Nostalgia for racial hegemony past

From Epstein’s puzzling ode to the “The Late, Great American WASP” in the WSJ. He preferred this racial oligarchy, one that excluded him, to the more meritocratic system (yes, he calls it that too) that follows. Published at the end of December, but seemed to go well with Black History Month: 

The U.S. once had an unofficial but nonetheless genuine ruling class, drawn from what came to be known as the WASP establishment. Members of this establishment dominated politics, economics and education, but they do so no longer. The WASPocracy, as I think of it, lost its confidence and, with it, the power and interest to lead. We are now without a ruling class, unless one includes the entity that has come to be known as the meritocracy—presumably an aristocracy of sheer intelligence, men and women trained in the nation’s most prestigious schools.

Under WASP hegemony, corruption, scandal and incompetence in high places weren’t, as now, regular features of public life. Under WASP rule, stability, solidity, gravity and a certain weight and aura of seriousness suffused public life. As a ruling class, today’s new meritocracy has failed to provide the positive qualities that older generations of WASPs provided. [link]

 

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