I don't know why I didn't see this before -- but probably it's because The New Republic is something I laugh at. The general premise is good, though it's something I have long believed to be obvious, while constantly scratching my head and furrowing my brow when I discover it's obvious pretty much only to me. And, now, I can assume this Deresciewicz character maybe even believes that he sees it too -- and sees it honestly, rather than as something he can sell as a marketable contrarian stance.
The land of the Ancient Papyrus is gill-stuffed with summa-summa-summa-cum-laude CVs/resumes indicating All-American status in a sport and managing a multi-million dollar business operation of some nebulous type since age 12. If you judged them by these stupid pieces of e-paper called CV or resume, you'd think them to a person qualified to be Emperor of the Galaxy. If not God.
Meanwhile these people showed, also to a person, a general disinclination to demonstrate intellectual creativity. If the solution you need happens to be residing within their prodigious warehouse of memorized info-bits and concepts, they will snap to a solution of sorts. The solution might be one you couldn't think of yourself because, unfortunately, you were born with only average intellectual talents. You can't memorize as many things as the Future Emperor of the Galaxy, and you never put as much work into learning.
It's common in my experience to find one of these FEG types can't do much mendelian breeding of the various tidbits and concepts they hold in their prodigious warehouse of eidetically impressive brain tissue. So if your answer requires much open-concept thinking and cross-wiring of traditionally boxed-and-separated "fields" (as academia breaks them down), you generally won't get that answer from FEG.
Though, ironically, the audience would believe that FEG can't possibly be so deficient.
Look at that CV!
The Type A+++ that is the FEG, s/he is just the adult world's version of what, starting in about 5th grade, I saw childhood peers demonstrating as a collection of humanoids gathered for a social purpose. Tribalism and insecurity, and the general desire to be led, rather than thinking you might be able to lead yourself. People want a well-credentialed leader, and in 5th grade lingo, someone who's "popular" because of symbols and tokens and gestures presented to their fawning subjects. Prom Queen, HS QB, President of Student Council, First Chair Violin in school orchestra.
Pretending to be able to lead yourself often results in a pose at contrarianism. The pose ruse is revealed by having a soft contrarianism, nerf criticism might be a good name for it. Criticism is monetized differently now in the era of the monetized concept. The concept doesn't have to be reduced to implementation in 2015, it's marketable and monetizable if it can generate clicks or divert attention.
If that Deresciewicz guy can bring a little more heat with a bit more precision, I might believe he believes what he says.