Why Do Taxpayers Pay For The Ivy Covered Snob Factories?

Glenn Reynolds raises some interesting points here.  The fact is that the Ivies haven’t fulfilled their role in producing a better world.  Rather the opposite, in fact. For a long time now, the Ivies have been source of people with ideas that haven’t ended well.

A friend commented on my Facebook timeline when I posted this, “If it’s not STEM, it’s a hobby” and as far I’ve been able to tell far too much of the stuff that goes on at the Ivies can be considered expensive hobbies. My friend   is a retired heavy, very heavy truck driver and he tends to distill things down to their essence.  He has a point though.

I live in an area where getting into the Ivies is the goal of seemingly everybody that matters.  This is Fairfield County CT where only the underachievers like me don’t have an Ivy Covered Snob Factory parchment on the wall. So I’ve had, through contact with friends, coworkers, relatives and just plain encounters and fair amount of contact with the members of the Ivy set.  I’ve got some insights as to just what drives the products of the Ivy Covered Snob factories.

  1. The institution is greater than the individual.  I think that this comes partly from the fact that institutions are what the prospective Ivy student deals with their entire lives.  Look, until the prospective Ivy Student gets in, their entire lives are committed to working with institutions. More importantly, success is entirely related to giving the institution what it wants.  This especially true of the students that go to prep schools.  Getting into an Ivy is hard work and the student doesn’t have TIME for independent hobbies or jobs that don’t help them in the pursuit of the main goal.

          That may be why Ivies tend to believe in the perfectability of institutions.  An Ivy will look for the perfect idea of an institution such as a form of government and miss the issues that those of us who live in the real world have to deal with. You know those little details such mass murder.  Since all those people were individuals just living their lives to an Ivy it’s only right and just that they sacrifice for the greater good.

There also the fact that the Ivy student expects that being an Ivy will define them, that the school will give focus and meaning to their lives. It’s not for them to make their own choices but to understand what choices are the good ones.  Good being the choices that they are directed to of course.

Harvard to Supply Life’s Meaning To Students

2. Conformity is more important than creativity.  Consider the typical path that it takes to get into an Ivy. While there are sooper genius’s that get in because of sheer smarts, those are extremely rare.  The typical path starts before preschool and consist of one peculiar talent; sending all the right signals. That’s because getting in is so competitive that the approval of the admissions committee is all important.  So every waking moment is spent  trying to figure the desires of the committee and making the proper signals that tell the committee that the applicant is  Ivy material. And this is started by the parents almost from birth.




It’s not just grades, it’s just about every facet of the child’s life. Yes, the potential Ivy has to ensure in every way they can that they get good grades, but it goes further than that. Conforming to the norms of the Ivies is imperative to final success. Independence is right out. Knowing what the Admission boards look at is the only thing that matters.  I’ve seen countless articles on that very thing in the NY Times and other periodicals where Ivy concentration is high.  But discovery and independence are the keys to creativity, something that the Ivies don’t think about too much.

There are exceptions to the general rule, but they tend to be people like this with exotic names and pedigrees brought in to assuage the guilt of the admissions people and fill the affirmative action quotas.

Teen Accepted to All 8 Ivy League Schools

3. Real understanding of finances is not an Ivy strong suit. The reason for that is that the typical Ivy doesn’t have to work for money before they graduate from college. When I was growing up earning pocket money by cutting lawns or shoveling snow was something just about every kid in my neighborhood did.  We also participated in sales for things like the Boy Scouts.  Some kids got allowances, but many of us didn’t.  Kids going for Ivy though have to have allowances.  They don’t have the time to spare from approved activities to earn money for the most part.  So the never learn the crucial connection between work and earning money.

4. Ivies are a people apart.

Start out as a bubble kid, finish as bubble person.  That is how far too many of the Ivies I’ve known over the years, including relatives have been. The amount of effort that it takes to get into an Ivy almost guarantees a degree of separation.  A separation that continues after graduation.

Now some of that is just well people in the same class getting to together.  As well as young women chasing MRS degrees in a high value  environment. There’s more to it than that. The whole system is set up to separate the wheat from the chaff and it does a very good job at it. As Alan Dershowitz points out here.

It’s not surprising that it took me so long to discover the extent of my miseducation, because the last thing an elite education will teach you is its own inadequacy. As two dozen years at Yale and Columbia have shown me, elite colleges relentlessly encourage their students to flatter themselves for being there, and for what being there can do for them. The advantages of an elite education are indeed undeniable. You learn to think, at least in certain ways, and you make the contacts needed to launch yourself into a life rich in all of society’s most cherished rewards. To consider that while some opportunities are being created, others are being cancelled and that while some abilities are being developed, others are being crippled is, within this context, not only outrageous, but inconceivable.

I’m not talking about curricula or the culture wars, the closing or opening of the American mind, political correctness, canon formation, or what have you. I’m talking about the whole system in which these skirmishes play out. Not just the Ivy League and its peer institutions, but also the mechanisms that get you there in the first place: the private and affluent public “feeder” schools, the ever-growing parastructure of tutors and test-prep courses and enrichment programs, the whole admissions frenzy and everything that leads up to and away from it. The message, as always, is the medium. Before, after, and around the elite college classroom, a constellation of values is ceaselessly inculcated. As globalization sharpens economic insecurity, we are increasingly committing ourselves—as students, as parents, as a society—to a vast apparatus of educational advantage. With so many resources devoted to the business of elite academics and so many people scrambling for the limited space at the top of the ladder, it is worth asking what exactly it is you get in the end—what it is we all get, because the elite students of today, as their institutions never tire of reminding them, are the leaders of tomorrow.


Indeed the system is perfectly capable of bringing in people convicted of the worst crimes so long as the perpetrators were Ivy graduates and the cause was an Ivy approved one like betraying your country to the Soviets and conducting active measures on it’s behalf.  A little thing like treason has never gotten in the way of Ivy sensibilities.


The problem is that the Elite college system is good for itself, but maybe not so good for the rest of us.

My students are know-nothings.  They are exceedingly nice, pleasant, trustworthy, mostly honest, well-intentioned, and utterly decent.  But their minds are largely empty, devoid of any substantial knowledge that might be the fruits of an education in an inheritance and a gift of a previous generation.  They are the culmination of western civilization, a civilization that has forgotten it origins and aims, and as a result, has achieved near-perfect indifference about itself.

It’s difficult to gain admissions to the schools where I’ve taught – Princeton, Georgetown, and now Notre Dame.  Students at these institutions have done what has been demanded of them:  they are superb test-takers, they know exactly what is needed to get an A in every class (meaning that they rarely allow themselves to become passionate and invested in any one subject), they build superb resumes.   They are respectful and cordial to their elders, though with their peers (as snatches of passing conversation reveal), easygoing if crude.  They respect diversity (without having the slightest clue what diversity is) and they are experts in the arts of non-judgmentalism (at least publically).  They are the cream of their generation, the masters of the universe, a generation-in-waiting who will run America and the world.

But ask them some basic questions about the civilization they will be inheriting, and be prepared for averted eyes and somewhat panicked looks.  Who fought in the Peloponnesian war?  What was at stake at the Battle of Salamis?  Who taught Plato, and whom did Plato teach?  How did Socrates die?  Raise your hand if you have read both the Iliad and the Odyssey.  The Canterbury Tales?  Paradise Lost?  The Inferno

Who was Saul of Tarsus?  What were the 95 theses, who wrote them, and what was their effect?  Why does the Magna Carta matter?  How and where did Thomas Becket die?  What happened to Charles I?  Who was Guy Fawkes, and why is there a day named after him?  What happened at Yorktown in 1781?  What did Lincoln say in his Second Inaugural?  His first Inaugural?  How about his third Inaugural?  Who can tell me one or two of the arguments that are made in Federalist 10? Who has read Federalist 10?  What are the Federalist Papers

Some students, due most often to serendipitous class choices or a quirky old-fashioned teacher, might know a few of these answers.  But most students will not know many of them, or vast numbers like them, because they have not been educated to know them.  At best they possess accidental knowledge, but otherwise are masters of systematic ignorance.  They are not to be blamed for their pervasive ignorance of western and American history, civilization, politics, art and literature.  It is the hallmark of their education.  They have learned exactly what we have asked of them – to be like mayflies, alive by happenstance in a fleeting present. 

Our students’ ignorance is not a failing of the educational system – it is its crowning achievement.  Efforts by several generations of philosophers and reformers and public policy experts whom our students (and most of us) know nothing about have combined to produce a generation of know-nothings.  The pervasive ignorance of our students is not a mere accident or unfortunate but correctible outcome, if only we hire better teachers or tweak the reading lists in high school.  It is the consequence of a civilizational commitment to civilizational suicide.  The end of history for our students signals the End of History for the West.

During my lifetime, lamentation over student ignorance has been sounded by the likes of E.D. Hirsch, Allan Bloom, Mark Bauerlein and Jay Leno, among many others.  But these lamentations have been leavened with the hope that appeal to our and their better angels might reverse the trend (that’s an allusion to one of Lincoln’s inaugural addresses, by the way).  E.D. Hirsch even worked up a self-help curriculum, a do-it yourself guide on how to become culturally literate, imbued with the can-do American spirit that cultural defenestration could be reversed by a good reading list in the appendix.  Broadly missing is sufficient appreciation that this ignorance is the intended consequence of our educational system, a sign of its robust health and success. 

Res Idiotica

The great majority of students we admitted were truly brilliant and had busted their tails to get there. But the fingerprints of privilege were still present. You had to look a little harder to see them and resolve not to let them unfairly influence you.

It was immediately obvious that kids from elite feeder schools had been coached for years on their interviews, essays, and every conceivable form of standardized testing. Many of their college counselors had worked in elite admissions offices; their tutors had Ph.D.s. They knew prominent alums who would write recommendations on thick, creamy bond paper.

The letters arrived daily from white-shoe law firms, governors’ mansions, and — in yet another shock to my blue-collar brain — vacation homes with proper names on engraved stationery: “The Manse, Little Compton, Rhode Island” or “Coral House, Hamilton, Bermuda.”

As I tried to sort out fair from foul, Suzie, a perennial champion of the underdog, gave me advice I will never forget: “It’s very easy to throw the prize at the kids who finish the race first, but always look at the incline they faced. That will tell you much more.”

Once the more clear-cut cases had been decided, things got fuzzy, political, and sometimes unfair. It wasn’t news to me that the process wasn’t entirely meritocratic. It wasn’t news to me that people were willing to use any and every angle to game the process.

But it was a revelation about ­exactly what forms those advantages would take and how they were displayed: sometimes furtively, sometimes brazenly.

It was immediately obvious that kids from elite feeder schools had been coached for years on their interviews, essays, and every conceivable form of standardized testing. Many of their college counselors had worked in elite admissions offices; their tutors had Ph.D.s. They knew prominent alums who would write recommendations on thick, creamy bond paper.

The letters arrived daily from white-shoe law firms, governors’ mansions, and — in yet another shock to my blue-collar brain — vacation homes with proper names on engraved stationery: “The Manse, Little Compton, Rhode Island” or “Coral House, Hamilton, Bermuda.”

As I tried to sort out fair from foul, Suzie, a perennial champion of the underdog, gave me advice I will never forget: “It’s very easy to throw the prize at the kids who finish the race first, but always look at the incline they faced. That will tell you much more.”

Once the more clear-cut cases had been decided, things got fuzzy, political, and sometimes unfair. It wasn’t news to me that the process wasn’t entirely meritocratic. It wasn’t news to me that people were willing to use any and every angle to game the process.

But it was a revelation about ­exactly what forms those advantages would take and how they were displayed: sometimes furtively, sometimes brazenly.



As Peter Drucker pointed out relying on credentialed people from elite universities for your management class has it’s downsides for people who aren’t members of that class.

One thing it (modern society) cannot afford in education is the “elite institution” which has a monopoly on social standing, on prestige, and on the command positions in society and economy. Oxford and Cambridge are important reasons for the English brain drain. A main reason for the technology gap is the Grande Ecole such as the Ecole Polytechnique or the Ecole Normale. These elite institutions may do a magnificent job of education, but only their graduates normally get into the command positions. Only their faculties “matter.” This restricts and impoverishes the whole society…The Harvard Law School might like to be a Grande Ecole and to claim for its graduates a preferential position. But American society has never been willing to accept this claim…
It is almost impossible to explain to a European that the strength of American higher education lies in this absence of schools for leaders and schools for followers.


The fact is that many of the people who are in the Ivies are useless in the real world.  I include some of my cousins in that, so I do know what I’m talking about. But in the real world you have to deal with problems and resolve them.  There are no safe spaces in the real world.

A few years ago I was at Yale visiting with someone doing work there and I had the chance to spend a long weekend on campus. I don’t do this very often so I come to campus life as a stranger. Most of what the students and professors take for granted jumps out to me as new and different. For them it is just daily life. For me it is a trip to the zoo to see exotic animals.

One night, my friend took me to what I think was a grad student/faculty mixer. I’m not really sure what it was exactly, but that’s what it seemed like. I fell into conversation with some people doing post doc work and I flattered them by appearing interested in their studies. It’s the thing a guest should do and I’m pretty good at it. Sometimes I even learn a few things. One of them was working on currency issues, a subject I enjoy a great deal so I got to pick his brain a bit.

Anyway, one of the things that I found astonishing was just how naive they were about the world outside the campus. One guy was in his early thirties and had never held a job off-campus. The other guy had never held a job at all and he was about to turn thirty. He was expecting to land in a teaching position either at Yale or Princeton. To them, I was a visitor from another planet. They were far more curious about me than I was about them.

We had a good time swilling beer and talking about ourselves, but I came away feeling like John the Savage in Brave New World. These were not my people. They could never be my people. I’m sure they felt the same way about me as they pretty much said it to me. The guy without a job said, “I have no idea how you make it out there. I never could do. I’d never want to do it.”

This is common and why so many end up in fields that are similar to college life. Think tanks in and around DC are pretty much just privately funded faculty lounges. Rich people get tax breaks for funding people to write papers that extol the virtues of rich people. Government, and the companies that live off government, have gone from dreary bureaucracies to self-actualizing, nurturing workplaces, where everyone feels safe.

The Hothouse Flowers

What does its say about a company or institution that only recruits from the ivies.

 really like your product and check your job openings sometimes. I like to see what kinds of positions you need to fill to make your company tick.

However, one line in your job descriptions put a bitter taste in my mouth.

In Requirements, I see that you need “A self starter” and “Attentiveness to detail.” Cool. However, a worthy candidate also needs “a degree from a top tier university.”

To be honest, Ms. Recruiter, filtering out 99.6% of candidates who did not go to Ivy League schools in the job description makes you seem shallow and reflects poorly on you and your whole company.

It says to me, “I am too lazy to screen the candidate for unmeasurable traits like culture fit, relevant experience, and ability to do the job. I will instead make a formula to weed out candidates who did not fit my definition of success when they were 18 years old.” It says to me that you do not care what I did for my university, only what I did in the months before it.

I get why you do it, though. It doesn’t take a Harvard grad to realize that people from prestigious schools are desirable. According to a study by Kellogg School of Management professor Lauren Rivera, hiring managers at law firms, consultancies, and investment banks use a candidate’s ability to get into an elite school (Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Yale) for graduate or law school as a litmus test for intelligence. Here’s the kicker, though: the study found that it did not actually matter to the decision makers how the candidate performed at that school, just that they got in.

Quite frankly, I am mostly concerned for you. You are missing out on diversity, on recruiting a workforce that is representative of your user base. You are missing out on the person who learned valuable skills managing a drugstore while going to school full time or the person who did not do so hot in high school but found his niche planning alumni events for his fraternity.

But hey, at least you’re being transparent about your biases.



An Open Letter to Companies Who Recruit Based on Prestige

The fact is that talent comes form any places and relying on small pool of well conditioned, well indoctrinated, well behaved pile of snobs just creates a company or institution where everybody in charge thinks alike.  In the long term, that’s not a good thing as you create a thing that is incredibly fragile and vulnerable to outside shock that the unimaginative swells in charge have never dealt with.

Consider how the top performing sports team hire as opposed to the elite institutions. I suppose though, that when you have no competition that just hiring club members becomes an easy decision. In the real world though that doesn’t tend to end well in the long run.

Elite investment banks, law firms and management consulting firms often hire almost exclusively from a handful of schools, according to research by Lauren Rivera, a sociologist at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. “So-called ‘public Ivies’ such as University of Michigan and Berkeley were not considered elite or even prestigious,” she wrote in a 2011 article in Research in Social Stratification and Mobility.

Rivera also found that recruiters made offers based on “cultural fit,” which “typically referred to individuals’ play styles — how applicants preferred to conduct themselves outside the office — rather than their work styles.” Firms looked for “surface-level (i.e., demographic) diversity in applicant pools but deep-level (i.e., cultural) homogeneity in new hires,” Rivera wrote in a 2012 article in The American Sociological Review. To give employees the perk of working with people just like themselves, they leave talent untapped.

By contrast, consider Sunday’s Super Bowl teams. The New England Patriots are famous for seeking out overlooked talent, including players such as Butler who may not look great on paper. The Seattle Seahawks, meanwhile, are equally well-known for accepting the eccentricities of players such as Marshawn Lynch. At the top level of professional team sports, where countless players would love a job, scouting systems are highly developed, and competition is intense. Simply paying a lot to hire the obvious candidates isn’t good enough. The best teams look for hidden talent, don’t expect everyone to be the same and figure out how individuals can complement one another.

If everyone you interview comes from the same few schools, the same social networks, the same previous employers or the same geographic regions, you aren’t really fighting for talent. And if talent matters as much as everyone seems to think it does, you probably won’t make it to the big game.



The problem is that the culture of the Ivy Covered Snob Factories creates the idea that the people of that culture are better than the rest of us. That means that they think that they know better and more than the rest of us.  We the people not good enough should just let them make the decisions for us, no matter what the consequences or how wrong those decisions are.  Simply because they know better. Like my insufferable cousin who was a Yale graduate.



As far as the swells are concerned life would be so much better if they made all the decisions. For a fee of course. The fact is though that, for the reasons above, they don’t know better.

Really, it’s disgusting how people keep messing up, when left to their own devices and without minute-by-minute guidance and monitoring by perfect and all-knowing government functionaries.  But don’t worry, the technology for government to monitor everybody and everything all the time marches forward at an ever-accelerating pace.  Can it be long before the curse of human imperfection has been eliminated?

For example, consider cash.  Can you believe that the government to this day still allows people to conduct economic transactions using this untraceable and unreportable medium?  And the next thing you know, people use it buy and sell illegal substances like drugs, to gamble, to pay employees “off the books,” to avoid taxes, and God knows what!  Get rid of it, and immediately everything will be neat, orderly, and in accordance with government-prescribed perfection.  Or at least that is the universal view of the government functionary.  Serious proposals are circulating right now to get rid of high denomination bills (like the $100 in the U.S.) as a step toward perfecting society.  And after the $100, why not just get rid of cash entirely?  Megan McArdle covers this subject in a column at Bloomberg View (that also ran in the New York Post):

The Bank of Korea is planning for a cashless society by 2020. Swedes are making the shift. I am intrigued but also troubled.  There’s a lot to like about the idea of a cashless society, starting with its effect on crime. The payoff to mugging people or snatching their bags has already declined dramatically, simply because fewer and fewer people are carrying cash around. I myself almost never have any of the stuff on hand. . . .  A cashless society would also see a decline in the next level of robberies: stickups of retail outlets. . . .   One step beyond that, there’s the effect on criminal enterprises, for whom cash is key. Making it impossible to transact business while keeping large amounts of money away from the watchful eye of the government will make it much harder to run an illegal operation.

What could possibly go wrong?  Well, for starters, could the perfect all-knowing government ever make a “mistake”?  McArdle:

When I was just starting out as a journalist, the State of New York swooped down and seized all the money out of one of my bank accounts. It turned out — much later, after a series of telephone calls — that they had lost my tax return for the year that I had resided in both Illinois and New York, discovered income on my federal tax return that had not appeared on my New York State tax return, sent some letters to that effect to an old address I hadn’t lived at for some time, and neatly lifted all the money out of my bank. . . .  Unmonitored resources like cash create opportunities for criminals. But they also create a sort of cushion between ordinary people and a government with extraordinary powers. Removing that cushion leaves people who aren’t criminals vulnerable to intrusion into every remote corner of their lives.

I would say that that kind of “mistake” is the least of our worries about the government.  What if the government itself is a pervasive criminal enterprise?

Anyway, don’t get the idea that monetary transactions are the only thing that the government is planning to monitor.  On Tuesday (the Ides of March) the New York Times reported on a new New York State program, taking effect March 27, under which all prescriptions for pharmaceuticals are now required to go through a state-monitored computer system.  No more paper allowed!

Starting on March 27, the way prescriptions are written in New York State will change. Gone will be doctors’ prescription pads and famously bad handwriting. In their place: pointing and clicking, as prescriptions are created electronically and zapped straight to pharmacies in all but the most exceptional circumstances.  New York is the first state to require that all prescriptions be created electronically and to back up that mandate with penalties, including fines and imprisonment, for physicians who fail to comply.

The stated reason for this is to try to crack down on abuse of prescription opioid painkillers, which have caused increasing numbers of deaths in recent years.  But if that’s the reason, why don’t they just monitor those prescriptions, and stay away from the millions of prescriptions for medications against things ranging from diabetes to high blood pressure to cholesterol? And the answer is, they take the opportunity to monitor everybody for everything because they can.  Who’s going to stop them?  And anyway, the only people with access to the information are going to be the perfect, all-knowing, a-political, expert state functionaries.  So what’s to worry about?  (For now, there appears to be an exception to New York’s new law for prescriptions that are to be filled out of state.  I guess I’ll take advantage of that one.)


The insularity has gotten so deep and the grip of the graduates from the Ivies on so many institution so strong that Americans are asking; “who ARE these people?” And not liking the answers they are getting at all.

In essence, the establishment lives and thrives in a small world that lives and works in New York and Washington, on Wall Street, in Big Media, and in Politics, connected by the high-speed Acela corridor and often by mutual self interest.


Many, perhaps most, do care deeply about the common good though they are anything but common themselves. They hire each other and each other’s children. They huddle at the same white tie and black tie dinners. And, they sometimes attend each other’s weddings.

Eleven years ago, for instance, Trump got married for the third time. The over-the-top Palm Beach wedding in 2005 was a who’s who of elites, including Bill and Hillary Clinton.


Access is this group’s common currency. Wall Street spends millions to open doors to the top levels of the government that regulates it. Politicos bend over to get access to the money that keeps them in office. The media cut deals to get access to decision makers needed to feed ratings and circulation, even if sometimes at the cost of objectivity.

“It’s a collection of people who live in Washington, D.C., and don’t care about the rest of the world,” said Hackmann. And, he noted, “They all have jobs.”


“The establishment is anybody with big money who can get to the Congressmen and lobbyists,” said Judy Surak, a nurse from Clemson, South Carolina.

All over South Carolina, ask the people reveling in the music at Greenville Heritage Main Street Fridays, or starting their day with homemade onion sausage at Lizard’s Thicket on Two Notch Road in Columbia to define the establishment, and they usually echo Surak.


They often add a gentle qualifier: They don’t want to blow up the political system. They just want it to be more responsive, to work better.

“The country’s long-term problems have to be fixed within the system we have,” said Mark Cruise, a Columbia executive.




The thing is that the solutions suggested by our Ivy created betters look strangely enough like the lives they’ve led.  The fact that those lives have been the result of rents collected from others seems to escape them.  They also seemingly have no clue that the rents to pay for the extravagances they promote are unsustainable.

The status quo “solution” to the decline of opportunities for meaningful work is predictably top-down: guaranteed income for all, a.k.a. “welfare for all.” This is of course a re-hash of the Keynesian Cargo Cult’s 1930 fix for the Great Depression, except on a far grander scale.

There are three completely unsupported assumptions in every proposed “welfare for all” scheme:
1. The trillions of dollars/ euros/ yen etc. required to fund “welfare for all” can be raised from taxing profits and wages. Yet wages and profits are both set to decline sharply in the near-term as the global recession tightens its grip and longer term from the unstoppable forces of automation.
2. Paying people to do nothing will free people to become artists, entrepreneurs, etc. This is a noble ideal, but if we look at communities that have become dependent on top-down central-state welfare, we find despair, social depression and the collapse of real community.
“Welfare for all” debilitates the community by stripping away the sources of meaningful work and positive social roles. I explain this further in my book A Radically Beneficial World: Automation, Technology and Creating Jobs for All.
3. Though few if any supporters of “welfare for all” schemes state this directly, the underlying assumption is that “welfare for all” is a temporary measure to get the unemployed/under-employed through a rough patch, and that the economy will magically heal itself and create millions of new jobs if given time.



The problems that current society has are by and large created by programs created by Ivies in past that required rents and income transfer schemes that were, by their very nature, unsustainable.

Glenn Reynolds has a rather extreme solution to the problem.

  1. We should eliminate the tax deductibility of contributions to schools having endowments in excess of $1 billion. At some point, as our president has said, you’ve made enough money. That won’t end all major donations to the Ivy League, but it will doubtless encourage donors to look at less wealthy and more deserving schools, such as Northern Kentucky University, recently deemed “more inspirational than Harvard” in the London Times Higher Education magazine.
  2. We should require that all schools with endowments over $1 billion spend at least 10% of their endowment annually on student financial aid. That will make it easier for less wealthy students to attend elite institutions.
  3. We should require that university admissions be based strictly on objective criteria such as grades and SAT/ACT scores, with random drawings used to cull the herd further if necessary. That will eliminate the Ivy League’s documented discrimination against Asians.


The fact is that the Ivies are not, by and large, good institutional citizens.  They take far more than they give back.  If you don’t have connections, for instance, it’s almost impossible to use their circulating libraries, let alone the research libraries.  They’ve been slow to create continuing education programs and don’t have satellite campuses. The Ivies aren’t big on outreach and very big in being insular in the middle of the places they live.

As much as I hate the current administration in CT, at least they seem to be thinking in the same direction.  Of course that’s only after the administration has taxed everybody else to destruction.



Perhaps the thing that bothers me the most is that the rest of us seem willing to give the silver spooners from the Ivy Covered Snob Factories the easy road and the chance to take shots at the rest of us.  It’s like being the better hunter when the game is trotted past the hunting blind.  If an Ivy education really does produce the “best of the best” shouldn’t they have to prove it by taking the same slings and arrows as the rest of us?

The fact is that the only reason we, the people subsidize the Ivy Covered snob Factories is that we don’t have a choice. The Ivies have reached so far and so  deep into the fabric of society and collect rents from so many of the activities in government, finance and business that there’s no way to avoid paying the subsidies.  the power is too entrenched and the influence inescapable. In the name of better management of society we’ve allowed ourselves to give up far too much.

I think that it’s time to stop relying on the Ivies as a meritocracy producing those best able to manage and run the country.  The success rate of the “best and Brightest” from the Ivy Covered Snob Factories has been worse than abysmal, it’s been a disaster.  The history of the 20th Century, the cities of America and the world are littered with the empty monuments to the failure of the people in charge because they came from places where reality and consequences had been removed from their lives. It’s time to change that, we can’t afford the mistakes anymore.







For more on the dysfunctional economy click Here or on the tag below.


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