The Strange Failure of the Educated Elite

The chief accomplishment of the current educated elite is that it has produced a bipartisan revolt against itself.

.. A narrative is emerging. It is that the new meritocratic aristocracy has come to look like every other aristocracy. The members of the educated class use their intellectual, financial and social advantages to pass down privilege to their children, creating a hereditary elite that is ever more insulated from the rest of society. We need to build a meritocracy that is true to its values, truly open to all.

.. The real problem with the modern meritocracy can be found in the ideology of meritocracy itself. Meritocracy is a system built on the maximization of individual talent, and that system unwittingly encourages several ruinous beliefs:

.. Exaggerated faith in intelligence. Today’s educated establishment is still basically selected on the basis of I.Q. High I.Q. correlates with career success but is not the crucial quality required for civic leadership. Many of the great failures of the last 50 years, from Vietnam to Watergate to the financial crisis, were caused by extremely intelligent people who didn’t care about the civic consequences of their actions.

.. If you build a society upon this metaphor you will wind up with a society high in narcissism and low in social connection. Life is not really an individual journey. Life is more like settling a sequence of villages.

.. Misplaced notion of the self. Instead of seeing the self as the seat of the soul, the meritocracy sees the self as a vessel of human capital, a series of talents to be cultivated and accomplishments to be celebrated. If you base a society on a conception of self that is about achievement, not character, you will wind up with a society that is demoralized; that puts little emphasis on the sorts of moral systems that create harmony within people, harmony between people and harmony between people and their ultimate purpose.

.. Inability to think institutionally. Previous elites poured themselves into institutions and were pretty good at maintaining existing institutions, like the U.S. Congress, and building new ones, like the postwar global order. The current generation sees institutions as things they pass through on the way to individual success.

.. Some institutions, like Congress and the political parties, have decayed to the point of uselessness, while others, like corporations, lose their generational consciousness and become obsessed with the short term.

.. Diversity for its own sake, without a common telos, is infinitely centrifugal, and leads to social fragmentation.

.. The essential point is this: Those dimwitted, stuck up blue bloods in the old establishment had something we meritocrats lack — a civic consciousness, a sense that we live life embedded in community and nation, that we owe a debt to community and nation and that the essence of the admirable life is community before self.

The Eagles Are Like the Jaguars…but Better

With relentless pressure, Jacksonville provided the perfect blueprint on how to attack New England quarterback Tom Brady. It just so happens that rushing the passer is Philadelphia’s strength.

.. the Eagles, who just so happen to boast the top-rated pass-rushing unit in the NFL. The Eagles hurried the opposing quarterback on about 41% of drop-backs during the regular season, the highest mark in the sport

.. They accomplished this largely without blitzing, a requirement for holding down Brady, who is a master at carving up defenses that dare send extra men at him at the expense of coverage in the secondary.

.. the Eagles rely on a ferocious front four loaded with talent and depth. They liberally rotate up to eight players, creating an unending carousel of fresh bodies

.. their combination of size and speed “just jumps out at you.”

.. Then the fourth quarter arrived and Brady did what he always does: He used the Jaguars’ ruthlessness against them, quickening the pace of the Patriots’ offense to tire Jacksonville out just in time for the most crucial moments of the game. Once fatigue set in across the Jaguars’ defensive line, Brady pounced,

.. The Eagles, however, have the personnel to combat the problems that plagued the Falcons and Jaguars. In addition to a dynamic first unit led by Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham, they boast a group of backups who likely could start elsewhere.

The Patriots say that the sheer amount of talent on Philadelphia’s defensive line presents an unusual challenge.

.. The numbers show that while Brady’s performance certainly drops under pressure, he still handles the rush better than any other quarterback in the NFL.

The Morality of Charles Koch

A libertarian billionaire embraces a Catholic business school for its ethics.

the chairman and chief executive officer of Koch Industries finds two aspects of the Washington-based business school highly attractive: at the personal level, its emphasis on character and virtue; at the social level, its message that the right way to get ahead and contribute to your community is by creating wealth and opportunity for others.

.. for his own hires, Mr. Koch ranks virtue higher than talent. “We believe that talented people with bad values can do far more damage than virtuous people with lesser talents,” he says.

.. “Tim always said, ‘You’re a Catholic but just don’t know it,’ ” says Mr. Koch. While he wouldn’t go that far, he will say he is attracted to Catholic University’s effort to put the human person at the heart of business life.

.. or many on the Catholic left, and increasingly on the Catholic right, the idea that free markets might advance Catholic social teaching is anathema.

.. “One can be in business and pursue bad profit,” Mr. Koch explains. “That is, by practicing cronyism—rigging the system to undermine competition, innovation and opportunity, making others worse off. Good profit should lead you to improve your ability to help others improve their lives. But that’s not how many businesses act today.” For Mr. Koch, everything from protectionist restrictions on goods and services to subsidies for preferred industries to arbitrary licensing requirements promote bad profit by unfairly limiting competition.

.. This distinction between good and bad profit illuminates the fundamental difference between how Mr. Koch regards the market and how his critics do. In the view of the critics, free markets treat working men and women as commodities to be bought and sold, and only through strong government intervention can workers hope for a decent standard of living. In Mr. Koch’s view, the most important capital is human, and the truly free market is vital because it’s the only place where the little guy can use his or her own unique talents to offer better a product or service without being unfairly blocked from competing.

.. workers, whose greatest protection is possible only in a dynamic, growing economy: The ability to tell the boss to “take this job and shove it”—secure in the knowledge that there is a good job available somewhere else.

.. The opposite of market competition is not cooperation, as is often assumed. It’s collusion—and almost always the kind that benefits the haves over the have-nots. Which explains why the moral threat to capitalism these days comes not from socialism but from cronyism and corporate welfare.

.. What he wants to encourage, he says, is an economic system open enough so that ordinary people who work hard and have their own unique abilities can build lives of dignity and hope for their families.

The Case for Letting Your Best People Go

A study finds a link between employees leaving for prestigious jobs and improved company status

 .. it is plausible such departures—and subsequent boost in prestige—could help companies attract new, junior talent at lower wages
.. nearly a dozen executives who had worked closely with Mr. Ellison at Oracle went on to become a chief executive, board chief or other high-ranking executive at another company—helping to seal Mr. Ellison’s reputation as a talent magnet.
.. More people are managing their careers as a series of steppingstones at different companies, Prof. Finkelstein said. “As a boss, are you going to accept that reality and do something about it, or are you going to fight it?” he said. “Those who fight it are going to have a more difficult time finding good people.”