In Defense of Elitism

#1
http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index...f-elitism/

EXCERPT: One thing I really like about sports is that it is the ultimate meritocracy. You are judged on your skills, talents, and ultimately your performance. Professional players are evaluated by the numbers, and traded accordingly. Their salaries are a direct reflection of their value to their team.

All this has even been reduced to a science, sabermetrics, which is praised for its cold calculating approach to exactly how much each player is worth to their team. I never hear complaints about this in professional sports. [...] This approach to professional sports is the ultimate in elitism. They even refer shamelessly to “elite players” without anyone batting an eye. There is no serious criticism of the NFL for unfairly discriminating against smaller players, or for the undemocratic way in which players are recruited. The hard work that leads to elite performance is also recognized and praised.

The same is true in other spheres of life as well, such as celebrity. I will not praise celebrity culture, but it is a simple fact that celebrities are generally judged on talent, skills, performance, and persona. Critics and fans are ruthless. This is true of actors, artists, and musicians. In Hollywood, elitism is institutionalized.

No one seriously thinks that amateur football players should be admitted to the NFL (they would be crushed), or that big budget movies should star acting hacks in order to be egalitarian (they would be eviscerated).

Why is it, then, that in intellectual spheres elitism is criticized and shunned? A comparable amount of talent and training may be necessary to a respected professor or scientist, and yet many people think their opinions are just as valuable with respect to their specific ares of expertise. Interestingly, the more physical and immediate the outcome, the more elitism is tolerated....

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#2
(Sep 25, 2017 10:08 PM)C C Wrote: Why is it, then, that in intellectual spheres elitism is criticized and shunned?

Because there isn't typically any objective and widely accepted way to rate skill and effectiveness in scholarly and intellectual pursuits, the way there is for football quarterbacks. There are citation rankings, but that's more of a popularity measure or a measure of current controversy. It doesn't measure the lasting value of the work. (That might only be visible from the perspective of a hundred years in the future.)

At the school level, there are standardized tests. But these are increasingly unpopular because groups that are parts of powerful political coalitions might not perform as well as members of less favored groups on average. Standardized tests are also unpopular in academia because teachers don't want to look bad because their students don't perform well.

Quote:A comparable amount of talent and training may be necessary to a respected professor or scientist, and yet many people think their opinions are just as valuable with respect to their specific ares of expertise.

I tend to think of university professors as resource people. They are people that have done work (whether valuable or not) in narrow research areas. So if I'm interested in learning more about those areas, those are obviously the people to consult.

But when it comes to areas remote from those research areas, I don't think that professors are any more authoritative than I am. For example, I acknowledge Noam Chomsky's work in linguistics. Very important and valuable. I could probably learn a lot about the philosophy of language from Chomsky. But when it comes to politics, I don't give Chomsky's views much credence. I prefer my own views.
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#3
Great post, Yaz.
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#4
(Sep 25, 2017 10:08 PM)C C Wrote: Why is it, then, that in intellectual spheres elitism is criticized and shunned?


is this the real question ?

one must know what an intellectual sphere is before one is able to compare & evaluate any concept of "sphere".

Qwasi intelectualism wound up as religious piety is a common mode in the usa.

however on a completely different level of interpretation AND meaning "modesty as a facet of intellectual excellence" is a different topic.

which topic are you talking about ?
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#5
Should be fairly self-evident, but honest intellectuals, of any stripe, eschew appeals to authority...which is essentially what intellectual elitism would be.
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#6
(Oct 16, 2017 01:16 AM)Syne Wrote: Should be fairly self-evident, but honest intellectuals, of any stripe, eschew appeals to authority...which is essentially what intellectual elitism would be.

"authority" as a social construct of historical value tends to be confined to positions of power via politics & birth/bloodlines.
intellectual exceptionalism has tended to exist outside that model of lust for un qualified power & control.
however.. in the age of communication the 2 have been mixed as privateers seek to mechanise knowledge as a product for sale to make profit from.
a profit vehicle rather than a path or structure of intellectualism.
thus intellectual models of process have been bastardised to be models of profit.

thus what is mostly termed "Elitism" is more soo someone complaining about their own lack of access to something they wish to avoid doing the hard work for while they flail modern consumerist culture as a model of defined power & authority (the rich un-caring narcissist normalised into a position of social government).

thus rich Elite
Vs
Intellectual Elite

whom do you think is wanting to undermine the value of "intellectual Elite" ? not the poor or the students. leaving who ? the Rich Elite!
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#7
Do you even know what an appeal to authority is? O_o
It has nothing to do with power and everything to do with expertise.

"Intellectual elite" is an expression of appeal to authority. It grants a privilege beyond the merit of their work alone...which is anti-intellectual.
The rich don't care about intellectuals beyond what the alumni expect for their donations. The students must bow to the authority of professors, because professors do wield power over their future careers.
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#8
(Oct 17, 2017 03:40 AM)Syne Wrote: Do you even know what an appeal to authority is? O_o
It has nothing to do with power and everything to do with expertise.

"Intellectual elite" is an expression of appeal to authority. It grants a privilege beyond the merit of their work alone...which is anti-intellectual.
The rich don't care about intellectuals beyond what the alumni expect for their donations. The students must bow to the authority of professors, because professors do wield power over their future careers.

ok...
how do University professors gain intellectual elitism from their students ?
specifically give me a working example of something.

personally i do not see the comparable concept, only a bastardisation of a term used to cross pollute a concept of percieved class, rather than an actual level of power.
e.g a professor is not beyond peer review, unlike a president.
a professors actions that define their power must be scientifically provable by other professors(& can be tested by the student or other people not inside the model of authrotity defined), unlike a rich person who hires & fires people at will or a president...

thus the appeal to authotiy is a percieved construct around given terms which are defined by express power as a perception in a working example.
i.e someone who is really really smart is not necessarily really really rich, or really really powerful.
the "perception" of assumed power is subjective to the observers ego, UNLES.. there is some direct line of equitable process to render control.
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#9
Authority over students is through the power of being able to negatively affect their transcript.

That is not what an appeal to authority alludes to. An appeal to authority is an argument that does not rely on its own merit but simply assumes merit based on a cited authority/expert.
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#10
(Oct 17, 2017 06:46 AM)Syne Wrote: Authority over students is through the power of being able to negatively affect their transcript.

That is not what an appeal to authority alludes to. An appeal to authority is an argument that does not rely on its own merit but simply assumes merit based on a cited authority/expert.

ah, ok thanks, i was kinda off on a different topic.
i have done a little back reading on "appeal to Authority".
my bent is more soo lay-persons construct of defining scientific intellectualism as a celebrity value of intellectual scientific persuit and then defining it as elitism as a superficial process of invalidation.
probably more soo a discussion on concepts of elitism in social perceptions as a process of societal value..etc
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