"Do eclectics practice in such diverse and idiosyncratic ways because it fits their beliefs? Or, and yes I know this is a touchy idea, does a lack of consistency in practice perhaps denote a lack of belief?"
Let me answer that for you.
"We believe in the four classical Western elements, and that fifth which is spirit, and so we have to take them seriously. If we did not believe in these things, we would not practice the way we do."
Funny. I believe the same things and I am not a trad witch. Though not every eclectic believes the same as I do, that does not mean that they don't believe. Just because you lack belief in the eclectic path, doesn't mean those who practice it do. You wonder why trad witches come off as elitist when you post crap like this. Let me ask you this: what is this lack of consistency in practice of which you speak? Where do you feel that eclectics are inconsistent and why do you feel that way? Where is this coming from, Star? Keep in mind, not every eclectic practices like a trad witch does, or even like you did before you were a trad witch.
My two cents: take a World's Religions course. You'll find that every practice has its own symbolism and rites that may or may not be "consistent" with your own. You'll find that every religion hinges, ultimately, on belief!