Philip Weiss makes a shrewd (and I think correct) point about Jews marrying non-Jews:
A lot of meritocratic Jews like me were hoist on the petard of superiority. If you bought into the ideology of intellectual excellence–the ideology of the meritocracy, which we Jews helped to build so we could get into the good schools (and which the WASPs then helped us to festoon with prestige, to disguise the fact that none of us would have to actually serve in Iraq)–then you would inevitably look around for smart people to socialize with, and most of them turned out to be gentiles. See, it’s my family’s fault [that I married a non-Jew].
Weiss went to Harvard. “Ideology of the meritocracy” is a good phrase. Richard Herrnstein, the late Harvard professor of psychology and Bell Curve co-author, was indeed meritocratic — in a narrow way. (Which is the trouble with ideologies.) When I was a graduate student, he gave a talk at my school (Brown) and several graduate students, including me, had lunch with him. He was on the Harvard admissions board. During lunch, he said that some kid was the perfect candidate: “800’s on his SATs, plays football, plays the flute.” He was serious. Surely the best candidates should be less easily described, I thought.