'I got into Yale' isn't a moral defense

When Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh found his conduct in question on Thursday, he twice responded by referring to his Ivy League degrees.

conduct n.行为

At one point, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse pursued a line of questioning about the “Beach Week Ralph Club, ” a phrase that appeared in Kavanaugh’s yearbook next to his senior photo. Whitehouse asked if the “Ralph Club” reference had to do specifically with alcohol, and Kavanaugh responded:

questioning n.质疑 yearbook n.毕业纪念册

“Senator, I was at the top of my class academically, busted my butt in school. Captain of the varsity basketball team. Got in Yale College. When I got into Yale College, got into Yale Law School. Worked my tail off.”

bust my butt 拼命学习 varsity n.大学球队

work my tail off 拼命努力

It was a deflection, but the particular shield he raised was telling. His response seems to suggest a belief that a prestigious education stands as evidence of moral rightness.

deflection n.偏移,转移话题 telling adj.说明问题的

Kavanaugh treated his education as a magic wand, something that could be waved to dispel questions of his conduct. Indeed, Americans have a particular fondness for meritocratic narratives, frequently conflating achievements and hard work with human worth.

dispel v.驱散,消除 meritocratic adj.精英主义的

conflate v.合并,混合

It should go without saying, but there are all sorts of bad actors who have attended prestigious universities. It is a reminder that attending a prestigious school isn’t in and of itself revealing of anyone’s moral character in any direction.

in and of itself 就某件事本质而言