In some times and places you are a member of the elite by birth. America's elite like to think that they are a meritocracy but this is not true. If it was then a first-term senator with no notable accomplishments would not be president. Membership in the elite is mainly a matter of having attended the right schools, living in the right places, having the right type of job, and having the right attitudes. In most cases these attitudes were imparted in the monoculture of today's universities.
Today's elite believe that they are superior because of received wisdom imparted when they were in college. Anyone who did not go to college (especially the "right" college) or who left with different attitudes is, by their definition, inferior and not qualified to rule.
It is important to recognize that the elite may have college degrees but they did not receive special training. Al Gore's degree is in journalism and his grade average was a low C (as was George W. Bush's). The Clintons and Obama have law degrees.
Since the elite believe that they are superior, they are advocates of top-down, big government with themselves at the top. They are attracted to socialism and other philosophies that give control of society to a select few.
Their attitude towards the rest of us ranges from condescending to contemptuous. Yesterday Bill Maher had this to say: