Cheaters do what cheaters do

The scandal is out about cheating for admission to "elite" schools: rich parents paying people to take SAT/ACT tests for their kids, or to attest that their non-athlete kid was a star tennis player in a summer league, etc.  Big bucks for some of these — reportedly as high as half a million.

Wherever you find such people, you also find corruption deep in the marrow of the system, be it Hollywood, education, unions, or high finance.  Perhaps the question is equal parts "How did it get this way?" and "How can it be improved?"

Says Matthew Continetti: "We are shocked ... precisely because there is so little corruption in America.  If the problems were as systemic as some on the Internet believe, they would hardly raise such an outcry.  Denizens of countries where bribery is a way of life look at us and say, 'Amateurs.'"

Continetti's got it partly right.  The corruption is systemic and has been at least since Teddy Kennedy paid somebody to take a test for him back in the fifties.  The system is still healthy enough that the gangrene doesn't infect the entire structure yet.

Give it time.  It's getting there.

Part of the problem is, there are so many ultra-qualified students applying to colleges that you wonder how any selection process can be fair.  No matter how many you accept up to your limit, you inevitably exclude others just as qualified and probably many even better qualified.

There is no good answer in the context of the current system.  These parents cheated all the not rich students who qualified by the rules.  On the other hand, the half-trillion-dollar lawsuit that has been filed is unrealistic overkill.

Outside the STEM subjects, today's system makes universities more like clubs and cliques than serious education.  The real correction will come when people realize that tradesmen and small business–owners have fulfilling lives without going deeply in debt, and they often get more job satisfaction and enjoyment of life than they would have with an expensive sheepskin, a huge debt load, and a worrisome job that carries social burdens and suck-up requirements.

This is a version of the hippy argument decades ago, as applicable today as then.  It's about quality of life.  The choice is of authenticity or glamor, gold or glister.  For some, elite schools really are the right choice; for many others, not even close.  Sadly, the choice made often says something less than flattering about the chooser.

This whole business is part and parcel of the larger quarrel between the rest of us and the so-called elites.  We Trumpkins are ticked because, even with all the advantages they already have, the elitist left still can't not cheat.  This is Hillary all over again, rooking Bernie out of his fair chance, or Mueller and Comey, determined that their side win no matter what.

These people are congenital cheaters, doing what cheaters do.  They're all caught up in klieg lights and looking just so and having their names on the lips of the in-crowd.  Their shallowness is to be pitied, but they well deserve whatever judgment comes down on their humiliated heads.

The real pity is that all the rest just like them aren't also exposed as the desperately unhappy, approval-seeking, spoiled, cheating children they are.

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