Archive for October 19, 2010

Merit Vs Meritocracy

October 19, 2010 6 comments

I believe that, like many other good-sounding ideas, meritocracies do not work well in real life. The reader might ask-

Why not? Aren’t meritocratic societies affluent/ stable/ progressive etc.

My answer is-

A society that promotes people based on demonstrated merit and competence is not a meritocracy. Meritocracies almost always preselect their “elites” through processes and rituals that have little or no linkage with reality.

How many of you will ever work on projects without using printed reference material or notes? But aren’t exams in schools and universities based on memorization or solving standard problems within artificial constraints? What about cooperating with others to solve problems? While it is not allowed in exams, it is absolutely necessary in real life.

Does regurgitating the brain farts of ‘famous’ and long-dead Chinese, Indian or White men make you smarter or a better problem solver? But aren’t many areas of human activity, such as economics, based on repeating and explaining the rantings of morons who lived in a world unlike ours?

Entrance exams to ‘professional’ scams such as medicine, law etc are supposed to select for clever people. But then why are ‘iatrogenic events’ the 3rd-4th largest cause of death? Aren’t they competent? Why are physicians so dependent on information from cheerleaders turned sales reps and ‘senior’ doctors? Can they not think for themselves?

What about lawyers? Aren’t most of them just sloppy sociopaths who, in a simpler time, would have been killed in hunting accidents? Where is the competence, ability or social utility?

To conclude this post- Any supposed surrogate marker for ability and competence is really, at best, a vague indicator of potential. Societies and civilizations start stagnating when they start using such proxies of ability or competence, over actually giving people adequate chances to prove themselves.


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October 19, 2010 Leave a comment
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Christine O’Donnell: Separation of Church and State

October 19, 2010 5 comments

Wow.. like WOW.

Here is the 1st Amendment.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Republican Christine O’Donnell challenged her Democratic rival Tuesday to show where the Constitution requires separation of church and state, drawing swift criticism from her opponent, laughter from her law school audience and a quick defense from prominent conservatives.

“Where in the Constitution is separation of church and state?” O’Donnell asked while Democrat Chris Coons, an attorney, sat a few feet away.

Coons responded that O’Donnell’s question “reveals her fundamental misunderstanding of what our Constitution is. … The First Amendment establishes a separation.”

She interrupted to say, “The First Amendment does? … So you’re telling me that the separation of church and state, the phrase ‘separation of church and state,’ is in the First Amendment?”

Her campaign issued a statement later saying O’Donnell “was not questioning the concept of separation of church and state as subsequently established by the courts. She simply made the point that the phrase appears nowhere in the Constitution.”