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jerryking : the_establishment   6

Opinion | Screw This Virus!
March 19, 2020 | The New York Times | by By David Brooks, Opinion Columnist

We had to be set apart in order to feel together.
certainty  COVID-19  David_Brooks  hard_times  messiness  self-distancing  shared_experiences  social_connectivity  social_fabric  social_distance  social_solidarity  solidarity  The_Establishment  the_human_condition  uncertainty  viruses  wisdom 
14 days ago by jerryking
What Jeffrey Epstein’s black book tells us about Manhattan
AUGUST 23, 2019 | Financial Times | Holly Peterson.

...it makes perfect sense that Epstein would need a black book of people he knew — and wanted to know. He couldn’t get to the top of the totem pole otherwise. His career was so secretive, his CV so sparse, that no one knew where his money came from. What he needed was a social network.

The primary axiom to remember in this hideous saga: rich people don’t get richer only because of tax windfalls. Rich people get richer because they hang out together....Most of the Americans included in the black book have one common denominator: they are socially and professionally voracious people who form part of New York’s “Accomplisher Class”. The accomplishers appear at book parties, Davos, the Aspen Ideas Festival, benefits and openings. They understand that to be avidly social is to assure recognition and prominence. Remember, the rich covet convening power: the ability to reach a point where one’s social and professional life are confused as one....Tina Brown has been an astute observer of New York society....“The alpha energy of Manhattan is far more intense than anywhere European: more money, bigger stakes. Every achiever who wants to get to the top, has to fight like hell to be seen and heard on this island.”.....The now ossified Wasp culture may still count for country club memberships or the preppy glow of a Ralph Lauren advertisement, but not much else. New York high society has been paradoxically meritocratic for a few decades, at least since the go-go 1980s......On a grander scale, the accomplisher class is neither defective nor debauched. When accomplishers exchange ideas, much good can come in the form of entrepreneurship in technology, business or innovative arts.....At its best, the American system of philanthropy launches museums and hospitals, urban and charter schools, and relief to the poor in towns all over America. Much of this is enabled by the accomplishers, aided by tax laws that promote charitable deductions. People in this group have multiple invites most weekday nights to attend benefits that help the causes they care about most, with the added value of showing off how magnanimous they are in programmes that list precisely how much they gave....Attending a high-end event in New York is a way of taking a victory lap with other accomplishers around the room......It would be a mistake to assume that the accomplisher class is all about wealth. If you want access to capital or airwaves, boring and rich doesn’t get you that far in this high-testosterone playground. If you ran your father’s company into the ground, you’re a nobody in this town. The paycheck is not all that matters: editorial media power controls the conversation, foundation power means you write the big checks. What people admire is top achievement in almost any field....Accomplishers in New York society may be particularly American in that they do not necessarily shy away from a bad reputation. They are so interested in a story and a comeback that they can forgive human failings, and are often intrigued with flaws as much as success.

What’s more, New York is so relentlessly fast-paced and ambition among the accomplishers so colossal, they don’t always take the time to be discerning.
Accomplisher_Class  Bonfire_of_the_Vanities  comebacks  elitism  high-achieving  high_net_worth  Jeffrey_Epstein  Manhattan  New_York_City  overachievers  philanthropy  political_power  reputation  the_One_percent  Tina_Brown  meritocratic  The_Establishment  social_networking  social_classes  tax_codes 
august 2019 by jerryking
I’m not calling to revive WASP culture. Just to learn from it.
December 6, 2018 | The Washington Post | By Fareed Zakaria.

The death of George H.W. Bush has occasioned a fair amount of nostalgia for the old American establishment.....provoked a heated debate among commentators about that establishment, whose membership was determined largely by bloodlines and connections. You had to be a WASPto ascend to almost any position of power in the U.S. until the early 1960s. Surely, there is nothing good to say about a system that was so discriminatory toward everyone else? Actually, there is. For all its faults — and it was often horribly bigoted, in some places segregationist and almost always exclusionary — at its best, the old WASP aristocracy did have a sense of modesty, humility and public-spiritedness that seems largely absent in today’s elite. Many of Bush’s greatest moments — his handling of the fall of communism, his decision not to occupy Iraq after the first Gulf War, his acceptance of tax increases to close the deficit — were marked by restraint, an ability to do the right thing despite enormous pressure to pander to public opinion.

But, and here is the problem, it is likely these virtues flowed from the nature of that old elite. The aristocracy was secure in its power and position, so it could afford to think about the country’s fate in broad terms, looking out for the longer term, rising above self-interest — because its own interest was assured. It also knew that its position was somewhat accidental and arbitrary, so its members adhered to certain codes of conduct — modesty, restraint, chivalry, social responsibility.....Today’s elites are chosen in a much more open, democratic manner, largely through education. Those who do well on tests get into good colleges, then good graduate schools, then get the best jobs and so on. But their power flows from this treadmill of achievement, so they are constantly moving, looking out for their own survival and success. Their perspective is narrower, their horizon shorter-term, their actions more self-interested.

Most damagingly, they believe their status is legitimately earned. They lack some of the sense of the old WASP establishment that they were accidentally privileged from birth. So the old constraints have vanished. Today, chief executives and other elites pay themselves lavishly, jockey for personal advantage and focus on their own ascendancy.
Fareed_Zakaria  George_H.W._Bush  WASPs  elitism  meritocratic  self-restraint  The_Establishment  arbitrariness 
december 2018 by jerryking
What Comes After Acheson’s Creation? - WSJ
By PEGGY NOONAN
Feb. 9, 2017

The U.S. military needs to know what the U.S. government seeks from it. The White House need to communicate an overarching plan because if there’s no higher plan they, in turn, can’t make plans to meet the plan.....like tornado victims, those interested in foreign policy have been [shellshocked]—staring in shock at the wreckage of the post-War II international system.

But something has to be rebuilt. Everyone now has to be an architect, or a cement-pourer, or a master craftsman carpenter.

It’s been instructive the past week to reread a small classic of statecraft, “Present at the Creation” by Dean Acheson, published in 1969. As undersecretary and then secretary of state he was involved in the creation of the postwar order.

What is inspiring about Acheson’s first-rate second-rateness is that he’s like a lot of those we have developing foreign policy right now.

Acheson, though he did not present it this way, provides useful lessons for future diplomats in future crises.

• Everyone’s in the dark looking for the switch.
• Don’t mess things up at the beginning.
• Be able to see your work soberly. Keep notes so history will know what happened.
• Cheer up. Good things can come of bad times, great things from fiercely imperfect individuals.
• Even though you’ll wind up disappointed. All diplomats in the end feel frustrated over missed opportunities and achievements that slipped away. “Alas, that is life. We cannot live our dreams.”

Still to be answered: What is America’s strategy now—our overarching vision, our big theme and intent? What are the priorities? How, now, to navigate the world?

That soldier needs an answer to his question: What do you need from us? What’s the plan?
questions  U.S.foreign_policy  post-WWII  diplomacy  Dean_Acheson  Marshall_Plan  Peggy_Noonan  priorities  change  statecraft  books  Cold_War  international_system  rebuilding  dislocations  The_Establishment  crisis  crisis_management  Communicating_&_Connecting  grand_strategy  statesmen  imperfections  U.S._military  note_taking  missed_opportunities 
february 2017 by jerryking
That Bright, Dying Star, the American WASP - WSJ.com
MAY 15, 2010 Wall Street Journal | by Robert Frank. The Kagan
Nomination Marks Another Faded Day in the Establishment's Illustrious
but Insular History; a New Path to Power....The Protestant downfall can
be attributed many things: the deregulation of markets, globalization,
the rise of technology, the primacy of education and skills over family
connections.
Robert_Frank  meritocratic  WASPs  The_Establishment  Elena_Kagan  nepotism 
may 2010 by jerryking

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