"Most of our second- (or third-) generation success stories refuse to allow themselves to believe that they haven’t earned everything they’ve got — even Mitt Romney indulges in the fantasy of being a self-made man. In fact, Bellow’s formulation seems precisely backward: The age of the Brahmins was also the age of noblesse oblige. This is the age of Luke Russert. (And Ronan Farrow, WORLD’S MOST ACCOMPLISHED MILLENNIAL.) This insistence on merit — the successful person’s fantasy of earning what you got by out-working people from less privileged backgrounds — defines our unequal era of naked, unabashed favoritism. That comforting fiction is basically why it’s been difficult to even convince a plurality of official Washington that something maybe ought to be done to address joblessness and persistent income inequality."