He quoted Tyler Cowen, an economics professor at George Mason University.
“Occasionally the real force behind a political ideology is the subconsciously held desire that a certain group of people should not be allowed to rise in relative status,” Cowen said in 2008.
It is still true.
What is called meritocracy -- rule by bureaucrats and technocrats -- is really a sense of entitlement by the credentialed class. They have their tickets punched, and believe they have merited the next promotion.
This explains why Hillary Clinton could never answer the question of what her qualifications were or why she should be president.
Those questions perplexed her because she thought it all too obvious. Look at the holes punched on her ticket: valedictorian at Wellesley, Yale Law, first lady in Arkansas, first lady in Washington, senator, secretary of state, and first woman nominated.
She should be president.
The most telling moment in her campaign was when she said:
"Why aren't I 50 points ahead?" you might ask.Her audience -- union leaders meeting in Las Vegas -- asked the same thing.
Must be subterfuge. Russians. Fake News. Misogyny.
In a meritocratic world, Donald Trump was totally unqualified. His MBA at Wharton, redevelopment of Manhattan, 14 seasons of a winning television show, and on and on, are worthless to a meritocrat.
Had she addressed "Why aren't I 50 points ahead?" as something other than a rhetorical question, she might have won the race.
There was still time. She could have altered her message of entitlement to a more friendly message of service.
Bush 41 did. Compassionate conservatism was simply an acknowledgement that while the previous eight years were great for most people, we also should consider helping those who did not gain from them.
Knock it all you want. It got him elected.
And when it comes to meritocracy, no president since James Buchanan had a better punched ticket.
Meritocracy sounds like a good thing, and it has its good points except there is an element of intellectual incest to it.
Clinton's senior thesis on Saul Alinsky (written two years before publication of "Rules for Radicals") is little more than an earnest student trying to impress a small group of professors. It smacks of regurgitation with a veneer of skepticism -- from a world-wise 21-year-old college senior.
In his column, Reynolds noted the danger of meritocracy:
I think that a lot of the elite hatred for Trump, and for his supporters, stems from just such a sentiment. For decades now, the educated meritocrats who ran America — the "Best and the Brightest,” in David Halberstam’s not-actually-complimentary term — have enjoyed tremendous status, regardless of election results.That war was largely fought by draftees plucked out of factories and graduates whose college deferments ended. Rare was the son of meritocracy who joined the fray, although to their credit, Al Gore, John Kerry, and George W. Bush did enlist after an Ivy League education. Bush's TANG service was mocked, but he joined a unit that indeed flew missions in Vietnam.
Lo and behold in this election, people learned the resentment from the 1960s wasn't over. Son of a gun.
This did not show up before because meritocracy worked, or at least seemed to.
I mean, it is not the most outlandish idea that successful people bring into their bosom young apprentices. Paul Ryan is a good example. Coming to Washington straight out of college, Ryan learned the ropes as a congressional and senatorial aide before going home for a year to run for Congress.
But Paul Ryan also shows what is wrong with the system. He has spent one year of his adult life in the district he represents. I have a nice section on this in "Trump the Establishment."
Had NAFTA delivered as promised, and had the meritocracy succeeded in allaying fears of Muslim terrorism, we would easily be in our second Clinton presidency.
But the meritocracy did not merit another four years.
And the meritocrats lost.
Which still stuns them four months later.
Kindle is now taking orders. The Kindle version appears on March 1.
"Trump the Establishment" is already available in paperback.
This is the sequel to "Trump the Press," which covered the nomination. It is available on Kindle, or in paperback on Create Space.
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