Staying on top

Ross Douthat (Harvard alumnus) on the unspoken truth about American meritocracy and the Ivy League:

Every elite seeks its own perpetuation, of course, but that project is uniquely difficult in a society that’s formally democratic and egalitarian and colourblind. And it’s even more difficult for an elite that prides itself on its progressive politics, its social conscience, its enlightened distance from hierarchies of blood and birth and breeding.Thus the importance, in the modern meritocratic culture, of the unacknowledged mechanisms that preserve privilege, reward the inside game, and ensure that the advantages enjoyed in one generation can be passed safely onward to the next.

As for the letter that prompted Douthat’s column, well, it has a touch of Edith Wharton about it: “As Princeton women, we have almost priced ourselves out of the market…”

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