In The Washington Post, Prof. Shamus Khan notes that Brett Kavanaugh’s elite past and current social circles explains his willingness to mislead and lie: “Elite schools like Georgetown Prep and Yale have long cultivated this sensibility in conscious and unconscious ways.”
Schools often quite openly affirm the idea that, because you are better, you are not governed by the same dynamics as everyone else. They celebrate their astonishingly low acceptance rates and broadcast lists of notable alumni who have earned their places within the nation’s highest institutions, such as the Supreme Court. I heard these messages constantly when I attended St. Paul’s, one of the most exclusive New England boarding schools, where boys and girls broke rules with impunity, knowing that the school would protect them from the police and that their families would help ensure only the most trivial of consequences. […]
While they seem contradictory, servant leadership and privilege are often bedfellows. Both suggest not a commonality with the ordinary American, but instead a standing above Everyman. Both justify locating power within a small elite because this elite is better equipped to lead. (Retired justice Anthony Kennedy, according to some reports, hand-picked Kavanaugh as his successor — a rather astonishing circumvention of the democratic process and the separation of powers.) Both have at their core not a commitment to shared democracy but a moral imperative to lead because of one’s exceptional qualities. And both allow space for lying in service of the greater good. Privilege means that things like perjury aren’t wrong under one’s own private law.
On this date at Daily Kos in 2012—Welcome to the culture war against teachers, coming to a theater near you:
The campaign against teachers is special, and worth paying attention to. It’s not like workers in general get much respect in our culture, at least not beyond vague lip service that only ever applies to the individual, powerless worker not asking for anything. And janitors, hotel housekeepers, cashiers, and a host of others could fill books with the daily substance of working in low-status professions, I’m sure. But right now, teachers are the subject of a campaign heavily funded and driven from the top down to take a profession that has long been respected by the public at large and make the people in the profession villains and pariahs, en route to undercutting the prestige, the decision-making ability, the working conditions, and, of course, the wages and benefits of the profession as a whole. What we’re watching right now is a specific front in the war on workers, and one with immense reach through our culture—and coming soon to a movie theater near you if it’s not already there, in the form of the poorly reviewed parent trigger drama Won’t Back Down.
(That it’s a war not just on teachers but on the workers of the future and on the government just sweetens the pot for many of the people waging the war.)
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