It might be useful to go on the record as opposing meritocracy in a general context. It is one of those concepts that lazy brains use to fill in the gaps in their plans, sort of like democracy and equality.
This method of “using mortar as bricks” proves fruitful like a Silicon Valley IPO because the user can claim future rewards based on vague theory, and then take in money to make it happen (or simply to escape to Switzerland).
As always, we see that whatever is popular is a lie. Even on the underground Right, where people should in theory “know better,” the Crowd races toward the simplistic but strong opinions that are lies, and avoids nuance, depth, quality, breadth, and consequence over time.
Meritocracy comes to us from monkeytime, which is what happens when clever Simians decide to capitalize on the triarchy of social manipulation:
In this, we see the power of the herd for individual manipulation. The deceptive individual — often merely defensively, when the herd has already gone insane — uses things that cannot be criticized (tolerance, kindness, love, peace, God) as a cover for his manipulations, which consist of making a false value out of something unachievable so that he can control, manipulate, dominate, or simply steal things of actual value.
Out in the forests of Africa and Central America, we can see monkeytime every day. One monkey discovers a tranche (this word is the 2021 equivalent of orthogonal back in the 1990s) of desirable fruit; another monkey sees this, and after a moment’s thought, starts giving off the “predator near” cry. All the monkeys race into defensive position and find out, too late, that one did not: the one who gave the cry of alarm. Instead, he has been steadily stealing the fruit away to his secret hideaway while the other monkeys were panicked. His only fear is that some Alpha might come along and, because Alphas hate unfairness because they realize that persistent tolerance of unfairness produces negative goodwill in the tribe, pound him flat and use him as a Fleshlight as a warning to the others.
Meritocracy similarly is monkeytime but in a symbolic version, since humans added symbolic (but not abstract) thought to their palette. When humans fear something, they create a talisman by banishing it from what they control, and assume that this drives away the demon in the larger world. It is both religious and solipsistic, and reflects the type of thinking of the people who did not invent fire, instead waiting for the Gods, government, or good luck to provide for them.
The meritocracy talisman consists of a filter to remove anyone with unacceptable opinions and insufficient obedience or conformity. When the meritocracy starts, this will be a character test to filter out narcissists, sociopaths, pederasts, gamblers, and addicts. No one will oppose this, because it is common sense, but that makes it a valuable property, since it has now become one of those social goods that no one dare oppose, like civil rights and anti-poverty or even simply love, kindness, and art in dying civilizations. That makes it a valuable property because anyone who can control it can adopt it like an aegis, or the ring of the Lydian Gyges, and use it to conceal their bad deeds.
This means that the meritocracy itself becomes a target, the desirable fruit, for every monkey in the troupe. With this he can control everyone else, so he wants to control it, and only thinks about how he would make it work after he takes it (this is essential toward understanding the pathology of people like Lindsey Graham, Hillary Clinton, Mitch McConnell, Barack Obama, Joseph Stalin, and Joe Biden). Even if the monkey initially intends well — one of those “true believers” who build up ideologies only to be later betrayed — the system will eventually pass into the hands of others.
Meritocracies create a fundamental problem because they simplify life. Instead of “find a way to do this task,” the meritocracy rewards those who follow the steps designated for doing the task by the meritocracy. This means that instead of having to cognitively figure out the situation by thinking forward (data in search of a thesis) the applicant simply conforms to and obeys the procedure and its accompanying data (thesis in search of data, a.k.a. cherry-picking).
Look at how quickly meritocracy corrupted science. The ideal of science is data in search of a thesis, i.e. you accumulate everything you can find on a topic and then look for patterns. However, to have a science career, you must take the inverted or backward cognitive approach, and come up with a thesis that the meritocracy likes, then find data that supports it and ignore all the other data. Academic papers all fit into this format because they are arguments, but for what? For the career of the scientist: it matters more to stand out with a unique and new argument, but to affirm the orthodoxy, so that those above you will nod approvingly and rubber-stamp your career on to the next level.
In theory, you can “work within the system” by spending the younger years of your life submitting lies for approval, and then, when you finally have your own laboratory or business, saying what you really want. However, cancel culture or the analogue thereof will show up and do what the Church did to Galileo, namely drag you through the mud for offering a competing view of the universe, even if you did not directly attack them. Like any game, meritocracies produce winners and the winners then become tyrants, or those who strive for the perpetuation of their own power only, as William S. Burroughs records in “The Limits of Control”:
Consider a control situation: ten people in a lifeboat. two armed self-appointed leaders force the other eight to do the rowing while they dispose of the food and water, keeping most of it for themselves an doling out only enough to keep the other eight rowing. The two leaders now need to exercise control to maintain an advantageous position which they could not hold without it. Here the method of control is force – the possession of guns. Decontrol would be accomplished by overpowering the leaders and taking their guns. This effected, it would be advantageous to kill them at once. So once embarked on a policy of control, the leaders must continue the policy as a matter of self-preservation. Who, then, needs to control others but those who protect by such control a position of relative advantage? Why do they need to exercise control? Because they would soon lose this position and advantage and in many cases their lives as well, if they relinquished control.
This is the flip-side of the power pathology of those like Barack Obama: they want power, have no idea what they will do once they have it, and then when they achieve it, they must defend it at all costs, which means that as the cliché goes, “the first casualty is truth.”
Imagine a monkey who gains control of the newsletter that tells other monkeys on which branches to find the good fruit. The first thing he does is destroy anyone who competes with him, meaning any other newsletters or fruit announcements. The next thing he does is start handing out titles, a false hierarchy if you will, so that he can award those who find the best fruit. This means that any monkey who finds fruit will come to the newsletter monkey and tell him in hopes of the power reward of a title, and this allows the newsletter monkey to take the best fruit for himself and punish anyone who refuses to be part of his little scam.
In the same way, humans can either use language descriptively (some might say this is the nihilistic approach) or categorically. When you use language descriptively, you are mentioning traits, and these have no particular implication; when you use language categorically, you are identifying an object as a member of a class and from that, assuming its capabilities and tendencies.
For example, we might say that a man is a husband. This either means that it is one of his attributes, or that it explains his motivation, since his category explains his self-interest. In a meritocratic system, everyone is working toward succeeding within the system, therefore their category defines their self-interest. If he is a husband, he wants to make his wife happy; if he is a scientist, he wants to write papers that get published and receive applause from the orthodoxy.
This shows us the ugly truth behind humans assuming power over nature. In nature, our morality is ends-over-means: achieve the result by any means necessary. In a human system like a meritocracy, we become means-over-ends: follow the “correct” procedure and the system will reward you, instead of you having to achieve success in actual reality and nature in order to get ahead. Meritocracies create command structures which reward those who do what has been done before, and oppose those who want to get directly to results by interacting with reality.
Current “conservatives” have fallen back on the pro-meritocracy argument as a way to try to limit the rampaging destruction of the West by individualism/egalitarianism. They think that, instead of the idea of reward-before-performance based on category which is the hallmark of the Left, namely that if someone is human they deserve equal rights and privileges, they can throw in a filter that says that only the deserving get rewarded. That may seem like the case, but it actually means that only those deemed deserving by the system get rewarded, and that means that only those who follow the procedure accepted by the system get acknowledged.
Although conservatism is accused of trying to force the past onto the future, meritocracy does this like all human systems because the people involved have reputations and those act as properties. They defend these by only promoting those who agree with their positions, therefore strengthening their reputations, which creates a bias toward opinions in the past. Meritocracies only adopt changed ideas — not “new,” per se, but even alterations to existing ones — when a generation dies and a new group comes in which will defend the changed ideas because they have staked their reputation upon them.
For this reason, meritocracy always betrays conservatives. It refuses to adapt, since those involved view themselves as fighting for their careers, and selects that which is popular over that which is true. The only antidote is the system of nature, “winner takes all,” where when someone comes up with a better answer than what previously existed, we incorporate that organically and reward anyone who finds a better answer but not those who merely rehash the previous one.
“Winner takes all” operates outside the social system, and for that reason is not prone to mindless egalitarianism and the resulting categorical thinking and conformist means-over-ends morality. Meritocracy is specifically designed to replace it so that it can be controlled so that individual monkeys need not fear being replaced by those more competent than them, and is by definition destructive.
Tags: control, egalitarianism, meritocracy, power