What do Josh Hawley, Steve Mnuchin, Ben Carson, Wilbur Ross, Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon, Mike Pompeo, Ted Cruz, Elise Stefanik, and Kayleigh McEnany have in common?
They all have degrees from Ivy League institutions and they are all, in one form or another, on the Trump train.
Here is Stephen Marche at The Atlantic:
…The answer lies in the specific nature of Ivy League elitism, which is an aristocracy of networks. Ivy League graduates make up 0.4 percent of the country. They are significantly overrepresented in Fortune 500 C-suites, in the House of Representatives, in the Senate, in academia, and in the media. Biden/Harris was the first presidential ticket in 44 years without an Ivy League alumnus on board. For a decade, the U.S. Supreme Court consisted of nothing but Ivy League graduates. And these entities are exclusive and self-perpetuating. Legacies at Harvard are accepted at a rate of nearly 34 percent, compared with just 5.9 percent of ordinary people. Being born to it isn’t the only way in: Buying admittance is the simplest. (Charles Kushner gave Harvard $250,000 a year for 10 years to guarantee admission for his meritless son.)
Whoever attends has been established in the architecture of power before they have had a chance to do anything, and that is key: The network gives power. The aristocracy of the network provides opportunity and security, both materially and spiritually. The network cradles and protects. None of the politicians or journalists or intellectuals who set in motion the past 70 years of failed wars faced any significant consequences for their failures. Quite the opposite. Those who resisted those wars demonstrated that they weren’t part of the network and therefore remained excluded even after they were proved right, while those who failed showed that they were reliably part of the network and therefore remained inside. The network responds to external threats by tightening. As long as you belong, you’ll be fine.
What the Ivy League produces, in spades, on both the left and the right, is unwarranted confidence. Its institutions are hubris factories. At the bottom of the current collapse of the American political order is a very basic, very widespread distrust of all kinds of institutions, and that distrust is based on ordinary Americans’ distrust of the hubristic people who run those institutions. Can you blame them? The same people who told Americans that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction are now telling them to get vaccinated. Mistrust is inevitable.
For Republicans, the power of the network explains, at least in part, the perverse psychology of the suicidal elites. The network gives them meaning, and to be cast out of that network is to suffer meaninglessness, so they do whatever it takes, become whoever they need to become, to stay inside the circuits of power. Their behavior appears paradoxical from the outside—Josh Hawley, senator, raising his fist to support the ravaging of the Senate—but from the inside, the logic is immaculate: The clearest way he can keep himself in the Senate is to promote its ravaging.
Read the entire piece here.