Pretension allows for many sins but few virtues. We denounce ourselves, and the denouncement makes us fierce advocates of the church of our clique. A shared pretension gives distinction and security to clique members, but it is a uniform distinction and a restrictive security. No one in a clique has any real respect for anyone else in the clique because it is well known that all players are frauds to some degree, and besides, membership doesn't rid anyone of the competitive urge. We still crave distinction within our sphere of distinction. This is the nature of the Pharisee: to be alone at the center of devotion, to ascend upon a faith that is shared but not real.
The common element of all cliques is that from even a modest distance they seem absurd to an outside observer. The observer will see a delirious mob of people all pretending to be unique and alone.