“The master demon Screwtape identifies elitist humanity’s tendency toward “an ingrained habit of belittling anything that concerns the great mass of their fellow men.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters: Also Includes “Screwtape Proposes a Toast”
A few weeks ago we were dished out a little dose of elitism that came into conversation because Captain Laser Pants and I don’t have a “proper” dining room table. The height of the mockery (in public, mind you) was something to the effect of, “Dear GOD! You eat meals on a FOLDING TABLE?!” And my husband, being the pillar of reasoning and humility that he is, just smiled and said, “Yeah.” He could have said, “Dear GOD! You care about mocking people?!” or “You don’t have a college degree?!” or something equally rude and humiliating, but he didn’t. My husband isn’t in the business of making people feel badly about themselves or mocking them. In fact, he has an incredible gift (that I strongly believe is from God, because this is supernatural) that allows him to LISTEN to people during a debate or simple conversation.
Simply put, my husband isn’t an elitist.
If I had been with him, I would have held my tongue, all the while hurling cutting insults in my mind. As the years go on and we’re together, he has made me mature in this way substantially. While it’s temporarily fun to have the last word (especially if it’s several syllables long and deeply witty), it’s humane to be kind, let others have the last say.
You know what? We eat some meals on a folding table. We eat most meals in a hurry or on the couch. But the worth of our lives together is not made up of the contents of our rental home. The quality of our persons is not compiled of the designer labels we don’t wear or the way we could cleverly cut a person in public (but don’t).
The problem with elitism? The idea of degrading someone because he holds a different standard/ different way of life/ less knowledge/ more knowledge than the elitist is childish, petty, and comes off as insecure. The insecurity stems from the fact that most people aren’t qualified to be elitists in the first place. The problem with elitism is that no one is perfect. And if I scratch the surface of the elitist facade just a bit, I’m going to find something public- mocking- worthy.
But I won’t.
I wouldn’t want to disappoint my husband.