Twilight of the Elites

Friday, July 13, 2012

Christopher Hayes argues that Americans have historically low levels of trust in their institutions—from Wall Street to Congress, the Catholic Church to corporate America and even Major League Baseball. In Twilight of the Elites he makes the case that the meritocracy are to blame for our current crisis. He describes how he thinks leaders have lost touch with the people they have been trusted to lead.


Chris Hayes

Comments [17]


snoop, you wrote: "George W. Bush--product of Harvard and Yale, and, whether you like him or not, a dim bulb at best. And he's just one of many many many." I don't like Bush, and he is so dumb that rather than refer to him as "Dubya," I refer to him as "Dumbya."

Having written that, the more I hear Obama speak, he's not the sharpest tool in the shed either (i.e., he's just another "empty suit" at the beck and call of the Banksters who put him in office—like they did Bush and all the other Presidents since 1912).

Jul. 13 2012 03:56 PM

Leo from queens, you wrote: "And WNYC is towing the line." The expression is "toeing the line." (I didn't know that either until it was pointed out to me.)

Jul. 13 2012 03:52 PM

The biggest problem I have with rule by the "elites" is that the elites don't really seem worthy of the term. George W. Bush-- product of Harvard and Yale, and, whether you like him or not, a dim bulb at best. And he's just one of many many many.

Elite-ness seems to be more a product of arrogance and branding than actual ability.

Jul. 13 2012 12:38 PM
Graham Walker from Bronx

This gentleman from the "left" appears to be defining elite in terms of wealth, however the right usually define elite in terms of cultural/academic standing.

Jul. 13 2012 12:38 PM
John A

As much as I like Stanley Tucci (I think it's his voice) I agree, Man! that commercial. Insulting.

Jul. 13 2012 12:38 PM
BK from Hoboken

Ummm, the radio ad in question is completely tongue in cheek.
As for the actual topic at hand, I have to laugh when I hear about the elites. I can't recall which comedian it was, but one stand up act discussed elites running our government. The comedian asked, instead of really smart guys running things, let's get Bob the grocery bagger with the GED to run for President. Elite means the best, and so yes I want the best running things. Unfortunately many end up using their smarts to benefit themselves at the public's expense.

Jul. 13 2012 12:33 PM
Paul J. Bosco from Manhattan

One of William F. Buckley's most popular lines --among folk on the left, too- was that he would rather be governed by 100 random people selected from a phone book, than the faculty of Harvard. Is Chris making a closely related argument? Have we come full circle? Does National Review pay better the The Nation?

--Paul J. Bosco

Jul. 13 2012 12:28 PM
Leo from queens

Amy from Manhattan: RIGHT ON!!!. I hate that commercial. Plus the fact that WNYC has become more like WINS or WCBS parroting the press releases from City Hall - Case in point was the report linking the OWS protesters to the rape and murder of a Columbia student. No questions asked..Repeate it at nauseum throughtout the day. Then it turns out that this was misinformation released by the NYPD to coincide with an Occupy Wall Street protest and clearly shows how the powers that be are manipulating what we get to 'know' and frame it in a way to manipulate public opinion. And WNYC is towing the line.

Jul. 13 2012 12:26 PM
John A

The problem is the celebration of self-centeredness. When you (can) find an upperclass or harder yet a politician who is freed from self-centeredness you find a servant of the public good of the best kind.

Jul. 13 2012 12:24 PM
Graham Walker from Bronx

The idea that social mobitiy is greater than any other country is a myth. There is more social mobility in the scandanavian counties, Germany, and even Spain.

Jul. 13 2012 12:23 PM
tim from nyc

Question - is our meritocracy deteriorating as it becomes harder and harder for people to climb the social ladder? studies seems to suggest that U.S. the idea of the American Dream is becoming more and more of an illusion as i.e. the costs of education keeps on rising and middle class job have become scarce...

Jul. 13 2012 12:23 PM
fuva from harlemworld

How well put: "Too many elites (delusionally think they are) scrappy underdogs." Or something like that.

A proper public audit of this economy -- which is desperately needed -- will probably expose many silver spoons in the mouths of "job creators", etc.

Jul. 13 2012 12:20 PM
Amy from Manhattan

If WNYC doesn't want to be perceived as elitist, maybe it shouldn't run membership spots that say, "There are people who need you to explain things to them. They don't understand about things like food co-ops and sleep deprivation in children." Really? Food co-ops? Which for some reason are supposed to keep us up at night, too....

Jul. 13 2012 12:19 PM
Leo from Queens

I read Chris's article on the Nation on this topic as a lead in to his book. A key point he makes is how we keep closing the institutions (educational institutions, clubs, Political parties, corporations, etc.) that have historically allowed for social mobility and the flow of new ideas and experiences to shape accountability and bring in new ideas or ways to solve our common problems.

Jul. 13 2012 12:15 PM

Besides all the above, there has also been the destruction of the family, fatherhood, the manufacturing core of the country, et al. There is a loss of trust in EVERYTHING that used to constitute the word "society." We've actually had an atomization of society. IN addition, the internet and modern technology has made it possible for further disintegration into very tiny factions. It seems like it's now every man, woman, and child for him or herself. But the very wealthy have always been above the goings on with doings in the peasantry.

Jul. 13 2012 12:15 PM

Our "elites" in retrospect have less judgement than the first 5 people you meet crossing any street in America.

Jul. 13 2012 12:14 PM
paul from Harlem

Don't forget Bloomberg trashing term limits.

Jul. 13 2012 12:09 PM

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