Oh, wait a minute, we use
incessant lieslethal injection now, don't we?
- It's my privilege and civic duty to do… this. Despite my ire at some of the contests. If I still lived near Chicago, I'd be entitled to a dozen or so of these… but if you don't live near Chicago, and there's an election you're eligible to vote in today, Just Do It™.
- Which leads, rather dubiously, to slightly deeper questions concerning who gets to be in charge. One obvious problem with Mr Mandelbaum's position is that he glosses over the internal and external validity of the mechanisms used to measure merit. Internally, are the measuring systems — especially "exams" — valid and replicable; that is, would the results be quite close from session to session? Externally, do the particular measuring systems used (both "grades" and "exams" matter here) bear a greater relationship to later performance than alternative means of sorting?
Because, ultimately, whether it's "meritocracy" or anything else, what we're engaging in is a sorting exercise — sorting the larger number of aspirants for positions of authority (never mind whether it's "real power" or "academic role" or anything else) than positions available into some ordering that benefits society by placing those most suitable into those positions of authority. It's an entirely predictive exercise, so of course it's going to be imperfect; all it takes to throw things off is to choose a top candidate who later contracts a "loath[e]some disease" and can no longer fulfill the assigned role, or conversely who is suffering from an external circumstance that inaccurately suppresses the sorting system's results at the moment of sorting. And that's before things like "as a teenager, wasn't able to get a Congressional appointment to a military academy for race/religion/partisanship/whatever," and its converse "totally unsuitable but his/her father and grandfather were both cops/lawyers/officers/doctors so got a free pass in."
The relationship of this item to the preceding one should be pondered before you actually engage in the preceding item.
- Which becomes even more interesting when dealing with what might charitably be called "nonreplicable performance positions" like professorships in/related to the arts in a theocratic or authoritarian regime. Or, for that matter, any other kind of regime. Or, more to the point, operating in/around the arts without the safety net of either tenure or essentially unlimited inherited wealth.
- Which sure beats being a loser. I got a whole four days for my first kid (while I was on G-series orders) and unilaterally took a whole week for the second one (while I was a law student, <SARCASM> but of course that had no effect at all on my grades or performance that were locked in to a preeestablished calendar… or anything else </SARCASM>).