Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
I had always understood that noblesse oblige referred to the obligations that come with nobility.
And what are members of the nobility if not also members of an elite class?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elites

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobility#Western_nobility

The meaning of the term 'noblesse oblige' has clearly been modified through popular usage to encompass the elite of nearly any society, including supposed meritocracies such as Western democracies give rise to.

I find it therefore germane and appropriate to the conversation.

What have you against monocles? I started wearing one because I'm strongly right-eyed and am losing ever more accommodation in that eye. If I close the left eye to assess a scene, I can barely see it with my right eye. Hence a monocle. Also a lot harder to lose than spectacles, because it's on a piece of string.
I have nothing against monocles, any more than I have anything against walking sticks, pince nez glasses, or morning coats. All give the impression of an affectation. Affectations are often seen as pretensions of the leisure class, who are often mightily resented by those who work. I am not suggesting that you do not work, sir, just to be clear. I am pointing out the effect of the affect, as it were.

Then again, it's curious that some people see monocles as a class indicator. Or as another friend pointed out when I mentioned fencing at school, "The working classes don't fence."
Some traditions happily pass into antiquity. I am pleased to discover that a facial dueling scar is now seen as the result of an unfortunate accident, rather than a rite of passage into the moneyed Germanic cultures; a permanent cigarette-holder, a welded-on cravat.

Actually my grandfather was a miner (admittedly clay, not coal) and my great-grandmother on the other side joined the Communist Party in 1917 (admittedly when her father's iron foundry went broke through his unwise investments). Both facts seem to surprise some people.
You act as though you had been accused.

Your point about condescension escapes me.
Imagine my surprise.

Don't fight elites -- join them!
Roger - who wrote "A Modest Proposal?" A hint - it was not a starving Irishman.