Western society is beginning to finally realize what it is like to live under an aristocracy founded in provable biological differences which really do result in measurable qualitative differences between people that are not subject to magical thinking and policy wishes. Thomas Jefferson (see Thoughts on Facebook post earlier on this site) drew a distinction between a natural aristocracy of the virtuous and talented, which was a blessing to a nation, and an artificial aristocracy based on birth, power and connections. The later would slowly strangle a nation, and is that not the situation we see ever metastasizing in our society today?
Today, the rich and successful increasingly get there as a result of hard work and raw talent … otherwise known as brains or smarts, and drive. And they increasingly pass on to their offspring this asset which is far more useful than wealth, which cannot be frittered away in a casino or expropriated by death taxes. Intellectual capital drives the knowledge economy, so those with lots of it get a fat slice of the pie. And it is increasingly heritable. Far more than in previous generations clever successful men marry clever successful women.
Such assortative selection increases inequality because these families benefit from two high incomes and invest far more in their children. Power couples conceive bright children and bring them up in stable homes. they stimulate their children relentlessly, they move to high end neighbourhoods, with good schools and spend a huge amount of time and resources on making sure these children get the best training possible. Not for them the run-of-the-mill public institutions.
The link between parental income and a child`s academic success has become stronger as clever people become richer and spend heavily on their children`s training and education. Education matters more than it used to. The demand for brain power has soared. A young college grad coming out of a high end private institution earns 63% more than a high-school grad, if the high school grad can even find work these days. Merit and quality matter, and as previously mentioned the public education system is in the grip of the most anti-meritocratic forces in the world.
I remember a metaphor from somewhere (it will come to me eventually) where life was a basketball game and everyone started with standard sized basket hoops. As one sank more baskets the hoops got larger for them and the baskets became easier to score. For the losers the hoops became smaller with every failure. Ring any bells, anyone, quality matters … and reality is not fair …
Or you can let BEING LIBERAL do your thinking for you, it is a lot easier, but of course you would have to contend with ever shrinking hoops …hmmm maybe not a good idea to take the easy way out … whatever.
So, don`t take my word for it. Never just take my word for it. I`m just one ignorant guy with too much time on his hands to think. If you find this an interesting phenomenon or would prefer a more erudite source of info than this good ole prairie redneck have a look at:
1. The Bell Curve, Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray, 1994. punch line: despite decades of fashionable denial, the overriding and insistent truth about intellectual ability is that is is endowed unequally for reasons that government policy can do nothing to change.
and for a nice general all-round treatise on the positive aspects of an aristocracy founded on virtue and talent (a true elite, rather than our current self proclaimed progressive humanists have a gander at:
2. The Roots of American Order, Russel Kirk, 1974, 3rd ed 1991. punch line: destroy the teaching of history as our current public education system has done and you destroy the roots of civilization itself.
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