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Number 1,024, June 9, 2019

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Just Deserts
by Sarah A. Hoyt

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Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise

Lately there has been a baffling revolt on the left against “meritocracy.”

As with almost every one of these crusades the left goes on, it ain’t what they’re saying it is. And those of us on the right(ish) who think that it’s all part of a master plan to destroy society so the great communist utopia appears automagically aren’t precisely right. I mean, most people on the left would welcome collapse, because, yes, they believe a communist matriarchy is ONLY waiting for the “oppressors” who create capitalism and patriarchy to vanish (oblivious to the fact that “capitalism” is trading, which seems to be a natural condition of the human monkey and not eradicable by any regime real or imaginary; and that “patriarchy” doesn’t exist in the west.) But that’s not the point, because they don’t think they’re bringing about collapse. They think they’re fighting injustice.

When we say “merit” and “meritocracy” they think we’re using “code words” to say “white males.” There are reasons for this, besides the fact that the left is heavily into Manichaean thought systems that go something like: identify problem-find a person who MIGHT be responsible for/benefits from the system as it exists-assume that if that person were removed, the problem would be gone. See, French Revolution.

The initial confusion on the left arises from the fact that they might never, in fact, have witnessed meritocracy in their dealings or those of people around them.

This is because, as part of the long march, and to secure absolute control of all fields and institutions, the left has a mythology (the manichaean thing again) that anyone who disagrees with them is evil. And of course, you don’t hire evil people.

The problem with that type of hiring is that you’re NOT hiring the best. And most people know they’re not the best. And hire someone less bright than they are. This in four generations takes you to the level of management/operation that takes monarchies twenty generations of inbreeding to achieve.

Right now, in everything but the hard sciences and STEM (and they’ve gotten into some of those, and can’t always be routed around.) the people in power would consider pouring piss out of a boot with the instructions written on the sole a feat of unachievable genius.

Most of them are so vacuous they don’t even know they’re incompetent. Or, like Michelle Obama in her essay on why everyone was mean to her at Harvard, they assume everyone else is just as incompetent.

The reason they get hired, stay hired and continue to get push/accolades/power is that they have the “right picture in head” by which you should understand “the left picture in head.” They view the world exactly as they were taught to view it by their Marxist teachers and professors. Reality is Manichean, and if there is any issue at all, you find the person who might be causing it (hint, usually you find the person who is a heretic to the left, even if in a minor thing) and you attack that person. If the person is not immediately obvious, you look for deviationism or examples of hidden thought crime.

It’s appalling, and in a society with no protection for the individual, it fills mass graves, but it is the way their minds — for lack of a better term — operate. They’ve been trained to operate that way. Not to look at human nature, or the conditions in the world, or even the limits of engineering and materials (what’s holding us back on batteries, for instance. They prefer to think oil executives, personally, are holding back the all-electric solar cars we should already have.) No. “Find the culprit” “Eliminate him/her” “Everything is beautiful in the garden.” Seen in this light, the Green Nude Heel makes “perfect sense.” And is a genius work in scope. Which is why she got all upset at criticism and thought that it only meant people wanted her to find all the little subculprits and work out all the details of the pogroms necessary to make it work. Not getting that people were saying “Not in this world, not with these humans, not in this REALITY.”

Given those thought limitations: the fact that they’re privileging people who have a picture in their heads that doesn’t match reality except in trivial aspects (I’m fairly sure, for instance, they see humans as bipedal. Though I would NOT lay a small bet.) and that the results are often unexpected and most of the time disastrous (sometimes due to a lot of other factors, the thing they think they’re doing works, just not the way they expected.) the worlds seems even more chaotic to them than it is.

In a chaotic world, in which results might have nothing to do with input (in their minds) the best you can do is hire morally good (for their definition) people and hope for the best. They think of this as Meritocracy.

But since we oppose their views of hiring by leftist ideology (with bonus points for victim-hood experiences according to the Marxist scale) they think we must have an opposite and competing view of who the morally good people are. So they invert their scale and think we mean we should hire ALL white conservative males.

It’s insane, but not inexplicable.

This is reinforced by the fact that even if they’ve seen merit hiring in the real world, they’ve also seen failures of merit. Most of us have run into people much better qualified for xyz position than the person currently occupying it. This is because in the real world, the ability to get a position/job/sale has a component of luck. It’s not as high as most people think. I mean, look, if you know a field really, really well and know an inexplicably unsuccessful person (or only mildly successful when by ability they should be huge) you often can tell why they’ve never hit the big time, beyond ability. Hell, I can with my own stuff. (I seem to be attracted to really off beat stuff, that leaves normal human beings scratching their heads.)

But there is still a component of luck. Who you know. Where you are. Even what you expect all go into it. It’s no use, for instance, to be perfect for a job in Alaska when you live in CA and can’t leave for personal or family reasons. Tough luck.

The left run into as many people who “should be doing better” as the rest of us, only because of their circles, these people tend to be various flavors of Marxist victim. All of which feeds their suspicion there’s a parallel system that favors the opposite of theirs (and also that patriarchal oppression and white supremacy are real.) And since we insist we hire by merit, they go “Ahah! Code word!”

Which leads us to total insanity, of course.

Granting that merit is never absolute — for instance, having been close to people with the power to hire, I know they’ll pass up a fractious genius for an agreeable “smarter than average.” — and that luck and other unfathomables play a role — we have to, since our mental model is NOT Manichean — merit is still the base line and THE BEST model of hiring.

More than that, it is possibly the only one that has allowed the US to get where it got by the mid twentieth century.

I watched with concern as in the late nineties and early oughts hiring devolved to “who you know” in large measure, because nepotism is 99.9% of what keeps Latin countries poor and struggling.

When you hire for any reason other than merit (however weighted by other real-world conditions) you’re corroding the structure of society. You’re introducing weakness into key components, which will either cause it to collapse or shamble into oblivion.

A great part of the death that’s come upon publishing and journalism, and soon to hit teaching and other fields, is not only that tech allows them to be performed outside the system, but that the system has got UNBELIEVABLY bad at doing what it should be doing. There are enough people in there hired for reasons other than competence. As a result, the few remaining competent people are either hamstrung, or spend their entire lives compensating for the “work” of the dunces. Sometimes an entire field is aiming in a completely insane direction, anymore. (Publishing — fiction publishing, specifically — thinks their job is to educate and enlighten the public, not to sell books.)

This is the problem we’re facing. And every time I get to know someone in new (to me) fields, I find the rot is much deeper and worse than I thought.

We’re at this point hanging on by a very few competent individuals holding the world aloft. And yes, Atlas MIGHT shrug at any minute. And if not, in the course of human nature, will die, and the person hired is most likely to be one of the incompetent “morally good” people of the left.

The left, notice, also knows that the system is collapsing. They just don’t know why and can’t understand the failure points. And since their system of thinking ASSUMES the default of humanity is communist utopia, unless distorted by evil people, their way to deal with this is to fight what they’re sure is JUST our version of “meritocracy.”

To them merit and competence don’t even exist. It’s all a matter of propitiating the right ideas, and removing evil thinkers.

As it becomes more obvious they’re spinning into failure and oblivion, expect them to become even crazier in their attempts to demonize and de-platform us.

Fun times ahead.

Stay aware. Stay as safe as you can. And build under, build over, build around. Get ready to take the weight, because it WILL fall. And only you can prevent the misery that will ensue in the place of the communist paradise the left is sure is coming.


Reprinted from According to Hoyt for June 6, 2019

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