Elitism Quotes

Quotes tagged as "elitism" Showing 1-30 of 83
Isaac Asimov
“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'
Isaac Asimov

Winston S. Churchill
“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”
Winston S. Churchill

H.L. Mencken
“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
H.L. Mencken, On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe

Mark Twain
“When red-headed people are above a certain social grade their hair is auburn.”
Mark Twain

Friedrich Nietzsche
“They're so cold, these scholars!
May lightning strike their food
so that their mouths learn how
to eat fire!”
Friedrich Nietzsche

Esther M. Friesner
“If one cannot learn from the mistakes of others, one might as well become a Democrat.”
Esther M. Friesner, My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding

Dan Rather
“An intellectual snob is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture and not think of The Lone Ranger. ”
Dan Rather

Helen Keller
“I do not mean to object to a thorough knowledge of the famous works we read. I object only to the interminable comments and bewildering criticisms that teach but one thing: there are as many opinions as there are men.”
Helen Keller, The Story of My Life

Michel Foucault
“There are more ideas on earth than intellectuals imagine. And these ideas are more active, stronger, more resistant, more passionate than "politicians" think. We have to be there at the birth of ideas, the bursting outward of their force: not in books expressing them, but in events manifesting this force, in struggles carried on around ideas, for or against them. Ideas do not rule the world. But it is because the world has ideas (and because it constantly produces them) that it is not passively ruled by those who are its leaders or those who would like to teach it, once and for all, what it must think.”
Michel Foucault

Haruki Murakami
“I love pop culture -- the Rolling Stones, the Doors, David Lynch, things like that.
That's why I said I don't like elitism.”
Haruki Murakami

Glenn Greenwald
“Incestuous, homogeneous fiefdoms of self-proclaimed expertise are always rank-closing and mutually self-defending, above all else.”
Glenn Greenwald

Johan Hakelius
“The problem with call-in shows is quite simple, if you only dare to admit it: Democracy is best when not everyone can be heard all the time. If we are constantly reminded of all the stupid things that people say and think, it becomes rather difficult to remember the good and noble arguments for everyone to be able to participate and decide.”
Johan Hakelius

Marcel Proust
“She's on the stairs, ma'am, getting her breath,' said the young servant, who had not been long up from the country, where my mother had the excellent habit of getting all her servants. Often she had seen them born. That's the only way to get really good ones. And they're the rarest of luxuries.”
Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past: Volume I - Swann's Way & Within a Budding Grove

John McCain
“I know where a lot of them [the elite or elitists] live.

Where's that?

Well, in our nation's capital and New York City. I've seen it. I've lived there.”
John McCain

“Most people I've met who weren't kind to animal, weren't kind to people either. Kindness is kindness. Simple as that. Barbaric activities such as hunting should be consigned to the history books.”
Fuad Alakbarov, Exodus

Noam Chomsky
“MAN: Mr. Chomsky, I’m wondering what specific qualifications you have to be able to speak all around the country about world affairs?
 
None whatsoever. I mean, the qualifications that I have to speak on world affairs are exactly the same ones Henry Kissinger has, and Walt Rostow has, or anybody in the Political Science Department, professional historians—none, none that you don’t have. The only difference is, I don’t pretend to have qualifications, nor do I pretend that qualifications are needed. I mean, if somebody were to ask me to give a talk on quantum physics, I’d refuse—because I don’t understand enough. But world affairs are trivial: there’s nothing in the social sciences or history or whatever that is beyond the intellectual capacities of an ordinary fifteen-year-old. You have to do a little work, you have to do some reading, you have to be able to think, but there’s nothing deep—if there are any theories around that require some special kind of training to understand, then they’ve been kept a carefully guarded secret.
In fact, I think the idea that you’re supposed to have special qualifications to talk about world affairs is just another scam—it’s kind of like Leninism [position that socialist revolution should be led by a “vanguard” party]: it’s just another technique for making the population feel that they don’t know anything, and they’d better just stay out of it and let us smart guys run it. In order to do that, what you pretend is that there’s some esoteric discipline, and you’ve got to have some letters after your name before you can say anything about it. The fact is, that’s a joke.
 
MAN: But don’t you also use that system too, because of your name-recognition and the fact that you’re a famous linguist? I mean, would I be invited to go somewhere and give talks?
 
You think I was invited here because people know me as a linguist? Okay, if that was the reason, then it was a bad mistake. But there are plenty of other linguists around, and they aren’t getting invited to places like this—so I don’t really think that can be the reason. I assumed that the reason is that these are topics that I’ve written a lot about, and I’ve spoken a lot about, and I’ve demonstrated a lot about, and I’ve gone to jail about, and so on and so forth—I assumed that’s the reason. If it’s not, well, then it’s a bad mistake. If anybody thinks that you should listen to me because I’m a professor at M.I.T., that’s nonsense. You should decide whether something makes sense by its content, not by the letters after the name of the person who says it. And the idea that you’re supposed to have special qualifications to talk about things that are common sense, that’s just another scam—it’s another way to try to marginalize people, and you shouldn’t fall for it.”
Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky

Van Wyck Brooks
“Never forget that it is we New Yorkers and New Englanders who have the monopoly of whatever oxygen there is in the American continent.”
Van Wyck Brooks

“Nowadays, our leaders prefer to search for the causes of crime and poverty in the actions or inaction of those at the very bottom of society. The obscene transfers of wealth over the past forty years from that bottom to a privileged few at the top--and from much of the Third World to financial elites in the West--are all excused as the natural evolution of the Market, when, in fact, they are products of unparalleled greed by those who shape and direct that Market.”
Juan González, Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America

Arthur Koestler
[January 1944] As to this country, I have been lecturing now for three years to the troops and their attitude is the same. They don’t believe in concentration camps, they don’t believe in the starved children of Greece, in the shot hostages of France, in the mass-graves of Poland; they have never heard of Lidice, Treblinka or Belzec; you can convince them for an hour, then they shake themselves, their mental self-defence begins to work and in a week the shrug of incredulity has returned like a reflex temporarily weakened by a shock.
Clearly all this is becoming a mania with me and my like. Clearly we must suffer from some morbid obsession, whereas the others are healthy and normal. But the characteristic symptom of maniacs is that they lose contact with reality and live in a phantasy world. So perhaps it is the other way around: perhaps it is we, the screamers, who react in a sound and healthy way to the reality which surrounds us, whereas you are the neurotic, who totter about in a screamed phantasy world because you lack the faculty to face the facts! Were it not so, this war would have been avoided, and those murdered within sight of your daydreaming eyes would still be alive!”
Arthur Koestler

“Hunting animals is not a wildlife or environmental management solution. Why should anyone spend money to protect an animal that a wealthy trophy hunter can then pay to go kill?”
Fuad Alakbarov, Exodus

LeVar Burton
“It takes just as much energy to be an asshole as it does to be kind.”
LeVar Burton

“Why but Learning would not be made common. Yea but Learning cannot be too common, and the commoner the better. Why but who is not jealous, his Mistresse should be so prostitute? Yea but this Mistress is like ayre, fire, water, the more breathed the clearer; the more extended the warmer; the more drawne the sweeter. It were inhumanitie to coop her up, and worthy forfeiture to conceal her. Why but Schollers should have some privilege of preheminence. So have they: they onely are worthy Translators. Why but the vulgar should not knowe all. No, they can not for all this; nor even Schollers for much more: I would, both could and knew much more than either doth or can. Why but all would not be knowne of all. No nor can: much more we know not than we know: all know something, none know all: would all know all? they must breake ere they be so bigge.”
John Florio, The Essayes of Michael, Lord of Montaigne

Pete Buttigieg
“In April 2001, a student group called the Progressive Student Labor Movement took over the offices of the university’s president, demanding a living wage for Harvard janitors and food workers. That spring, a daily diversion on the way to class was to see which national figure—Cornel West or Ted Kennedy one day, John Kerry or Robert Reich another—had turned up in the Yard to encourage the protesters.

Striding past the protesters and the politicians addressing them, on my way to a “Pizza and Politics” session with a journalist like Matt Bai or a governor like Howard Dean, I did not guess that the students poised to have the greatest near-term impact were not the social justice warriors at the protests […] but a few mostly apolitical geeks who were quietly at work in Kirkland House”
Pete Buttigieg, Shortest Way Home: One Mayor's Challenge and a Model for America's Future

Wayne Gerard Trotman
“Judicial systems that enforce inequality as law are tools of subjugation.”
Wayne Gerard Trotman

Romain Gary
“My love, I caught sight of you a few moments ago, deep in conversation with a very sober-looking man, and I thought here is a bureaucrat sent by Reality to demand a full accounting, to investigate us on suspicion of fraud... on suspicion of being happy. Yes, there is something scandalous, something privileged and elitist about our love, because two people happily in love always turn their backs on the world; and so I am afraid. (From Laura’s note).”
Romain Gary, Au-delà de cette limite votre ticket n'est plus valable

“Socialism simply substitutes the judgment of the individual with the judgment of a few arrogant elites, not so dissimilar to slave owners.”
Kathy Barnette, Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain: Being Black and Conservative in America

James Branch Cabell
“...because intelligent persons do not attempt to keep abreast with modern fiction. It is probably ascribable to the fact that they enjoy being intelligent, and wish to remain so.”
James Branch Cabell, The Cords of Vanity

Thomas Piketty
“Billionaires think that anything goes, are enamored of geoengineering, and detest nothing so much as simple but unpleasant solutions (such as paying taxes and living quietly).”
Thomas Piketty, Capital and Ideology

“Although Condorcet emphasized the free, inherently rational individual, he was at the same time concerned with the way in which each person was formed by external authorities. Revealing a tension in his thought between democratic liberalism and intellectual elitism, he implied that those who controlled the educational system and shaped public opinion possessed the real power in the state. This concept would later be taken up by Comte in his formulation of the spiritual power, which would exhibit a similar tension.
More dynamic than Montesquieu's view of development, Condorcet's picture of history affirmed the possibility as well as the desirability of change. He believed progress could be accelerated by the philosophers, who had a unique ability to propagate truth. Just as they had been crucial in instigating the French revolution, so too they would be in the vanguard of the inevitable revolution that was to embrace all of humanity once the moral and political sciences were established. Comte could hardly have failed to be profoundly struck by Condorcet's description of the role of the philosopher and his assertion that 'everything tells us that we are approaching the epoch of one of the greatest revolutions of the human species.”
Mary Pickering, Auguste Comte: An Intellectual Biography, Volume I

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