In American we are said to be ruled by a “meritocracy”. If by meritocracy you mean “people with the personal profile at the age 17 to be admitted to an Ivy League school” why yes, we are governed by a meritocracy. Half Sigma talks about the discrimination involved in this; there are a lot more high school students with 4.0 GPAs and very high SATs than can be admitted to Ivy League schools, or even the more desirable state schools. There is also high Chinese demand for these spots, and of course our foreign masters must be accommodated. HS has noted that such declasse pursuits as JROTC and Future Farmers of America seriously impede one’s ascension to the elite; he has also said that Jews are perhaps four times overrepresented from what you would expect from their higher intelligence.
The upshot is that to be a candidate for elite membership- Ivy League admission only gets the successful applicant candidate status, he still has much to prove- requires as a sufficient, but not necessary condition proven high intelligence and academic ability, but beyond that the selection is made on various personal characteristics that imply one would make a good member- athletic and social ability, and the right social, cultural, and political attitudes. Civil liberties advocacy would be great, unless it involved assuring the rights of a student prayer group. Starting a gay/straight alliance would be gold, especially in a hick town.
Walter Russell Meade- a man as close to swallowing the red pill as it possible to do without losing the grudging respectability granted to mainstream or neoconservative intellectuals- takes on the meritocracy from a Christian standpoint. Lack of the humility provided by belief in an all-powerful God makes our meritocrats arrogant and hubristic. Unfortunately our elite has largely consisted and still consists of people who have a belief in God which only confirms their belief that they are Good People and thus entitled to rule.
He takes as a starting point a book, “Twilight of the Meritocracy” that is written from anything but a mainstream conservative or neoconservative viewpoint. It seems to reflect the leftist disappointment in the nature of the elite in the last few decades; the older elite came from the business upper class, but was willing to restrict or channel business pretty strongly. Since the Clinton inauguration and Bob Rubin, the elite has been strongly pro-business, the liberal elite as pro-business as the Republican elite ever was.
As Kurt Andersen has noted- funny how the official media gets around to these things years late- a deal was made in the 60’s, that the personal freedom that allowed for casual sex, divorce and drugs would be matched by economic freedom that would allow the ambitious and not tradition-constrained to pursue wealth however they wanted.
America has managed to obtain the worst aspects of both socialism and capitalism. The government is unrestrained and unaccountable. Business is unrestrained and unaccountable. In the libertarian concept, these poles restrain each other, but instead they have agreed not to do so, for the benefit of each.
There must be an example of this in game theory. Competitors don’t have to compete, they can simply agree to have spheres of influence and not interfere with each other.