The Birth Of A New American Aristocracy

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At the end of each week, we would return to our place. My reality was the aggressively middle-class world of 1960s and 70s U.S. military bases and the communities around them. Life was good there, too, but the pizza came from a box, and it was Lucky Charms for breakfast. Our glory peaked on the day my parents came home with a new Volkswagen camper bus. As I got older, the holiday pomp of patriotic luncheons and bridge-playing rituals came to seem faintly ridiculous and even offensive, like an endless birthday party for people whose chief accomplishment in life was just showing up. I belonged to a new generation that believed in getting ahead through merit, and we defined merit in a straightforward way: test scores, grades, competitive rsum-stuffing, supremacy in board games and pickup basketball, and, of course, working for our keep. For me that meant taking on chores for the neighbors, punching the clock at a local fast-food restaurant, and collecting scholarships to get through college and graduate school. I came into many advantages by birth, but money was not among them.

Ive joined a new aristocracy now, even if we still call ourselves meritocratic winners. If you are a typical reader of The Atlantic, you may well be a member too. (And if youre not a member, my hope is that you will find the story of this new class even more interestingif also more alarming.) To be sure, there is a lot to admire about my new group, which Ill callfor reasons youll soon seethe 9.9 percent. Weve dropped the old dress codes, put our faith in facts, and are (somewhat) more varied in skin tone and ethnicity. People like me, who have waning memories of life in an earlier ruling caste, are the exception, not the rule.

By any sociological or financial measure, its good to be us. Its even better to be our kids. In our health, family life, friendship networks, and level of education, not to mention money, we are crushing the competition below. But we do have a blind spot, and it is located right in the center of the mirror: We seem to be the last to notice just how rapidly weve morphed, or what weve morphed into.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/06/the-birth-of-a-new-american-aristocracy/559130/

Pretty long but interesting read.

Source : https://democraticunderground.com/1016210939

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