O mores, o tempores!

Posted on May 29, 2005


Rachel Donadio’s essay in the March 27, 2005 NYT Book Review discussed Ross Gregory Douthat’s memoir “Privalege” in which Douthat described his fellow Harvard undergraduates: “The ambitions of the undergraduates are those of the well trained meritocratic elite, brought up to believe that their worth is contingent on the level of wealth and power and personal achievement they attain…The pursuit of these goals, in turn, depends on high grades in a way that it did not for an earlier generation.”

These shallow values turn my stomach. Maybe because I’ve always had a high sense of intrinsic self-esteem I’ve never understood meritocratic overachievers. David Brooks reports much the same in his NYT column today:

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