It looks like some of my blog friends have decided to gather together and form a Carnival of Elitist Bastards: see here and here.
I completely agree with some of the basic goals of this carnival: Ignorance shouldn't be praised as a virtue. It is a virtue to say "I don't know, but I'm willing to listen and learn," but it isn't a virtue to say "I don't know and I don't care to waste my time learning things I don't already know."
On the other hand, I'm a little leery of accepting the media-and-politicians' newspeaky use of the word "elitism" (even in jest) to mean favoring knowledge-based opinions over ignorant opinions. I think that favoring rich over poor can reasonably be called "elitism" as I've discussed with respect to G. W. Bush in this post. But spreading knowledge and attacking ignorance should be viewed as populism, not elitism. Sure not every single person has access to the Internet or to a public library or has the time to go there. But living in the "Information Age" as we do, tons of information is freely accessible to a greater proportion of the population than ever. Education is the key to making democracy work, it's what helps the little guy to avoid getting stepped on and taken advantage of. It's the "black is white and war is peace" dictionary that allows powerful people to call educators "elitists."
For myself -- as you can see from my post Question Mah Authoritah! I have a strong sentiment of anti-pretentiousness, or at least anti-taking-yourself-too-seriously. This goes hand-in-hand with being willing to seek out informed opinions.
Some people are better than others at various intellectual pursuits or at solving various types of problems. Some people have vastly more knowledge than others on various subjects. Such skills and talents are to be celebrated, praised, and honored. Yet I strongly reject the idea that the pursuit of knowledge it an elitist pursuit. Being open to learning often requires humility.
As I discussed in think for yourself, the Internet helps ordinary people grow in critical thinking skills. I think the people who enjoy the two-way communication of the Internet are probably smarter than the average bear and should be proud of it, but that doesn't mean this is a competition and only the very cleverest commenters are welcome to join in the fun. No one is too dumb to benefit from being exposed to new ideas and new viewpoints. And no one is too smart to benefit from being encouraged to look at familiar questions from new angles, either. This is why I resist embracing elitism. I don't want to dismiss anyone's perspective as irrelevant; I don't want to write off and exclude people -- even those who seem ignorant and closed-minded have potential. And I don't want encourage the smartest people to limit themselves by thinking that they're already right about everything.
Of course maybe this is just some sort of super-elitism: I think I'm superior to ordinary elitists. Or maybe it's sour grapes about the various elite groups I've been excluded from. Or maybe I'm just contrary. Or all of the above. ;^)