Samuel Goldman on Nathaniel Rich: “mild nepotism” or ethnic networking?

Jewish ethnic networking has been a theme at TOO, ranging from appointments to the Supreme Court (notoriously, Elena Kagan), admissions to elite universities, the world of art (e.g., Mark Rothko), literature (e.g., pro-Israel writers Shani Boianjiu and Risa Miller), and philosophy (e.g., Spinoza). Not to mention the intellectuals discussed in The  Culture o f  Critique.

Now comes an article by Samuel Goldman in The American Conservative Mild Nepotism and the Illusion of Meritocracy,” the point of which is that the path of Nathaniel Rich to fame and fortune in the literary world has been greatly aided by having a “famous name and the connections that often go along with it.” Rich is the son of former New York Times columnist Frank Rich who has come to the attention of TOO several times, including for a piece of Jewish triumphalism in which, like the New York Times editorial page, he eagerly looks forward to an America with a White minority.

Goldman cites Margaret Sullivan’s comment in the Times:

It’s beginning to feel like Nathaniel Rich Month at The Times. The author’s new novel was reviewed in the Arts section on April 10, then again in the Sunday Book Review on April 14. Mr. Rich also wrote an essay for the Sunday Book Review, with many references to that novel, “Odds Against Tomorrow.” In addition, the Editors’ Choice section of the Sunday Book Review listed Mr. Rich’s novel second on its list.

So much attention to one young writer in some very elite places—and  let’s not forget The New York Review of Books. But, according to the Times Theater and Books Editor Scott Heller, the system works just fine:

I [Margaret Sullivan]  asked Mr. Heller about that kind of attention and why it happens. Again, he said, it comes from different section editors and writers making their own plans without consultation with one another.

“In the best of all worlds, it would be healthiest to spread the attention around,” Mr. Heller said. “There are so many deserving writers out there, and it sends a wrong signal.”

In general, though, the current system is the most practical and “seems to work,” he said.

Goldman’s take is that this new nepotism is very understandable and entirely benign, and he can’t help getting in a dig at the supposedly corrupt WASP elite that people like  Rich replaced:

This isn’t the explicit favoritism of the old-fashioned Establishment, which often reward  pedigree rather than competence. Instead, it’s a very contemporary form of advantage that coexists with the meritocratic principles of the new elite. Under this regime, rewards are available for “achievers” of any background. But it just so happens that the children of people who are already successful know how to achieve the most–and whom to inform of their accomplishments.

Is Goldman seriously suggesting that the writers who became famous before the rise of our new, super-talented elite  were simply rewarded for their pedigree? People like Faulkner, Fitzgerald and Hemingway? Shakespeare and Dickens?

Is he suggesting that Nathaniel Rich’s book, Odds against Tomorrow—which deals with an ecological disaster resulting from climate change—is in their company? Rich is doubtless on firm ground by dealing with such a safe, politically correct topic—one sure to appeal to the new  elite.  Whatever else one might say, his book is certainly not going  to offend the powers that be—not with a topic much beloved of liberals and a brilliant hero named Mitchell  Zukor, a child of immigrants from Hungary whose name certainly indicates that he is not one of those bad old WASPs who got their positions simply because of  their  pedigree.

Like his  father, Nathaniel Rich doubtless looks forward to the dispossession of White America. Come to think of it, that’s a great topic for his next book: the  soon-to-be paradise of a White minority America where only the  truly talented rise to the top. Daddy would be very proud.

And how do we know that Rich is talented apart from glowing reviews, several by his co-ethnics in literary organs edited by his co-ethnics? There is no gold standard here, any more than for the world historical reputations of Spinoza, Freud, Boas or the Frankfurt School.

But Goldman is quite right that this process extends far beyond the literary world:

Mild nepotism would not be a big deal if it were confined to publishing. But it’s also a fact of life in finance, academia, and the upper reaches of the legal world. These fields are open, in principle, to all. In practice, however, they are dominated by those who have been outfitted since childhood with the skills and contacts they’ll need to do well in the right schools, find the right jobs, and, when the time comes, to welcome others very much like themselves inside the magic circle.

Right.  And, as we know, getting into the right schools is very much a matter of ethnic connections (Nathaniel Rich graduated from Yale; Goldman got his Ph.D. at Harvard) and that non-Jewish Whites are being discriminated by a factor of 15 when corrected for academic ability (see previous link). I’d like to see Rich’s SAT’s and I wonder  how many non-Jewish Whites had better scores than he did but were refused admittance to Yale. Given that 15 to 1 ratio, I suspect there were quite a few. Just looking at IQ, there are 4.5 times as many non-Jewish Whites as Jews with an IQ over 140, but you’d never know it by looking at elite academic institutions.

Goldman is a post-doc in the Religion and the Tikvah Project on Jewish Thought  at Princeton. His Ph.D. dissertation at Harvard was on three Jewish intellectuals, Leo Strauss, Heinrich Jacobi and  Spinoza and won the Robert Noxon Toppan prize for best dissertation in political science.

Sounds like a Goldman is headed for high places as well.

Call me cynical, but I suspect there is more than a whiff of ethnic networking going on in Mr. Rich’s meteoric career. Those who have welcomed him into the magic circle are indeed “very much like” him. Besides Heller, the gatekeeper at the New York Times, his book was also given a glowing review by Cathleen Schine in The New York Review of Books, which is edited by Robert B. Silvers. (Rich has also published several essays in the NYRB.) Another very positive review was by Alan Cheuse on All Things Considered.  The editor of the New York Times Book Review is Pamela Paul whose background seems completely opaque but she is quite attuned to Jewish issues.

And why should we believe Goldman when he writes that “it just so happens that the children of people who are already successful know how to achieve the most—and whom to inform of their accomplishments.” It’s a good sign that Goldman is part of the corrupt elite that he feels no need for an argument or for finding data to support his thesis. I guess we should just take his word for what’s going on. No need to seriously consider ethnic networking. It’s all very innocent and inevitable, and it’s certainly nothing that we should actually do anything about. (It’s a bit odd that The American Conservative would publish Ron Unz’s seminal article on the corrupt admissions process at Ivy League universities which strongly implicates Jewish ethnic networking but completely ignore the possibility of ethnic networking in the case of Nathaniel Rich.)

In the end, Goldman’s comment is little more than a rationalization for how the new predominantly  Jewish elite protects and regenerates itself. Policing the media is a hugely important aspect of the power of the new elite. The gatekeepers at elite publications ensure that people like Nathaniel Rich get to the top. The road to the top for non-Jewish Whites, denied admission to elite universities and lacking ethnic connections with the new elite, is much harder and precluded entirely for any White with even a wee  bit of ethnic identity or a sense that Whites, like  everyone else, have ethnic interests.

The new elite is hostile and corrupt.