To start with a clarification – by ruling elites I do not necessarily mean elected officials who form part of worldwide governments. The topic is infinite and when one digs deep in the rabbit hole there is much more to elites. So for now we can keep this term open to various interpretations and generalised meaning. In so doing I hope that the readers would start getting slowly the formation of the picture which I have formed thanks to extensive research done by brilliant researchers.
How do the ruling elites who form part of a sub-category of another ruling elitist cult use ideology in order to gain legitimacy authority and power?
We start with elite cohesion. The qualities of ideology that is to dominate and legitimate must be discussed in relation to the problem of elite or ruling-class cohesion where ideology does not simply become a matter of influencing the public but it also gives the ruling class and elites a narrative that can justify their privileged status and right to rule where the end justify the means. Thus ideology becomes their method for forming a shared worldview. It provides a grammar of meaning language and rules through which the elite can communicate and come to a mutual understanding.
Many observers think that neo-liberalism and meritocracy are combined to form the ideology that underpins the ruling elites’ privilege in the modern era. In their hotly contested book “The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life” Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray provide the cognitive elite ideology as an illustration of this type of ideology.
However the assertion that a social aristocracy of talent governs society has a propensity to incite hostility and resentment and should not be used too explicitly to justify class dominance. It is well known that asserting authority based on intellectual superiority—or really any kind of superiority—is likely to incite hostility. Even the concept of a meritocracy is criticized because it fosters resentment among those who did not pass muster. Because of this the narrative of expertise and professionalism often serves as a lens through which cognitive privilege is seen. In this way a claim of authority can be made and upheld because it is based on professionalism and knowledge.
By strategically using scienceto solve moral political and cultural issues the so-called cognitive elite has aimed to establish and uphold its dominance. Scientism claims to apply scientific principles to the study of morality values and human behaviour. Its proponents think they have the wisdom needed to heal cultural ills and create a new breed of conscious enlightened citizens. They have created a corporate identity for themselves as The Aware in this way. They imply that they have the power to determine the meaning of that awareness. They aim to take control of people’s inner lives and consciousness by using this cultural power.
They believe their sensibilities to be superior to others’ conformist practices. These days calls for “raising awareness” are one way that this sensibility is expressed. The phrase “raising awareness” implies that those who are aware are superior to those who are not. Being aware is a sign of cultural distinction that conveys a superior identity to those who are presumably still in the dark. Those who are conscious or belong to the Awareness Raising class involves more than just having knowledge that the ignorant do not. They are also more psychologically attuned to reality and self-aware than their inferiors who lack emotional literacy.
In his insightful book “The Psychological Mystique” Stewart Justman explains that “awareness” is a “good impossible to question and a power impossible to oppose.” Participants in initiatives to increase awareness are given virtues and moral traits that set them apart from those who do not see the light. Drawing a line in the sand between those who have this quality and those who do not is thus a symbolic distinction that is made as part of the very act of “raising awareness.”
The Oxford English Dictionary states that the definition of being aware has changed recently from being on guard to being well-informed. The OED added that being aware meant being “generally concerned and well informed” as well as being sensitive and “savvy” in its 2008 revision of the term.