Turn of Phrase

Ruling elites across time and cultures begin to look a little bit alike, at least in broad strokes. They generally are effectively hereditary, even when they are not formally so; imperial China maintained a rigorous civil-service examination system for more than 1,000 years (kéju) but standardized testing did no more to prevent the emergence of a partially hereditary class of bureaucrat-scholars in Luoyang than it has in the Harvard-to-Washington-to-Wall Street cursus honorum. Like our Clinton dynasty, they manage to acquire substantial wealth while rarely if ever engaging in anything that looks to ordinary people like work.

Via The Bright Side of 2016 by Kevin D. Williamson published July 6, 2016 by The National Review.

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