Chris Satullo ’75, writing in The Philadelphia Inquirer three years ago:

The charge of elitism isn’t about people flaunting income; it’s about people flaunting IQ. Americans, as a rule, don’t resent people who have more money than them — particularly if the wealth is seen as earned. Envy, maybe, but not resent. You don’t resent people whom you hope to emulate. And most Americans dream easily about having much more dough than they do. What Americans more readily resent is someone who is smarter than them, who knows it, who shows it, and who seems to think being smart makes you better than everyone else. A gap in income, you can always dream of closing. A gap in IQ, not so much. It’s more personal, thus easier to resent.

1) Does this explain why so many readers resent me when I expose the realities of the Williams admissions process, especially the advantages which accrue to athletes and URMs?

2) Satullo was (successfully?) explaining why Barak Obama was being charged with “elitism” during the 2008 presidential campaign. Do you agree with that explanation?

3) My take on elitism is different. I have no problem with people that are smarter than me. Indeed, I try to hang out with them as much as possible! But I have a problem with anyone telling me how to live my life, especially if they insist on using the power of the state to enforce their preferences.

Print  •  Email