Source: The Real Problem At Yale Is Not Free Speech | Palladium, by Natalia Dashan
This is a story about an institution and an elite that have lost themselves.
Pretending to be poor is a lot easier than pretending to be rich—just because there are so many different ways to be poor. … But lying about anything is tricky—you risk being found out—so what were these people trying to accomplish by acting broke? And this raises the broader question: why pretend to be of a social class you are not?
Poor people pretend to be rich to look cool. … Rich people pretend to be poor to fit in.
On the surface, there is nothing wrong with haphazard and sometimes warped class signaling. But if you put on a façade for long enough, you end up forgetting that it is a façade. The rich and powerful actually start believing that they are neither of those things. … They forget that they have certain privileges and duties that others do not.
conferences where everybody lifts their champagne glasses to speeches about how we all need to “tear down the Man!” How we need to usurp conventional power structures. … But when you look around at the men and women in their suits and dresses, … you notice that these are the exact same people with the power—they are the Man supposedly causing all those problems that they are giving feel-good speeches about. … They are the people with power who fail to comprehend the meaning of that power. They are abdicating responsibility, and they don’t even know it.
The elite are expected—by everyone else, and by each other—to use their power to make sure society works properly. That is, they are expected to rule benevolently. The reason they are expected to do this is that if they don’t, nobody else can or will. The middle class and the poor do not have the powers and privileges that the rich and elite do, and cannot afford the necessary personal risks. But without active correction towards health and order, society fails. … When they misunderstand both the nature of power and their own power, how can they be expected to coordinate to use that power to rule well? How can they be expected not to abuse it?
Yale students, if they weren’t powerful when they came in (and most of them were), they gain power by being bestowed a Yale degree. What would you do with this power? You don’t want to abuse it; you’re not outright evil. No, you want something different. You want to be absolved of your power. You are ashamed of your power. Why should you have it, and not somebody else—maybe somebody more deserving? You never really signed up for this. You would rather be somebody normal. But not, “normal,” normal. More like normal with options and vacations and money “normal.” Normal but still powerful.