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?
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.