I don’t want to make this a habit, and I suspect he doesn’t either, but Paul Krugman and I are once again in (very) partial agreement. We both think the American elite has intellectually and morally lost its way, and we agree that the problems our country faces today have more to do with elite breakdown than popular stupidity.***That is not what the elite thinks, by and large. To listen to many bien pensant American intellectuals and above-the-salt journalists, America faces a shocking problem today: the cluelessness, greed, arrogance and bigotry of the American public. American elites are genuinely and sincerely convinced that the American masses don’t understand the world, don’t realize that American exceptionalism is a mental disease, want infinite government benefits while paying zero tax, and cling to their Bibles and their guns despite all the peer reviewed social science literature that demonstrates the danger and the worthlessness of both.***[In reality] The American people are less prejudiced, more globally aware and more willing to meet other cultures and societies halfway than ever before. Minorities today are better protected in law and more fairly treated by the public than ever in our history. No previous generation has been as determined to give women a fair chance in life, or to attack the foul legacy of racism. The American people have never been as religiously tolerant as they are today, as concerned about the environment, or more willing to make sacrifices around the world to promote the peace and well being of humanity as a whole.
By contrast, we have never had an Establishment that was so ill-equipped to lead. It is the Establishment, not the people, that is falling down on the job.Here in the early years of the twenty-first century, the American elite is a walking disaster and is in every way less capable than its predecessors. It is less in touch with American history and culture, less personally honest, less productive, less forward looking, less effective at and less committed to child rearing, less freedom loving, less sacrificially patriotic and less entrepreneurial than predecessor generations. Its sense of entitlement and snobbery is greater than at any time since the American Revolution; its addiction to privilege is greater than during the Gilded Age and its ability to raise its young to be productive and courageous leaders of society has largely collapsed.
It's worth a full read.