Rational elites . . . know everything there is to know about their self-contained technical or scientific worlds, but lack a broader perspective. They range from Marxist cadres to Jesuits, from Harvard MBAs to army staff officers. . . . They have a common underlying concern: how to get their particular system to function. Meanwhile . . . civilization becomes increasingly directionless and incomprehensible.

— John Ralston Saul, Voltaire’s Bastards