hour because of lack of healthcare, because of lack of money. This is a moral failing of America. It is equal to the Third Reich’s killing of all humans that they deemed less than the German standard.
In fact, Hitler began his murderous campaign by proclaiming that Germans were better than anyone else. It was elitism at its most dangerous.
We imagine that we, personally, are not part of this elitism problem. We are mistaken. We must believe in elitism in a thousand little ways every single day. What do you think makes it possible for people to cut you off in traffic? What do you think allows a doctor to make you wait for thirty minutes in the waiting room? Why is it okay for strangers to be rude to you when they have no idea what your situation is? People are telling themselves that they know better, are better or have more privilege.
No matter where you go, or what you do, you will be exposed to elitism. It’s the school secretary who looks down her nose when your child is late to school. When you are at work, and your supervisor snubs you, or the manager tells you “we make those decisions” when clearly, managers don’t know how to make those decisions. Elitism allows people to make these kinds of errors in judgment.
We don’t realize how pervasive and life threatening elitism is in America and in the world. We would have to acknowledge our own elitist tendencies and then we would have to speak out against the thing that makes us feel valuable. After all, if we are better than no one, are we good enough?