Secrets of a Princeton marriage

Princeton women should look for a husband on campus, advised Susan Patton, a Princeton alum and mother (of two sons), in the student newspaper.

For most of you, the cornerstone of your future and happiness will be inextricably linked to the man you marry, and you will never again have this concentration of men who are worthy of you.

The advice aroused and annoyed pundits), writes Walter Russell Meade on The American Interest. “For both women and men—even the over-achievers among them—happiness is about more than professional fulfillment,” he writes.

Too many elite collegians are marrying each other, writes Mead, citing a New York Times column by Ross Douthat.

Of course, Ivy League schools double as dating services,” wrote Douthat. It’s just considered gauche to say it in public.

That this “assortative mating,” in which the best-educated Americans increasingly marry one another, also ends up perpetuating existing inequalities seems blindingly obvious, which is no doubt why it’s considered embarrassing and reactionary to talk about it too overtly. We all know what we’re supposed to do — our mothers don’t have to come out and say it!

We need a national baccalaureate to recognize students’ knowledge rather than their ability to impress an admissions officer at age 17, Meade argues.

Today’s blue meritocracy, the degenerate descendant of the upper middle class Progressives of the early 20th century, has a problem: it is formally committed to ideas like equality, social justice and an open society, but what it really wants to do is to protect its own power and privilege. The Ivy League system of elite colleges is a key element in the system of exclusion and privilege that helps perpetuate both the power of the American elite and its comforting delusion that because elite status is based on ‘merit’ it is therefore legitimate.

America “needs to become a more open society”  that can recognize the Princeton kid who’s “an empty polo shirt” and the hard-working Ohio State kid who’s “a serious person,” he concludes.

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  1. Stacy in NJ says:

    My own opinion of ivy graduates has morphed. My prior assumption was they actually were the best and brightest until I began homeschooling my own kids and meet so many wonderful, bright, engaged, intelligent, serious homeschooled kids most of whom will never see an ivy institution. Their parents are mostly working and middle-class and don’t know how to or don’t care to incubate an ivy kid. They participate in church mission programs and 4-H, neither of which is desirable on an ivy application.

    My oldest son swims with kids from one of the most prestigious private prep schools on the East coast. And these kids are equally terrific kids, but they come pre-loaded with advantages frequently purchased by their parents. The singular goal of many of those parents is to insure their kids maintain a class and lifestyle they’ve inherited.

    • I went to the notoriously quirky U of C. I married a classmate, and I’ve noticed that my friends who married classmates tend to have very low drama marriages with lots of nerdy conversation. I also know people from other schools who’ve managed to achieve that, but it seems like if you go to a school that attracts a certain personality, it’s much easier to find a spouse of that personality type at that school.

      That’s because the schools are a sorting algorithm more exact than those on dating sites. For example, in one couple I know, the spouses didn’t go to the U of C, but would have if they could afforded it, and they have the same sort of marriage. But they had to work a lot harder to find each other……

      • I tend to agree…it’s not that marrying people from your colleges puts the ‘best and brightest’ together, but it puts people of similar background and work ethic together. We have a lot of friends with advanced degrees who are married to people with either college degrees or advanced degrees who went to college together.

        People who chose my rural state school and then went on to get STEM degrees/advanced degrees tend to be practical, hardworking people from middle class backgrounds…who marry each other, get jobs, raise families, and send their back to their alma matter because it turned out so well for them.