David Lentz's Reviews > Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy

Twilight of the Elites by Christopher L. Hayes
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's review
Jun 30, 2012

really liked it
Read from July 07 to 18, 2012

This book with its Nietzschean sounding title ("Twilight of the Idols") is an intriguing read and goes on to deliver a better understanding as to the essence of the great divide between classes on the American political landscape. Hayes is articulate and ties together many observations that he has gathered from other intellects. At times, I wanted more of his original thinking and less of what others had said. There's quite a bit of recent historical catalog here and Hayes sees clearly the dangers of a meritocracy in which "merit" is not given access rendering it immobile and blocked from free expression by plutocrats who comprise our most elite society. He points to the dangers of insecure plutocrats who consider their financial achievements as proof of their entitlement. He shows how the middle- and lower classes have been nearly totally abandoned politically and how gains have gone consistently to entrench the power of the truly wealthy. I was interested that Hayes points out how America was a nation built on a true meritocracy because it offered upward mobility to its most gifted citizens as a core value. However, the elite have tricked the system by building so many blockades into mobility that Hayes feels we no longer have a true meritocracy which he considers a threat to the health of the nation. It means, in his view, that corruption will triumph and we run the risk of becoming self-defeated by jettisoning a core principle responsible for our vibrancy as a nation. I was most intrigued, after much of his rambling about the state of the union, in one of his proposed solutions: make America more equal than it now is by tearing down the roadblocks to upward mobility which is strategically and willfully constructed by the plutocracy solely to preserve wealth at the very top. Until true equality happens, if ever, then America runs the risk that its wealthiest citizens will ultimately sabotage our democracy and replace it with a plutocracy in which the only criteria that matters is how rich one is. This risk is real: perhaps, we're already there.
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07/08 page 40
02/16 marked as: read
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message 6: by Heather (new)

Heather Fineisen Three members have suggested this book. Interested to know what you think...

message 5: by Mary (new)

Mary Looking forward to your review on this David.

message 4: by Eric (last edited Jul 27, 2012 09:18PM) (new)

Eric Jay Sonnenschein David, I appreciated your review of this book. It delivers an important message that confirms many suspicions I have had over the years.

You are quite a literary man, with an interest in contemporary social issues. For these reasons, I would like you to read Ad Nomad, my comic novel about advertising.

Did you ever wonder how advertising helped turn America into a nation of sick people and hypochondriacs?

Ad Nomad takes you on a journey through the advertising and pharmaceutical world, as experienced by an ambitious, baby boomer copywriter.

Many books (mainly nonfiction) have been written about Madison Avenue—but the key word is about. They depict advertising as a store window displays merchandise—to impress and beguile.

In Ad Nomad I describe advertising in a detailed, dispassionate, but involving way, so you may read it and say, “This is how humans try to persuade each other!”

Ad Nomad has issues like its protagonist, Dane Bacchus. Yet, under them all, it is a funny yarn about someone who tries to be creative, tell the truth and make money. Don Quixote in a gray, flannel suit, updated to a shirt and jeans.

David, I hope you will agree to read Ad Nomad. I think you would find it entertaining and informative. Let me know where to send you a copy and I will. If you wish, you can read more about Ad Nomad on its webpage http://bit.ly/MQ0QWy.


Eric Jay Sonnenschein
917-434-1495 (cell)
jayoran@aol.com (email address)
http://bit.ly/MQ0QWy Ad Nomad webpage
http://Ericsonnenschein.com. (creative website)
http://bit.ly/NlSgoD goodreads Blog

David Lentz Dear Eric,
Thank you for your thoughtful note on my last book review.
"Ad Nomad" sounds intriguing so I propose a book swap for mutual reviews.
I am prepared to send you as a gentleman's agreement my "Bloomsday" in exchange for your "Ad Nomad."
Please let me know if this arrangement works for you.
All of the best to you, Eric.
David B. Lentz
70 Northfield Street
Greenwich, CT 06830

message 2: by Eric (new)

Eric Jay Sonnenschein Good afternoon David,

Thank you for responding so affirmatively.

Your proposition is excellent. Let's make the swap.

My information is below. I look forward to reading Bloomsday and to your respinse to Ad Nomad.

Best always,

Eric Jay Sonnenschein
730 Fort Washington Avenue Apt. 4-A
New York, New York 10040

message 1: by David (last edited Jun 30, 2013 06:16AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

David Lentz Dear Brian,
I was delighted to hear from your ghost.
You are missed here at Goodreads.
Please incarnate.
Your friend,

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