At one time people thought it common sense to distinguish between a Connecticut Yankee and a Southern black and expect very different things from them. Today that kind of distinction is thought outrageous, but people still differentiate a Harvard graduate from a high school graduate who just got out of the Marines. The change is due to changes in social organization and corresponding ideals rather than an advance in morality.
More specifically, the change reflects mass culture, bureaucratized social life, and a centralized system of formal education that has custody of young people throughout their formative years. It reflects, in other words, arrangements whereby young people are educated by a basically industrial process for a life of participation in that process. Such a setting leads people to view only technology as rational and legitimate, and they judge each other accordingly. In a more traditional setting particular local cultural influences and family backgrounds strongly affected by diverging habits and religious principles determine upbringing. Adult life is spent in a network of mostly informal relationships determined by elective affinities. Under such circumstances history, culture and personal connections are accepted as basic to what people are, and the current animus against “discrimination” makes no sense.