Through most of the 19th and 20th centuries, the Protestant Establishment … dominated the universities, the world of finance, the local country clubs and even high government service. Over the past half–century, a more diverse and meritocratic elite has replaced the Protestant Establishment. … [They aren't] doing a better job of running [those institutions] than the old boys’ … .
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The corruption that has now crept into the world of finance and the other professions is not endemic to meritocracy but to the specific culture of our meritocracy. The problem is that today’s meritocratic elites cannot admit to themselves that they are elites.
Everybody thinks they are countercultural rebels, insurgents against the true establishment, which is always somewhere else. This attitude prevails in the Ivy League, in the corporate boardrooms and even at television studios where hosts from Harvard, Stanford and Brown rail against the establishment.
As a result, today’s elite lacks the self-conscious leadership ethos that the racist, sexist and anti-Semitic old boys’ network did possess. If you went to Groton a century ago, you knew you were privileged. You were taught how morally precarious privilege was and how much responsibility it entailed. …
The best of the WASP elites had a stewardship mentality, that they were temporary caretakers of institutions that would span generations. … they did believe in restraint, reticence and service.
Today’s elite is more talented and open but lacks a self-conscious leadership code. The language of meritocracy (how to succeed) has eclipsed the language of morality (how to be virtuous). …
Brooks is not acute enough to name the disease whose symptoms he has well described. The disease is marxism. Milos Foreman to the contrary notwithstanding*, this is not old fashioned industrial grade stalinism, it is modern academic marxism learned by our academics from the incomprehensible ravings of demented French “philosophers” like Foucault and Derrida. Marxism has caused our elites to shun religion, the military, and American History.
Shallow, cheap, marxist, atheism has caused the mainstream Protestant denominations to go into a tailspin. It has also deprived the elite of a moral language and the moral training necessary to support an elite’s role in society. Further it has severed a very important connection between the elites and the low sloping foreheads in flyover country.
A further consequence is the collapse of sexual morality and the rise of the politics of the pudenda, which holds that sexual behavior is a mere question of taste, the most important thing about a persons identity is his his taste in sexual partners, and that nothing can legitimately prevent sexual gratification like the fear of pregnancy or incurable STDs. Abortionism and gay marriage are political issues created by modern academic marxism, not by the low slopers who are appalled by them.
The hatred of the military by modern academic marxists has grown like a poison ivy patch for the last 50 years. Just re-opening a few ROTC programs will not wash the stain away. It is another theater of service and another connection to the low slopers that our elites have shunned. (Note: if we ever get back the reins, military service should be a precondition to any governmental payment for higher education)
And the anathema on American History has also poisoned the relationship between the elites and everybody else. America is not a nation of blood and soil. It is instead dedicated to the ideals of the liberal enlightenment, and there is nothing modern academic marxism hates more than the liberal enlightenment. The mystic chords of memory do not connect modern academic marxism to anything in American history or to the American people. The sweet sentiment of patriotism is mocked by modern academic marxism, which holds that America is not exceptional except in the enormity of its crimes, and that their patriotism is reserved for an imaginary communist America ruled by them.
The critics cry, “Obamacare is socialism!” They falsely equate Western European-style socialism, and its government provision of social insurance and health care, with Marxist-Leninist totalitarianism. It offends me, and cheapens the experience of millions who lived, and continue to live, under brutal forms of socialism.No Milos, we know that modern academic marxism is not good old soviet communism, or as I say, industrial grade stalinism. But, modern academic marxism is marxism. Just like Unitarianism and Eastern Orthodoxy are both Christian. Further, Obama is just as socialist as the politicians of the leading socialist parties (French Socialist, British Labour, German Social Democrats) in Europe.