Elitism is actually the belief that the society or a system should be led by an elite. It of course has some notions that a select group is superior to “the rest” and hence deserves and influence and authority they get. Now on what basis are they selected? There might be some prevailing perception and structures on what constitutes merit but ultimately, elitism can only go as far as the genuine contribution of the elite to society.
Genuine, consistent, generous, self-sacrificial contribution to the society should be the benchmark to ultimately determine if we should continue to someone to be considered an elite. Or whether we should continue to perpetuate elitism in our society.
Of course we can go on forever to argue what is good for the society and what constitutes contribution. But I think we should be clear about what we are all trying to serve and focus on that. When elitism just becomes snobbery, and when the class divide makes it difficult for leaders to truly listen, empathise and focus their attention on serving the needs of the masses, then we need a more nuanced approach to choosing leaders, and grooming elites.