The Revolt of the Elites
In the mid-1990s, historian and cultural critic Christopher Lasch argued that America was suffering from a “revolt of the elites.” He predicted that, as the highly educated increasingly self-segregated — marrying only one another and moving to similar neighborhoods — their empathic connections to Americans from other walks of life were atrophying. Political upheaval would likely follow, as leaders increasingly lacked the information or motivation to make decisions that would benefit Americans of all classes and races. Fast-forwarding 25 years, do we find Lasch’s predictions coming true? Some argue yes, pointing to skyrocketing inequality and ideological “bubbles.” Others see Laschian diagnoses as fueling dangerous populism and undermining the status of expertise. Over eight meetings, we’ll critically examine this issue of elite disconnect from a variety of perspectives, ranging from recent Marxist analysis to contemporary conservatism.