All this week, to commemorate the New Year, Dick will be talking with people who have made big changes in their lives…in one way or another. Shannon Hayes always thought she’d be an academic. She earned her PhD but then decided not to follow the traditional career path. Instead she’s raising cattle.
Chris Hayes: Twilight of the Elites — Our guest this week is Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC’s Up With Chris Hayes and editor at large of The Nation. Hayes has come out with a much anticipated new book that makes a surprising argument. It’s called Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy, and in it, he attributes the stunning loss of trust in American institutions to, well, the system by which we chose who runs them. That system is a meritocracy—and it’s supposed to be a fair one in which people get ahead or fall behind based on their own inherent abilities. But in reality, Hayes says, inequality in, inequality out. It’s an intriguing and unexpected thesis, and after reading it, we wanted to ask Hayes about what this means for science in particular—which is, after all, a meritocracy. We also wanted to ask Hayes why people at the top of the totem pole—supposedly so smart, supposedly so well-trained and cultured—are in fact so poor at reasoning about those below them.
The actor plays a righteous federal agent who succumbs to all sorts of temptations on the HBO drama Boardwalk Empire. To build the character of Nelson Van Alden, he says, he worked out an elaborate back story about the agent’s childhood. The third season starts Sunday.