FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Rich Are No Smarter Than You

Nothing makes me angrier than stupid rich people getting unfair advantages. These same entitled rich people then turn around and fight against so-called “entitlement” programs and affirmative action because they seem to think their achievements are based on merit while the rest of us who actually work for a living—or at least try to—are nothing more than lazy freeloaders or unscrupulous “welfare queens” who deserve to die if we can’t afford our hospital bill.

Now we see some richies arrested for lying, bribing and cheating to get unfair advantages for their offspring. To hell with them and their unearned privilege. May they suffer the indignity of a second-rate college or otherwise rot in a minimum-security prison.

The college bribery scandal is just the latest example of what anyone who’s been paying attention should already know: the United States is not a meritocracy. The biggest marker of success seems to be the zip code you are born into—regardless of how talented, intelligent, or charismatic you are. The Horatio Alger story has gone from mythical to fraudulent.

The real tragedy is that many average people, whose parents cannot afford to spend millions to send them to Harvard, operate under the assumption that a person’s financial net worth is equivalent to actual worth. I blame this primarily on our education system and our mainstream media, both of which do the masses a grave injustice by shielding them from class-based analysis.

I recall learning about Helen Keller and watching “Miracle Worker” as early as elementary school. Missing from the lessons was the important detail that Keller, who joined the Socialist Party of America as an adult, acknowledged that she would not have achieved personal success—much less celebrity status—if she had not been born of wealthy parents. This would have been a far more useful classroom discussion-starter than questions about overcoming disability that omit any mention of class or other structural considerations. I was led to believe in my formative years, thanks to public schools, that every achievement, no matter how suspicious or improbable, can be attributed solely to personal ambition and talent.

The mainstream media took over where schooling left off. It’s no exaggeration to say that media personalities are obsessed with actors, athletes, monomaniacs, zealots, wealthy entrepreneurs, eccentric politicians, and anyone else who can be spotlighted rather than contextualized. To put it simply, we do not celebrate team players—we celebrate ball hogs. We celebrate people who would suffocate their own twin just so that they could emerge from the womb a little sooner. And when I say “we,” I am talking about everyone—even those of us who stand to gain nothing from this celebrity-obsessed culture except the juvenile diversion of vicarious living.

Think of what the common people would gain from a feature story that, instead of lionizing a mediocre celebrity, questioned whether he or she was worth such honorifics in the first place. The reporters could scrutinize the celebrity’s past performance in school, talk to the friends they had before they were famous, browse their tax returns, learn how they performed on standardized tests, and so on. This is what journalism is supposed to be but often is not. What if they had produced stories like this in 2016 about Trump and ran them on the major networks as often as they ran his childish-rants? I doubt he would have garnered many votes.

But instead, we as Americans pretend as if every rich person is smarter, more attractive, or otherwise better than we are because we didn’t win the (zip-code) lottery. We like celebrities for the sole reason that they are celebrities. We let our inadequate education and uncritical media determine how we think about those with more power and privilege. This serves the purpose of keeping us in intellectual chains so that we would never dare organize ourselves and challenge these two-bit oppressors with their baseless braggadocio and ghastly comb-overs. Most of us would rather be them than fight them.

Please. The rich are no smarter than you. But they think they are, they want to you think that, and they are pushing you around like you’re the small kid on the playground. They have been stealing your lunch money and sense of self-respect for generations.

What are you going to do about it?

More articles by:

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

April 24, 2019
Susan Babbitt
Disdain and Dignity: An Old (Anti-Imperialist) Story
Adam Jonas Horowitz
Letter to the Emperor
Lawrence Davidson
A Decisive Struggle For Our Future
John Steppling
The Mandate for Israel: Keep the Arabs Down
Victor Grossman
Many Feet
Cira Pascual Marquina
The Commune is the Supreme Expression of Participatory Democracy: a Conversation with Anacaona Marin of El Panal Commune
Binoy Kampmark
Failed States and Militias: General Khalifa Haftar Moves on Tripoli
Dean Baker
Payments to Hospitals Aren’t Going to Hospital Buildings
Alvaro Huerta
Top Ten List in Defense of MEChA
Colin Todhunter
As the 2019 Indian General Election Takes Place, Are the Nation’s Farmers Being Dealt a Knock-Out Blow?
Charlie Gers
Trump’s Transgender Troops Ban is un-American and Inhumane
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Just Another Spring in Progress?
Thomas Knapp
On Obstruction, the Mueller Report is Clintonesque
Elliot Sperber
Every Truck’s a Garbage Truck
April 23, 2019
Peter Bolton
The Monroe Doctrine is Back, and as the Latest US Attack on Cuba Shows, Its Purpose is to Serve the Neoliberal Order
David Schultz
The Mueller Report: Trump Too Inept to Obstruct Justice
Geoff Beckman
Crazy Uncle Joe and the Can’t We All Just Get Along Democrats
Medea Benjamin
Activists Protect DC Venezuelan Embassy from US-supported Coup
Patrick Cockburn
What Revolutionaries in the Middle East Have Learned Since the Arab Spring
Jim Goodman
Don’t Fall for the Hype of Free Trade Agreements
Lance Olsen
Climate and Forests: Land Managers Must Adapt, and Conservationists, Too
William Minter
The Coming Ebola Epidemic
Tony McKenna
Stephen King’s IT: a 2019 Retrospective
David Swanson
Pentagon Claims 1,100 High Schools Bar Recruiters; Peace Activists Offer $1,000 Award If Any Such School Can Be Found
Gary Olson
A Few Comments on the recent PBS Series: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
April 22, 2019
Melvin Goodman
The NYTs Tries to Rehabilitate Bloody Gina Haspel
Robert Fisk
After ISIS, a Divided Iraq, Wounded and Grief-Stricken
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange as Neuroses
John Laforge
Chernobyl’s Deadly Effects Estimates Vary
Kenneth Surin
Mueller Time? Not for Now
Cesar Chelala
Yemen: The Triumph of Barbarism
Kerron Ó Luain
What the “White Irish Slaves” Meme Tells Us About Identity Politics
Andy Piascik
Grocery Store Workers Take on Billion Dollar Multinational
Seiji Yamada – Gregory G. Maskarinec
Health as a Human Right: No Migrants Need Apply
Howard Lisnoff
Loose Bullets and Loose Cannons
Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada
Dreaming in Miami
Graham Peebles
Consuming Stuff: The Polluting World of Fashion
Robert Dodge
Earth Day: Our Planet in Peril
Weekend Edition
April 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What Will It Take For Trump to Get His Due?
Roy Eidelson
Is the American Psychological Association Addicted to Militarism and War?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Time is Blind, Man is Stupid
Joshua Frank
Top 20 Mueller Report “Findings”
Rob Urie
Why Russiagate Will Never Go Away
Paul Street
Stephen Moore Gets Something Right: It’s Capitalism vs. Democracy
Russell Mokhiber
Why Boeing and Its Executives Should be Prosecuted for Manslaughter
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail