An elite is a small group of powerful people in political and sociological theory, such as an oligarchy, that controls a disproportionate amount of wealth or political power in society. This group holds a superior position among the ordinary people and exercises greater privilege than the rest of the population.
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- The whole notion of the free market, laissez-faire capitalism, globalization is a very thin rationale for unmitigated greed by a tiny oligarchic elite. And they have made sure that that ideology is taught in universities across the country. And people, especially economists, who deviate from that ideology have been pushed aside, and become pariahs. And yet the driving ethos of that ideology is really to justify the hoarding of immense amounts of wealth by a very tiny percentage of the upper ruling class.
- People with advantages are loath to believe that they just happen to be people with advantages. They come readily to define themselves as inherently worthy of what they possess; they come to believe themselves 'naturally' elite, and, in fact, to imagine their possessions and their privileges as natural extensions of their own elite selves.
- C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite (1956), p. 14
- More and more, I tune out when I see the word "elites," regarding it as a lazy Marxist slur, from both Left and Right. I still use it, when I believe it is absolutely the right word. But more and more, it makes me say, "Bye."
- The practice of democracy has the notorious tendency to become paradoxical. It begins in the name of the "demos" but goes on to construct the demos rather narrowly; oftentimes, sections of the population manage to ensconce themselves as "the people", they count as the public, their ideas masquerade as the people's ideas. This inevitably produces a layered citizenry.
- We should be alarmed when members of the ruling class start pleading with us to take sides with them against the 'elite': one section of the elite calling for us to oppose the elite.