I’ve had mixed feelings about the meritocracy lately. At the beginning of my college experience, I was squarely against it. The processes we use to develop and screen our future leaders produces morally stunted individuals who are incapable of fulfilling lives, the argument goes.
But, I can’t help noticing where these indictments of the meritocracy are coming from. They are all the “winners,” so to speak, of the competitions they decry. Ivy League professors, columnists at prestigious publications, lawyers turned-billionaires, the list goes on. What’s more, I actually like and personally admire these people. Not because of the fact they make these critiques, but because they seem to understand and value the types of things that make a human life go right.
These two facts conflict. I have immense respect for these people, so I’d like to heed their advice and reduce my participation in the system they call the meritocracy to the fullest extent. On the other hand, I cannot ignore that they are the product of it. What if the misery and aimlessness they describe going through is something of a prerequisite for the enlightened perspective they have now? Speaking pragmatically, they are only in their positions now because of the credentials they accumulated during their youth. Why should I not do the same?