Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Meritocracy Undemocratic

Atlas Shrugged seems to be getting the same reception that the 500th anniversary of Columbus discovering America got back in 1992. Timing is important, and currently egalitarianism dominates individualism in the world of ideas. Over at Bloggingheads, Noah Millman articulates the belief that meritocracy is horrible because it is antidemocratic. Millman seems to think that just because merit can't be measured infallibly it should be ignored. Further, he seems to think society is currently 'run' by an elite chosen by some Star Chamber according to some merit metric; I tend to think many leaders are simply popular people who learn how to navigate reverse dominance hierarchies, and these leaders are pretty widely distributed--politicians at many levels, businessmen who compete against each other.

Aristotle noted in his Politics Book 3 that justice is in one sense simple, equality. What makes justice hard politically is, equality of what? I much prefer an imperfect meritocracy to a society where merit is considered meaningless.

No comments: