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Meritocracy is Elitism

Meritocracy is Elitism

July 19th, 2011 // 6:01 am @

Modernism dislikes all types of elitism– except for meritocracy.

When elite status is merited, according to this view, it is a good thing.

In such a society, our elites are:

“…made up for the most part of bureaucrats, scientists, technicians, trade-union organizers, publicity experts, sociologists, teachers, journalists, and professional politicians. These people, whose origins lay in the salaried middle class and the upper grades of the working class, had been shaped and brought together by the barren world of monopoly industry and centralized government.”

Cool quote, right?

This was written by George Orwell in his description of Big Brother’s society in Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Some may think that a meritocracy is the same as Thomas Jefferson’s “natural aristocracy,” but in fact the roots of the two are quite different.

In a meritocracy some rise to elite status through their individual merit, which is determined by the institutions of society.

In short, the current elites get to choose their successors—those of merit determine which people in the rising generation are to be people of “merit.”

In contrast, Jefferson’s natural aristocracy rose because of their “virtue, wisdom and service” to humanity.

And the current societal servants don’t choose tomorrow’s natural servants—they arise naturally according to their service.

Meritocracy offers special perks and benefits for those who are accepted by the current generation of elites.

A natural aristocracy looks around, sees needs and gets to work meeting these needs.

Meritocracy is the best way to choose elites (far better than basing it on land ownership or heredity, for example), but elitist society of any kind is far from the best choice.

Leaders arising naturally through genuine merit is a different thing than meritocracy.

Government by the people is a real concept, not just an idealistic dream.

It gave us the most free and prosperous nation and society in history, and it can do so again.

To repeat: merit, not meritocracy.


odemille 133x195 custom Egypt, Freedom, & the Cycles of HistoryOliver DeMille is a co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the co-author of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller LeaderShift, and author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

Category : Aristocracy &Blog &Citizenship &Culture &Education &Featured &Leadership &Postmodernism

One Comment → “Meritocracy is Elitism”

  1. Keith

    12 years ago

    Meritocracy produces darkness of the worst order because visionary minds are suppressed by the collective. I have been watching a thinker take on the world of physics and challenge their unchecked assumptions about space and time and they turn around and say back, you do not know your math. He then turns back and says “You have no epistemology.” They refuse to challenge his model of light and they refuse to accept his argument that the magnetic field has structure and substance to it. Instead, they choose to give structure to space and time, two things that by every definition have no structure and no substance to them. This is done to eliminate and box in the bug-eyed universe that truly scares them, and to give them power of it. Essentially, a Meritocracy must destroy the inspirations from God, all things infinite, and most aggressively the maverick individual. It is pervasive in religion, multi-national corporations, government, but mostly in academia. After more than 100 years, we are facing a huge paradigm shift, and I would say a long battle ahead. All the more reason for advanced course work and mentoring in leadership that gets its own vanity out of the way.

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