Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > Themes in History > Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology Forum - Perennial Ideas and Debates that cross societal/time boundaries


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old February 5th, 2017, 02:42 AM   #1

dreuxeng's Avatar
Scholar
 
Joined: Sep 2015
From: England
Posts: 802
Democracy and Meritocracy


quotes are from H L Mencken wikipage:

'As an admirer of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, he was a detractor of religion, populism and representative democracy, which he believed was a system in which inferior men dominated their superiors. Mencken was a supporter of scientific progress, skeptical of economic theories and critical of osteopathic and chiropractic medicine.'

'He believed that every community produced a few people of clear superiority. He considered groupings on a par with hierarchies, which led to a kind of natural elitism and natural aristocracy. "Superior" individuals, in Mencken's view, were those wrongly oppressed and disdained by their own communities, but nevertheless distinguished by their will and personal achievement—not by race or birth.'

Apart from other things associated with this guy, his views on democracy, elites and meritocracy, appear pertinent or strangely relevant. Are they (his views) an insignificant undercurrent in western society?
dreuxeng is offline  
Remove Ads
Old February 5th, 2017, 07:08 AM   #2

Lucius's Avatar
the governed self
 
Joined: Jan 2007
From: Nebraska
Posts: 15,168

For Mencken, see also - Modernist Journals Project

The "rap" on him is that he was too slow to see what Nazism really was.
Lucius is online now  
Old February 5th, 2017, 07:23 AM   #3
Lecturer
 
Joined: Dec 2011
From: Midwest USA
Posts: 420

Are you speaking of Nietzches views or Menckens views? I am not clear on which person the OP/s question refers to.

If Menckens views, they are derivative and self assertedly derivative, unoriginal in other words, and as such is the admitted function of the public relations or propagandist person.

If Nietzches views, then mental illness is not a sign of a person that deserves to rise in a meritocracy.

Just taking meritocracy on its own, it is a word that everyone can get behind since most people tend to think of themselves as either meriting the positions they have or those that do not have those positions having the idea that they would merit the higher more lucrative positions if meritocracy was a reality.

Sort of like the Greek who won his election by promising to do what is just, such vagueness allows all sorts of people to support the idea, for after all who can be against justice or meritocracy?

So much is left to the vagueries, does ambition count as a merit to honors, if so George Washington and General Grant would never have risen to prominence.

Should interpersonal connections count towards meritocracy? How about Genetics or Nepotism? There are lots of ways people can look at these questions, and sometimes there is a bit of validity in even seemingly opposite ways of counting merits and demerits.

Personally I am uncomfortable with claiming that this or that would show the most merit, since there are numerous virtues that should be looked at in an egalitarian manner, the virtue of patriotism is fine, the virtue of being well versed in knowledge is fine, but those virtues should not completely overshadow the virtues of showing kindness to strangers in your land, or the good of being able to forge lasting relationships with others.

It may be that at one time what is called for in a leader is brashness and chutzpah, at other times those qualities could be detriments to a leadership that serves the people, so I would question the idea of this list is good for all peoples and all times.

A great leader of a football team may be a poor leader of a baseball squad, a General of the Army might make a poor Editor of a newspaper. A top scientist might make a terrible philanthropist and vice versa.
Carl Noreen is offline  
Old February 5th, 2017, 08:54 AM   #4

AlpinLuke's Avatar
Knight-errant
 
Joined: Oct 2011
From: Lago Maggiore, Italy
Posts: 17,820
Blog Entries: 19

The main problem about meritocracy is how you evaluate this "merit".

Who and on which base will make the selection of the persons who will govern and lead the country?

Furthermore ... how will the society appoint these persons who will have to select the persons who will govern and lead the country?

Meritocracy can suffer of the demerit not to be objective ... [and this is quite absurd!].
AlpinLuke is offline  
Old February 5th, 2017, 09:33 AM   #5

dreuxeng's Avatar
Scholar
 
Joined: Sep 2015
From: England
Posts: 802

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Noreen View Post
Are you speaking of Nietzches views or Menckens views? I am not clear on which person the OP/s question refers to.

A great leader of a football team may be a poor leader of a baseball squad, a General of the Army might make a poor Editor of a newspaper. A top scientist might make a terrible philanthropist and vice versa.
Menckens re-his wikipage. But more so the essence of the two quotes in the OP, and their relevance to our own particular (peculiar?) time.

In your last paragraph: some exceptional people appear to allow themselves a shot, at some point, of one of the ancient and eternal aphrodisiacs, the elixir of hubris, that allows them to reckon a certain pre-eminence at gosh, just about anything, pretty much ??!
dreuxeng is offline  
Old February 5th, 2017, 09:51 AM   #6
Historian
 
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 8,545

Quote:
Originally Posted by dreuxeng View Post
quotes are from H L Mencken wikipage:

'As an admirer of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, he was a detractor of religion, populism and representative democracy, which he believed was a system in which inferior men dominated their superiors. Mencken was a supporter of scientific progress, skeptical of economic theories and critical of osteopathic and chiropractic medicine.'

'He believed that every community produced a few people of clear superiority. He considered groupings on a par with hierarchies, which led to a kind of natural elitism and natural aristocracy. "Superior" individuals, in Mencken's view, were those wrongly oppressed and disdained by their own communities, but nevertheless distinguished by their will and personal achievementónot by race or birth.'

Apart from other things associated with this guy, his views on democracy, elites and meritocracy, appear pertinent or strangely relevant. Are they (his views) an insignificant undercurrent in western society?
I don't think Nietzsche's and Mencken's philosophies are so much an attempt to create an ideology or school of thought, as they are an attempt to defend the natural state of humanity against ideology. We as a species have an inherent, biological desire to compete in the Darwinian contest, to see the fit prosper and the weak die off. Our very existence is predicated on this process having played out over the course of a billion years.

But in the west we have, for a few centuries, chafed against a very unnatural (and, I would argue, fundamentally immoral) ideology, namely egalitarianism. An ideology that insists on a bizarre fiction that humans are (or at least should be) equal by virtue of holding a few genetic markers in common; a simple glance at the species proves this to be absurd, but the lie continues to be propagated by a remarkable act of voluntary collective delusion. It was this pervasive ideology that they were fighting against.

But until well into the 20th century it was only those of us in the west who suffered under this oppressive ideology, so it's not surprising that most the formal philosophical attempts to deal with this unnatural state come from the west (as does its genesis and the philosophical attempts to justify it). But the rejection of egalitarianism is hardly exclusive to the west, in fact it's probably weakest in the west. The Islamic civilization has decisively rejected egalitarianism, and Chinese civilization isn't far behind; Japanese civilization had it imposed upon their laws as punishment for losing the last war, but has never really accepted it on a social level; Indian civilization, despite centuries of British rule, still strongly reacts against it (again, on a social level); and in the tribal and agrarian societies of Africa, egalitarianism is virtually nowhere to be found. Even in the English-speaking civilization, it has never been taken to the extreme European civilization has taken it, certainly economic egalitarianism has never gained traction and egalitarianism in general has largely been been marginalized by a far stronger emphasis on individualism and property rights.

This resistance to ideology seems to take a different form in every society, only in the west is it predicated on scientific thought (though is also argued against from the traditional perspective of Christianity, such as through the Divine Right of Kings, and through the construction of competing ideologies like capitalism and nationalism...we tend to be very ideological, often at the expense of reason, in the west). In Islamic society the response is almost entirely religions, in China it's based upon Confucianist principles, in Japan it's based on culture and custom.

Interestingly, those societies, even in the west, who have taken this ideology to its logical conclusion and embraced communism, seem to have reversed course on the matter and have sought to replace egalitarianism with other, more productive ideologies.
constantine is offline  
Old February 5th, 2017, 10:14 AM   #7

dreuxeng's Avatar
Scholar
 
Joined: Sep 2015
From: England
Posts: 802

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucius View Post
For Mencken, see also - Modernist Journals Project

The "rap" on him is that he was too slow to see what Nazism really was.
Strange how some people appear to miss where extremism is to be found in their own time.
dreuxeng is offline  
Old February 5th, 2017, 10:35 AM   #8

dreuxeng's Avatar
Scholar
 
Joined: Sep 2015
From: England
Posts: 802

Quote:
Originally Posted by constantine View Post
...We as a species have an inherent, biological desire to compete in the Darwinian contest, to see the fit prosper and the weak die off. Our very existence is predicated on this process having played out over the course of a billion years.
I profoundly do not agree. It is culture and civilisation in a state of advance that can evolve or improve on certain elements of human nature, through knowledge and the realisation of knowledge. Prejudice and discrimination is one major example. Prejudice is ignorance; and therefore to discriminate against someone via (a dehumanising) categorisation is foolish and ignorant. That sort of thing. People with different sorts of disability for example have a disability, which technically no one can respect, by definition, but they are persons, not disabilities. Disrespect the disability, but like the person (ones fellow human beings). Thus our reaction and how we feel about people with disabilities can change, and change for life. Being prejudiced or discriminating (or vice versa) against anyone, is consequently one and the same.
dreuxeng is offline  
Old February 5th, 2017, 10:43 AM   #9

AlpinLuke's Avatar
Knight-errant
 
Joined: Oct 2011
From: Lago Maggiore, Italy
Posts: 17,820
Blog Entries: 19

Quote:
Originally Posted by dreuxeng View Post
quotes are from H L Mencken wikipage:

'As an admirer of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, he was a detractor of religion, populism and representative democracy, which he believed was a system in which inferior men dominated their superiors. Mencken was a supporter of scientific progress, skeptical of economic theories and critical of osteopathic and chiropractic medicine.'

'He believed that every community produced a few people of clear superiority. He considered groupings on a par with hierarchies, which led to a kind of natural elitism and natural aristocracy. "Superior" individuals, in Mencken's view, were those wrongly oppressed and disdained by their own communities, but nevertheless distinguished by their will and personal achievementónot by race or birth.'

Apart from other things associated with this guy, his views on democracy, elites and meritocracy, appear pertinent or strangely relevant. Are they (his views) an insignificant undercurrent in western society?
And what would impede someone to sustain that Friedrich Nietzsche was an inferior philosopher who enjoyed the matter of fact of being the first one to sustain something with a certain rationality?

I'm not persuaded that in a meritocratic system Friedrich Nietzsche would have got such a fame ...
AlpinLuke is offline  
Old February 5th, 2017, 11:48 AM   #10

Lucius's Avatar
the governed self
 
Joined: Jan 2007
From: Nebraska
Posts: 15,168

The "question" is whether the Untermensch have any rights the Herrenvolk are bound to respect.
Lucius is online now  
Reply

  Historum > Themes in History > Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology

Tags
democracy, meritocracy



Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Is our modern democracy based on the democracy of the old Athens after Pericles? Dilly69 History Help 10 February 5th, 2017 10:46 AM
Meritocracy-Ideology potential political system? Stefan Nemanja Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology 11 December 5th, 2013 04:07 PM
What enlightenment thinkers are associated with work ethics and meritocracy? darthclark European History 1 March 10th, 2013 02:56 PM
Meritocracy. FioDeus Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology 10 August 4th, 2011 08:35 PM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.