Charles Murray wrote an op-ed about the “elite” which was published in Sunday’s Washington Post.
The op-ed tends to jump around, and it’s hard to figure out what the point is, but merely because Murray understands the truth of HBD and is not afraid to acknowledge it in writing, whatever he writes is going to be more correct than 99% of what’s published.
Murray's Bell Curve co-author, Richard Herrnstein, wrote an essay in 1973 called “I.Q. in the Meritocracy” in which he explained that, because economic success is correlated with IQ, the new meritocracy would come to have a genetically higher IQ than the rest of the population. Herrnstein’s prediction has come to pass, and with it has come the paradox in which, because social mobility was opened up in the 1950s so that people from prole backgrounds with high IQs could move up to the meritocracy, the end result is less social mobility today.
For starters, the prole class has been culled of its smartest members, so today, a lower percentage of prole children have high-IQs than was the case sixty years ago. This creates the statistical illusion of less social mobility.
Additionally, I believe that we genuinely have less social mobility than existed 60 years ago. In other words, it was easier for a white child born to prole parents with an IQ of 125 to move up to the elite in 1960 than it is today.
(1) Moving up in the meritocracy is more credentials-based than it ever was.
(2) Access to the best credentials (Ivy League degrees) is, every year, based more on leadership traits than it is on raw intellect as demonstrated by a high score on the SAT. As I’ve explained before, the leadership-based admissions process is better gamed by parents who are currently members of the elite.
(3) Although the topmost schools have generous financial aid and need-blind admissions, for those children of proles not quite smart enough to get into the most elite schools (likely shut out because their application doesn’t demonstrate appropriate leadership activities), the fact that the cost of higher education has been increasing more than the rate of inflation for decades is a significant barrier to getting good credentials. Even state schools have become so expensive as to be unaffordable to people whose parents lack financial means.
(4) The burden of student loan debt doesn’t show up in income statistics, but in reality the kid from a prole family who graduates with $30,000 of debt is in worse financial shape than the kid from an upper middle class family who graduates debt-free.
(5) Statistics falsely equate that someone with a degree from a directional state school and who makes $75,000/year working in sales is of the same social class as someone with a degree from an Ivy who makes $75,000/year working for a non-profit.
Charles Murray then attempts to describe the new Elite. He should have just given readers a link to the SWPL blog. Murray has obviously seen the discussions of SWPLs on the internet, but he doesn’t give credit where credit is due. Instead, he prefers to cite journalist/authors like David Brooks.
Is SWPL the new elite? I think so, especially if you accept that there are two flavors of SWPL: preppy-SWPL and hipster-SWPL. Investment bankers are preppy-SWPL and people working for non-profits or in creative industries are hipster-SWPL, but both types of SWPL like sushi and degrees from Ivy League schools and neither type of SWPL would take a vacation to visit the heartland of America in an RV.
Now what creates the resentment of Tea Party people towards the SWPL elite is the fact that the SWPL elite disdain the “wrong kind of white people.” SWPLs feel like they belong to a different tribe than the non-SWPL whites. They are more interested in teaching English to monks in Sri Lanka and bringing solar power to remote parts of the Himalayas than they are in helping Americans living in the same country.
Why is anyone surprised that the people the elite look down on have come to resent the elite?