So they get back to Earth and get really aggravated by all of the stupid people they have to deal with so they return to the moon. The point being dumb people were not useful on the moon. Too much stupidity could get a lot of people killed. I think thi is a large part of why I enjoyed college at the engineering school I attended.
That’s exactly what I’m talking about. The engineers and scientists of the 1950s weren’t the only elites who thought everyone else was dumb. Every aristocracy thinks that it’s really powerful due to merit and that the commoners are there to be told what to do: 19th century Eton alumni, the old French nobility, the medieval Church, the robber barons, Southern slaveowners, high-caste Hindus, Chinese mandarins… some of those groups were hereditary, but not all. The Chinese mandarin class was based on imperial exams testing the candidate’s knowledge of the classics; the Hindu caste system originally was very much like Plato’s ideal state; some robber barons, most notably Carnegie, grew up poor.
You can have characters that think everyone else is dumb, but you need to show depth. I mean, read Crime and Punishment. Raskolnikov, too, thinks that he’s a great hero surrounded by brutes, and intends to prove it by killing someone he views as bad… and then gets stricken with guilt, because he’s not. Or The Tin Drum. There Oskar really does know better than everyone else, but the whole idea of the novel is that he refuses to grow up, so that he provides an eternal child’s perspective on the events of the 1930s and 40s. After I read those, there was no way I could return to genre SF, with its unreconstructed mandarinism and its lack of plot depth.