Mike Kueber's Blog

July 17, 2012

Meritocracy and The New York Times

Filed under: Issues,Philosophy,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 4:01 am
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My most fundamental political value is a belief in meritocracy, which I define as a system where individuals get ahead based on ability (merit) instead of connections or inheritance.  Although this seems like an utterly uncontroversial concept, like Mom and apple pie, I should have known that the liberal New York Times would see it as a mixed blessing.  According to an op-ed piece in the Times yesterday, Mitt Romney’s unabashed endorsement of meritocracy raises significant concerns. 

The author of the piece, Thomas Edsall, warns that Romney’s meritocracy may enable people to achieve success and rewards through hard work, education, risk taking, and even a little luck, but it also has unintended consequences – i.e., aggressiveness, ruthlessness, dominance-seeking, victimizing behavior, acquisitiveness and the disciplined pursuit of self-interest.  Edsall believes that over the past two decades, these latter traits have resulted in government policies that favor the wealthy and those with connections, mostly achieved through lobbying.

Most right-thinking people agree that lobbying has improperly influenced and corrupted many a politicians.  But to blame this corruption on meritocratic influences is ludicrous.  Does Edsall think America would have less corruption if it were less meritocratic?  Hardly.  Does Edsall think Americans would have less self-interest or ruthlessness if success depended on inheritance or connections?  That’s so silly that only an intellectual could believe it.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] year, I blogged about a NY Times op-ed piece by Thomas Edsall that expressed concern about the effect of […]

    Pingback by Is the Republican Party becoming more anti-black? « Mike Kueber's Blog — February 8, 2013 @ 7:51 pm | Reply


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