Monday, December 23, 2013

Does the Wall Street Journal not check its op-ed section before publishing it?

What is up with the people who who run the Wall Street Journal lately? Do they not realize how bad rambling op-eds like this make the paper look? Jesus Christ, some of the quotes in it are things that would fail him at a High School level class.
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.
Wow, so there was no Tweed Ring? No Credit Mobilier of America Scandal?  No Whiskey Ring? No Oregon Land Fraud Scandal? No Teapot Dome Scandal? No Gilded Age, the period from the 1870s to the 1890s that had some of the worst incidences of corruption in American history, and also the period in which the WASPs dominated American culture with an iron fist? Really? 
A financier I know who grew up under the WASP standard not long ago told me that he thought that the subprime real estate collapse and the continuing hedge-fund scandals have been brought on directly by men and women who are little more than "greedy pigs" (his words) without a shred of character or concern for their clients or country. Naturally, he added, they all have master's degrees from the putatively best business schools in the nation.
Thus far in their history, meritocrats, those earnest good students, appear to be about little more than getting on, getting ahead and (above all) getting their own. The WASP leadership, for all that may be said in criticism of it, was better than that.
Yeah, because the WASPs never ever engaged in any sort of unethical or selfish scheme, nor where they ever unconcerned about their clients or country. They certainly never put their own desires first no matter what. The owners of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory clearly had the safety and well-being of their workers in mind, all of whom were most definitely adults. No one ever put their kids with disabilities into poor houses because they were embarrassed by them back in the good ol--oh wait, they did do that. All. The Fucking. Time!

I find it weird that this guy is bashing meritocracy when that system perfectly fits the whole "bootstrap philosophy" that right-wingers allegedly love. I say "allegedly" because, of course, they don't actually believe in that. They just bring that up as a lazy excuse to bash people on government aid. The second the "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" talk becomes inconvenient to them, they defenestrate it.

Note the attack on Higher Education, a staple of contemporary right-wing thought. When he was talking about the subprime real estate collapse and the hedge-fund scandals he was sure to mention the fact that they all had master's degrees from the best business schools in the nation. Notice how he framed that. Also note that the WASPs usually had degrees from similar schools as well, they just had less competition for them because they made sure other groups weren't allowed into those schools.

The guy who wrote this, Joseph Epstein, also wrote this. This guy seems to fit the definition of "Know-Nothing Know-It-All" perfectly.

Seriously, Wall Street Journal, check over the op-eds section before you publish it.

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