Day By Day

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Shattering the Myth of the Meritocracy -- The Gulf Oil Crisis

Elizabeth Scalia (The Anchoress) notes the sense of heartbreak among liberal commentators discussing the administration's handling of the Gulf oil crisis.

She, following Allahpundit, zeroes in on Chris Matthews' denunciation of the "idiotic cerebral meritocracy" and suggests that more than simply true believers' faith in "The One" is being tested. It is faith in the entire meritocratic process that has displaced people with real, practical knowledge and elevated academically credentialed theorists to positions of power.

Read her comments here.

I hope she's right -- that the myth of "meritocracy" legitimated by academic credentialing institutions is finally being exposed for the farce it has always been. Underlying it is the absurd faith that credentialing and monitoring mechanisms -- academic institutions and professional associations -- comprise a "community of competence" that is capable of producing and guaranteeing excellence. If your sole claim to authority is the presumption of competence, then a blatant and massive display of incompetence such as we are now witnessing is a deadly blow to your status. The institutional failures of the Bush administration were blamed on Bush himself who, Democrats assured us, was not really a product of the meritocracy [despite degrees from both Yale and Harvard]. But now that the Obamination are in charge, they cannot shift blame to anyone else. It is not just Obama or the Democratic Party that are threatened by the ongoing failure -- it is the meritocracy itself.

I say it is about time!

Scalia also makes the pertinent point that people who actually hold practical and useful knowledge and skills are not likely to take direction for academically-trained idiots who presume to tell them how to do their jobs. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Expect a lot of inane articles to appear in future months decrying the rise of "anti-intellectualism" in America.

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