You want a pithy summary of why so much noise is being made about Jeffrey Epstein? Here’s a good one.
The sprawling connections between Epstein and the nation’s intellectual and scientific elite — the full extent of which may still be ripe for exposure, Buzzfeed suggested — raised questions not just about individual judgment (Harvard biochemist George Church chalked it up to “nerd tunnel vision” in early August), but the enduring exclusivity and chauvinism of power networks writ large. “After the revelations of abuse and rape,” Adam Rogers wrote in Wired magazine this week, “the most frightening thing the Epstein connections show is the impregnable, hermetic way class and power work in America.”
It’s not that we have a particular animus against this one guy, or his coterie of clients, but that it’s a reflection of a deeper problem — the artificial hierarchies that afflict the whole system. Men vs. women, white vs. black, rich vs. poor, the ranking of colleges, the phony misrepresentation of what the wealthy colleges are for (it’s not for a better education, it’s for networking with other rich bozos), it’s all one big ugly structure that impedes the advancement of merit, and gives the privileged the ability to prey on the less well off. Sometimes the system of oppression is laid bare and exposed, and this is such a case.