Friday, November 11, 2011

Distinctions Which Are Also Differences

One of Vox' more penetrating essays.  He begins by quoting Douthat, who is lamenting [the US] meritocracy:

...In meritocracies, though, it’s the very intelligence of our leaders that creates the worst disasters. Convinced that their own skills are equal to any task or challenge, meritocrats take risks that lower-wattage elites would never even contemplate, embark on more hubristic projects, and become infatuated with statistical models that hold out the promise of a perfectly rational and frictionless world....

OK.  We've seen those who are exceptionally bright think that they can out-think others.  Sometimes they're right. It's not hard to point to examples; they litter the landscape with failed businesses (and business-models), as well as failed social experiments such as Socialism pure.

Vox has another take:

The problem with the mistakes of the meritocratic elite isn't that they are too smart for their own good, it is that they are too smart for everyone else's good. This is why technocratic visions so often go so badly awry, and why the Socratic dream of a government of philosopher-kings has almost invariably proven to be worse than the variously flawed alternatives. The worst aspect of a meritocracy is its lack of respect for tradition.

That's Part One.  Here's Part Two:

A society will benefit most from being ruled by its best, not its brightest.

The two red-highlights are Chestertonian.  Vox draws a distinction which has been elided for years (you're all acquainted with the phrase "Best and brightest", right?)  One ain't necessarily congruent with the other.

It's a two-line reminder of Original Sin and its consequences--which has also been erased by the techno-ruling-class types.

But never forgotten by the Common Man, nor the Church.

No comments: