The War on Stupid People "American society increasingly mistakes intelligence for human worth." (by David H. Freedman)
almost 2 years ago
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"When Michael Young, a British sociologist, coined the term meritocracy in 1958, it was in a dystopian satire. At the time, the world he imagined, in which intelligence fully determined who thrived and who languished, was understood to be predatory, pathological, far-fetched. Today, however, we’ve almost finished installing such a system, and we have embraced the idea of a meritocracy with few reservations, even treating it as virtuous. That can’t be right. Smart people should feel entitled to make the most of their gift. But they should not be permitted to reshape society so as to instate giftedness as a universal yardstick of human worth."
Some people who spout meritocratic rhetoric in regards to higher education clearly want to establish a segregated society of educational tiers, only the elite privilege who are deemed gifted should be allowed to enter higher education, clearly they still think they live in the dark ages! :/
Higher education should of course be allowed to anyone — provided that the person can actually study and demonstrate the knowledge. It's very much like a black karate belt should be allowed to anyone (even a complete gaijin like Chuck Norris), provided that the person in question can provably fight at this level. There's a story from medieval China where state clerks' positions were available to anyone who passes the exams. One man had tried to pass the exams for 20 years, kept studying, and finally did pass. Few people have the mettle to do such things, and having it does not usually depend on the social class. Actually, getting a PhD requires quite a mettle and self-restrain already; being a plumber is often a much better deal financially. OTOH having a higher education has nothing to do with "human worth", which is a moral concept.
From the guy who coined the term (a very good read, imho.): "A social revolution has been accomplished by harnessing schools and universities to the task of sieving people according to education's narrow band of values. With an amazing battery of certificates and degrees at its disposal, education has put its seal of approval on a minority, and its seal of disapproval on the many who fail to shine from the time they are relegated to the bottom streams at the age of seven or before. [...] 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."
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