I'm looking for a pejorative word or phrase for a professional who distrusts the abilities of laymen to do things for themselves, and advocates inaction even when it is an emergency and within the person's capabilities. . A "leave it to the professionals" type of attitude, taken to an unhealthy extreme.

Similar to this question, but on the side of the professional.

The best I can think of is a "professional elitist", but that really fails to capture the idea precisely.

Imagine an EMT who recommends against doing CPR, because "you'll mess it up. Just call 911 and wait for us". Or a firefighter who advises against using a fire extinguisher. Or a cop who advises against ever defending oneself in fight: just call 911 and wait for us to come help you (granted that could be potentially be more reasonable depending on the situation).

  • How can an expression of common sense be pejorative? However I can think of plenty for those who take medical advice from anti-social media.
    – David
    Commented Jul 8, 2021 at 13:14

2 Answers 2


Elitist can be put to use here.

regarding other people as inferior because they lack power, wealth, or status


There is a common misbelief among the highly educated that someone with credentials holds knowledge unattainable by others. To wit:

"Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before," Bokonon tells us. "He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.”



Superiority Complex

The professional who believes that only they and other members of their profession are capable of any competence in their domain have a superiority complex.

Social Psychologists explain that

No one likes smug know- it-all friends, relatives or co-workers who believe their knowledge and beliefs are superior to others.

But now these discussions at the dinner table, bar or office might be less annoying. A new University of Michigan study indicates what many people suspect: these know-it-all people are especially prone to overestimating what they actually know.

Even after getting feedback showing them how much they didn’t know relevant political facts, these people still claimed that their beliefs were objectively more correct than everyone else’s. On top of that, they were more likely to seek out new information in biased ways that confirm their sense of superiority.

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