Finishing School for Tomorrow's Ruling Class
It's really nice that the U.S. Supreme Court is slowly but surely backing away from racist university admissions. As Justice Sotomayor writes, race matters. It matters that the government, in a crude return to pre-modern cultural practice, has been encouraging people for half a century to think of themselves in racial terms rather than national terms. Because racism in a nation state is divisive. That's the whole point of it. Racism enables tribal leaders to rile up the tribe against the dangerous “other” across town.
But let's think of this whole sordid business of selecting kids for college in a different way. Let's think of the whole selective college racket as an astonishingly successful program of “grooming” promising youngsters to take their place as loyal and obedient members of the ruling class.
Of course, I am not talking about “grooming” in the way that social scientists describe sex abusers “grooming” their victims. I am just talking about grooms preparing thoroughbreds for the Kentucky Derby.
Scott Rasmussen notes how thoroughly groomed is today's Supreme Court.
In 1954, the Court that overturned government-sponsored segregation in public schools boasted members with law degrees from the Universities of Indiana, California, Texas and Alabama, along with Columbia, Harvard and Sorbonne. One of the Justices had no law degree whatsoever.
Today, such diversity is nowhere to be found. All nine justices attended either Harvard or Yale for law school.
And then we turn to President Obama. We conservatives like to think of him as an outlier, but really, he is the perfectly groomed liberal. He has all the right liberal instincts, and he doesn't even have to think about it. The president went to Harvard Law School.
Universities have always been about grooming. Usually, a university has been designed for training priests in the state religion. That's what Oxford and Cambridge were for. In the U.S. it was the sects that were interested in universities. Harvard was set up by the Massachusetts legislature in 1636 to train Congregationalist ministers. By 1800 Congregationalism was old school, and so Harvard became the center of Unitarianism; by 1850 it had gotten fashionably Boston Transcendentalist. Today, of course, Harvard's the top seminary for the Church of Secular Liberalism, and it now sends forth well-groomed graduates to minister unto the heathen bitter clingers and the sinful racist-sexist-homophobes. Nothing has changed.
There's a problem with the grooming culture, and it's obvious when you think of it. An education in grooming at a selective college prepares you for climbing the greasy pole in the current establishment. But what if life is a bit messier than that?
If you are a well-trained and groomed thoroughbred, all you are good for is running round a well-maintained track. You are good for writing 50-page dissents that demonstrate to the world that you have completely learned teacher's lesson. But you don't use a thoroughbred racer for riding over broken ground. You need a versatile, rugged, adaptable mount.
Compare Justice Sotomayor with Harold Hamm, recently profiled in Forbes by Christopher Helman. Oilman Hamm would be the Baron of Bakken and Duke of Dakota, if titles of nobility were permitted in these United States for lords of industry. It is his dogged development of horizontal drilling and fracking that has made North Dakota into the growingest state in the US of A by a country mile.
But the ruling class never got a chance to groom little Harold.
Hamm started working at a gas station at age 16 to support his family, then went on to muck out oil tanks at a refinery and then start his own trucking company hauling water to and from the oilfields. Even today those who respect Hamm still call him “the world’s richest truck driver.”
Wait. Mucking out oil tanks? That's environmental stewardship! With that on his application, he coulda gone to Harvard!
But then he wouldn't have been the tough gritty Hamm that followed through on a crazy vision of what could be made to happen in the Bakken formation.
Here's the problem with our well-groomed ruling class. They can all get down and dirty with the race card or the gender card -- after all, what else would Grooming 101 teach them? But they don't have a clue how to deal with a chap like Vladimir Putin.
And if Harold Hamm had gone to Harvard he probably would have ended up as a green energy crony capitalist.
Here's what worries me about presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Princeton and Harvard Law. Does this graduate of the National Grooming Academy really propose to muss up his hair and mud-wrestle the ruling class? Or is it all just an act?
Christopher Chantrill (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his usgovernmentspending.com and also usgovernmentdebt.us. At americanmanifesto.org he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism. Get his Road to the Middle Class.