“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
– Inigo Montoya
One of the funnier movies of 1987 was the Princess Bride. Throughout it, one main character repeatedly used the word INCONCEIVABLE! whenever something was said that obviously was quite conceivable, and he should have used another word to express his surprise. At one point, in exasperation, our hero confronts him with the quote above.
There is a word that has been bandied about for so long that constantly reminds me of that movie quote.
I was reading the other day a Facebook reply critical of a post (by someone I don’t know, but was “liked” by someone I do). The original post expressed concern for “the least” of our fellow citizens under the new, incoming Trump administration. The individual who commented on that said, “Wow, are you serious? We have more poor and disenfranchised than ever in the last 8 years…you have fallen for the socialist lies perpetrated by the elitists. Who are you and your twisted mental process? We have suffered greatly the last 8 years as a nation.”
By the “last 8 years” the reply obviously meant Obama’s administration. Now I’m not an Obama fan, but the facts are, inspite of what the commenter believes, by every metric most of us are personally better off today, there is less unemployment, and Wall Street and financial organizations, businesses, the entire national economy, are much, much healthier and growing than 8 years ago when Obama took office.
I wanted, but thought better of it, to reply to him that he shouldn’t criticize until we see what happens under Trump. Not that I don’t love a good debate, but I didn’t think he’d be rational.
But that’s not germane to my point, which is: the author of that Facebook reply, like so many – if not most – political conservatives who use the word “elitist” always direct it towards anyone they believe to be a Liberal, or a Socialist, or in Academia, or the Press (other than Fox News or Brietbart News), or anyone or group they disagree with. Their intent is obviously meant to be some kind of disparagement, but I’m fairly sure they don’t understand what they’re saying.
The dictionary defines an “elitist” as a person having, or thought to have, superior intelligence.
That’s why whenever someone uses that word towards liberals, progressives, socialists, the media, or the academics, I just want to say to them, “Elitists? You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means, what you are actually saying is that you think they are more intelligent than you.”
That’s not to say that all political conservatives are not intelligent. I personally know some who are quite intelligent. But they just don’t use that word the way the others do.
So, maybe those who readily do use the word “elitists” perhaps, unconsciously, recognize that they, themselves, are the less intelligent?
But that would be INCONCEIVABLE!