28 May 2009

The Transparency of Intellectual Elitism

"Knowledge is power." Sir Francis Bacon, 1597.

Human beings, by their fallen nature, are drawn both to power and to the knowledge they believe promotes that power. Knowledge held by certain individuals who perceive that their knowledge is uniquely held by them can provide a feeling of exceptional power. I'm going to call it "Intellectual Elitism." And I can see right through it.

My thoughts on Intellectual Elitism were brought forefront to my mind by the recent nomination by the President of Ms. Sonia Sotomayor as well as the comments of said nominee, who is intended to replace Supreme Court Justice Souter. Intellectual Elitism, I believe, totally interferes with the ability to use common sense

Briefly, some history. Bear with me, history is IMPORTANT.

In 1859 Charles Darwin of the Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge, published his work "On the Origin of Species." I do not need to elaborate on what this publication meant in so many different areas of society, but suffice it to say that the theory that evolution occurs became accepted by the scientific community as FACT as well as by much of the general public. If you didn't accept this as fact, well then you weren't very knowledgeable. Mr. Darwin went on to publish many more works that resonated with people who in an time of Post-Enlightenment soaked up what he said. A "logical explanation" for the diversity of life seemed, during the hustling Industrial Revolution, to offer a form of "new" knowledge and provided for topics of public conversation. The theories of Darwin embedded themselves in personal philosophies, and then imagine: the feelings of thepower in "knowing" how to explain so many unexplainable things.

Also in 1859, soon after the publication of Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto, the middle classes and intellectuals of Europe rose in rebellion for a variety of reason, too many to list and not needed for my point of this anyway. Needless to say, the social situation in Europe and Asia (and even the US!) was very unsettled. Marxist theory espoused in the manifesto (as well as in Das Kapital) was initially intended to promote the individual out of class oppression. I'm not agreeing with his theories, but other people at the time certainly did. The philosophy following the theories stuck, of course, and revolution(s) ensued. Knowing at the time that the "individual" was intended to have power was, well, powerful!

Both Darwin and Marx have behind their complexities of theories a simplicity in theme: individuals subscribing to the adopted philosophies from the works elevated them mentally, and they acted it all out in a variety of ways at a time of profound social change. In other words, those living out their new-found knowledge-based philosophies meant they as persons were "better-than." The were intellectually superior, and this made them feel exceptional, distinct, and maybe even euphoric. They were "in-the-know." They were Intellectually Elite.

I do not believe by any stretch of the imagination that this time period showed the beginning of Intellectual Elitism. On the contrary, not only real history shows this but also fables, legends, proverbs and myths -common sense folklore, if you will- are full of demonstrations of what happens to someone when they are totally full of themselves. (See, another reason history is IMPORTANT!) But fast forward to this 21st century time frame, where the media shows us complete and total unapologetic demonstrations of Intellectual Elitism, made transparent by the convenience of diverse resources to provide us with a ton of information.

You can see Intellectual Elitism in Hollywood, reinforced by air-brushed images and insanely expensive clothing. It's in Washington, D.C. (and likely in the government officials in your own state) where party really doesn't matter any more because you're just too stupid to "know what we know." It is evident by the extreme "GREENS" who want us to believe that they KNOW their Smart Cars and Priuses (Priusi?) are smarter than your dumb sedan/truck/van/whatever. I contend that it absolutely flourishes among educators in most secular-based colleges and universities, even in high schools. These people believe they are "better-than" and that they "know more than." THAN YOU.

It brings me back to Ms. Sotomayor. She is an Intellectual Elitist. She "knows more than", she is "better-than". THAN YOU. Than a white man, than a non-latina, than, than, than-fill-in-the-blank. The people who support her believe they are better-thans. So does the person who nominated her.

The heir of Intellectual Elitism does not make true everything these people say. Sonia Sotomayer is showing you who she is, so believe her. Her espoused knowledge is uniquely hers as demonstrated by her many past public statements. Her knowledge is not power. Her Intellectual Elitism is showing. And it's completely transparent.

So now you know (wink).

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