Outlaw Nepotism

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More than 30% of the freshman class at Harvard University had one or more relatives attend before them. That should be illegal.


Our society is fucked up and unfair. Ideally we would fix the structure of our society so that we offered equal opportunity to all combined with a strong safety net that prevented anyone from sinking too low in life. That ain’t happening any time soon. Until then, what we have is a system in which certain elite positions, representing either a gateway to the good life or the good life itself, are occupied by an inbred, insular stream of people that all represent a tiny slice of the richest and most well-connected portion of the populace. That’s not fair. Until we can get around to smashing and burning all of these elitist institutions and paving them perfectly flat with a road grader and building anew, we need to at the very least make sure that a fair and diverse pool of people have access to them. One day we will tear down the walls surrounding the golden castle labeled “The Good Life.” But as long as only a few people can enter, the very, very least we can do is to make sure that those few people are not “the relatives of everyone who’s already there.”

Fuck those people.

Fuck Harvard. Do I give a shit about Harvard? I do not. In general I believe it is a mark against you if you attended Harvard. If you attended Harvard you are starting in a deep hole out of which you must climb in order to win my respect. That said, my personal respect is worthless, and a Harvard degree is worth many hundreds of thousands of dollars in earning power. So Harvard degrees are important. Stupidly, we have a system in which we pick all of our leaders from the tiny pool of people who went to Ivy League schools. We should change this dumbass system. But until then, we should keep the Ivy League real fucking diverse. Here’s a great way to do that: Make it illegal to attend an Ivy League school if one of your immediate relatives went to one. Bang—hundreds more slots every year for people who need it more. A plainly good policy. If your parents graduated from Harvard, you can afford to go to a state college and still “make it” in life. You’ll be fine. You’ll also end up as less of a prick. And someone of a different class can go to Harvard and get that degree in your place and do a tiny bit to integrate and diversify the pool of people from which we select our leaders. This represents a very, very tiny step forward for society as a whole. Until we get around to burning down Harvard.

The same thing goes for the good jobs. There is a relatively small pool of really good jobs that everyone wants: Famous actor, famous TV person, famous media person, famous author, famous political figure, “fashion designer,” well-compensated business executive who is more or less a figurehead of average intelligence. These jobs are distinguished by the fact that there are roughly a million people with the inherent capability to hold the job for every open job. They are very desirable jobs. (Lots of people might want to be brilliant physicists or pro athletes too, but these require actual talent.) Because these jobs are so desirable and—despite what the people who hold them will insist—not all that hard, they are doled out like luxury perks. In a most unfair way! This is why George W. Bush’s daughter and Andrew Cuomo’s brother are “TV journalists” and Nancy Pelosi’s kid is filmmaker and Will Smith’s kid is a movie star and Jared Kushner is a real estate mogul and the Sulzberger kid is a newspaper publisher and every fucking third cousin of the Kennedy family gets to be in Congress at the very least. It is high time we stop pretending these gigs are in any way associated with talent, or that they are landed in any semblance of a fair way. If you tell me that Jenna Bush “has the talent” to be on the Today, I will say, “No shit, along with 987,000 other people who do not have that job,” and also I will lose even more respect for you than I did when I learned that you went to Harvard. Once we rebuild our society in a way that offers an equally fair chance for every talented kid to grow up and be on bad TV shows or in bad movies, we can stop worrying about this. Until then, we simply make it illegal to hold one of these Good Jobs if your immediate family also held one.

Give everyone a fucking turn. You greedy fucks. Off the swingset.

No academic legacies. No political legacies. No media legacies. No entertainment legacies. And no fucking plush business leadership positions handed down to family members instead of to hardworking employees. It took thousands of years for people to stop handing down power in monarchies. We haven’t made very much progress. Fuck that. If your parents got the good shit, you find some other shit. There’s plenty of decent shit you can still do, without hoarding the very best shit. We live in a nation in which most young adults can no longer expect to live better than their parents did. Join the fucking club.

If you complain that this is “unfair,” I have to admit to that you are correct. Fair would be to make a list of all the Ivy League families, and take all of their money away, and put it in a big pot, and then dole it out to very poor families, and send the poor kids to the Ivy League and send the Ivy Leaguers’ kids to fucked up public schools, and then watch those families slowly exchange their social positions over time, in order to demonstrate the fact that what we have in life is in large part a result of factors well beyond our control, and therefore we should always be humble because we have not in fact “earned” nearly as much as we like to tell ourselves that we have. That would be fair. And also all the Harvard kids have to work as janitors for life. That’s another part. I know they’d be great at it.


Senior Writer. Hamilton@SplinterNews.com