A new fusionism is forming that evaluates social, economic, and foreign policies by asking how effectively they defend core American values like life, marriage, work, and religion, writes Ryan T. Anderson in Princeton Alumni Weekly.
There is an American elite, and if you’re reading this magazine, you are very likely part of it. In terms of educational attainment, social status, income, and net worth, most Princeton alumni are at the most privileged end of the spectrum.
Elites seem to have benefited massively from the policies accepted or championed for decades by both major parties’ establishments. On paper, we have flourished under globalism and “you-do-you” social liberalism. International trade and relaxed borders haven’t put us out of jobs; our salaries haven’t been stagnating for 50 years; and with the luxuries of wealth and practical cunning, our peers have embraced the “liberties” of the sexual revolution without bearing many of its most visible costs: Most of us still get and stay married and rear children in stable homes.
That’s on paper. At a deeper level, our material privileges haven’t made us — or our kids — all that happy. The constant demand to strive and produce — to win in a meritocracy — undermines joy. No wonder mental-health care is now the main function of our university’s health services. Still, we aren’t dying the deaths of despair highlighted by Princeton professors Anne Case *88 and Angus Deaton: suicides, drug overdoses, and liver disease. Many of our compatriots are. We seem to have mastered the art of overlooking these forgotten Americans.