The following is what I had written December 27, 2013, in response to columnist Maureen Downey’s blog post, entitled, “Educrats vs. Aristocrats: Is either group born to lead?” published December 26, 2013 in the online Atlanta-Journal Constitution. See link here: http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/get-schooled/2013/dec/26/do-superior-students-make-superior-leaders-or-are-/
” ‘Trust, honor, character: The elements that have departed U.S. public life with the departure from prominence of WASP culture have not been taken up by the meritocrats.’ – from the Wall Street Journal article by Joseph Epstein
‘What our new meritocrats have failed to evince—and what the older WASP generation prided itself on—is character and the ability to put the well-being of the nation before their own.’ – from excerpts from the Epstein article, noted above
I think what Joseph Epstein is saying is true enough; however, I think he misses seeing a deeper evolution occurring in today’s world. Many elements in today’s society are the results of the dissolving of various authoritarian roles previously played, as exemplified in the noblisse oblige roles played by yesteryears’ WASPs. The days of the male/patriarch head of the household, a la “Life with Father,” are long gone from America’s social structure. The racial demarcations of one’s “place in society” have long “gone with the wind” of another era. Women are now Supreme Court Justices. A woman may soon be the first U.S. President. The 1960s social revolution in America broke through many long-held and accepted norms of past generations. One of those broken norms was to have made the upper crust WASPs’ power and status relatively obsolete.
This dramatic change in society has been for the good of humankind because humanity has been moving toward greater egalitarianism from a rigid societal hierarchial structure. Pope Francis’ ideas are reflective of this change in spiritual egalitarianism. Our nation is moving toward the more perfect union of which it was conceived.
Those who now seek to build their own exclusively, at the expense of the common good, have moved in to fill the void temporarily left by the absence of the former hierarchial societal structure in which the upper crust WASPs were at the top of the social ladder.
What Epstein misses is that looking out for the common good of humanity does not depend upon being born into wealth and privilege as a WASP (as Epstein defines his meaning of WASP). Martin Luther King, Jr. was not a WASP, Nelson Mandela was not a WASP, Barack Obama is not a WASP, Pope Francis is not a WASP, Mother Theresa was not a WASP, John Lennon was not a WASP, Abraham Lincoln was not a WASP. Yet all of these people, of varied backgrounds, had a passionate internal vision which propelled them to forge a more humanitarian and egalitarian world for future generations. This passionate vision comes not simply from the wealth and power of the privileged few, but it springs forth from the souls of individuals who are, or who were, aware of deep spiritual truths, of no particular religion. I do not believe that it was simply happenstance that Jesus Christ was born into a family of humble means and not one of wealth and status.
The best educators recognize this egalitarian, essential truth regarding each of their varied students and regarding themselves. All are essentially equal in the spiritual universe. We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers because we are one with them. “No man is an island. . .”
The world is evolving spiritually, in my opinion. The self-serving vultures, who seek to fill the void left by the former power and status of WASP upper crust for their own mercenary well-being alone, will see an end to their power and influence, in time. The world will come to know, sooner than we might realize, that all who inhabit the earth are essentially equal. When that happens, the majority of the people within the world will reach out to others, knowing that our common destiny and survival will depend upon working in harmony and together for our mutual needs, interests, and fulfillment. Enlightened educators, and all people of goodwill on this planet, and not simply a resurrection of the American upper crust WASPs, will lead the way toward this better, kinder, more egalitarian world of the future.”