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  Passage Six (Equality of opportunity in the twentieth Century Has Not Destroyed the Class System)

  These days we hear a lot of nonsense about the ‘great classless society’. The idea that the twentieth century is the age of the common man has become one of the great clichés of our time. The same old arguments are put forward in evidence. Here are some of them: monarchy as a system of government has been completely discredited. The monarchies that survive have been deprived of all political power. Inherited wealth has been savagely reduced by taxation and, in time, the great fortunes will disappear altogether. In a number of countries the victory has been complete. The people rule; the great millennium has become a political reality. But has it? Close examination doesn’t bear out the claim.

  It is a fallacy to suppose that all men are equal and that society will be leveled out if you provide everybody with the same educational opportunities. (It is debatable whether you can ever provide everyone with the same educational opportunities, but that is another question.) The fact is that nature dispenses brains and ability with a total disregard for the principle of equality. The old rules of the jungle, ‘survival of the fittest’, and ‘might is right’ are still with us. The spread of education has destroyed the old class system and created a new one. Rewards are based on merit. For ‘aristocracy’ read ‘meritocracy’; in other respects, society remains unaltered: the class system is rigidly maintained.

  Genuine ability, animal cunning, skill, the knack of seizing opportunities, all bring material rewards. And what is the first thing people do when they become rich? They use their wealth to secure the best possible opportunities for their children, to give them ‘a good start in life’. For all the lip service we pay to the idea of equality, we do not consider this wrong in the western world. Private schools which offer unfair advantages over state schools are not banned because one of the principles in a democracy is that people should be free to choose how they will educate their children. In this way, the new meritocracy can perpetuate itself to a certain extent: an able child from a wealthy home can succeed far more rapidly than his poorer counterpart. Wealth is also used indiscriminately to further political ends. It would be almost impossible to become the leader of a democracy without massive financial backing. Money is as powerful a weapon as ever it was.

  In societies wholly dedicated to the principle of social equality, privileged private education is forbidden. But even here people are rewarded according to their abilities. In fact, so great is the need for skilled workers that the least able may be neglected. Bright children are carefully and expensively trained to become future rulers. In the end, all political ideologies boil down to the same thing: class divisions persist whether you are ruled by a feudal king or an educated peasant.

  1. What is the main idea of this passage?

  [A] Equality of opportunity in the twentieth century has not destroyed the class system.

  [B] Equality means money.

  [C] There is no such society as classless society.

  [D] Nature can’t give you a classless society.

  2. According to the author, the same educational opportunities can’t get rid of inequality because

  [A] the principle ‘survival of the fittest’ exists.

  [B] Nature ignores equality in dispensing brains and ability.

  [C] Material rewards are for genuine ability.

  [D] People have the freedom how to educate their children.

  3. Who can obtain more rapid success

  [A] those with wealth.

  [B] Those with the best brains.

  [C] Those with the best opportunities.

  [D] Those who have the ability to catch at opportunities.

  4. Why does the author say the new meritocracy can perpetuate itself to a certain extent? Because

  [A] money decides everything.

  [B] Private schools offer advantages over state schools.

  [C] People are free to choose the way of educating their children.

  [D] Wealth is used for political ends.

  5. According to the author, ‘class divisions’ refers to

  [A] the rich and the poor.

  [B] Different opportunities for people.

  [C] Oppressor and the oppressed.

  [D] Genius and stupidity.



  1. discredit 损害,破坏,败坏(某人的名声),不可信

  2. monarch 国王,女皇,君主政体

  3. millennium 千年

  the millennium 千僖年

  4. bear out 证实

  5. level out (升跌之后)呈平稳状态

  6. meritocracy 英才管理,英才教育,能人统治

  7. knack 技巧,诀窍

  8. perpetuate 使永久,永存或持续

  9. indiscriminate 不加鉴别的,不加分析的,任意的

  10. boil down 归结为……


  1. Close examination doesn’t bear out the claim.


  2. might is right


  3. For all the lip service we pay to the idea of equality, we do not consider this wrong in the western world.

  【结构简析】lip-service口惠而实不至。EX: He pays lip-service to feminism but his wife still does all the housework.他口口声声说支持女权主义,但全部家务仍是他妻子的事。


  4. In the end, all political ideologies boil down to the same thing: class divisions persist whether you are ruled by a feudal king or an educated person.





  1. A 二十世纪平等的机遇并没有摧毁阶级。文章一开始就对无阶级社会的论点进行了反驳:有人认为君主整体已完全摧毁,幸存下来的王公贵族已经被剥夺了一切政治权力,继承的财产为税收大幅度的削减,到时候,巨大的财富将消失殆尽,在许多国家中,已全面胜利,人民进行统治,伟大的太平盛世已成为政治显示。作者认为:深入检查证实这一断言不实。第二段提出了即使人人都获同样的受教育的机会,可人的天然智慧和能力与平等原则无关,适者生存,强权即公理依然存在。教育的普及摧毁了老的阶级体制,却创造新的,报酬是机遇才干成就。贵族统治就是英才统治,可在其他方面,社会依然,阶级确实存在。后面两段集中论述了金钱的作用。



  2. B 自然界在分赋人智慧和能力是不会顾及平等。


  3. A 有钱的人。第三段一开始就点明:真正的能力、动物般机敏狡猾、技能、善抓机会的诀窍,这一切都带来物质报偿。有了钱的人首要作的事情就是给孩子最佳教育机会,而私人学校教育优于公立学校,人们又有自由选择如何教育自己的孩子。在这个意义上,英才教育在某种程度上是永存的。一个来自富有家庭的有能力的孩子要比其对立面获得成功要快得多得多。


  4. A金钱决定一切。新的英才教育在一定程度上永存。没有钱,上不起私立学校,谈不上机会,更不用说英才教育。有了钱才能为孩子创造机会。


  5. A 富人和穷人。纵然作者提及,同样的教育机会也不可能铲除不平等,因为上天赋予人之智慧是不可能考虑平等原则,可是作者也提到适者生存、强权即公理。贵族政治可读成英才教育。这已说明英才指的是贵族的英才。第四段进一步指出有钱的人首先要做的就是给子女一个良好的教育机会。而私立学校的教育质量优于公立学校。有钱人家的有能力的孩子成功机遇就高。财产还可用于政治目的,要成为民主国家的领袖就得有雄厚的财力支持。钱财和过去一样强有力。即使在以社会平等为原则的社会中,私立学校被禁,酬劳还是以人的能力为准,大量需要有技能的工作人员,而差劲的人没有人关注。天才的孩子予以仔细而又及其昂贵的培养以成为未来的统治者。

  总之,政治意识归结为同一个东西――阶级划分存在,不论你是为封建帝王统治,还是为受过教育的农民统治,从这里看,作者的class division指的是A项。


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