Elitism

Is it elitist to have standards these days? Do we really want the all-inclusive, everyone is a winner, no one fails approach to education?

I think not. It takes time and effort to get practiced at something. It’s why we stand and cheer for great guitarists, the batsman at the plate who delivers in the clutch, the nimble fingers of the carver. It is not just their skill but their determination to improve that skill that we applaud. Some folks word harder than others. Some have the gift of talent but even then the dedicated ones work hard to improve their talent and to increase their skills.

I say that I’m glad we’re elitist then. We don’t everyone to feel it’s their right to be great just because they wish it. We welcome everyone who wants to work with their talent. We welcome everyone who wants to struggle and fail and try again to improve. It’s the hard way which is why it’s not for everyone.

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3 Responses to Elitism

  1. Interesting topic. I think so specifically because I have been railing against elitism for quite some time.
    As you describe it though, I cannot, with intellectual honesty, dissent from your position.
    That said however, I think it important that as craftsmen, we remain on guard. Part of my problem with being consider an elite, is that by definition it is an exclusionary state.
    I feel that as a professional Woodwright, part of my mandate as a craftsman is the responsibility to pass the craft on, encouragement of those just beginning their journey, and a willingness to pass on what I know in an effort to protect the evolution of the craft.
    To consider myself an “Elite” is, to me, fraught with the temptation to exclude others in an effort to maintain my elite position.
    Just a random reaction to your post. As I mentioned, on its face I definitely concur with your stated position. Just pointing out some dangersnwith the syntax.

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  2. billlattpa says:

    I would say that elitism has existed in woodworking in the sense that for quite a long while woodworking magazines/media outlets were promoting very expensive sets of tools as the “norm” for good craftsmanship. Of course the insults on the forums took off like a wildfire and forever turned me off of them. I understand that woodworking media outlets need to advertise to make money, but it was only really a few years ago when the ultra high end trend truly changed. But I think in the meanwhile it turned a lot of people away from the hobby.

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    • Bill,
      I think you are on to something with that. Add to that the “All hand tool, all the time ” camp, vs. “More power, more machines, more Festool/Powermatic or it ain’t worth doing” crew.
      Ford vs. Chevy, Right vs. left, all promoting exclusionary, choose your sides type thinking.
      These are just pieces of the puzzle that I am hoping to stay alert for in the discussion of elitism.

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