January 1, 2014

The Harvard-Yale cult's conspiracy to monopolize the Presidency

Back in 2012, I went through the biographies of all the major party Presidential nominees since 1900:
From 1900 through 1984, I count 9 Harvard or Yale degrees among 44 nominees, or 0.20 per candidate (and 5 of the 9 are members of the Roosevelt family). 
From 1988 through 2012, I count 15 Harvard or Yale degrees among 14 nominees, or 1.07 per candidate. That's a lot! 

Since 1988, five times have major party nominees been members of Yale's Skull and Bones society, which has a monumental windowless clubhouse on the Yale campus reputed to be the final resting place of Geronimo's skull.

If we were talking about Turkey, it would seem pretty obvious that there was a weird cult around attending Harvard and Yale; and the members of the cult had been remarkably effective at conspiring to impose their Harvard-Yale-centric values upon the country at large. 

And indeed, that's more or less true. For example, Harvard president James Conant worked tirelessly in the postwar era to expand Harvard's reach beyond the traditional boarding school students by using the improving psychometric testing (e.g., the SAT) to haul in the smartest young people from across the country. But because the Harvard-Yale cult has been so successful, it doesn't seem like a cultish conspiracy anymore, it just seems like the way things are and ought to be.

25 comments:

Maxwell Power said...

And the Supreme Court is an Opus Dei/secular Jew cult

Maxwell Power said...

No, wait, that's Harvard-Yale too

countenance said...

2016 contenders

Republicans

Chris Christie: Seton Hall Law
Ted Cruz: Harvard Law
Rand Paul: Duke Med
Mike Lee: Brigham Young Law
Jeb Bush: University of Texas (undergrad only)
Scott Walker: Marquette (undergrad, never graduated)
Paul Ryan: Miami-Ohio (undergrad only)
Bobby Jindal: Oxford

Democrats

Hillary Clinton: Yale Law
Andrew Cuomo: University of Albany Law
Joe Biden: Syracuse Law
Mark Warner: Harvard Law
Martin O'Malley: Univ. of Maryland Law
Brian Schweitzer: Montana State-Bozeman
Elizabeth Warren: Rutgers-Newark Law (but taught at Harvard Law)

Anonymous said...

Aren't we dealing with a grudge by the new ruling elite because their ancestors were denied entrance into Harvard/Yale? This denial was a grave injustice because the graduates of Harvard/Yale supposedly ruled the nation. So if you were kept out of Harvard/Yale, you had no future.

From 1900 through 1984, I count 9 Harvard or Yale degrees among 44 nominees, or 0.20 per candidate (and 5 of the 9 are members of the Roosevelt family).

So it appears that a Harvard/Yale degree really wasn't the ticket to the top after all.

From 1988 through 2012, I count 15 Harvard or Yale degrees among 14 nominees, or 1.07 per candidate. That's a lot!

Of course now that those alleged wrongs have been righted, a Harvard/Yale degree IS required for admittance to the top.

I am so grateful for this progress. Let's now fix the historic injustice that is our immigration system.

A Working Class American said...

the elite schools dominate other areas, such as the federal judgeships, who are really our unelected, ivory tower overlords in many ways. The federal judges really run america on a longterm basis. These people typically never really had a real longterm job in their lives. All they knew from youth was study. And these types never veered from the beaten path; they never sought non-mainstream knowledge.

As to why they dominate, at this point in time it has to do with the media and the punditocracy. Remember when Bush was going to nominate Harriet Miers to the the Supreme Court (SC)? The media Thought Leaders demonized her as the graduate of a non-elite law school (SMU). So Bush scuttled her SC nomination.

Why do our media/punditocracy Thought Leaders do this? Most of them come from the same elite schools. But there is more to it than just that. The think tanks and nonprofit foundations are probably the dominant guiding hand that sets the agenda of the punditocracy. And the think tanks have a cultural history and deep knowledge that guides them.

It is no longer taught formally in college at all these days, but 50 to 100 years ago or such, the real truth about the governance of america and the true nature of pseudo-democracy (pluralism and factions are the essence of the divide et impera tactic). This was taught in elite schools decades ago, and I suspect that the memory of that teaching lingers on at the think tanks.

fondatori said...

"... it doesn't seem like a cultish conspiracy anymore, it just seems like the way things are and ought to be."

Great point. No ivy league types would ever suspect that their in-group discrimination is a conspiracy. Its just meritocracy in action - people like them deserve to be in powerful positions and to likewise empower people just like them.

And these people are really into this idea, lots of them. When you meet these people and really listen to them yo can see that behind their technical sophistication is deep shallowness and self-absorption.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the American Deep State is located in New England and its satellite states (Stanford, anyone?)

I figure if things went *the other way*, most of our elites would come from UVA, Duke, Rice, UNC, the College of William and Mary, etc. etc.

Anonymous said...

In 1614, the justification for unlimited power was the divine right of kings.

In 2014, it's the divine right of Ivy League graduates to rule.

Mr. Anon said...

"A Working Class American said...

the elite schools dominate other areas, such as the federal judgeships, who are really our unelected, ivory tower overlords in many ways. The federal judges really run america on a longterm basis. These people typically never really had a real longterm job in their lives. All they knew from youth was study. And these types never veered from the beaten path; they never sought non-mainstream knowledge."

That is quite true - there are few professions as slavishly obedient to convention as that of judge.

Whiskey said...

Countenance, you are forgetting the Democrats also have Michelle Obama, Princeton, and Cory Booker, Stanford.

My money is on Michelle Obama. Obama has made too many enemies to simply retire, his cronies are already trying to upend the 22nd Amendment, if he can't get the Supremes (he clearly has something on Roberts) to dump it, he'll run Michelle.

He'd probably win too. The Obama strategy: Black candidate you can't criticize, because racism you guys, massive vote fraud, massive Black turnout, Whites status mongering about how much more enlightened / religious they are over their troglodyte neighbors, is unbeatable for now.

I don't think we will ever again have a White guy President or even a White one. That Obama formula just works electorally. Governance is another matter.

A Black leader seems to a must-have for the Ivy League Elite.

Bottledwater said...

Most politicians are lawyers and the two best law schools are Harvard & Yale, so that largely explains why the best politicians would come from there. Harvard/Yale attendance is a good proxy for a lot of traits an aspiring president needs (high intelligence, rich family, narcissism, ambition, work ethic) but it's those traits that make them president, and not necessarily the schools they attend.

But I agree it's not healthy for these schools to have a monopoly on the white house and every effort should be made to vote for alternatives.

Whiskey said...

Let me add, the development of the Ivy Dominance is likely a Cold War related phenomena of TV and nuclear threats. America for most of its period was ruled by political machines and hacks with no one believing the rulers were anything else but political machine hacks.

That started to change with the disaster of the Depression, made worse by FDR but not seen that way, and then the demands of WWII and the Cold War. Making a mistake meant not just Boston got nuked but EVERYPLACE got nuked and everyone died. Everyone.

So the kind of hackery that was perfectly acceptable in the 19th Century and early Twentieth, with Presidents like Grant, or Hayes, or Harding, was out. A guy like Truman was out of his depth: too weak and disarmament oriented in the period of 1946-50, too bellicose afterwards. You get a rush to brand-name in politics: Ike the War Leader, Supreme Commander in Europe; JFK the Ivy League Hero; Ike's Heir Nixon; Old Hollywood Reagan, and then a succession of Ivy Leaguers unbroken. As more and more power got concentrated in the Presidency and it was viewed as important even after the Cold War to get the best guy in not the one from your political machine.

Take Paul Krugman. A guy like him could not have existed in the 19th Century. Boss Tweed would have had no use for him, and the Progressive reformers none either. But because he's a professor at Harvard, he's assumed to be something of a genius in the nexus of politics and economics. The 19th Century just assumed it was get yours, screw the other machine. That's normal politics.

I don't agree much with Pat Buchanon or Gore Vidal, but their view that from FDR onwards a giant security state that grows and never really shrinks and creates its own priestly hereditary caste is factually accurate. Its true. In that much they are correct. They are also correct in that it is harmful.

Because like any hereditary group of managers, the priestly caste runs the nation to their benefit not the nation as a whole. Classic Agency problem.

Anonymous said...

The Gulen charter schools seem hazily like a meek, concealed emulation of what our East Coast Elite might seem to have established for itself here. Aristotle educated Alexander didn't he? What year did he die? Oops, that was 323 b.c. and not 322. : (.

Steve Sailer said...

Wikipedia says Alexander died in 323 bc, Aristotle in 322. Some site made a reference to Demosthenes dying in 322, but the Alexander-Aristotle connection sounds more relevant.

Farang said...

Free-masonry, secret societies such as Skull and Bones, are all about bending the rules and helping each other get promotions faster than the other guys.

I've been a police officer in France for 32 years. The higher in rank you get, the higher the proportion of free-masons is. Political affiliation also helps: I had at least one colleague who owed his fast career to his Socialist Party connections.

The politically ambitious often are free-masons in France: Manuel Valls, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and many others.

During the Vichy regime, free-masonry was outlawed. Ambitious Vichy cadres immediately created an equivalent structure, which they called "la synergie", to help each other get the good jobs.

The problem with free-masonry / secret societies system is that it discriminates against competent people who are not free-masons, or who are not politically affiliated, or members of a close-knit community. But cheating is part of human nature: you can't refrain the ruthlessly ambitious to devise ways to game the system.

But they can't refrain us from despising them for what they do. When you learn that someone in high office is a free-mason, you can expect him to have gotten his job because of his being a free-mason, not because of his merits.

I've known a female police superintendent who systematically promoted women ahead of men, even when the men were more experienced and more competent. She wasn't evil, she was just a dumb woman who didn't even realize that she was unfair, because it was natural for her to promote people who were like her.

Anne Lauvergeon was for years the CEO of Areva, one of the largest French companies, specializing in nuclear technology. She once said: "We'll hire anyone who isn't a white male." The courts didn't consider it a discriminatory statement. The video, in French, is here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awEsHrthdhw

If you don't help the guys you identify with, for instance conservative white Christian heterosexual males, and vice-versa, you are screwed.

T. Greer said...

So I dug up the data on this a few years ago. In 2010, approx. 10% of all Senators and Representatives hailed from the Ivy League. See here for that break down:

"Cases in Plutarchy? U.S. Senate by Graduating Institution."

T. Greer. The Scholar's Stage. 30 April 2010

More recently I looked at the numbers for a few other elite positions:

"The story is larger than Harvard and the other Ivy League schools, but the subsequent careers of Ivy League alumni reveal a lot about the nature of America's class woes. An Ivy League education is the most direct route to the heights of American wealth and power: Wall Street firms fix hiring quotas to ensure that enough graduates from the Ivy League's most prestigious schools are hired (an offer graduates are glad to take - in 2009 40% of Princeton undergrads went to Wall Street after graduation!), while those with more ambition have access to even greater heights. 10% of U.S. Senators, 50% of all U.S. billionaires, and 60% of the President's cabinet have Ivy League alma maters to their name."

For that quotation, see here:

"Economies of Scale Killed the American Dream."

T. Greer. The Scholar's Stage. 1 July 2013.

ben tillman said...

Most politicians are lawyers and the two best law schools are Harvard & Yale....

No, they are not the best; they are the most prestigious and give students the best connections.

Anonymous said...

Part of the problem is that we Americans are accustomed to viewing meritocracy as a synonym for classlessness and egalitarianism. The emergence of the meritocratic elite as a class changes this.

We think of meritocracy as a system in which the brightest of us are promoted to leadership positions. But when the meritocrats themselves adopt a narrow view of what "us" means, you just have another ruling class.

Anonymous said...

Americans still think of meritocracy as an unqualified good. In fact, we think of it as an egalitarian and classless ideal.

But the strength of meritocracy lies in ensuring that a people's best and brightest are promoted to leadership positions; when the best and brightest no longer regard themselves as being of that people, meritocracy becomes a threat to ordinary people--paternalistic at best, predatory at worst.

And this principal-agent problem is very hard to rectify, even notwithstanding the various geographical, ethnic, and cultural disparities between ordinary people and elites. After all, how does some random shlub fight the Axis of Merit? If he were smart and capable enough to do that, he would already be part of it.

As Steve has said, a big impediment to calling out the Axis of Merit is the fact that blank-slate egalitarianism is so prevalent in our society. We can't remind people with high IQs of their aristocratic obligations if we aren't allowed to acknowledge the existence of high-IQ people.

jody said...

i don't think it has as much to do with harvard and yale in general, as it does with law school. all our leaders have to be do nothing, know nothing lawyers now. and only 10 or so law schools count.

the top couple ivy law schools confer a degree on their holders which opens up better career prospects, so they start out ahead of their lawyer peers with degrees from other grad schools, and over the next 20 or 30 years, this head start tends to allow them to rise to the top of political organizations.

the future looks like 50 year old harvard law grads all the way down. to use the turtles metaphor.

Renault said...

ben tillman said: "No, they are not the best; they are the most prestigious and give students the best connections."

No. They are hands-down the best. Their students are the smartest in the country, their professors are the most accomplished in their fields, and the two schools (Yale moreso) have absolutely unmatched traditions.

Outside of places held for URMs (life is good if you're a black woman with a 165 LSAT), law school admission is based almost solely on your LSAT score and GPA. It is extremely meritocratic, far more so than undergrad or MBA admissions.

Anonymous said...

And indeed, that's more or less true. For example, Harvard president James Conant worked tirelessly in the postwar era to expand Harvard's reach beyond the traditional boarding school students by using the improving psychometric testing (e.g., the SAT) to haul in the smartest young people from across the country.


I don't think Bush, Kerry, or Obama were particularly distinguished in terms of their standardized test scores.

the late Roman Hruska said...

Really though, Harriet Miers was a terrible crony nom for other reasons as well.

Anonymous said...

No. They are hands-down the best. Their students are the smartest in the country, their professors are the most accomplished in their fields, and the two schools (Yale moreso) have absolutely unmatched traditions.

Could be, but doesn't this argument run into the Bell Curve problem? That is, it implicitly assumes that the tests are really perfectly accurate wrt differentiating among test takers. And sure, they are overall accurate. But if everybody retook all the tests and reapplied, how often would the process pick the exact same students? What if the admissions officers in these universities were all changed so that each was replaced with someone with exactly opposite political affiliations? If you did this 5 times, would the number of students smart enough, etc., to go to Harvard/Yale/blah, but who didn't, be larger than those who did go?

The total number of students who can get into Harvard and Yale (or all the Ivies) compared to the annual production of students is pretty small and the pyramid widens fast. When does noise in the selection process swamp the whole idea because of the small number of slots and large pool of applicants? (So you're effectively just picking randomly among all those with A++ grades.)

I was once, purely in an incidental manner, around one of the fellows who came up with the problems one year for what is supposed to be the largest such entrance test/exam in the world (the test to get into an Indian ITT campus). He thought they were just measuring noise.

I'm sure somebody has the numbers somewhere, but I've never seen anything on it. Then again, I haven't really looked. Does anyone actually know?

And also, I've always heard that the best STEM graduate students at the Ivey's, including Harvard and Yale (and Stanford, for that matter), have come from small liberal arts and sciences type schools where they received considerable more hours of facetime with their undergraduate STEM mentor, etc.. Is this still true? Or is STEM just so inconsequential at the Ivey's these days?

One of the Bell Curve's core points was that when people didn't move around, Harvard and Yale were just mathematically not capable of having students that were all markedly higher in IQ than larger numbers of people in society as a whole (they pointed out that many of those smart people were housewives, the sort that used to provide a lot of glue to civil society). By the time you add in all the noise today (all those trips abroad to demonstrate the right values, for instance), I'm not sure things have changed (wrt IQ distribution) even when people can move around (things have clearly changed in terms of social funnelling). But again I haven't looked. Does anyone know?

Anonymous said...

Typo, that should be IIT (Indian Institute of Technology), not ITT. The entrance exam is the IIT JEE (Joint Entrance Exam). It has been around since 1960. "It had a very low admission rate (about 10,000 in 500,000 in 2011)."

Sounds typical: "...coaching institutes were "enabling many among the less-than-best students to crack the test and keeping girls from qualifying". They expressed concern that the present system did not allow for applicants' 12 years of schooling to have a bearing on admissions into IITs..."

Multiculturalism is working as normal: "...IIT-JEE is conducted only in English and Hindi, making it harder for students where regional languages... are more prominent. ... in violation of article 14 of the Constitution of India."

Last year (2013) India apparently went to a JEE test used as single "...all India common entrance examination...", not just an IIT entrance exam. (IIT has around 16 campuses now; it was established as the original national flagship university system, sort of similar to the UCs.)

I had the impression that the best IIT students (and profs) have typically spent their entire K-12 education in what they call "missionary schools". These are schools established by western religious types; english is often the language of instruction. The Indian elite can afford these schools, so the result is a "class" divide similar to elsewhere.