Over in that imperialist undemocratic monarchy across the Atlantic (we can be smug because we got rid of the “monarchy” part), people are wondering how the country got to the point that democracy can be suspended by a buffoon, and further, how said buffoon can actually be appointed prime minister — a question that we non-monarchists have been asking ourselves as well. At least part of the answer has to be that our respective upper classes are trained to be pompous buffoons, either at Eton or in our equivalent prep schools for the rich elite. At least in Great Britain bits of the training have been exposed.
Laurie Penny explores the implications of an amazing question from the entrance examination for Eton. This is a question that 13 year old boys are expected to address.
I am impressed by how the question is not even a question. It assumes the answer and demands that you justify it. There is absolutely no latitude to question the actions or condemn the policies that led the army to be deployed against civilians — nope, every action we have performed was right and just, no matter what it was, and your job is to keep doing the same thing and tell the populace that their murders are “necessary and moral“. I have to marvel at the implicit arrogance of this thought exercise. So this is how you get Boris Johnson. Great Britain apparently didn’t learn a thing since Peterloo.
We don’t have one Eton, but instead a network of elite prep schools, mostly in the Northeast, some in the South — Phillips Exeter Academy might be the closest thing to Eton that we’ve got. Now I’m wondering what kind of biased drivel you have to recite to get into those, although we’re also different in how one gets into the civil service, anyway. My impression is that most of the training our ‘elite’ kids get is to coach them in glorious capitalism and how to trample on the middle class and the poors in your stampede to excessive wealth.
Sometimes it isn’t the answers that matter, but the questions asked that shape your mind.