I think that Anne Applebaum misses the point in her recent column on what she terms anti-elite-educationism:
In America, the end of the meritocracy will probably come about slowly: If working hard, climbing the education ladder and graduating from a good university only wins you opprobrium, then you might not bother. Or if you do bother, then you certainly won’t go into politics, where your kind is no longer welcome. We will then have a different sort of elite in charge of the country — and a different set of reasons to dislike them, too.
Is the problem that working hard, climbing the education ladder and graduating from a good university only wins you opprobrium or that doing so appears to be good enough for government work? Being an Ivy Leaguer is no guarantee that you’re smart and hard-working nor is having graduated from a school other than Harvard, Yale, or Princeton let alone not having gone to college at all a guarantee that you’re an anti-intellectual oaf, incapable of looking after your own affairs. Our culture is simply too brand name oriented. That’s not meritocracy; it’s the illusion of meritocracy.
Despite their many virtues neither the present Harvard Law graduate incumbent nor his Yale Law graduate Secretary of State nor his Harvard Business graduate predecessor nor his Yale Law graduate predecessor gives me, at least, the impression of being a scintillating intellect who has a right to rule by virtue of his or her mighty brain.
They won elections. Elections are not IQ tests or measures of the ability to do anything other than win elections.