"…elite universities are about connecting more than learning, that the social world matters far more than the classroom to undergraduates, and that rather than an escalator elevating the best and brightest from every walk of life, the meritocracy as we know it mostly works to perpetuate the existing upper class.
"Every elite seeks its own perpetuation, of course, but that project is uniquely difficult in a society that's formally democratic and egalitarian and colorblind. And it's even more difficult for an elite that prides itself on its progressive politics, its social conscience, its enlightened distance from hierarchies of blood and birth and breeding.
"Thus the importance, in the modern meritocratic culture, of the unacknowledged mechanisms that preserve privilege, reward the inside game, and ensure that the advantages enjoyed in one generation can be passed safely onward to the next."The Secrets of Princeton