Mandarins and Their Bubble

by Sean Hackbarth


Megan McArdle has the quote of the day:

In fact, I think that to some extent, the current political wars are a culture war not between social liberals and social conservatives, but between the values of the mandarin system, and the values of those who compete in the very different culture of ordinary businesses–ones outside glamour industries like tech or design.

She refers to people in the NY-DC elite whose careers involve government, finance, and media. Their lives have been all about becoming an elite and have lacked any connection to the “Real World” outside the elite bubble.

Somehow, I found my way inside this bubble without going to an elite school. However, unlike the people Megan refers to I force myself to always be cognizant that this rarefied place I work and play–Washington, DC–is NOT the Real World. The economics and incentives inside the Beltway are different than those 95% of the rest of America confronts daily. When I arrived in Washington five years ago, I told myself that when I started believing that this place was the Real World, it would be time for me to leave. It’s not time yet.

[H/T Glenn Reynolds]

Photo: Ali Smiles/Flickr.

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