I score highly on tests, too — but I have the wrong family background and the wrong “piece of paper”:
While classic anti-elitism was a revolt against an entrenched aristocracy, present-day anti-elitism is a revolt against the meritocracy, who achieved their status as the ruling class not by birthright, but through degrees from elite academic institutions, Ms. Liu said. Higher education, once envisioned as a democratic tool that would level the playing field for rich and poor, has instead worked to establish a new elite, one that feels more than ever that it is entitled to its power.
“The old aristocracy was always insecure about whether or not its power was legitimate or whether it had to protect itself,” she said. “The new meritocratic elite believe that it is better than other people, because it scored higher on tests.”
“Meritocracy” is the wrong word; “ruling class” is better because, as Codevilla explained in his excellent little book, one of the real objections “populists” have against today’s Establishment is that they aren’t powerful based upon merit (i.e., anything resembling actual common sense, talent, intelligence or rare accomplishment) but upon their last names and their Ivy League degrees (which affirmative action and grade inflation [should] have rendered meaningless.)