We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Rather than "smarter than you" I see it as "I know something you may not know" which is likely more palatable. But if not then I must ask whether your aversion extends to all kinds of education. After all, you would have to see all teachers with whom you may study as distastefully smarter than you, too.
The TED talks are a mixed bag. Some of them are by insufferable hipster douches. Some of them are by people who, like, know stuff and stuff. Examples of the latter that come to mind are Nial Ferguson, Sebastian Thrun, Kevin Slavin, Benoit Mandelbrot. I'm sure there are a lot more. It occurs to me that people who deal with numbers in some way (math, engineering, robotics, and such) are a little more grounded
In defense of TED in general, the talks are a very short introduction to a subject. Corners will be cut.