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Analyze Hayes' Twilight of the Elite: America after Meritocracy - Essay Example

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Instructor Date Twilight of the Elite: America after Meritocracy by Chris Hayes Chris Hayes is the author of Twilight of the Elite: America after Meritocracy. He is the editor of The Nation magazine as well as the talk show host at MSNBC and political commentator…
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Analyze Hayes Twilight of the Elite: America after Meritocracy
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"Analyze Hayes' Twilight of the Elite: America after Meritocracy"

Download file to see previous pages In this book, Hayes looks at meritocracy, where the best in society- elite- rules the rest, and how it affects the society. According to, meritocracy is not the cause of the many problems in American society; instead, it is the process of pursuing it that forms the root of all problems. This statement holds true in most cases since people will try as much as they can to guard what they have, including their social status. Chris Hayes in this book provides a detailed and readable analysis of societal failures, ranging from economic, sociological to economical aspects of society. He explains how institutions, one after the other, are marred with cases of corruption and general incompetence. These institutions include Wall Street, Congress, Catholic Church, Corporate America, and Major League Baseball among others. Hayes refers to America as a “failed decade” (Hayes 50). This is because it was marred by a myriad of social malpractices, ranging from inequality to corruption. Examples include the Enron scandal, wars, and fights like the Iraq war, drug abuse in sports sector as well as the botched responses to environmental catastrophes like Katrina hurricane. These profound societal failings have resulted in erosion of public trust in these institutions, as well as the high ranked elites. Due to meritocracy, a good number of powerful people, men and women, rose to the top, which caused a greater social gap between them and the ordinary citizens. These new elites were prone to falling into the corruption test, and failing at it too, compared to any system before them. This further broadened the social gap, making inequality a social norm. Hayes characterizes the new elite as possessed by raw ambition, brains, and achievement hungry. This class does not mind presence of the large gap between them and the ordinary citizens, provided they remain at the top. This features, Hayes contradicts to those of the WASP that encouraged prudence, lineage, and humility as the guiding virtues in the society (Hayes 45). According to Hayes, this leads to a society full of few overachievers who rule and control the lives of the billions of ordinary citizens and underachievers. The resultant society lacks social mobility, with the elites having a complete grasp of the financial and political control. When the public ignores this inequality, the top brass are left susceptible to failure, including corruption and social isolation. The writing of this book was partly inspired by Thomas Day, an Iraqi war veteran who spelt out his loss of faith in America’s leadership. Inequality is the root of almost all injustices in the society. Hayes provides examples to illustrate this. The large gap between the priests and their believers led to injustices and catastrophes, where believer’s children were victimized (Hayes, 2012). Another example is the social gap between civilian elites and the soldiers causing suffering of the latter. On the economic front, social gap existed between those who were bailed and those who were not. He also faults the poor government and/ or authority response to such events. During the Hurricane Katrina for instance, most of the affected locals did not have the means of transport to evacuate the region. Instead of stepping in to provide such means, FEMA head Michael Brown said, "It is not the role of the federal government to supply five gallons of gas for every individual to put in a car and go somewhere”. This statement further elaborates the immense gap ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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