“The American Elite” from “Remembering Eternity”

“But naturally no one, not even the families who benefited from them, liked to discuss these hidden aids (that put the odds of the game always in favor of the elites).  After all, they dimmed the mystique surrounding the “self-made man,” seeming to indicate, as they did, that he took unfair advantage of those not standing in the inner circle; one inclined to be cruelly blunt might even have leveled an accusation of cheating at these insiders, claiming that they had finessed their accomplishments by overreaching those less sophisticated.  Girls such as Patricia and Cecily grew up with the conviction that their fathers and uncles had gained their positions from dogged perseverance and shrewd intelligence and that other Americans had the same right to employ their energies and skills toward the same end.  The odd element in this naïve article of faith was how it managed to coexist alongside the truth: the girls’ living realities: their status as privileged members of the social aristocracy.  Every day of their lives, they saw others working for them, looking up to them, deferring to them, and currying their favor.  They attended schools with girls from nearly identical backgrounds.  Vacations found them skiing, swimming, and attending parties with those in their set.  While opportunity for all was a tenet of their shared philosophy, cosseted comfort for the few was the axiom of their surroundings.” https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01B9SZ1DW