Morehead City, N.C.
July 13, 2018
TO THE EDITOR:
I read the Carteret County News-Times for multiple reasons, one of which is edification. So, as I read Marc Thiessen’s brilliant “Contempt … reelect …” piece in this edition, I was struck by a phrase, “coastal liberal elites.” A few years ago, a politician (who was vying for the U.S. presidency), stated in a television interview a similar phrase, to refer to another politician of opposing political ideology. The words “snob” and “elite” were used then. Of course, the word elite was used quite frequently then by some folks, to refer to folks with leftist political views. At the time of watching that TV interview, I thought, based on the context, that elite meant “highly educated” or even “intellectual.” On the other hand, “snob” did not have a positive ring and so was not deemed a good word by any stretch of my imagination.
I consulted my New American Webster Handy College Dictionary and found that “elite” is defined as “a superior or choice part, especially of a human society; select.” So, what is wrong with that?
Elite, is by definition not a bad word. We humans like to pride ourselves on desiring, even if not achieving “choice” things. “Choice/select” food like steak, 93% lean hamburger meat, home in “choice” neighborhoods, “choice”/Ivy League schools and so on.
So why does “elite” sound like a curse instead of “a cut above the rest? Why is it aimed at folks with liberal leftist political views? Are we to believe that only folks with leftist liberal views are “choice?” I will not say superior, even though the dictionary does because then it would suggest that if one is not a political leftist then one is inferior. The opposite of superior. The “not so choice” part of the human society?
What is wrong with labeling other folks? Who exactly are the snobs or elites? More specifically who or what are the “coastal liberal elites?” Are they liberal minded folks to happen to live on the coast? Are all the folks that live on the coasts of the United States liberals and/or elitist? Are all the Ivy League schools coastal?
I am hard pressed wrapping my thoughts around this category. I refuse to think though, that living on the coast automatically makes one a liberal or even elite. Neither can I wrap my head around the notion that being educated makes one a liberal, snob or elite, putting all these ideas together.
So why are these terms used so frequently with reference to left leaning political viewpoints or ideology? Should one believe that there are no elites or snobs for that matter, on the ideological right side of the political spectrum? I wonder. Should one deduce then, that all smart, choice, superiorly intellectual folks are ideologically liberal leftists? Plus, they live on the coast? I hope not, for diversity’s sake. Or, is elite just a bad word?