Catherine Liu reviews two new books and muses on Wall Street and the meritocracy. Of Chris Hayes’s new book Twilight of the Elites, she writes:
If our elites are so bad, Hayes contends, we can blame the American meritocracy. Hayes confesses to being a product of its stringent selective processes: he tested into Hunter High School in New York City, an institution that admits through a testing regime founded in the crucible of the mid-sixties a tiny sliver of the city’s best and brightest seventh graders; and in a thumbnail autobiography he uses his experience there to describe the lack of demographic diversity and the surfeit of intellectual condescension that marked his middle school and high school years. It is at Hunter that Hayes absorbs the “open-minded, self-assured cosmopolitanism that is the guiding ethos of the current American ruling class. I learned that the world is yours for the taking, that you can go anywhere, and with the right amount of cultural capital, do anything.” Hayes went on to do quite a bit, himself, with a B.A. in Philosophy from Brown University.