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Thread: Meritocracy: an alternative to Democracy?

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    UK Avalon Founder Bill Ryan's Avatar
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    Default Meritocracy: an alternative to Democracy?

    This is one if those kinds of notions that if anyone dares discuss it, it might get you banned from YouTube, Facebook or Twitter. Or anywhere else!

    First, here's Winston Churchill.



    The Ancient Greek principle of democracy is based on the accepted notions that
    • All people's opinions, when they vote, should be treated 100% equally.
    • Everyone should be able to vote if they're an adult.
    But is this the best system there is?

    It's a fact, which I'd suggest can't really be disputed, that
    • Some people have more life experience than others.
    • Some people are more knowledgeable than others.
    • (and a harder pill to swallow, but a real pill nonetheless) some people are smarter than others.
    Human beings just aren't equal. They never were, and never will be. It's feel-good nice to pretend they are, but that's really a kind of self-deception.

    So meritocracy is the suggestion that some people are more qualified to vote in an election than others. (Or, maybe they could be allocated more personal votes to be counted than others have.)

    They may know more, they may have more experience, and they may even be brighter.

    The HUGE counter-question, of course, is how all that should be judged and measured. How to avoid corruption, elitism and prejudice? There's no easy answer.

    But if we take the current US election as a case study, whatever your personal political opinion you may have some quiet sympathy for the idea that close to 50% of Americans are dumb, easily fooled, or they have something else wrong with their ability to judge a political candidate. (Which 50% is NOT the subject of this thread! )

    So, here are some questions worth discussing, maybe:
    1. Are all voters equally qualified to formally cast their opinion?
    2. If not, how does one measure and judge them to enable them to qualify?
    3. Or is that impossible?
    4. Or if it is possible, should that ever ethically be done?
    Last edited by Bill Ryan; 5th November 2020 at 00:26.

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    Default Re: Meritocracy: an alternative to Democracy?

    Im for Meritocracy, but in voting as imperfect as it is, we need all be seen as equal in our vote. this covers all people of inequal opportunity in family, job, location , education and so on. so i feel all must be afforded the vote, but no one is equal

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    Default Re: Meritocracy: an alternative to Democracy?

    The problem with meritocracy is who gets to decide what is "merit". And even if you have the best of intentions, how do you quantify that. Should there be an education, say a high school diploma? Or should it be a Masters degree or higher? Is the person who sells newspapers at a kiosk and knows everyone in town really less qualified to make these decisions than someone with an advanced degree that experiments on fruit flies all day long?

    I realize that people are differently qualified, but I think that the "meritocracy" factor is already at work, because there are people who are intelligent and make their thoughts heard and do influence the decisions of other people with less experience, less education, and lesser abilities to comprehend the political world.

    There is one aspect of meritocracy at work in the U.S.A. and that is, if you are in prison and sometimes if you are on parole, you don't get to vote. You mentioned that people should have life experience and going through the institutions of the justice system is quite an experience. I feel that the only restriction on voting should be age, and then, EVERYONE should be able to do it.

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    Default Re: Meritocracy: an alternative to Democracy?

    My first thought was to consider the extremes of a meritocracy. Given that it is a democracy that it would replace there are only two other possibilities.

    On the one hand there is the idea that only a small number or even just one person has the merit, like the nine members that control the CCP or perhaps the leader of North Korea. Not very positive examples of a bleak future.

    On the other hand there is the idea that no one has the merit, which could be the argument of the trans-humanists as they cede decision making to AI. A future where we would eventually not even exist.


    Between these extremes a meritocracy is full of pitfalls, unless it extends first to address the issues that might inadvertently effect a person's merit. Level the playing field and a meritocracy might have merit. haha


    The problem with who gets to decide who has merit is unsolvable.

    There can be ethical work-arounds, of course, but there is no moral high ground any can claim exclusively.

    It is this consideration that lead me to the only possible solution: to imprint in everyone a compact so comprehensive, so uplifting, so personal, that consensus can be reached because each will feel morally responsible to do so - in a democratic fashion where each has the same merit - and for the highest good of all.

    To be sure, at first, such votes would not reach consensus. But after more discussion, more consideration, more soul searching, a new vote will show a preference. This preference can be discussed further and put to another vote, and so forth.

    Once a feel for the process is assimilated, consensus might come easier - especially when the education system addresses the need for well rounded individuals knowledgeable about the many areas so necessary to an intelligent and informed and responsible vote...
    Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water...Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. Bruce Lee

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    Thumbs up Re: Meritocracy: an alternative to Democracy?

    Well... suddenly I find this as a post ... first response is relief, I am greatly heartened by connecting with your energy. Thank you. As to the gist of the topic, meritocracy, well I can honestly say that I feel that the underlying substance (the genuine "stuff") of each democratic voter is not equal, because the basic education and knowledge of each is not equal. Historically, the ancient Greek ideal was not for each citizen in the first place, it was only for the elect few. Right now, the vote is reduced to mob rule, and sadly, in my opinion, the mob is easily swayed. Follow your heart is the best suggestion I can give at this time (and, for the record, I am Canadian and not an American voter... and this thread is not about my Canadian Prime Minister and his betrayals). Thank you for the opportunity to express a bit of my own opinion.

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    Default Re: Meritocracy: an alternative to Democracy?

    An interesting post that begs the question - how is meritocracy to be measured?

    Education? As has been said, access to education is unequal and in modern Britain, leaves you with a shedload of debt at the end of it. For my part, I only lack 120 points (the equivalent of completing a final year) to get a degree, but every time I have studied as a mature student a disaster always seems to strike, so I've given up on that. That now means that someone with a Third class degree (GPA level 2 in the US) in Soap Opera Studies (yes, you really can do that) is 'better educated' than me. That's with me having 4 A Levels that are not soft subject. Even with the grant system back then, my parents couldn't afford to send me to university but admin jobs were plentiful back then before the era of computerisation and you could rise up through the ranks.

    Social status? I work in a supermarket, so that puts me right down the social scale despite having a work history in management and administration. Admin jobs are far more scarce now and if you're in your 50s, employers assume that you're not computer literate. My family has working class roots and rose out of that through the free grammar school education system in the UK that no longer exists; I was a grammar school girl too, and had an education that now costs thousands.

    Intelligence tests? I'd score well on that I reckon, but should intelligence be measured solely through left-brain thinking? What about the creative people, who are highly intelligent in a different way?

    It's a real conundrum.

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    Default Re: Meritocracy: an alternative to Democracy?



    Very interesting subject Bill, and I'm tossing my hat in the ring by flipping ole Winston's quote right around on him:

    Quote The best argument against politicians, is to have a 5 minute conversation with one of them.
    Seriously, I watch these creatures crawl out of their lairs to pontificate on the Sunday morning chat shows, and regardless of their party affiliation, I'm almost always left with the floundering thought "is THIS, the best we can do? Really?"

    Then again, as is already stated there are no easy answers. For all I know there ARE no good solutions to this dilemma. Yes, some voters are morons, and some are brilliant, but the million dollar question of course is always who decides this, and what are THEIR qualifications to decide?

    The idea of qualifications I think was summed up nicely by Kryztian, when he asked
    Quote is the person who sells newspapers at a kiosk and knows everyone in town really less qualified to make these decisions than someone with an advanced degree that experiments on fruit flies all day long?
    The same could be asked of who is qualified to be a journalist for instance. Do you really need that elitist degree, or can you just go out and start reporting on what you see on the ground yourself, and getting interviews with people yourself?

    Lots of people do it although they're seldom if ever officially recognized, but Bill and Kerry did it, and did it well.

    I once saw someone break down nice and basic like, what a journalist's job really is: "Go look down the street, and tell me what you see".

    I think it's much the same for both voters, and those they elect: "Just use some common sense, and make good decisions". But of course that gets us right back to the snake eating it's own tail, doesn't it?

    The best I've ever been able to come up with is if you want a job that entails rulership over other people, you're automatically disqualified from contention. In an ideal world I don't think people who crave power should ever be allowed near it.

    An attempt at summation here LOL: So far as voter qualification is concerned, I think it necessarily needs to stay that all voters are equal. Otherwise, we're venturing into Orwell's "Animal Farm" territory of "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others".

    And so far as the contenders for power? Maybe it should be a tap on the shoulder sort of thing. Like I'll never forget the impression an old man that lived around the bend left on me years ago. He was the most naturally intelligent human I've ever known, he could literally figure anything out, and with his abilities as a mechanic he could have easily been a NASCAR pit crew leader had he so desired.

    But do you know what gave him fulfillment, what made him happy? He had a big ole soft spot in his heart for the everyday struggling working person. He lived on peanuts, but where a repair shop may charge you a good couple or so hundred dollars for a riding lawnmower repair, he would do it for 20 or 30 and be happy to see you back on your way.

    THAT'S, the kind of person I want representing me from a seat of power. Someone who really gives a s##t about me and is not just blowing smoke up the you know what... But then again would the majority of voters see it the same way to draft him with the tap on the shoulder to please drop what you're doing, and be of even bigger service to your community. I just laid out the kind of credentials I'd be looking for, but of course others would disagree and be looking for someone more
    "qualified".

    And round and round we go. Weeeeeeee!
    If you trust your government
    You don't know history

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    Default Re: Meritocracy: an alternative to Democracy?

    Quote Posted by Bill Ryan (here)
    This is one if those kinds of notions that if anyone dares discuss it, it might get you banned from YouTube, Facebook or Twitter. Or anywhere else!

    First, here's Winston Churchill.



    The Ancient Greek principle of democracy is based on the accepted notions that
    • All people's opinions, when they vote, should be treated 100% equally.
    • Everyone should be able to vote if they're an adult.
    But is this the best system there is?

    It's a fact, which I'd suggest can't really be disputed, that
    • Some people have more life experience than others.
    • Some people are more knowledgeable than others.
    • (and a harder pill to swallow, but a real pill nonetheless) some people are smarter than others.
    Human beings just aren't equal. They never were, and never will be. It's feel-good nice to pretend they are, but that's really a kind of self-deception.

    So meritocracy is the suggestion that some people are more qualified to vote in an election than others. (Or, maybe they could be allocated more personal votes to be counted than others have.)

    They may know more, they may have more experience, and they may even be brighter.

    The HUGE counter-question, of course, is how all that should be judged and measured. How to avoid corruption, elitism and prejudice? There's no easy answer.

    But if we take the current US election as a case study, whatever your personal political opinion you may have some quiet sympathy for the idea that close to 50% of Americans are dumb, easily fooled, or they have something else wrong with their ability to judge a political candidate. (Which 50% is NOT the subject of this thread! )

    So, here are some questions worth discussing, maybe:
    1. Are all voters equally qualified to formally cast their opinion?
    2. If not, how does one measure and judge them to enable them to qualify?
    3. Or is that impossible?
    4. Or if it is possible, should that ever ethically be done?
    Almost a throwback to the original Greek democracy, where only the wealthy were allowed to vote.

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    Default Re: Meritocracy: an alternative to Democracy?

    In nowadays a handful of voters,rigged or not,is deciding for non voters majority,because non voters majority didn't find themselves in any political doctrine.The same is happening in other "domains".Democracy is declining with every election happened in every country.

    Meritocracy is based on individual honesty,meaning that everyone should recognize its own potential and fairly withdraw when someone else have more knowledge in that certain domain.Which means that first,some should be 100% with himself and see his own capabilities.

    When every human will learn to be 100% honest with himself,only than meritocracy could start to be applied,until then...some have to drink the surrogate of democracy...
    "Your planet is forbidden for an open visit - extremely aggressive social environment,despite almost perfect climatic conditions.Almost 4 billion violent deaths for the last 5000 years and about 15000 major military conflicts in the same period."

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    Default Re: Meritocracy: an alternative to Democracy?

    Quote Posted by Bill Ryan (here)
    ..
    The HUGE counter-question, of course, is how all that should be judged and measured. How to avoid corruption, elitism and prejudice? There's no easy answer.
    ..
    1. Are all voters equally qualified to formally cast their opinion?
    2. If not, how does one measure and judge them to enable them to qualify?
    3. Or is that impossible?
    4. Or if it is possible, should that ever ethically be done?
    Most people in this planet are poor, they barely survive on a minimum wage, how all these people would fit in a meritocratic system? I guess they won't.

    Wealth families always had better opportunities, better education, etc.. the chances of a rich kid in comparison with a poor kid is absolutely greater even if that rich kid become a dumb adult (in most cases), who really cares, he is wealth after all, would that be any merit on that rich kid? I guess not, hence meritocratic system failed!

    The solution should be a better education for all, but they do not want that, they want the opposite, keep all in ignorance and fear.

    In my humble opinion meritocracy will not solve the problem, it will just create another huge one because we have no solution for "corruption and trust", trust based on consensus still a thing that we can not really "trust" because parts can be corrupted and the result can be diverted in the interest of one or another part.

    Besides the materialistic world, the real deal here on earth is spiritual, everybody leaves home one day.
    --
    A chaos to the sense, a Kosmos to the reason.

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    Default Re: Meritocracy: an alternative to Democracy?

    Quote Posted by Bill Ryan (here)
    [...]

    So, here are some questions worth discussing, maybe:
    1. Are all voters equally qualified to formally cast their opinion?
    2. If not, how does one measure and judge them to enable them to qualify?
    3. Or is that impossible?
    4. Or if it is possible, should that ever ethically be done?
    Well... in order for any of the above to occur, one needs "true" data to be able to build an opinion upon... so, before a meritocracy can function, there need to be a pre-existing "Truthocracy" which, as a prerequisite, needs real education solidly founded on actual historical, scientific, philosophical, etc, data.

    But then, there are these people who do not need an education because they already "know" what to do and how to do it from past experiences in other galaxies... you know, like going to the town mechanics and asking him/her:
    " How do I build my anti gravific bicycle?"...

    "Oh, that's simple! First you..."
    As for the Greek "Model Democracy", as Tomkat touched upon, only "Citizens" could vote and, in order to become a citizen, one had to have a mentor and go through "initiations" that landed us in this pedophilic, satanist, current society.

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    Default Re: Meritocracy: an alternative to Democracy?

    Another Churchill quote.



    I believe he said this the day he lost his re-election after World War II.

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    Default Re: Meritocracy: an alternative to Democracy?

    I think that the very idea of public voting and consensus is an implementation of democratic ideology that was known to be practised in qualified - socially mature societies since ever. Old Greeks perhaps established the terminology ( demos kratos = rule of the people) but many tribes and societies of old would rely - at the times of peace- on group consensus.
    Far easier to accomplish in small groups than large nations of course.

    However, the basic idea of human rights and equality among all its members is guaranteed by law in most socially mature societies and can not depend on personal status, wealth, gender, opinion or even IQ as all of them are transient values.

    In order to develop “merit” for one person, many other people usually participate and foster the process.
    On the other hand and any overloaded overworked activist scientist public worker and so forth could agree, “person with huge merit” may have developed still larger amount of demerit by their not-as-smart actions that is not in public view at the same time.

    I am quite certain that people with extremely low IQ or mental disability and people with hard criminal convictions are absconded from the ability to vote

    but it’s up to the rest of folks and what kind of Kings they choose.


    The King and the rest of the figures on public chess board
    are installed to perform functions for the people,
    should be the best servant of the people
    not one seeking to command.

    Likewise I said repeatedly, the wise should be sought
    and begged on our knees to accept the burden of governance
    for those saying “I’m fit , I’m the one who will fix it all”
    are deceived in their minds, seekers of fame
    and unworthy.

    True public servant says I’m unworthy in the face of these huge problems
    you people have but seek me if you need me.


    Truly, is there a living being “without merit” ?


    From purely atheistic, materialistic , skeptical point of view of course most of us are so called unworthy.
    How many billions of people does such core ideology affect nowadays ?

    Count 2.5 billion headed China, at least 60% of North American and European populace. That’s a lot of people , true, speeding to the new technocratic age of no inherent human values.

    But then don’t forget the other billions of people of all philosophies and religions out of that territory do not automatically agree on pure atheism as a guiding norm.


    Thanks

    🙏

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    Default Re: Meritocracy: an alternative to Democracy?

    Another thing about democracy in Ancient Greece - it only included about 10% of the populace, women and slaves were excluded.

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    Default Re: Meritocracy: an alternative to Democracy?

    I do not see Democracy and Meritocracy as being opposite.

    In fact, the meritocracy is what many around this site would call the "deep state" and they would not be wrong.

    Most Departments run on meritocracy with the heads of these depts being appointed by the democratic process(elections and appointments).

    Why is the Joint Chiefs of Staffs who they are? Merit.

    Who is the Assistant the Assistant Secretary of whatever? Merit. Yes the SEcretary was appointed but most of the actual works of department are done by the people who were there before the appointments and will be there after the appointments.

    Is this Merit system objective? Probably not but it is there.

    But Bill, be careful with your statements. Ancient greece, as many have pointed out, did not have the characteristics you ascribe to them. They had an active definition for who got to vote meaning it was men with property so not 100% enfranchisement or anywhere close.

    Romans did the same thing. In fact, most "Italians" were not on the same level as Romans for most of the Republic. It was actually Ceasar who made all "Italian" citizens equal to Romans I believe.

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    UK Avalon Founder Bill Ryan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Meritocracy: an alternative to Democracy?

    Quote Posted by Praxis (here)
    But Bill, be careful with your statements. Ancient greece, as many have pointed out, did not have the characteristics you ascribe to them. They had an active definition for who got to vote meaning it was men with property so not 100% enfranchisement or anywhere close.
    Yes, thanks (@you and others!), and I do stand corrected.

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    Finland Avalon Member Arak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Meritocracy: an alternative to Democracy?

    Bill and others:

    Before exploring which is the better one we should define the target:
    I.e. What we are aiming for? What is the meaning of life? The role of single person? The role of family? The role of state? The role of culture?

    After these are defined and ranked, we can start to ponder which system is the best strategy to reach the goal.
    Ps. I use Avalon with mobile -> sorry about the typos

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    Australia Avalon Member Zanshin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Meritocracy: an alternative to Democracy?



    It seems Plato's view - where discontent with a devolving, aristocratic, oligarchy gives rise to democracy, the permissive nature of which, yields to tyranny, made manifest as plutocracy - is salient.

    Perhaps the Iroquois Nation's Great Law of Peace offers yet, an example of determining merit - where the Chiefs of the Councils were selected from their clan by the Elders of the Matriarchy.

    Too simplistic for the scale and gender roles of our 'modern' society?

    Maybe - yet conceivably, tyrants would seldom merit selection by the matriarchs entrusted with the nurturing and protection of their kin.

    You can glean a lot about a man by observing how he treats, and is regarded by, his womenfolk.

    This offered with the caveat - there is no shortage of examples of powerful women I'd be loathe to acknowledge as matriarchs - who could best be described as tyrants in their own right.

    Maybe I've just created my own circular argument.

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    Avalon Member lunaflare's Avatar
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    Default Re: Meritocracy: an alternative to Democracy?

    I'd say that Meritocracy was already thriving in Classical Greece given that only men were qualified to vote and particiate in government and social policy.

    Women, Slaves, Foreigners ...nope, nope, nope




    http://www.agathe.gr/democracy/women.html

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    Canada Avalon Member Ernie Nemeth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Meritocracy: an alternative to Democracy?

    It might not be evident that consensus voting brings to the individual an entirely new form of power. A shared power, to be sure, but a power that can be used to right wrongs very effectively.

    Consider, consensus is attempted on some issue or other. After repeated voting, a clear path to consensus is developing. More and more citizens reach consensus. As a goodly majority is attained, the only way forward is to address the concerns of each detractor directly. Votes at this stage can be 'bought' in exchange for the redress that detractor might require, or perhaps if the redress is unreasonable or requires too much resources at that time, a portion of the required 'points' (percentage to redress) might be awarded in exchange for a favorable vote.

    Keep in mind that this is a new world with a new personal constitution based on inalienable rights, and so such redress will be reasonable requests and will not be motivated by greed.

    'Buying' consensus in this manner will be the way to move forward through the transitional phase until all citizens and their grievances have been addressed. Then the last half of the first two points come off leaving behind the most important of the tenets:


    1) All human beings are creations of One Source and thereby certain rights are bestowed upon them by virtue of birth alone. These rights shall be administered with the highest sense of honor and duty to ensure the equal, unbiased and fair treatment of all.

    2) All human beings by virtue of birth have a basic and fundamental right to happiness and freedom.


    Because once we have moved beyond the transition the idea of the redress will rapidly fade in prominence, specific points that state the obvious will no longer be needed.

    Commerce will be traded in votes. And all goods and services will be provided because they have been deemed worthy of pursuit and coveted by the populace. In this regard, work will not be compensated after the fact with strips of worthless paper. Instead, payment will have already been received in the form of all that each citizen requires within the production limits of the human family.
    Last edited by Ernie Nemeth; 7th November 2020 at 04:44.
    Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water...Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. Bruce Lee

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