The only actual elites of a modern nation are people who were born into power, or fought their way into power. Either way, they have to fight every day to stay elite, and by necessity are specialists.
They live and breathe money and influence. They are extremely socially intelligent. They become high-level government officials, lobbyists, board members and executive officers of powerful corporations, diplomats, etc.
This model tends to hold, in a fractal manner, down to lower and lower scopes(state, regional, city, school/workplace). Those most skilled and dedicated to social influence and status occupy the most secure and prestigious positions, within any given geographic scope.
Subcultural elites: elites in the general case.
Given any arbitrary grouping of individuals into a group G, there exists a function B(defined by consensus) which maps individuals into a “belonging” score, based on their attributes.
With a very high degree of probability, anyone aspiring to be a member of G, will want that function to assign them the highest possible belonging score. This is pretty core to how social creatures work, and a good percentage of our evolutionary energy has gone into this.
They do this in many ways:
- Optimizing their actual attributes such that the function(or more specifically, the function as they perceive it) assigns them a high belonging score.
- Find ways of portraying their relevant attributes in a more favorable way than is real, or portraying the relevant attributes of others in a more negative way than is real.
- Attempting to change the function to better suit their attributes(real or inflated), and more poorly suit the perceived attributes of others.
Method 1 is fairly innocuous.
Method 2 is neither fair, nor legitimate, in the general case, but is incredibly common.
Method 3 is pretty common in arbitrarily-defined groups, since the belonging function itself is often somewhat arbitrary.
Using this general framework, it seems possible to me, at the moment, to understand and predict social behavior and change within the context of subcultures.
Elitism within this framework then, is perhaps, those people who are not satisfied with merely being within the herd, but want to be at the center of the herd, and(by necessity) to push others further from the center of the herd.
Subcultures are quite often populated by people who were unable or unwilling to belong in the natural, geographical culture, at any level.
They may be simply looking for a group to belong to, or they may be looking for a group they can dominate(a game they can win). It depends on their nature.
The elitists want to win.
Whether winning at that particular game even makes sense, given the varied nature of subcultures, is uncertain, but it is certain that many people want to win at all costs.
In every breath
Why am I saying what I’m saying?
Is it inescapable? Can I say anything unbiased by the desire to belong? To persuade? To, in some way, manipulate?
It seems there are rare people who don’t care, but I am certainly not one of those people.
But, in any case, I think this is one of those things that hurts less when you understand it.
I would like to be honest. I want to be someone who would rather lose than play dirty.
Maybe because I still want God, who I don’t believe in, to like me.