It is hard indeed in a society that makes so much of merit to be judged as having none. No underclass has ever been left as morally naked as that.
They have been deprived by educational selection of many of those who would have been their natural leaders, the able spokesmen and spokeswomen from the working class who continued to identify with the class from which they came.
Their leaders were a standing opposition to the rich and the powerful in the never-ending competition in parliament and industry between the haves and the have-nots.
With the coming of the meritocracy, the now leaderless masses were partially disfranchised; as time has gone by, more and more of them have been disengaged, and disaffected to the extent of not even bothering to vote. They no longer have their own people to represent them.
- Michael Young, Comment: Down with meritocracy | Politics | The Guardian
Young was the coiner of the term “Meritocracy.” He did so in a dystopian novel that was meant as a warning for such a system.
Ancient Greece didn’t invent meritocracy, but they invented democracy. In their version, what isn’t so well known, magistrates were selected via sortition, the random drawing of lots. Over time, this ensured that the composition of that layer of government accurately represented the citizens it served.
I wonder what would happen if that happened in the United States? I’d love to see a simulation of a sortition-generated Senate. Even if it was only the population that’s on FB, it would just be fascinating to see who we would get if we trusted dice instead of election machinery.
It wouldn’t be pretty, but it would help put away the myth of meritocracy. I think about 99% of Americans would be happy to see it go.