With that premise as the nation's chief virtue, which is the chief virtue of all empires, the twilight of the USA could not be long delayed. Nothing exceptional about that, huh?
Well, no doubt that is how the rich view the class war that, of course, they started by making the USA a giant capitalist whorehouse in the first place.
But here's the real problem, the real reason that the USA is most definitely going down. For a while, especially for some decades after WWII, it was well understood that giving ALL Americans, no matter their ability to pay, a chance to get a higher education was in the best interest of the nation.
Of course, this never really sat all the well with rich people. After all, if you educate your natural enemies, poor people, you also better enable them to make well-founded arguments against keeping ruthless greed and miserliness the chief virtues of the land. Hell, they might even convince a lot of poor people to become socialists. Next thing you know, being rich while the nation tolerates miserable levels of poverty for millions of its own children, will be seen as a bad thing.
So, in steps George Bush, and the increasingly fascist Republican extremists. They have to be congratulated for completely gaming the system they devised to be gamed. By wrecking the economy (actually of the world, but hey, so they were in criminal overdrive, whatever), they have impoverished state governments, who can no longer (or who anyway claim this) support institutions of higher learning.
And what does this mean? Simple—the educational institutions have to pay the bills somehow, right? And how do you do that in a money crunch, when the state isn't paying as much as they used to? You sell higher education to rich kids, and stop paying for even better-qualified poorer kids.
And how does that work out? Oh you know—the inbred cretins in richland will make sure their simpleton members show up in the office of admissions waving their plentiful cash, and no matter how bad a student the person is likely to be, he'll get the chair a poor, bright, kid would have gotten before.
As the New York Times confirms: "10 percent of the admissions directors at four-year colleges — and almost 20 percent at private liberal-arts schools — said that the full-pay students they were admitting, on average, had lower grades and test scores than other admitted applicants."
The Times points out that the schools defend this by pointing out their unfair admission standards are applied all over the undeserving map: "[The rich] are not the only ones with an edge: the admissions officers said they admitted minority students, athletes, veterans, children of alumni, international students and, for the sake of gender balance, men, with lesser credentials, too."
Oh good, because you know men are just barely hanging onto their grossly-privileged minority status.
Hey, why be exclusive? Maybe you can blame it on all that. Certainly courage and leadership aren't qualities being displayed in Washington DC either, so why should we expect to find them in those institutions which turn out these gutless wonders?