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Meriticrazy ;-)

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its been apriori for me with doubts and now slowly aposteriori too . will try to collect similar articles

July 19, 2010, 9:36 AM[h=1]The Trouble With Meritocracy[/h]For anyone with an appropriate skepticism toward meritocracy and its works, there’s an obvious critique of my suggestion, in today’s column, that America might be better off if our top-flight colleges welcomed more students from demographics — the white working class, rural America, evangelical Christians, etc. — that are currently viewed with suspicion and hostility by the highly-educated elite. Part of the problem with meritocracy is that it homogenizes in the name of diversity: It skims the cream from every race and class and population, puts all of the best and brightest through the same educational conveyor belt, and comes out with a ruling class that’s cosmetically diverse but intellectually conformist, and that tends to huddle together rather than spreading out to enrich the country as a whole. This is Christopher Lasch’s lament in “The Revolt of the Elites” — that meritocracy co-opts people who might otherwise become its critics, sapping local communities of their intellectual vitality and preventing any kind of rival power centers from emerging. And it’s something that Angelo Codevilla gets right (while getting a number of other things wrong) in his recent blast against the American elite:
Never has there been so little diversity within America’s upper crust. Always, in America as elsewhere, some people have been wealthier and more powerful than others. But until our own time America’s upper crust was a mixture of people who had gained prominence in a variety of ways, who drew their money and status from different sources and were not predictably of one mind on any given matter. The Boston Brahmins, the New York financiers, the land barons of California, Texas, and Florida, the industrialists of Pittsburgh, the Southern aristocracy, and the hardscrabble politicians who made it big in Chicago or Memphis had little contact with one another … Nor had the schools and universities that formed yesterday’s upper crust imposed a single orthodoxy about the origins of man, about American history, and about how America should be governed. All that has changed … Today’s ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits.
With this in mind, one could easily argue that it would be terrible for America if the meritocratic elite admitted more members of what Codevilla calls the “country party” to its ranks, because that would represent the final victory of centralization and homogenization over local allegiances and competing power centers. Once inside the machinery of meritocracy, aspiring farmers would become bureaucrats, R.O.T.C. cadets would enter investment banks, and evangelicals and Mormons would join the ranks of purely secular do-gooders. Better for such young people, and for the country, if they’re educated locally and stay local, rather than ascending and leaving their communities behind.
My only rebuttal to this argument would be the somewhat pessimistic point that centralization is very difficult to roll back, that some sort of broad national elite is probably here to stay, and that given those premises it may make more sense to create more room for real diversity within that elite — by holding meritocracy to its professed ideals — than to hope vainly for a localist revolution that undercuts the ruling class’s political and cultural authority. But good intentions often go awry, and I concede the possibility that this prescription could only end up making America’s current divisions even worse.

Surprised to see no defenders for meritocracy :)...

Shri Carvaka,

For the orthodox brahmin "meritocracy" goes like this, imo.

Brahmins are the genuinely meritorious people. Meritocracy, therefore, means (or ought to mean) that brahmins are recognised as the merited ones and given due recognition and respect. Any system, by whatever name called, which does not conform to the above noble ideal is not meritocracy.
Carvaka, this can be a hot topic, but the problem is your OP is hard to read and many won't click on an external link you have provided in the second post.

Please present your case succinctly, provide links to bolster your case, and invite comments.

Webster defines merit as, "character or conduct deserving reward, honor, or esteem".

Doctionary.com says it is, "The quality of being particularly good or worthy, esp. so as to deserve praise or reward"

From these definitions one can see that merit is quite subjective. I would say the conduct and character of EVR is meritorious beyond exemplary, but Brahmins find him utterly disgusting. So, an attempt to develop a single numerical scale to measure merit is foolhardy. Yet, that is what people the world over do in one way or another because it is easy.

A corollary, in the Indian context, to this objectifying of merit is to buy into this silliness and lament merit is being sacrificed by the reservation system. Such mindset, while being silly on the one hand, on the other it reinforces the victim psychology even among the most successful of TBs.


At this point of time, I do not have the temperament to organize my thoughts...but I will just try to provide some canon fodder...

when the world of meritocracy decides a person's suitability by measuring skill-sets that can be expressed by a certain form and their temerity to pronounce that they are able to measure and certify when it is not established clearly beyond doubt, that even if accepting that the person has mastery over the skill-sets, that a limited perceptible skill-sets might not really make him suitable...

for egs anticipating a person good in Math to be good engineer, where math alone would not sufficiently provide the engineer what the social needs are...can I say a person who has an eye for grasping social needs would become a better engineer or doctor...

i just feel its very unfair for anybody to flash the word "merit"...why are these meritorious people not able to look beyond careers that would not give them a social status...after all merit also includes the ability to reason...i feel it might not be fully right for people to assume that you understand everything from a book, its under-estimating the intelligence of the universe/multiverse....and there are things we as humans can and would understand only by the passage of time...

and people around are throwing the word "merit" , in my opinion, for their own agenda...

Dhrona amputating Eklavaya citing that he doesnt have the merit to practice is the pov im against and I see that to be more prevalent now...Merit has become a tactic to subvert opportunities that are tried to be provided in a fair and just way...

Sorry I havent been able to organize my thoughts and it might be a little annoying to read through the post...
Dhrona amputating Eklavaya citing that he doesnt have the merit to practice is the pov im against and I see that to be more prevalent now...Merit has become a tactic to subvert opportunities that are tried to be provided in a fair and just way...

Shri Carvaka,

I get more than one impression on reading your post. But the main difficulty is in regard to the above para.

As you know Drona did not himself cut Ekalavya's finger but wanted it as "gurudakshina" because Ekalavya had placed Drona as his maanaseeka guru. Also it was not merit in the sense of aptitude, suitability, skill, etc., which were held up by Drona against Ekalavya but his caste and hence his ineligibility for training in archery and other martial arts.

But I think there were many instances of nishadas and other hunting tribes well acquainted with archery, hunting, etc., in our scriptures. So, was Drona's exacting the thumb of Ekalavya a fee for just using him as mentor mentally?

Finally, who is Drona and who is Ekalavya in your analogy? Individuals or groups?
Dear Sangom,

i am not alluding to anybody with the characters, i was merely pointing to the presumptions about origins as one of the attributes of merit and qualifying certain social groups would not be able to produce people of calibre... i am certain that Drona would have found a test to fail Eklavya ;-)...
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