Yesterday I received the semiannual “publicity” communication from my high school alma mater—news from waves of alumni released successfully into the world, accomplishments of this year’s graduating seniors, highlights of the spring months in review, perhaps a short article contributed by a retired teacher. It’s become quite a spread. The thick, glossy paper is very generous with photos of young people on their way up and solid citizens reflecting back upon the headstart afforded them by Fort Worth Country Day School.
Maybe it’s because, just right now, I am so immersed in “honest work”—more honest work than my old bones can withstand, honestly… or maybe the growing sophistication of the magazine (no longer remotely like the original leaflet) woke me up… but I was never before so struck by the notion of what movers and shakers these young people are destined to become. Oh, I knew early on—very early on—that the place had a country-club atmosphere to which I was ill suited. From that orientation day as I began fourth grade (after which I’d begged my mother not to send me to CDS) to the afternoon a couple of years later when a blonde girl I was shyly sweet on venomously wished in dense female company that I wouldn’t be returning next year (the first and last words that ever passed between us), I got a steady stream of bad vibes. These kids not only played golf: they lived beside golf courses, and they drove golf carts around the way I struck and retrieved my softball in the empty lot next to our home—back and forth, thirty times in an hour.
Precisely because I had learned so well and so early that I was a trespasser in their world, I passed my time there in a kind of coma. I exerted all my psychic effort upon achieving invisibility while in that limbo and upon sealing out its faintest trace while I was “outside” (over weekends and summers). I guess I didn’t think very much about what was staring me in the face—and I must have transported those habits of non-thought all the way into late mid-life.
Then, too, you must realize (if you are a younger reader) that our society’s privileged elite were generally private-sector dynamos who voted solid Republican and kept their children’s hair cut when I was a kid. I’m still shocked when I encounter the evidence—as happened yesterday—that this stereotype has fallen utterly flat. The ruling class today is staunchly center-left in tastes and associations. Its members not only attend exclusive Ivy League universities, but often send familial shoots and runners through the academic world. Simultaneously, they are intricately bound to the art/entertainment complex and the broadcast media’s upper echelons. If any religious commitment or undertaking is ever mentioned in the same paragraph as their name, it is in conjunction with the receipt of some distinguished humanitarian award or the christening of some highly publicized missionary venture. They still play golf, and they still patronize restaurants (to judge by alumni photos) where I couldn’t afford an hors-d’oeuvre… but, in the facing sidebar on the same page, one is likely to read of an impending #MeToo jogathon or see the spectacularly dark and scarfed or turbaned faces of new hires in the school’s elite positions. The gray flannel suit has been airbrushed from these pages.
Of course, the young graduates themselves make the strongest case, and it is they who most attracted my notice. They are accepted into colleges like Duke and Vasser and Harvard—into those magical places the mere mention of whose name opens doors. (None of them seems to end up at some small conservative campus like Colorado Christian University, where my son finished his degree… “Oh, Colorado Christian… is that in Colorado?”) Naturally, they also have evolving curricula vitae that already list impressive entries: an internship with an Elon Musk enterprise, an award for the politest robot at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Fair, a segment on a nationally aired Siemens commercial. Yet a certain amount of such achievement owes much to being in the right place at the right time (and having the right connections). The torchbearers of civilization’s future don’t actually seem to know much about life, or not anything that translates well into a sidebar-interview. Their reflections sweep along words like “progress” and “better” and “future” and “diversity” and “justice” the way a river in spate carries dead logs. In their way, they are bright and well educated… but there is indeed a distinct if implicit ethos, an arrangement of tribal feathers.
I doubt that I can finish this reflection today—not because I’m running out of room, but because I really don’t know where it leads. Frankly, this kind of evidence alarms me in the same way that what I have called the Dark Elite alarms me (a subject about which I wrote five or six consecutive columns without drawing any response, having either alarmed my readers, too, into silence or bored them to death). I just don’t get it. Why do the rich and famous want to embrace an ideology that undermines the very economic mechanisms responsible for vaulting them to the top? Is it a guilty conscience—do their children, especially, having grown aware that they began life with such a generous headstart, espouse the cause of dispensing bread and fish to the masses from mystically bottomless baskets as a way of “giving back”? A way that continues, however, to cast them in the role of savior, so that conscience and privilege may gorge upon the same sugary cake…
I’ve floated some such theory as this many a time, and it probably has some truth; but it also strikes me as insufficient in itself, because it only accounts for how naive adolescents may become caught up in progressivism. What about Daddy, or Grandaddy? They, the original robber barons whose names are on street signs and the pediments of public buildings: how did they come to sign off on the New World Order? They didn’t strike me as the conscientious type when I was growing up, and they still don’t. Why have they sent little Bradley III and lovely-and-talented Chandra off to share unisex bathrooms and dorm rooms at Yale while learning that their race is vile and their family’s wealth obscene?
Oh, some of it is just the Ascot tie or the salad fork’s placement again: the “right people” send their children to Amherst and Princeton, so of course young Baldwin must go there. But don’t you see? “Going there” has now also become the ultimate good investment, the really smart business decision—because “right people” mingle with “right people”, and the Left is the new “right”! How did that happen? What does it mean?
At some level (and this would be a very deep level—I continue to believe that most graduates of my alma mater, and their forebears, cannot imagine what a hideous monster they’ve embraced), hasn’t some ruthlessly pragmatic nexus of persons recognized the necessity of “pruning the tree” in the future? Hasn’t this covert board of illuminati understood that the votes of the masses must be bought in worthless currency until democracy itself may be suspended? Are certain of its academic mouthpieces not already admitting that a decimation—or more like a nine-of-ten purgation—must occur for the future to hold its ascending course? (The proposal of “ethicists” Giubilini-Minerva to extend the abortion parameters well beyond actual birth has circulated for about a decade, Princeton “moral philosopher” Peter Singer would stretch those parameters to include handicapped children and the aging, and the war against childbearing has indeed become part of our popular culture.) Do we not see daily, in apparent contradiction, that radical feminist advocates harbor an affection for radical Islam? How would this sort of thing be possible if—at the highest levels, again, and not in the rank and file—the self-styled architects of the future did not perceive a need for autocratic power; and what would be one of the most obvious deployments of such concentrated influence in our progressive tomorrow, if not the severe winnowing of our needy, unskilled, unemployed, spoiled, restless, relentlessly polluting masses?
I’m right back in the middle of the Dark Elite nightmare as I sit atop my twenty-five rural acres, where I saw Sirius rise early this morning… and all thanks to a silly magazine forwarded to me from Texas! This is all almost too much to think about—not intellectually, but too much for the soul to bear; and most of those children in the Country Day School uniform couldn’t begin to comprehend my worry, nor could most of my classmates. So am I just imagining it all? Will not thinking about it make it go away?