One of the best pieces on what was on display at the Alito hearings is Michael Barone’s piece on the Beautiful People vs. the Dutiful People. Barone quotes Alito’s comparison of Hamilton Township, where he grew up, to Princeton, where he went to college:
“To some of the senators, this must have seemed a jarring note. For them, universities like Princeton are places where young people are trained to renounce the racism, sexism and all the other evil -isms that are thought to be endemic in places like Hamilton Township. But Alito, a man of the highest intellectual ability and deep learning, sees the contrast another way. Witnessing radicals shut down a college and bomb university buildings, he saw the left-liberalism of the campus as an attack on one of civilization’s highest institutions. And he did not think that campus radicals had higher moral standing than the middle-class people among whom he had grown up.
“The late 1960s and early 1970s were a time of cultural conflict, a battle between what I have called the beautiful people and the dutiful people. While Manhattan glitterati thronged Leonard Bernstein’s apartment to celebrate the murderous Black Panthers, ordinary people in the outer boroughs and the far-flung suburbs of New Jersey like Hamilton Township were going to work, raising their families, and teaching their children to obey lawful authority and work their way up in the world.”