Educate yourself

Friday, May 10th, 2024

Troubled by Rob HendersonPrestigious universities encourage students to nurture their grievances, Rob Henderson explains (in Troubled), giving rise to a peculiar situation in which the most advantaged are the most well-equipped to tell other advantaged people how disadvantaged they are:

To become fully acculturated into the elite requires knowing the habits, customs, and manners of the upper class. To stay up to date, you need lots of leisure time or to have the kind of job that allows you to browse Twitter. A common rebuke to those who are not fully up to date on the latest intellectual fads is “educate yourself.” This is how the affluent block mobility for people who work multiple jobs, have children to care for, and don’t have the time or means to read the latest bestseller that outlines the proper way to think about social issues.


Thus, it seems the affluent secure their positions by ensuring that only those who attend the right colleges, listen to the right podcasts, and read the right books and articles can join their inner circle.

Occasionally, I raised these critiques to fellow students or graduates of elite colleges. Sometimes they would reply by asking, “Well, aren’t you part of this group now?” implying that my appraisals of the luxury belief class were hollow because I moved within the same institutions. But they wouldn’t have listened to me back when I was a lowly enlisted service member or back when I was washing dishes for minimum wage. If you ridicule the upper class as an outsider, they’ll either ignore you or tell you that you don’t know what you’re talking about. But if you ridicule them as an insider, they call you a hypocrite. Plainly, the requirements for the upper class to take you seriously (e.g., credentials, wealth, power) are also the grounds to brand you a hypocrite for making any criticism of the upper class.


  1. Phileas Frogg says:

    Blanket censorship of internal criticisms and critiques, without respect to their efficacy, is a sure sign of a social group lacking the internal social flexibility to withstand a serious external threat to their cohesion. The only thing keeping them together is the static nature of their circumstances; change that and there is a high likelihood of failure.

    Such a group is ossified and ready to break.

    I hesitate to put a number on it, but I’m willing to wager that a shockingly small number of defectors from the present elite, coordinating with one another in a deadly serious way, could totally up end this country at present.

    Perhaps as few as 3-5 of the right men in the right places.

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