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Guest Post: No Wonder We're Failing: Our Power Elites' Sole Expertise Is Being Privileged

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Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

No Wonder We're Failing: Our Power Elites' Sole Expertise Is Being Privileged

The Power Elite which has been raised to occupy the privileged seats of political and financial power in America has a skillset limited to navigating the world of privilege.

The Power Elites are not monolithic: there are three distinct layers, each with its own defining characteristics.

Correspondent Judy T. recently recommended an extraordinary essay on the education and grooming received by the Political and Financial Power Elite: The Disadvantages of an Elite Education by William Deresiewicz.

I have roughly excerpted this long and important essay below.

In essence, Deresiewicz suggests that the Elite youth being groomed at exclusive Ivy league universities--an Elite education--are functionally incompetent in the real world and only skilled at a superficial facsimile of "independent thought" which is merely a higher order of groupthink and its attendent obedience.

Deresiewicz is addressing the privileged-by-birth/class Elite which is being groomed for positions high up in government, law and finance--the working Elites of the American Empire who make the decisions which impact billions of people.

A much thinner layer of Elites have little real power but plenty of wealth. These are the entrepreneural Elites glorified by breathless articles such as The Rise of the New Global Elite (The Atlantic).

This perspective takes the examples of Bill Gates (co-founder of Microsoft, Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook)--both children of privilege, we note--and a handful of hedge fund managers and other super-wealthy players as proof that meritocracy is still the great leveler, and that hard work and innovation now pay off more than ever.

This article claims that a "winner take all" economy is rewarding the wealthy because the wealthy are smarter, more innovative and harder working than the average bear, and so income inequality is the outcome of this.

This argument is higher-order propaganda: by establishing a superficially undeniable case that a handful of super-wealthy individuals has earned their great wealth rather than inherit it, then the argument is extended to cover all positions of wealth and power: it's all, ahem, "earned."

But as Deresiewicz scathingly delineates, the vast majority of the Power Elites in government, finance and global corporate leadership are trained to a mediocrity which they have been groomed to accept as excellence.

This highly-touted Innovative Elite only functions in the narrow sphere of technology and financial speculation. Its numbers are miniscule and its direct influence over policy is generally overstated.

The Third Elite is also a meritocracy: this is a group I would term Academic Elites. These are the young people who earn their doctorates from, do post-doc research in, and end up teaching at the creme da la creme science and math universities: MIT, Caltech, Princeton's Institute of Advanced Study, Harvard, UC Berkeley, et al.

Since I live in Berkeley, I have met many of these budding academic superstars, and I have found them to be uniformly unpretentious about their high-powered talent and knowledge. Just anecdotally, that suggests that carting a great ego around does not play very well in the hard-sciences Academic Elite.

A member of this Elite is occasionally appointed to some high position in government--for example, President Obama appointed physicist Steve Chu to be Secretary of Energy. Though these positions can be bully pulpits for various innovative ideas, they are essentially powerless.

Thus this third Elite also has limited access to the levers of power. (Anecdotally, they are often foreign-born citizens or second-generation immigrants--that is, they don't arise from families of established privilege and wealth.)

I have had a small taste of a privileged Elite education, as I graduated from the same prep school that President Obama attended in Honolulu, Hawaii (the oldest prep school west of the Rockies, mind you). My stepfather taught there, and so I was able to attend tuition-free.

I would say that an Elite education is only one piece in the Power Elites' grooming; ultimately, it's family connections and the mentoring of influential people which raise people to positions of State and financial power. This is not the networking one achieves by attending various meetings; you are born to it. (sorry, meritocracy propagandists.)

I would also be careful to separate the hard sciences Academic Elites from the Ivy League/law school layer that Deresiewicz describes. They are different Elites despite having some occasional crossover.

There are two classes manufactured in Elite education institutions: those destined to be handed the levers of power, and those destined to serve them as well-paid factotums and functionaries. Sadly, many believe the hokem about merit being the key to State and financial wealth and power, and on a superficial level of outliers and frontmen (Bill Clinton et al.), this is true enough to further the con.

But when the real Elites gather, the hard-working Elite functionaries find themselves relegated to the Siberia of inferiors.

Here is my rough excerpt of The Disadvantages of an Elite Education by William Deresiewicz. It suggests that the institutions of Elite education are failing at a fundamental level, and that the meritocracy so treasured as part of the American Dream is as threadbare as the "independence and expertise" of the Elites being groomed to power.

(Those who attend 2nd and 3rd Tier universities) are being conditioned for lives with few second chances, no extensions, little support, narrow opportunity--lives of subordination, supervision, and control, lives of deadlines, not guidelines. At places like Yale, of course, it’s the reverse. The elite like to think of themselves as belonging to a meritocracy, but that’s true only up to a point. Getting through the gate is very difficult, but once you’re in, there’s almost nothing you can do to get kicked out.

Elite schools nurture excellence, but they also nurture what a former Yale graduate student I know calls "entitled mediocrity."

Anyone who remembers the injured sanctimony with which Kenneth Lay greeted the notion that he should be held accountable for his actions will understand the mentality in question—the belief that once you’re in the club, you’ve got a God-given right to stay in the club.

One of the disadvantages of an elite education is the temptation it offers to mediocrity, another is the temptation it offers to security. When parents explain why they work so hard to give their children the best possible education, they invariably say it is because of the opportunities it opens up. But what of the opportunities it shuts down? An elite education gives you the chance to be rich— which is, after all, what we’re talking about—but it takes away the chance not to be. Yet the opportunity not to be rich is one of the greatest opportunities with which young Americans have been blessed.

Because students from elite schools expect success, and expect it now. They have, by definition, never experienced anything else, and their sense of self has been built around their ability to succeed. The idea of not being successful terrifies them, disorients them, defeats them.

But if you’re afraid to fail, you’re afraid to take risks, which begins to explain the final and most damning disadvantage of an elite education: that it is profoundly anti-intellectual. This will seem counterintuitive.

Being an intellectual means more than doing your homework.

If so few kids come to college understanding this, it is no wonder. Being an intellectual means, first of all, being passionate about ideas—and not just for the duration of a semester, for the sake of pleasing the teacher, or for getting a good grade.

Places like Yale are simply not set up to help students ask the big questions. When elite universities boast that they teach their students how to think, they mean that they teach them the analytic and rhetorical skills necessary for success in law or medicine or science or business. But a humanistic education is supposed to mean something more than that, as universities still dimly feel.

they spend four years taking courses that train them to ask the little questions— specialized courses, taught by specialized professors, aimed at specialized students. Although the notion of breadth is implicit in the very idea of a liberal arts education, the admissions process increasingly selects for kids who have already begun to think of themselves in specialized terms—the junior journalist, the budding astronomer, the language prodigy. We are slouching, even at elite schools, toward a glorified form of vocational training.

Indeed, that seems to be exactly what those schools want. There’s a reason elite schools speak of training leaders, not thinkers--holders of power, not its critics. An independent mind is independent of all allegiances, and elite schools, which get a large percentage of their budget from alumni giving, are strongly invested in fostering institutional loyalty.

As another friend, a third-generation Yalie, says, the purpose of Yale College is to manufacture Yale alumni.

The liberal arts university is becoming the corporate university, its center of gravity shifting to technical fields where scholarly expertise can be parlayed into lucrative business opportunities.

Yet there is a dimension of the intellectual life that lies above the passion for ideas, though so thoroughly has our culture been sanitized of it that it is hardly surprising if it was beyond the reach of even my most alert students. Since the idea of the intellectual emerged in the 18th century, it has had, at its core, a commitment to social transformation. Being an intellectual means thinking your way toward a vision of the good society and then trying to realize that vision by speaking truth to power. It means going into spiritual exile.

Being an intellectual begins with thinking your way outside of your assumptions and the system that enforces them. But students who get into elite schools are precisely the ones who have best learned to work within the system, so it’s almost impossible for them to see outside it, to see that it’s even there. Long before they got to college, they turned themselves into world-class hoop-jumpers and teacher-pleasers, getting A’s in every class no matter how boring they found the teacher or how pointless the subject, racking up eight or 10 extracurricular activities no matter what else they wanted to do with their time.

Thirty-two flavors, all of them vanilla. The most elite schools have become places of a narrow and suffocating normalcy. Everyone feels pressure to maintain the kind of appearance—and affect—that go with achievement. (Dress for success, medicate for success.) I know from long experience as an adviser that not every Yale student is appropriate and well-adjusted, which is exactly why it worries me that so many of them act that way. The tyranny of the normal must be very heavy in their lives.

"To whom can I expose the urgency of my own passion?...There is nobody--here among these grey arches, and moaning pigeons, and cheerful games and tradition and emulation, all so skilfully organised to prevent feeling alone." (Virginia Woolf)

Emerson says, he reported, that one of the purposes of friendship is to equip you for solitude.

There’s been much talk of late about the loss of privacy, but equally calamitous is its corollary, the loss of solitude. It used to be that you couldn’t always get together with your friends even when you wanted to. Now that students are in constant electronic contact, they never have trouble finding each other.

other students told me they found their peers too busy for intimacy. What happens when busyness and sociability leave no room for solitude? The ability to engage in introspection, I put it to my students that day, is the essential precondition for living an intellectual life, and the essential precondition for introspection is solitude. They took this in for a second, and then one of them said, with a dawning sense of self-awareness, “So are you saying that we’re all just, like, really excellent sheep?”

But I do know that the life of the mind is lived one mind at a time: one solitary, skeptical, resistant mind at a time. The best place to cultivate it is not within an educational system whose real purpose is to reproduce the class system.

The kid who’s loading up on AP courses junior year or editing three campus publications while double-majoring, the kid whom everyone wants at their college or law school but no one wants in their classroom, the kid who doesn’t have a minute to breathe, let alone think, will soon be running a corporation or an institution or a government.

She will have many achievements but little experience, great success but no vision. The disadvantage of an elite education is that it’s given us the elite we have, and the elite we’re going to have. (emphasis added)

Thank you, Judy, for recommending this insightful essay.

No wonder the U.S. is imploding--its State and financial Elites believe their mediocre groupthink is actually brilliant. That self-serving self-deception and hubris has cost us dearly, and will continue to do so.


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Fri, 01/07/2011 - 16:27 | 857365 goldmiddelfinger
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Ain't it the truth? How about describing the Daley family of Chicago? What could Wm Daley possibly offer JPM but a rolodex of like minded jackoffs?

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:03 | 857454 Michael
Michael's picture

NAFTA passed the Senate 61-38. Senate supporters were 34 Republicans and 27 Democrats. Clinton signed it into law on December 8, 1993.

Clinton is responsible for completely decimating the consumer goods manufacturing sector and the sheeple love him for it. I don't get it.

It is impossible to create sustainable employment without a healthy manufacturing sector.

Thank you Bill Clinton. The elites love you.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:10 | 857483 Michael
Michael's picture

I would give my left nut to be able to buy an Apple Ipod made in the USA.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:18 | 857505 Sofa King
Sofa King's picture

Good'll be able to keep your nuts for the foreseeable future.

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 13:12 | 858744 Star Warrior
Star Warrior's picture

You must have an abudance of left nuts........either that or your mad

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:16 | 857496 lynnybee
lynnybee's picture

 "Thank you Bill Clinton. The elites love you." ........

Please don't forget ROBERT RUBIN !!   ROBERT RUBIN, MY ALL-TIME FAV ELITE !!  When will he be in jail ?  

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:24 | 857536 goldmiddelfinger
goldmiddelfinger's picture

The great thing about having looted Goldman for $200 million is that for the rest of your life you can be a slobbering shitbucket and still find other slime ridden butt-weasels like Sandy Weill and Bill Clinton that want to be close to you.


Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:20 | 857516 Bob
Bob's picture

In his defense, he did sign the repeal of Glass-Steagall after inventing extraordinary rendition. 

How can you not love Bill?

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:24 | 857537 Michael
Michael's picture

Bill Clinton is my favorite destroyer of our economy.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 20:18 | 857889 oddjob
Fri, 01/07/2011 - 21:09 | 857962 litoralkey
litoralkey's picture

For future reference, if you want to post about the "Clinton Body Count", use this original group of amateur researchers and documentors website archive:

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 23:17 | 858123 jeff montanye
jeff montanye's picture

interesting stuff.  are these killings better or worse than iraq?  than afghanistan?  how much does order of magnitude of number of dead matter?

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 12:26 | 858697 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

He's been quite the murderous little fuck now hasn't he. Which is why I love calling his wife a giant evil fucking cunt.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:31 | 857550 goldmiddelfinger
goldmiddelfinger's picture

Had Bubba not listened to Robbing Robby Rubin and his enabler "Empires built of Sandy" Weill, home prices would quietly be right where they are now and the Dow would be at 20,000.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 23:39 | 858158 hugolp
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Repealing Glass-Steagal Act was one of the few good things Bill Clinton did.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 19:54 | 857628 M.B. Drapier
M.B. Drapier's picture

But German manufacturing industry is scarcely much more protected than that of the US, and yet it's doing pretty well - selling cars to China and all that. It seems it was primarily the credit bubble and the FIRE economy which shrank US manufacturing (in employment terms), not free trade.

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 02:33 | 858341 three chord sloth
three chord sloth's picture

Incorrect. German manufacturing employment is declining as well. In 1991, 29% of Germans worked in manufacturing; now it is down to 19%... and the loses are accelerating, dropping nearly a full percentage point each of the last three years.,1518,737554,00.html

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:15 | 857498 trav7777
trav7777's picture

100% correct.  Was just thinking about this last night...Daley's not a fucking banker, he's the spawn of a political crook.  A job at JPM means one of two things:  either he is being paid back by them for something he has done as far as a favor or he is being paid for something he will do as far as a favor.  The guy knows fuckall about banking or finance.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:51 | 857597 Michael
Michael's picture

I'm just glad the elites make them old government fucks work till the day they die. They don't deserve to enjoy a comfy retirement. Unlike me who retired 5 years ago when I was 45. I had no reason to continue working under current conditions.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 20:12 | 857882 Johnny Dangereaux
Johnny Dangereaux's picture

You got that right trav7777. People are waking up, even in Chicago. Here is a story about our parking meter deal w/ Morgan Stanly. The revolving door of gangsters is brazen to say the least. How to rid the foxes from the hen house?

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 19:05 | 857789 greyghost
greyghost's picture mean i have been paris hiltoned...we are screwed!!!!!!!

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 19:04 | 857791 Panafrican Funk...
Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

I guess John Wheeler III found out that the privilages of being elite do not extend to telling the general public the truth about what the fuck is really going on.

These kind of people don't end up dead in a landfill for no reason.

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 01:31 | 858279 cityguyusa
cityguyusa's picture

You got that right.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 16:35 | 857387 the not so migh...
the not so mighty maximiza's picture


Fri, 01/07/2011 - 16:36 | 857392 NOTW777
NOTW777's picture

Cancers I & II - leftist "universities" and MSM

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 18:57 | 857766 midtowng
midtowng's picture

If the universities are so leftist, how come they keep producing such conservative elites?

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 23:21 | 858129 jeff montanye
jeff montanye's picture

they are more impotent than we know or they admit?  

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 16:00 | 859236 Fred Hayek
Fred Hayek's picture

They're not conservative in any meaningful way.  Not in the sense of a William F. Buckley call to support certain values in society.  They simply want the status quo in which they're rich and powerful to prevail. 

There was a New York magazine article about the ebb and flow of relations between Obama and the banksters which, when speaking of Jamie Dimon, casually noted that Dimon like most of his peers is a democrat.


Fri, 01/07/2011 - 16:37 | 857396 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

The elite fulfill their own purpose: cloning themselves. So what? The US is a society of clones and the US elite have good positions.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 16:39 | 857400 Apocalicious
Apocalicious's picture

I very strong element of what I teach my children is skepticism of the experts. If we taught them to question their instructors, taught them self-reliance, self-awareness, humility, introspection, and the REAL scientific method (question everything, assume nothing, find evidence that disproves the null hypothesis, theories are made to challenged and changed), we would all be better off. I also believe intellectual curiosity is more important than academic credentials.


I believe there are 3 types of people in the world. 1) People who don't want to be wrong, 2) people who don't want to look wrong, and 3) people who don't give a shit. You can usually spot #3 right away. But often, the people who don't want to look wrong are precisely those who never question their own insular group-think. Those who don't want to BE wrong accept that they often are wrong, but are driven to fix their mistakes instead of cover them up. I suppose this fits perfectly with the article - the effete elite are #2.


Very good piece.

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 01:34 | 858281 cityguyusa
cityguyusa's picture

Yeah, that's great to do all that the problem is your children don't get a forum to air what they've learned because nobody cares.  Those that have the power will certainly insure their silence.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 16:39 | 857401 Robslob
Robslob's picture

Dont worry...they will leave soon enough when nothing is left to pillage...


Goodbye Amerika and Hello Brazil!

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 16:40 | 857403 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Self deception is a crime of ignorance, generally. People cannot lead who do not understand how the world operates. They get their positions of power via family and money, but they cannot steer the ship and keep it off the rocks because they've never heard of these rumored rocks beneath the water and refuse to believe it.

I've been amused by the "powers that be" meme here at ZH. As if these people are gods or something. Well one of their own (cannot recall his name) called TPTB "infants" in the context of them knowing very little, having no real experiences, and not being very emotionally stable. I think one can extend that and say that people suffering from socio-pathology (a clinical mental illness) also act like infants most of the time. That Elites and sociopaths are both naturals in governance explains why they have taken over. It would be very hard to tell one from the other without a backing in clinical psychology, once they are all mixed together in the same room playing the same games.

The elites will kill us because they are limited and over their heads. The sociopaths will kill us for personal gain. Either way, we die.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 16:41 | 857408 flattrader
flattrader's picture


Why even bother anymore?

Just link to the article/essay and say "Enjoy!"

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 16:44 | 857416 Convolved Man
Convolved Man's picture

Do not disparage the elites.  They must not be distracted from their primary task of creating wealth, which can be redistributed among others less fortunate.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 16:45 | 857417 Dr. Porkchop
Dr. Porkchop's picture

So the young elite are basically Bertie Wooster.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 19:17 | 857811 puckles
puckles's picture

Bertie Wooster sans Jeeves, but with an IPAD/IPhone, and all the other I-crap.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 16:45 | 857420 Kristian
Kristian's picture

But the good news is: the stockmarket is up again.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 16:51 | 857433 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

'Stockmarket' mean that thing no one is in anymore except Bernanke and Geithner?

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 16:56 | 857446 Dr. Porkchop
Dr. Porkchop's picture

Peter and Paul.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:01 | 857455 plocequ1
plocequ1's picture

Yes, Thats the one. Its all good. Thanks Ben and Tim.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 16:46 | 857426 Gloomy
Gloomy's picture

Reuters) - Asian buyers rushed into the market after prices fell from record highs to look for bargains, betting on growing demand and a bright price outlook for the rest of the year.

Premiums in Hong Kong had risen to as much as $1.50 an ounce over London prices, from 70 cents to $1 at the end of last year.


"Supply is tight in the physical market," said a Hong Kong-based dealer. "Two days ago when we had the big drop, premium went up to $1.50, but today it is a little quieter ahead of the U.S. employment data."


Spot gold prices fell to as low as $1,363.8 an ounce this week, down nearly five percent from its peak of $1,430.95 hit on Dec. 7. Gold was trading at $1,368.50 by 0609 GMT on Friday.


As long as prices stay below $1,400, physical purchase is expected to remain active, dealers said.


Jewellers, bullion traders and investors across the region, from India, Thailand to China, have joined the buying spree, betting on a rosy price outlook for the precious metal in 2011.


The price of gold is expected to average nearly $1,500 an ounce this year, as investors keep buying the metal as a safe haven on bullish factors such as low interest rates, currency weakness and inflation fears, Barclays Capital said.


Bullion traders in India, the world's top gold consumer, rushed in to place deals after prices remained steady in the vicinity of their lowest since late November, as they sought to stock up for the upcoming harvesting festivals, when demand for gold goes up, dealers said.


"Sales are much better as people are comfortable at current prices, they are all preparing for wedding and harvesting season," said Haresh Acharya, head of bullion desk, Parker Agrochem, an Ahmedabad-based wholesaler.


The most-active gold for February delivery on the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) was trading 0.22 percent lower at 20,383 rupees per 10 grams, trading near its lowest level since Nov 29.


"People would get attracted more at sub-20,000 rupees level," said Acharya.


"I have sold a tonne of gold in the last 2-3 days itself, there's a renewed enthusiasm among traders, especially before the weddings," said an official with a state-run bullion importing bank. Wedding season will re-start in February.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:19 | 857511 janchup
janchup's picture


Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:01 | 857457 youngandhealthy
youngandhealthy's picture

Nothing is new under the sun.

The romans had this.

The Europeans have it in the forms of Kings and Dukes.

The Chines are rebuilding it.

Why shouldn't the Americans? They are not special.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:07 | 857473 MMT Roolz
MMT Roolz's picture

Perhaps an Upper Class Twit of the Year competition.  Preferably ending the same way as the original Python:

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:22 | 857490 Miles Kendig
Miles Kendig's picture

Varuca Salt did grow up to be in charge.  No wonder the power elite believe all is well, so long as they have their AMEX Black Card and a moment of respite at the Mayflower to take care of it all.  Why else have tax payers but to pick up the AMEX tab or answer the room service call?

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:16 | 857506 janchup
janchup's picture

Dont take your concepts so seriously.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:20 | 857517 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

By definition only the top one or two percent can be in the top one or two percent unless this is Lake Wobegon.  I guess I'm not understanding why people who are not in the top one or two percent assume that the fix is in, evidenced mostly by the fact that they themselves are not in the top one or two percent.  98 percent won't make it.  I'm not sure that means the system is unfair.  ninety percent of wealth is lost after three generations.  ( you know the old phrase "from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves.)  It's only a small number that have managed to maintain dynastic wealth.  I don't think they are the reason that 98 percent of the population is not in the top two percent.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 18:25 | 857684 francismarion
francismarion's picture

You note that 98 percent of the population is not in the two percent at the top. I appreciate your pointing out that seminal and crushingly obvious but, so far, largely ignored arithematical imperative. That would seem to be the source of the  disdain many here display for the elite, rather than any legitimate disaffection for the source of the elite's prestige. Perhaps if the non-elite that are belly-acheing here were smarter or harder workers or possessed of innate skills of innovation or insights into the operation of markets or at least ruthless climbers that knew how to marry well, they could be part of the two percent.

Instead, the alternative for many here seems not to be the acquisition of some talent to succeed in the world as it is, but rather to imagine some horrid existence where the of buying guns, gold, ammo and freeze-dried food places them in line to become an elite in a new, more fearsome world. And it is that world they pine for. Dupes and degenerate sociopaths all.

Easier by far for far too many to hate rather than to achieve; and almost as gratifying for the incompetent, envious and wrathful that find inspiration and voice in many of these postings to despise than to aspire.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 18:44 | 857749 jeffgroove102
jeffgroove102's picture

Disagree completely, you should read mike kreiger from the other day. Usually what we hate in others is something we do not like about ourselves. Gold for the most part is what it has always been, "a store of value". Do you think that others or a priveleged class should get to recklessly print money and embezzle the product of someone elses labor? I think not.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 18:50 | 857757 Logans_Run
Logans_Run's picture

Is that you Warren or are you his sidekick Charles?

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 01:57 | 858314 cityguyusa
cityguyusa's picture

Most of the old wealth was built on the back of slavery where the slaves where given only enough to keep the healthy and ready for another days hard work.  That money is still in those same families.  The new money has been born mostly from technology and that was one of the real game changers allowing some new members into the circle.  But until people are ready to through away the capitalist model there will always be slavery because there are too many workers for the amount of jobs.  I contend that if your CEO of Walmart that your cashiers are just as important as your janitors which are just as important as the stock clerks which as just as important as the buyers and merchandsers and on and on.  But they want to undervalue those employees and make them seem as they don't contribute that much to the company and therefore deserve less pay.  But I guarantee that a company without a cashier will soon be bankrupt and I think this is the view we need to take that their is not this heirarcy of one person being more important than another and with that comes and equalization of wages which allows everyone to particpate in the economy.  When you take that and you add in ownership of the company for those same employees you now have changed that worker that dreads going to work to one that is looking out for opportunities for their company to do better and because they have a vested interest they're not going to be out sick or have that air of "I don't care" which we all experience when most companies don't even thank you for your business anymore.  Go to McDonalds and more than likely they throw your food onto the counter and turn away without saying a word.  Without the janitors or sanitation engineers no one would even walk in the froont door yet they are paid some of the lowest wages of all employees and yet the value of their jobs to the company could literally ruin the company overnight.

This is the fundamental change we need to see in this country and from that you will see those same people starting to feel like they have a voice and actively start speaking out against a governement ripe with corruption and as they work force has the ability to now educate themselves and their children to new levels they will force those politiicians we shuffle around every 2 years and recycle just in different spots so that most are not wise to the fact that the same people have been running the government pretty much since my childhood - they're just no the ones we elect but more importantly the ones that we have no control over.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:33 | 857554 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

I have had an "elite" education and work with high-powered academics.    I was raised blue-collar and worked in industry for 20 years.  I've had plenty of opportunity to rub shoulders with the elite.  Gawd, what a bunch of idiots.  The Author is right on the nose.  These morons have bought into global warming and every manner of leftist domatic lunaticism imaginable and do so with such arrogance it's mind blowing.  Time and again I've sat with Professors and industry people as they listen to speeches by the pompous elite and the response has been mostly eye-rolling and head shaking. 

I should add, the pompous elite feel better than everyone else because they have collected hundreds of awards, medals, and honors from ... guess who? ... the pompous elite.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:41 | 857574 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

My esteemed colleague makes a wonderful point. I think that deserves an award. Pompous elite clubs for everyone.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:50 | 857600 duo
duo's picture

Having met the new executive class of a major semiconductor company (or heard them speak), intelligence is NOT a requirement.  Actually, it's a liability.  There is an executive class and once you're in it, things magically happen to you (promotions) no matter how bad you screw up.  Conformity and group-think are requirements, but being a middle-aged white male makes it tough to get into this group unless you were born into it.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 19:30 | 857829 trav7777
trav7777's picture

yep.  Merit is actually a drawback.  Merit means you will call bullshit on consensus and people will ostracize you for dissenting and then again when you are proven correct.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 20:03 | 857867 equity_momo
equity_momo's picture

Thats my career in a nutshell.  

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 22:06 | 858025 halvord
halvord's picture

It's called failing upward. Here in Cali we just had two corporate women try to fail upwards all the way to governor and senator. No political experience, meaning they never stood out in the rain shaking hands and kissing babies. They thought they could just buy their way in, straight to the top.

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 14:26 | 858843 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

That is a hopeful sign, is it not?  The populace may not have had the sociological facts at their fingertips, but they could smell a rat from a mile away.  Maybe there is some redeeming value in voting?  Hell, I could go around and around in this vicious circle.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:55 | 857616 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

Well said!!  Could not agree more! 

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 00:10 | 858203 Future Jim
Future Jim's picture

This is what I have observed in the business world. The most successful are the most conformist. They believe exactly what they are supposed to believe and congratulate each other on recognizing the brilliance of their groupthink. They never take the time for the independent thought that would falsify groupthink such as global warming. These so called capitalists are actually sold on global warming - pathetic. We are doomed.

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 15:45 | 859166 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

They are not sold on global warming. They are sold on justification. They know there's not global warming. They are just making it a project so they can be in charge of the project. To lead the global warming movement requires them to have the resources and money. So they sell it as being for the benefit of all mankind. While they steal the resources as they to do it. Big things make big people. Big projects need many servants. Big people like bunches of servants.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:34 | 857559 Bob
Bob's picture

Elite universities are not where anyone with a clue goes for an undergraduate education . . . unless they belong to that infinitesimally small group of world class prodigies who may attract and benefit from the attentions of instructors who are leading authorities in their fields. 

If you ain't one of those few, you're getting a glamorous assembly line "education" for the sake of a status symbol credential. 

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 00:19 | 858212 SF beatnik
SF beatnik's picture


America has never cared much for the life of the mind.

Its elite education system is set up not to create thinkers but to test the eagerness and dependability of those persons who will take orders from ruling elites who themselves don't think but only do.

President 0 is a good example. To the shock of progressives who delighted in his election, he has shown himself to be only the loyal servant of the banksters. His elite education was a proving ground of his eagerness to please his masters. He kissed asses all the up way up the ladder. He's not a leader. He just follows orders. He gives a good speech, but it's all bullshit.

Look also to the nation's inept and experimental foreign policy, which might be characterized thus: "When in doubt, shoot it out."

Want an education? Stay home and educate yourself. Or choose a very easy college where you can get your crappy degree without wasting lots of time studying things you aren't really passionate about.

The formal education system in the US is profoundly f**ked. I'd rather like to it dismantled so we can start again from scratch.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:36 | 857564 Goldenballs
Goldenballs's picture

You don,t have to rob a bank to steal from it,you just have to own it.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:45 | 857580 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Interesting article, but Ken Lay was not ever one of "them." He was what I like to call a self-propelled tool. He grew up working class, went to public schools and graduated from the University of Missouri, hardly an elite business school.

While Colin Powell might've jetted him out of the country the night he supposedly died (Powell just happend to fly there that evening), my guess is that he heart-attacked him instead.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 20:09 | 857880 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

Ken Lay was the dupe at Enron.  The Chief Architect was Jeffrey Skilling, former CEO.  Skilling graduated from Harvard Business School and cut his teeth at McKinsey and Company. 

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 06:32 | 858400 velobabe
velobabe's picture

(Powell just happend to fly there that evening) jetted him out.

sorry no private jet flying out of aspen airport at night, only commercial allowed. dusk to dawn rules for private aircraft. some pilots sneak out but get fined.

some how they pulled a aspen pardon and faked his death. i say did an autophy on a robot or something. aspen is elite group tank heaven. can assure you they are all safe there. boring.


Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:51 | 857603 Revolution_star...
Revolution_starts_now's picture

Harvard, Princeton, or Yale.

Pitchforks, Bread,  or Jail.



Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:52 | 857613 chinaguy
chinaguy's picture

What I didn't see hammered home (& perhaps missed) is that these elite are taught to "know" that they are correct and "speak convincingly" that they are correct...when they are often shooting from the hip and clueless....and clueless is being polite. 

I've worked with these guys on huge industrial projects...what a bunch of idiot empty suits...and they run the country and "know they are right". 


Fri, 01/07/2011 - 19:56 | 857854 Blano
Blano's picture

"100% convinced"

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:52 | 857614 Instant Karma
Instant Karma's picture

We've reached a point of no return. The hard decisions are too hard. We're stuck with a staggering amount of debt, and no way to repay it. So the Fed just monetizes it. Seemingly this game will end badly with currency and inflation problems.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:56 | 857619 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

Articles like this are why I love ZH!  Thank you!

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 18:01 | 857620 Miss Expectations
Miss Expectations's picture

I don't know...this article has an academic style that I find a little off-putting.  But, since it's a chance to bash the Ivy League, I'll bite.

I used to work in a fortune 500 company that thought it would be a good idea to recruit Ivy League managers (Princeton and Harvard mostly).  I was unfortunate enough to be given one.  No sooner than he found out where the men's room was, he was ready to tell me how I should be managing my department.  It was just stunning to observe this ego/confidence, when in fact, he didn't really know anything practical about how our company worked. 

But there was another one, assigned to another colleague/friend, who was really outrageous.  She would disrupt fairly high-level meetings with her inane observations and opinions without being asked.  She had this unbelievable confidence mixed with a lofty condescending affect... clearly she felt that she was the most important person in the room.  It was a trait all of the Ivy League recruits had.  For months and months this young woman reeked havoc all over the company, going around people, over people, messing up chains of communication and misdirecting so many people that we had to step in and let everyone know that she was not authorized to give direction on any project.  Then one day another Director stopped into my office and closed the door.  She said, "You won't believe this, but I found out something about Mary.  I know why she's so stupid and how she got through Harvard.  She had a Rowing Scholarship!"  Well, that explained everything.  What was great about knowing this (and letting everyone else know) was that it made meetings kind of fun.  Now, whenever a recruit either said something stupid or took over a meeting, we'd catch some one's eye and slowly mouth the words:

R O W I N G   S C H O L A R S H I P .

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 19:01 | 857772 Art Vandelay
Art Vandelay's picture

I was once the supervisor of a similar jackwagon, only he had a swimming scholarship. This douche was best known for flipping pennies back at a cashier when he received change for a purchase. After about two years, he had a nervous breakdown and left the firm.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 21:36 | 857994 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

Worse... George Bush (Sr and Shrub) were legacy admits and received "gentleman's C's"...

At least Mary could row...

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:56 | 857623 Moric
Moric's picture

Read the original essay, skip the dogma.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:57 | 857625 Dragline
Dragline's picture

The summary by Smith doesn't do justice to the original article (which was written in the summer of 2008, by the way.)  Skip the b.s. repackaging and read the original.

But this kind of labeling of people is really pretty useless in the end -- you can find innumerable examples to either prove or disprove this thesis.


Fri, 01/07/2011 - 18:04 | 857645 Gunther
Gunther's picture

Years ago I read a similar description of Soviet elites by an Logician or Philosopher called Sinowjew (German spelling from memory.)

He made almost the same argument; stating that Soviet leaders were selected carefully  to be as mediocre as possible.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 23:45 | 858169 Cleve Meater
Cleve Meater's picture

This is why I absolutely frickin' love ZH.  Where else can you read shit like this?

"There’s a reason elite schools speak of training leaders, not thinkers--holders of power, not its critics."

The "Skull & Bones" knuckleheads have up-fucked this country in they hoo-ha's more times than we can count. These are some soft-ass people - delicate, no callouses, no genuine life experiences, privileged dandies, dependent on mumsie and dadums to smooth the way.  They're the Kennebunkport Bush's, the Chappaquidick Kennedy's.  They're bred to be narcissists...These are our leaders?

And incredibly, the morbidly obese GMF burger eating, fructose slurping doofus in his electric cart motoring around the Wal Mart will gladly follow along because the Yalies "leadership" qualities consist of Edward Bernays wretch-inducing propaganda -- "Proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free..."

Fuck them.  The elite schools teach tactical propaganda and manipulation pure and simple.

I'd gladly hire a dozen street smart "thugs" from Watts or the Bronx, before I'd ever even consent to interview one of these bon vivants who likely came into the world with a silver spoon sticking out of their ass.  At least the former are honest about their criminality... Plus they have calluses.... And probably Glock wounds.


Sat, 01/08/2011 - 00:18 | 858210 trav7777
trav7777's picture

hire them for what?  Thugs from Watts would rob you blind and stuff your remains in a dumpster.

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 03:58 | 858365 Herd Redirectio...
Herd Redirection Committee's picture

I think there needs to be a distinction made between the puppet elites, and TPTB, the king-makers, the powers behind the 'throne'. 

The king-makers are extremely ruthless and cunning, you don't stand a chance against them without admitting atleast that much.  They can disrupt peaceful protests time and again, which in turn allows them to turn the public against 'dangerous' protest movements.  They have no problem drugging entire populations, eg. legal/illegal opiates. 

And their propaganda/marketing abilities are highly developed.

PsychoNews: Exposing the Oligarchy, one Psycho at a time.

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 02:22 | 858337 cityguyusa
cityguyusa's picture

Your absolutely right and people are so indoctrinated that the minute you even suggest that there are better alternatives than capitalism you will see the wrath of God come out of their souls.  It has been so beaten into them that I really don't know if we could ever truly change or even start a change for a better system.  In fact, I'm betting that your squirming in your seat yourself with your thoughts immediately going to all those bad words we were taught in school like socialism and how the socialist have to progagandize their workers but who's being propagandized and who isn't.  How many of you have questioned the level of propaganda in this country?  I'm betting not many.  How many have heard that Abe Lincoln being the wonderful President that we were told he was only abolished slavery because he needed money to win the war and that was the deal on the table.  He could have the money but only under the conditon of freeing the slaves.  But that's not the story that any of us learned in school.  Not at all.  Abe Lincoln was an ultruistic individual that was fighting the war to abolish slavery even though he himself had several slaves.  Abe Lincoln is also know for having certain men coming to stay with him in the Whitehouse in the same bed as was just recently brought out based on several letters that have come to light between him and another man which talked about some very demonstrative feelings.  So could be that we've already hadour first gay President.

But anyways the point here is that our history has been manipulated just as the Bible has been manufactured to coral people into a certain way of thinking.  How many years have people literally been afraid of going to the devil and I mean the devil that we are literally taught to picture with hot red skin a tail and a pitchfork.  While when we think of God we think of a slightly worn face long gray hair a male of course looking down on us from above?  No one has every thought that it might be a woman or it might not even be human or black or even Asian.  It's not even been discussed.  God has always been presented as an white anglo-saxxon male individual.

Another example.  Earmarks.  Earmarks have been demonized as crazy spending increases but an earmark is only carving out a certain amount from the "existing budget" for a particular project.  In other words, it's just a prioritization of projects.  While the mandate is way more harmful and way more expensive because it appears usually as something that will benefit us all but the money to pay for it never comes along with the legislation and ultimately gets passsed the whole way down to the local level where they have no choice but to increase property taxes giving them the ultimate black eye when it really came from DC.  But we don't see that and we certainly don't connect the two because we're not even taught to realize that every piece of legislation cost something and unless it's obvious and expensive piece of legislation policiticians don't volunteer any information about the cost let alone what it cost each American.  Congress is going to put a spot on the legislation now to indentify what section of the constituion enables them to create the legislation (big deal) but why don't they put the cost to each and every American and let us then decide if it's worth $4.20 a week to keep a state park open or $200.36 a week to build a light rail from Boston to DC when a monorail covering the same area would only cost each American $2.39 a week?  Framing, it's how they frame the arguments and how they don't give us enough information to understand the cost of what they are legislating and nobody even thinks to question how it impacts their paychecks.

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 12:53 | 858724 velobabe
velobabe's picture

nice post. a little generalizing. i didn't read anything about history of our country. i didnt pay attention to any of my classes in H.S. so what you wrote about Lincoln i believe. i think it is really good to have been utterly dumb founded and overwhelmed by content that just didn't interest me. i know i funked my mythology tests, but now i have done reading on my own and at my own will. BTW, never was sold on that god looking the way you describe him. i was pretty sure it was robin hood who i was looking for†

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 18:27 | 857702 beastie
beastie's picture

It has been a pet theory of mine that America and it's eventual destruction as an empire is more liken to Great Britain rather than the Roman Empire. The Charge of the light Brigade while trumpeted as the ultimate in bravery seems more like the stupid leading the ignorant to their deaths. British officers (aristocracy) at the time bought their horses, uniforms and commissions. Merit and leadership had nothing to do with position. The difference is the corporate america is more like the armies of old exchanging funny money instead of beads.

Other obvious similarities like Britain used to have the world reserve currency status etc. until they devalued. The more you dig the more it seems the same ol same ol.

So if you want ot know how it all ends you just have to look at the British Empire.


Fri, 01/07/2011 - 18:46 | 857750 jmc8888
jmc8888's picture

because beastie, we ARE the british empire.

Well, not really, we've been overtaken by the british empire.

We are servants IN the British Empire.

We are their muscle.  We are their voice.

Everyone hated the british model, so now it's been repackaged under us Americans.  Gee I wonder why we went from being loved to hated.  In fact, hated like the British Empire used to be.

I wonder why?  Because we are the British Empire?

Of course we're not the British Empire, the British are the Empire, like the Queen of England.  We're just serfs. 

Again in my post below I talk about sophistry, used by British.  Also used by Rome/Greece.

You aren't seeing things beastie, you are seeing the parallels that drive you to some great insight someday if you keep following down this path. 

We use monetarism, just like the British imperialist monetarists.  Whether they be Austrian or Keyenes or other.

The British did too, as well as Greece/Rome.

You are indeed seeing history repeat itself, and no part of this history is playing out like American Patriots would have let it play out.  Because NONE OF THIS is American.


It's in the constitution, we are not to be monetarists.

What are we?



We the People, of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect union, have to get a fucking clue first. 

If a person doesn't know about roads, they will never realize they are driving, off-road.  If the American population doesn't realize we are the exact thing this country fought against, then we won't see that we're acting unamerican.

It really is that simple.  Sohpistry. Monetarism.  To save them, the Queen pushes Fascism.  Austerity. 

Our good name bad, for British Monetarism, and no one realizes it.

Except I don't think America will do to China, what England did to America.  The Chinese aren't that stupid.  We apparently are.  I wish it wasn't so, but it is.   Because it is.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 18:34 | 857724 jmc8888
jmc8888's picture

Barry Goldwater used this line of propaganda as well.

'Them that has, deserves'

Of ocurse, it's complete bullshit sophistry, or perfectly Republican...and growing in power (already majority) of Democratic Party.  Yeah Sophistry.

Bill Gates is a dumbass

Facebook was a copy of myspace, and something will replace it.

There's nothing special about facebook, except it's bankster funded start compared to....well others that weren't.  Gee I wonder why it got so big and popular.

Give me 100 million dollars and I'll get everyone to own a pet rock again.

Besides, while having some small uses, what is facebook really for?

Booty calls.

So really, we're here giving a dumbass monetarist blue blood who had better connections the man of the year for inventing a better (or better funded) way of hooking up.

Wow, what a great service.

There the elites go again, thinking gruel is cake.  Facebook ain't shit.  At best it's a fucking website among millions on the web.  Big fucking deal.

But the elite want you believe it's everything.  myWhat?

The sad thing is that education is still our future.  Just not THIS SORT OF EDUCATION.

SO once again we have to be careful.  THis isn't a reason to be uneducated.  If anything it should push you to be MORE educated.

But less on the sophistry.

LaRouche has pegged what this author still can't completely grasp.

The idea of blurring the lines isn't just an ideology, it's a way of life.  Sophistry.  Started by Plato, and used by monetarists every since.

You want to know how it was in Ancient Greece or Rome?  Look around, we use sophistry here to. We'll end up the same way too if we don't stop using it.

The elites use sophistry to propogandize our young at elite schools (or every school, especially pure private ones like Apollo type.

But it's even infected our k-12. Because it's infected our whole society.

Our whole society is based off of sophistry.  Not very American is it.  Because there really isn't an America left.  Only in dreams of the young and long ago experiences in the old.

If you want to cut through the bullshit, cut through the sophistry.

Learn that word....sohpistry. 

Learn how sophistry is used in your life...and it's effects, especially on courses of actions you take.

Learn how you fool yourself, with sophistry. 

Teach your kids the perils of sophistry. 

So why is there such a disconnect between our 'brightest' and what's real? They believe their sophistry, and use it's tennants on you.  You either believe it, or don't contest it.  Sophistry wins.

Not a bad article, but if the author focused on how Sophistry blurs the line to allow all the above, it would be a much better article. (and more pertinent to our current situation, and thus a better chance for finding a path to implement the solutions)




Sat, 01/08/2011 - 02:36 | 858345 cityguyusa
cityguyusa's picture

I just had to repsond to your comment on FB.  What is the big deal here.  Wall Street has everyone believeing that this is some huge cash cow because all people do on FB is talk about buying things apparently like Ford Rangers and GE appliances and the kind of condtioner we use in our hair.  When I had my account for about 2 months I was so bored with people talking about their hangovers and love lives that I literally couldn't stand to even look at it anymore.  They don't even talk about anything intelligent.  Goldman has been pumping money in by the billions and as far as I know haven't made one red cent and now they're talking IPO which I'm guessing is to get the hell out of an investment that they put too much money into so just like their they did with the housing industry their going to launch and IPO and bet against FB in hopes of getting their money out. For them this is a direct investment and not an investment of other people's money (an accounting gimmick which I'm sure they can easily change to put everyone elses money at risk).  But what exactly did they think this social networking was going to do?  Did they really believe that all anyone would talk about would be products they bought and used?  Why would anyone do that?  The whole point of social is to not talk about that kind of stuff and to be a little crazy, listen to some tunes, dance or rock out a little and tell everyone what a hot chick you meet the other week.  To know that your love life sucks and you aren't getting any and every weekend you go out and get toasted and take a lot of party drugs.  I just don't see the value and if someone else does please enlighten me!

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 18:35 | 857725 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

i think it is proof that if one decides to fight the bad guys, whole families must go as well, no matter their age

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 19:05 | 857790 Logans_Run
Logans_Run's picture

Why do you think God instructed Joshua to kill ever man, woman, child and animal as the Isrealites entered the Promised Land?

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 20:33 | 857915 Phaethon
Phaethon's picture

Because he often encouraged his chosen people to commit acts of genocide?

Psalm 137:8-9  "Babylon, you will be destroyed.  Happy is the one who pays you back for what you have done to us.  Happy is the one who takes your babies and smashes them against the rocks!"

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 19:19 | 857785 anonnn
anonnn's picture

The Menace of Privalege [1905]

...unequal distribution of wealth, which so distracts public and private life in the Republic, to be due to Government favors to individuals, operating in all instances as if private laws had been made expressly for their benefit. We have seen the Government favors or privileges fall into four general classes: monopolies of natural opportunities, tariff and other taxes on production and its fruits, highway grants, and incorporation powers and immunities.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 19:21 | 857815 americanspirit
americanspirit's picture

Inbreeding always eventually produces sterile idiots. End of story.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 19:23 | 857817 Jay Gould Esq.
Jay Gould Esq.'s picture

Why, we have our very own Princeton-bred academic superstar currently serving as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Mediocrity personified.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 19:28 | 857826 trav7777
trav7777's picture

CHS is correct on this...all my experiences with so-called elites have matched his.

There is definitely a legacy elite with political connections and they all believe that their shit doesn't stink and you should not complain about your station in life, as it is your parents' fault that you are not one of them.

They are all wannabes, but they BE the aristocracy.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 19:58 | 857857 Yardfarmer
Yardfarmer's picture

It was not without supreme and ultimate cogency that the biblical narrative presents us with the ironic tableau of Lucifer, the Prince of this world tempting the Prince of Peace with the kingdoms of the world if He only bow down and worship him. Obviously the lord of the temporal realm, he lays rightful claim to the principalities which constitute it. The immediate and undeniable inference is that those who inhabit the thrones and halls of power have been bestowed with such passing and ephemeral glories by he whose it is to grant it to them on condition of their absolute fealty to no one less than he, the fallen angel of light, Lucifer, the prince of darkness. When one considers the infernal stench of the surpassing rank corruption which attends and indeed emanates from the princes of this world and the death and destruction which they unyieldingly sow at the behest of their master, it becomes evident that all those high grand councils of such as the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderbergs, The Council of Thirty, The Round Table and all their requisite foundations, think tanks, and institutes ad nauseam are but the infestations and habitations of demonic power lurking treacherously behind the trappings of governance as invested in the various congresses, parliaments, and tortuously complex and nightmarish bureaucratic institutions which by dint of law concoct ever new feral madnesses and devilish brews in their "murderous chalices"

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 21:41 | 858000 JR
JR's picture

Amen to that! Yardfarmer. And speaking of the “Real Rulers…”

The Group of Thirty is nothing more than a non-governmental body that acts as the government. It is a banker pool from which the elite draw to control world finance.

Long before Barack Obama won the Democrat Primary contest, the Group of Thirty included Geithner, the future treasury secretary;  Volcker, the future senior economic advisor to the White House, newly-created; Summers, the future director of the powerful White House National Economic Council; and bailout media-economist Krugman, the future Nobel prize winner and guru apologist for explosive-government spending for the incoming Obama Administraton. (Coincidental?)

To get some idea of the kind of credentials brought to the Group of Thirty here’s the current Wikipedia resume of U.S. resident and G-30 chairman, Dr. Jacob Frenkel, second in command to Paul Volcker, chairman of the Board of Trustess G-30:

Jacob Aharon Frenkel (Hebrew: ???? ???? ?????‎; born in 1943 in the British Mandate of Palestine) is an Israeli economist and businessman. A former Governor of the Bank of Israel, Frenkel currently serves as Chairman of JPMorgan Chase International, which executes the international strategy of the American financial services firm.[1]

Frenkel earned a B.A. in economics and political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and gained an M.A. and Ph.D. in economics at the University of Chicago.[2] He was a faculty member of the university from 1973 to 1987, where he was appointed David Rockefeller Professor of International Economics.

From 1987 till 1991, he served as Director of Research at the International Monetary Fund.[2]

Between 1991 and 2000 he served as Governor of the Bank of Israel, and from 2000 to 2004 he was Chairman of Merrill Lynch International.

In addition to JPMorgan Chase International, Frenkel is also chairman of the Washington-based economics organization, Group of Thirty. He serves on the board of directors of Lowe's Companies, Inc., and in August 2007, he joined the advisory board of an Israel based biotech firm BrainStorm Cell Therapeutic, Inc.[2][3] He is also a Vice-Chairman of American International Group.

In 2002, Frenkel was awarded the Israel Prize, for economics. [4][5]


Fri, 01/07/2011 - 20:17 | 857887 gwar5
gwar5's picture

Al "I-am-Legend" Gore epitomizes the pompous underachiever elites for me.

His father, Al Senior, was a racist segregationist senator and little Al was brought up in all white private schools to be president. Little Al did not live up to his potential and virtually flunked natural history in grad school.

Yet, somehow the myth is that the Gores have always been scions of civil rights, and little Al is an expert on science and global warming. 

Media elites cover for their fellow pretenders and destroy the upstarts that threaten the status quo. I think the American elites are such Europhiles because they like to think of themselves as a monarchy. 





Sat, 01/08/2011 - 04:05 | 858369 Dirt Rat
Dirt Rat's picture

His distant cousin, Gore Vidal, might have made a good president, but there was that little matter of the queer thing.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 20:24 | 857901 Ima anal sphincter
Ima anal sphincter's picture

We the People, of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect union, have to get a fucking clue first.  Excellent statement!


Farmer: I agree to your context of the root evil, but my brain is a little twisted from trying to read it.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 20:25 | 857902 JR
JR's picture

The real truth is that the "power elite" needs to be severed of its privileged connections.  The concept of a "power elite” is an anathema to America.

A nation with a privileged power elite is in the throes of a tyranny, of a society unto itself that  makes and alters the laws to fit is privileges. It’s Anthony Codevilla’s article, The Ruling Class.

A ruling class has an understanding of what its privileged members are to say and do if they are to be retained as a part of the group.  IOW, if a news editors is hired by Newsweek, he doesn’t have to be told what to do; he knows what his priorities are, what not to say or support…what’s pc and what isn’t. 

He knows if he sticks to the Rulilng Class’ s agenda he’s going to rise according to what he produces.  And if he happens to be Jewish, all the better…  It’s no longer anit-Semitic, of course, to identify a Jewish background as being an advantage for advancement into America's circles of finance, politics, communications and others.  It’s factual.

Smith writes: "I would say that an Elite education is only one piece in the Power Elites' grooming; ultimately, it's family connections and the mentoring of influential people which raise people to positions of State and financial power…you are born to it. (sorry, meritocracy propagandists.)”

Continues Smith: “Sadly, many believe the hokem about merit being the key to State and financial wealth and power…"

I have a solution.  Severe these privileged connections; they are detrimental to the American way of equal opportunity, to the American Dream, to the American Constitution.  They are like clubs, they are like mobs, they are like conspiracies, they are like occupations…  Here’s the pic ture:

You have a seasoned economics professor at Harvard who’s been there for years, with government and banking connections.  He looks at his incoming class and he picks out a promising, hopefully Jewish, grad student and that student is set on the path to the NY Federal Reserve.  He’s on the way.

This needs to be broken up; and it can be.  Politicians and university trustees need to break this cycle of privileged connections creating rulers for the nation.  We don’t need rulers, we don’t want rulers, we don’t need a power elite. We want representatives of the people, people who will go to Washinton and vote the way the people want them to vote.

We don’t want power elites, like Geithner and Rubin in the Treasury and Shulman in the IRS and Bernanke in the Fed , who tell us what to do with our money and our retirements.  They’re supposed to do what we say; unfortunately, they’ve turned it around. 

This was the first country of substantial promise on the earth to be operated by the people.  The others worked for the king…for the dictator, for the privileged few…  America needs to shed this so-called


Graphs usually help clarify confusing data. There is one graph, though, that raises more questions than answers, and it’s clamped in a three-ring binder in the office of Rabbi Julie Roth, the executive director of the Center for Jewish Life (CJL). For the past five years, Roth has been working to change a puzzling statistic: Thirteen percent of Princeton’s undergraduate student body is Jewish, the lowest percentage of any Ivy League university besides Dartmouth, which comes in at 11 percent.

Jewish students at Harvard, Brown, Columbia and Penn make up 25 percent of their respective undergraduate populations, and at Yale and Cornell, the number is 22 percent, according to data provided by Hillel, a leading international Jewish campus organization.

This data corresponds closely with data collected by the CJL… The 13 percent figure suggests that Princeton’s population of Jewish students has only increased slightly since an Office of Religious Life survey 10 years ago showed that 10 percent of undergraduates were Jewish.

At the time, this statistic represented a significant decline from a peak of roughly 18 percent in 1980. This drop elicited widespread concern: In April 1999, The Daily Princetonian ran four front-page articles on the issue, prompting The New York Times to write a piece in June of that year titled “The Princeton Puzzle” about the decline of the Jewish population on campus.

Deresiewicz’s Power Elite


Sat, 01/08/2011 - 00:23 | 858219 trav7777
trav7777's picture

JFC...22%??  If there were a non-minority group with this type of overrepresentation, the DWLs would be screaming for an Inquisition.

God help you to get into these schools if you're just white.  They let the jews "count" as white so that they can admit the necessary legacies and then they drum up as much "diversity" to fill out the class as they can.

There is now a dearth of regular european whites at these institutions compared to their share of population.

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 13:13 | 858747 velobabe
velobabe's picture

Power Elite, i have forever abolished any and all thoughts about these folks, as being nothing except evil people. i follow your description of the education system. i know so many of these power elites that went to Ivy league schools. they really aren't that impressive. most of them do cocaine, are fucked up. i really never socialized with any one of them. have to tread gently with my daughter and her relationships with some. i figure D.B. keeps using her, cause he can't have her. he can't buy her, like everything else he takes over. he is a pert. could be gay, but that doesn't matter. but what multi billionaire do pilates? it is kinda gay. i am having a lot of trouble lately even going outside and walk on the mall. people in general, just make me sick.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 20:51 | 857939 honestann
honestann's picture

Definition:  "elite" == "predator"

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 21:12 | 857969 centerline
centerline's picture

corrected... "elite" == "parasite"

Sun, 01/09/2011 - 02:20 | 861198 honestann
honestann's picture

No, "elite" == "predator".

And "voter" == "parasite".

It is voters who advocate and sanction the atrocities of the elitist predators by casting their vote.  These are the people who want the predators they elected to bleed the wealth/goods from honest, ethical producers and distribute some to them (the voter/parasites).  This is how the elitist predators get sufficient support to practice endless obscene acts of fraud, theft, violence and enslavement.

No, the elites (and those people who work for them) are definitely the predators.  And the ever-growing mobs of welfare state losers are the parasites.

This is very clear.  Just look at what each does.

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 21:31 | 857986 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

Case In Point:
Robert "What Me Worry About Insider Trading at Citi" Rubin

Always Failing Upwards
Enough said...

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 21:56 | 858016 grl
grl's picture

The original essay had this quaint admonishment: "As John Ruskin told an older elite, grabbing what you can get isn’t any less wicked when you grab it with the power of your brains than with the power of your fists. " 

Oh really? A bank robber can steal $1000 from a bank and if he is found out, he will likely spend some time in the slammer. A financial manager can figure out how to steal billions and when he is found out, well, nothing happens. They may be equally as wicked but you can be sure society doesn't treat it so. 

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 22:49 | 858070 surfsup
surfsup's picture

I'd say this low freq paradigm creep has gone well into the middle and lower layers as well as the elite.  We are P[r]'d on to think we lack -- there for we need "stuff."  

To think we are naturally prone to be ill there fore we need "Insurance & Meds."  To think we are dumb there for we need "advice."  To think that the average person is greedy when they are not and would quite unconditionally assist another within reason, and there for we [think we] need the "pack mentality."  

P[r]'d on to think God is out there somewhere when It is ALL within.   The Age of Deception may have a likeness along many strata -- but what of the cure?  

And here comes the discussion between what is a Democracy and what is a Republic. The idea is to change the power structure from a pyramid with a task master at the healm to a holographic power structure where each contain a built in component of the authority.   

One would guess that such will happen quite without any human intervention as a Natural Course of Species Evolution.   

Welcome to the Awakening...  The only true Elite is the Great Spirit of Life everything else is "Show biz..."  Follow its laws and methods and rise -- go against them and Tyler and Crew will rip you a new one... ; >


Fri, 01/07/2011 - 23:21 | 858128 Traveler
Traveler's picture

We need a power elite ETF. Then we all can buy in or hedge. I'll take a percentage.

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 01:41 | 858298 chindit13
chindit13's picture

Aren't stereotypes a wonderful thing!  Calling those elites nasty names sure does make one feel better about oneself, no?  Not a risk taker amongst them, like the chicken shit Harvard boy who made that software stuff that makes that funny series of chords when I turn on my computer, or the Stanford MBA who started that coffee company? (JAVA-Sun) or the UVa hedge fund manager who started the Robin Hood Foundation.  If they had only been able to be as successful, and to offer as much to the world---in terms of technology or jobs or charity---as Charles Hughes Smith, well wouldn't this be a paradise!

Isn't it a shame that all those who have all the answers to all the world's problems could never get a soapbox to spout off, or were never just given the keys to the Kingdom just because they so clearly deserve it?  Charles Hughes Smith and all those guys who couldn't get into Harvard would have been so much better at running the world, if only we had all just given them a chance.

Charlie, I'm guilty.  Wasn't born an elite, but was born with a brain that seems to work better than most.  Did the Ivy thing all the way through advanced degrees.  Somewhere along the way I learned that one makes one's own life, and if things do not turn out the way you want, then get off your butt and try to change them.  Anybody can complain.  Costs nothing.  It also solves nothing.  Sitting on a beach in Hawaii sure is helping the planet, eh?

You want to make things better then get off your sorry ass and do something instead of being a whimpering coward who cannot come to terms with your own failure. 

I'm not measuring "success" as wealth.  I measure success in having achieving one's goals, put one's best effort into whatever one does, being relentless, and accepting responsibility for the minuses as well as taking credit for the pluses.  Charlie, sometimes failure---by whatever measure one uses---is one's own fault.

Incidentally, what the fuck have you done to make the world better?  The elites can be good or bad, just like anybody.  The non-elites are not all noble.  Some might be, but pound for pound they are no better or worse than the elites.

Got a question Charlie.  If you had a fortune, would you give most of it away trying to lend a hand to people born badly?  I have an answer.  YOU do not know the answer.  It is not a parlor game.  If you want to know the answer, then go out and work your tail off and make a fortune, then see how you behave after.  Talk is cheap.

As Abraham Lincoln said, the true measure of a man's character is not how he behaves in bad times, but how he behaves in good times.


Sat, 01/08/2011 - 06:06 | 858398 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

As Abraham Lincoln said, the true measure of a man's character is not how he behaves in bad times, but how he behaves in good times.


Good old Abraham Lincoln... Of course, he was the one to define when were good times and bad times.


This said, something noticeable in US mind set. The riddance of non action.

You do either good or bad. Not doing does not exist in the US mind realm.

Nobody ever noticed how all US sports were codified to deliver a win or lose outcome and the game football wich retains the outcome stalemate is unpopular in the US?

This gives some peripherical thoughts like "what the fuck have you done to make the world better? " What does it mean?

Coupled with responsibility of course. So a guy sitting on a beach doing nothing to better the world should be thrown in the same basket as a power elite who can summon large means and is acting? By the way, doing nothing is quite a good way to solve an overconsumption issue.

In this comment, old scam like negating the very existence of power. The requirement one makes one's own life is plain and obvious: power does not exist. As soon as  power is brought into existence, people are subjected to it and lose control over their life. That is the very definition of power.

 So many people are enthusiastic about the West as a successful thinking powerhouse. One could wonder. Cheap tactics, avoidance of facts, propaganda, self infatuation... By the starting criteria set in the West, that should yield failure but ...

Somebody could ask a bronze age warlord or even a bronze age peasant about power. Common answer that emerged from the past: "I am powerful because I can make and unmake life of other men"

Millenia later, a smart guy from Ivy league is able to coin in in a streak existence of power and non existence of power. People can grow powerful but can not exert their power, probably because power does not exist. Not because they can refrain from it as the requirement is to keep acting. How nice.

That is where we got: 3000 years ago, people lived in reality. Now, all what people can do is produce denial. Denial. And again denial.

What an advancement. What a progress. What an achievement.

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 13:18 | 858750 JR
JR's picture

Got a question Charlie….If you want to know the answer, then go out and work your tail off and make a fortune, then see how you behave after.  Talk is cheap. – chindit13

Yes, talk is cheap, and in this case…yours.  Charles Hugh Smith is well known for valuable talk, for a penetrating web site with the kind of material that our country’s dilemma now requires--ideas, solutions, encouragement, targeting of problems.

This country was built on ideas and selflessness just such as this. Our civilization progressed, not on a quest for MONEY, but a quest for liberty, for the realization of the worth of an individual.  The Jeffersonian model was an explosion in individual opportunity; the resulting avalanche of America’s growth was not tied to plunder, monopoly, political corruption, or foreign occupation.  It was tied to freedom and the ideas that men such as Charles Hugh Smith, such as the signers of the Declaration of Independence, placed before … MONEY!  If I were to insult Mr. Smith by suggesting that his contributions were insufficient, I would hang my head in shame.

The men who signed the Declaration, who mutually pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, could hardly be compared to the greedy pygmies who now walk America’s halls of power.  In short, they followed a higher power than … MONEY.

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 01:50 | 858309 spekulatn
Sat, 01/08/2011 - 06:03 | 858396 Bilderbugger
Bilderbugger's picture

Thanks to the always brilliant Larry Summers

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 06:41 | 858404 velobabe
velobabe's picture

well, i am getting my advanced degrees from zerohedge. tyler did you like my email?

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 06:43 | 858406 Elliot Ness
Elliot Ness's picture

It's not about the Ivy League.  It's about nepotism.  Anyone who studies these issues can see the high degree of correlation.  There are a lot of Ivy Leaguers who don't amount to anything, but you can track how nepotism works throughout the system.  

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 07:45 | 858415 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

I can't decide whether to call them Mandarins, Brahmins, or aristocrats.

All Confucius really wanted was a government job.

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 14:04 | 858802 Milestones
Milestones's picture

The phrase "The Power Elite" is an actual book written by C. Wright Mills, in the late 50's and is as devastating now as it was when I originally read it the the early 60's. I believe he was a sociologist at Yale then.      Milestones 

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 15:07 | 858989 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

An article that was worth reading and a follow-up with the original article.  I'll not make an ass of myself by posting a premature opinion.  I've learned that emotional impulse is not a good platform for launching a thought.

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 19:43 | 860253 SF beatnik
SF beatnik's picture
What really characterizes the elite U prole scholar is ambition and obedience, not raw brain power, which is rather widely distributed. The larger question here has to do with whether such a education scheme serves the nation. Our nation, sad to say, is a nation of superstitious nitwits. It constructs an education assembly line because it can't think of anything better. That is to say, it can't think straight. Our nation was first settled mostly by religious fanatics, people looking to make a quick buck, and losers willing to indenture themselves to people looking to make a quick buck. They left an enduring taint on our collective psyche. Ambition isn't a bad thing. We lack wisdom to guide it. The place for us to begin is to understand that we are still babes in the woods...well, those woods we haven't paved over with asphalt.    

Sun, 01/09/2011 - 08:37 | 861526 tony bonn
tony bonn's picture

". We are slouching, even at elite schools, toward a glorified form of vocational training"

slouching my fat ass....we are already there...these same elite asswipes are the ones who demand a college degree for any conceivable job yet it is demonstrable that most business positions simply do not require it...thus college by definition has become vo-tech. and the tards i have met in my college classes often don't even arise to mediocrity...yet they will receive an entitlement job where they can be mediocre...but politically's all a religion....

i just encountered these ignoramouses in a company selling pos systems...the lazy ignorant shits kept passing me around like a whore because they didn't know who to integrate their pos systems with electronic payment systems....empty suits at pos world, microsoft, powerpay, mbank, kept passing me off to the other because they couldn't figure out how the electronic payment system worked and it was always someone else's problem...i finally figured it out but the vast sea of ignorance was mind numbing...but it was all educated ignorance mind you - so that makes it good. the world of fucktardery is alive and well and no amount of education will vanquish it....stupid does as stupid is...

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