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#504871 - 09/01/17 01:45 AM The Myth of Meritocracy
DRACV Offline


Registered: 11/05/13
Posts: 52
I was just reading this article when something caught my attention:

Quote:
Satanists see the social structure of humanity as being stratified, thus each person reaches a level commensurate with the development (or lack thereof) of their natural talents.


I get that Satanism advocates stratification but I think believing it is the status quo is naive. The current social structure in the real world is far from being a meritocracy. You can have two people with the same personal achievements and abilities and just because one happens to be of a certain sex, gender, race, or class, they will be in a very different position on the stratification pyramid. On the other hand, there are plenty of good-for-nothings pissing all over right from the top of the pyramid.

I just thought I should mention this and open it to discussion, since it's not only this particular article, but elsewhere in Satanic thought that I have seen a disposition to think the world is ruled by meritocracy when the facts speak otherwise. Your thoughts are welcome.


Edited by DRACV (09/01/17 01:32 PM)
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#504872 - 09/01/17 03:43 AM Re: The Myth of Meritocracy [Re: DRACV]
Isobel Gowdie Offline


Registered: 12/28/15
Posts: 46
I’ve always taken the commitment to meritocracy as more of an aspiration than a belief – something that can be applied within local organisational structures, such as the Church of Satan, but not universally. When push comes to shove, it’s philosophically logical for Satanists to pin their pennant to that of social Darwinism because they’re individualists rather than collectivists; but it’s not terribly realistic. Even if one used the sole example of the current American President, it becomes obvious that one can still rise to the pinnacle of international politics while simultaneously being a fucking idiot.

As a global economic norm, neoliberalism makes meritocracy impossible (given enough time). A smart child born to poor parents will still do worse than a dumb child born to rich ones almost 99% of the time, given that the rich child can afford to make substantially more mistakes than his poor counterpart. A good analogy is buying into a poker game where one person holds most of the chips. LaVey himself stated that a person’s worth is measured in how well they utilise what they have, which can be applied as far as the Church of Satan is concerned, but this isn’t a sociological truism because it can’t be.

Money and influence are attracted by money and influence; invariably that which is inherited. Any argument to the contrary is overwhelmingly disproven by observable evidence. Those arguments typically revolve around survivor bias, but that’s fortunately easy to identify. It’s probably also no coincidence that Satanism, as codified in The Satanic Bible, is most prevalent in what we loosely term “western democracies” - or, perhaps more prosaically, where neoliberalism is most rampant.

Your mileage may vary.


Edited by Isobel Gowdie (09/01/17 03:45 AM)
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#504874 - 09/01/17 07:52 AM Re: The Myth of Meritocracy [Re: DRACV]
LowKey Offline
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Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 374
Loc: Nashville, TN
I agree with Isobel - it's an ideal that Satanists would like to see implemented.

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#504875 - 09/01/17 10:33 AM Re: The Myth of Meritocracy [Re: DRACV]
Drake_Bamboozle Offline
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Registered: 06/25/02
Posts: 10715
Loc: England
I don't believe it has ever been espoused in any of our literature that we actually live in a meritocracy. Within our socio-political strata it has, in fact, been pointed out that we live in an egalitarian society.

I'd say we recognise it for what it is. The harsh blade of reality cuts through bullshit every time.

I call bullshit when I see it. That's all.
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#504876 - 09/01/17 04:29 PM Re: The Myth of Meritocracy [Re: Drake_Bamboozle]
Isobel Gowdie Offline


Registered: 12/28/15
Posts: 46
Originally Posted By: Drake_Bamboozle
Within our socio-political strata it has, in fact, been pointed out that we live in an egalitarian society.

This is untrue.

In the United States and the United Kingdom, in particular, the socio-political strata has almost never been as unequal, or anti-egalitarian, as it is now. Even at the most basic conceptual level, we live in a world where the law does not apply equally to every citizen.

As I intimated earlier, any argument to the contrary is quickly rubbished by the evidence.
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#504877 - 09/01/17 09:46 PM Re: The Myth of Meritocracy [Re: Isobel Gowdie]
Drake_Bamboozle Offline
CoS Reverend

Registered: 06/25/02
Posts: 10715
Loc: England
Originally Posted By: Isobel Gowdie
Originally Posted By: Drake_Bamboozle
Within our socio-political strata it has, in fact, been pointed out that we live in an egalitarian society.

This is untrue.

In the United States and the United Kingdom, in particular, the socio-political strata has almost never been as unequal, or anti-egalitarian, as it is now. Even at the most basic conceptual level, we live in a world where the law does not apply equally to every citizen.
As I intimated earlier, any argument to the contrary is quickly rubbished by the evidence.



Society is currently driven by a belief in equality and human rights for everyone. That's fact. You don't seem to understand what egalitarianism is.
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#504878 - 09/01/17 11:15 PM The Use of Meritocracy [Re: DRACV]
Nemo Offline
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Registered: 10/06/02
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Satanism is a set of tools intended to give more power to the individual willing and capable of using those tools.

So what is personally more useful to you?

If you assume that by your own efforts you will do better and be rewarded more will that be more useful?

If you feel you are trapped in a society in which your efforts are unlikely to assist you will that be more useful?

Notice please that I am not using the word "truth".

Personally I am really not interested in "truth".

I am really only interested in what is more useful. wink
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#504882 - 09/02/17 03:47 PM Re: The Myth of Meritocracy [Re: Drake_Bamboozle]
Isobel Gowdie Offline


Registered: 12/28/15
Posts: 46
Originally Posted By: Drake_Bamboozle
Society is currently driven by a belief in equality and human rights for everyone. That's fact. You don't seem to understand what egalitarianism is.

There is no belief in equality; if there were, the Conservatives of the western world wouldn't be driving all wealth up the way and, therefore, damning those born at the bottom of the tree to permanent (and grinding) poverty.

One doesn't need to read too much material to figure this out.

No government would ever admit to this, of course, as they all happily espouse equality - but neoliberal policies, largely dictated by international corporate lobbyists, ensure that equality is impossible.

Arguing otherwise is either ignorance, or gross naivety.

As for egalitarianism, I understand it explicitly. Where Satanists and I perhaps differ is in my belief that everyone should have equal opportunities. Without them, we've no idea if the smartest or most creative people really are the ones rising to the top - or if it's merely those with inherited wealth and influence who purchased both networks and titles.

Education is arguably the key to social mobility.

That "equality" you're talking about sees the nations on either side of the Atlantic ramping up student debt that those with rich parents can happily ignore.

It's the very crux of "inherit over merit".
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#504884 - 09/03/17 12:24 AM Re: The Myth of Meritocracy [Re: Isobel Gowdie]
Dax9 Offline

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Registered: 10/16/10
Posts: 1003
Loc: near Baton Rouge, LA
From what I gather you are just angry and resentful toward the wealthy because you feel they have had it easier than you. Okay, so what is your point? That life isn't fair? Egalitarianism is simply the doctrine that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities. By "equal" it means that we are all human and should be treated "the same". Yes, everyone is entitled to an education, but everybody is NOT entitled to go to Harvard law school for free. How do you propose we fix the "inherit over merit" problem? Make inheritance illegal? Prohibit rich parents from providing for their children?

Your arguments focus mostly on what should or ought to be. Weak arguments. A Satanist would not waste time kicking and screaming about a system that will not change. Instead, he would concentrate on how he can realistically improve his own status through productive, PRACTICAL action without trying to play the victim.

Remember the Declaration of Independence? In that document it stated that "all men are created equal" while the authors of that famous hoopla actually owned slaves. My point is that situations do improve over time -- but never fast enough. Agreed, our government is not perfect, but if someone doesn't like it here, let them move to North Korea or the Middle East!

Quote:
No government would ever admit to this, of course, as they all happily espouse equality - but neoliberal policies, largely dictated by international corporate lobbyists, ensure that equality is impossible.


Yeah, yeah, yeah, again, we all know this. "...ensure that equality is impossible". Of course "equality" is impossible! I'm not talking about just financial equality either...would you let a surgeon who was blind or had cerebral palsy operate on you? (Why not? After all, we should ALL have the same opportunities!)

Quote:
That "equality" you're talking about sees the nations on either side of the Atlantic ramping up student debt that those with rich parents can happily ignore.


Are you suggesting they should pay for all these students' financial aid? Personally, I graduated college in 1995. With all the interest I paid on my loans I could have put a down payment on a house. But I have no one else to blame but myself. I took out too many loans and always assumed that things would just "work themselves out" on their own back then when I was young and stupid. Responsibility to the responsible.

Sorry if this post came off as mean or insensitive, but this is my honest viewpoint.
_________________________
"The difference between the man or woman who's a practicing Satanist, from an identity Satanist is that the practicing Satanist looks at the picture, while the identity Satanist studies the frame."
-- Anton Szandor LaVey

"Anyone without a sense of humor is too pretentious to be a good magician."
-- Anton Szandor LaVey

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#504889 - 09/03/17 07:11 AM Re: The Myth of Meritocracy [Re: Dax9]
LightAngel Offline


Registered: 09/10/05
Posts: 1737
Loc: Scandinavia
Originally Posted By: Isobel Gowdie


As for egalitarianism, I understand it explicitly. Where Satanists and I perhaps differ is in my belief that everyone should have equal opportunities. Without them, we've no idea if the smartest or most creative people really are the ones rising to the top - or if it's merely those with inherited wealth and influence who purchased both networks and titles.




Originally Posted By: Dax9


Your arguments focus mostly on what should or ought to be. Weak arguments. A Satanist would not waste time kicking and screaming about a system that will not change. Instead, he would concentrate on how he can realistically improve his own status through productive, PRACTICAL action without trying to play the victim.



You both have very valuable points.

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#504890 - 09/03/17 07:17 AM Re: The Myth of Meritocracy [Re: Dax9]
Isobel Gowdie Offline


Registered: 12/28/15
Posts: 46
Originally Posted By: Dax9
From what I gather you are just angry and resentful toward the wealthy because you feel they have had it easier than you.

Nope.

I've done pretty well out of life. The nation I live in provides me the opportunity to take advantage of the tilted table, and that's exactly what I've done. I'm an inheritor. That doesn't, however, make me blind to how the world works.

Originally Posted By: Dax9
Okay, so what is your point? That life isn't fair? Egalitarianism is simply the doctrine that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities. By "equal" it means that we are all human and should be treated "the same". Yes, everyone is entitled to an education, but everybody is NOT entitled to go to Harvard law school for free. How do you propose we fix the "inherit over merit" problem? Make inheritance illegal? Prohibit rich parents from providing for their children?

The problem with the definition you're using is that it's self-contradictory.

I believe that everyone should have the same opportunities. That does not, however, mean that I believe everyone is equal; everyone isn't equal. Some excel physically, some academically. Some are imaginative, some are creative. Some are educationally bright, some are vocationally bright. Give everyone a ball and see who runs with it, and makes the most of those opportunities.

That's how meritocracy works.

Originally Posted By: Dax9
Your arguments focus mostly on what should or ought to be. Weak arguments. A Satanist would not waste time kicking and screaming about a system that will not change. Instead, he would concentrate on how he can realistically improve his own status through productive, PRACTICAL action without trying to play the victim.

I'm not making an argument per se, let alone a weak one.

What I'm doing is telling you how the world works.

And rather than discussing how that works with the Satanic concept of meritocracy, you're projecting that I must be "kicking and screaming" instead. What's more productive? Dismissing a point of view that you've misunderstood (potentially my fault for being unclear), or simply pretending that what you think is correct by virtue of misrepresenting what I'm saying?

If you're looking for the definition of a weak argument, then I'm afraid you've just provided it. And it seems you have a penchant for this type of thing:

Originally Posted By: Dax9
Agreed, our government is not perfect, but if someone doesn't like it here, let them move to North Korea or the Middle East!

Because those are the only options, right enough. Rampant neoliberalism, or communism/authoritarianism.

I'd recommend reading up on how governments in Europe of Scandinavia work. Alternatively, if that's a little too far from home, take a look at how Canada works. It's patently absurd to present the options you've presented. Almost as absurd as suggesting that anyone would be okay with a blind or disabled surgeon.

That's one of the daftest statements I've ever seen to dismiss equality of opportunity. Honestly, I expected better from a forum such as this.

Originally Posted By: Dax9
Are you suggesting they should pay for all these students' financial aid?

In general terms, I support governments paying tuition where there's economic benefit to be had afterwards. But education is a horribly convoluted topic that I could speak about for hours without getting to the bottom of it. I think education should be funded as part of an overall plan, but places like Britain and the United States think the point of education is test passing and certificates.

I reckon education should be about the presentation of new viewpoints, equipping youngsters with the tools to critically assess those viewpoints, and then encouraging them to incorporate what's valid into productive changes of behaviour.

'Tis up to you how you approach it.

Originally Posted By: Dax9
Sorry if this post came off as mean or insensitive, but this is my honest viewpoint.

I didn't find it mean or insensitive, because I'm not made of glass.

I just found it laughably misguided.
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#504892 - 09/03/17 06:20 PM Re: The Myth of Meritocracy [Re: Isobel Gowdie]
Dax9 Offline

CoS Member

Registered: 10/16/10
Posts: 1003
Loc: near Baton Rouge, LA
Quote:
Almost as absurd as suggesting that anyone would be okay with a blind or disabled surgeon.


That was not meant to be taken so literally. I was demonstrating that when you take the idea that "everyone deserves equal opportunities" and follow through with it, you will get preposterous implications. Logically, if we are going to advocate equal opportunities for everybody, then we have to let the mentally retarded become astro-physicists, midgets play professional basketball, and morbidly obese women become Victoria Secret models if they choose to. When fully extended, the concept of equal opportunities collapses on itself. Alas, I didn't think I would have to spell out to someone on this message board that I was merely drawing out a counterexample.

Quote:
I believe that everyone should have the same opportunities. That does not, however, mean that I believe everyone is equal; everyone isn't equal. Some excel physically, some academically. Some are imaginative, some are creative. Some are educationally bright, some are vocationally bright. Give everyone a ball and see who runs with it, and makes the most of those opportunities.

That's how meritocracy works.


Ah, much better. I have no problem with that reasoning. But that's not the impression I was getting from your last post.

Quote:
I'd recommend reading up on how governments in Europe of Scandinavia work. Alternatively, if that's a little too far from home, take a look at how Canada works. It's patently absurd to present the options you've presented.


I wasn't offering options, much less claiming that the US, North Korea, and the Middle East were the only options. However, I do get irritated when I hear folks complaining about how "bad" things are in the US. In my view I feel the US is often too kind; other countries such as the Philippines don't grant welfare, foodstamps, aid to single mothers, aid to disabled citizens, etc. I know so because my wife is from the Philippines. The bottom line for me is that if someone thinks another nation's government better suits their needs, let them move there. One shouldn't complain about a situation they need not subject themselves to.

Quote:
In general terms, I support governments paying tuition where there's economic benefit to be had afterwards. But education is a horribly convoluted topic that I could speak about for hours without getting to the bottom of it. I think education should be funded as part of an overall plan, but places like Britain and the United States think the point of education is test passing and certificates.


Ok, good. At least now you're being more clear. I can agree with governments (actually the tax payers) funding education for those who truly deserve it. My wife has been a high school science teacher for twenty-three years, both in the Philippines and here in the US. The problem is that many youngsters in this country don't deserve a free public school education because they have no desire to learn. Delinquents who constantly fight, bring drugs/weapons to school, have sex in the school bathrooms, and disrespect their teachers should be pulled out and sent to work in the fields as far as I'm concerned. Better yet, such brats should never have been born in the first place. If our government would stop wasting so much money on such ingrates, maybe then it could provide useful education for those who truly want it and will make the most of it.
_________________________
"The difference between the man or woman who's a practicing Satanist, from an identity Satanist is that the practicing Satanist looks at the picture, while the identity Satanist studies the frame."
-- Anton Szandor LaVey

"Anyone without a sense of humor is too pretentious to be a good magician."
-- Anton Szandor LaVey

Life Everlasting

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#504894 - 09/04/17 02:39 AM Re: The Myth of Meritocracy [Re: Dax9]
Isobel Gowdie Offline


Registered: 12/28/15
Posts: 46
Originally Posted By: Dax9
That was not meant to be taken so literally. I was demonstrating that when you take the idea that "everyone deserves equal opportunities" and follow through with it, you will get preposterous implications. Logically, if we are going to advocate equal opportunities for everybody, then we have to let the mentally retarded become astro-physicists, midgets play professional basketball, and morbidly obese women become Victoria Secret models if they choose to. When fully extended, the concept of equal opportunities collapses on itself. Alas, I didn't think I would have to spell out to someone on this message board that I was merely drawing out a counterexample.

No, no, and no.

This is not logical, no matter how much you wish it to be.

“Equal opportunities” is about providing the same chances for everyone, irrespective of their economic, cultural, racial or ethnic background; it’s not about ignoring the basic criteria required for a specific choice. No campaigner or legislator for equal opportunities has ever suggested that mentally retarded people should become astro-physicists, because such a suggestion is patently absurd (as I told you in my earlier post). All you are doing is making an extraordinary straw man to present what you think egalitarianism is, perhaps even honestly, and then wrongly concluding that egalitarianism must be bad as a result.

Meritocracy and egalitarianism are not mutually exclusive. I find it bizarre that there seems to be an organisational push asserting that they are.

Originally Posted By: Dax9
The bottom line for me is that if someone thinks another nation's government better suits their needs, let them move there. One shouldn't complain about a situation they need not subject themselves to.

Straight from The Satanic Bible.

And that’s cool.

But moving from an undesirable country, without the money or means to move safely, is what’s seeing Syrians drowning in the Aegean and Mediterranean. They didn’t ask for western governments to reduce their nation to rubble in a hopelessly misguided “war against terror”, but they’re sure paying the price for it.

The point I’m making is that a great many people are not complaining about something they needn’t subject themselves to. They’re suggesting that, perhaps, western foreign policy or economic orthodoxy shouldn’t be putting a boot on the head of those born impoverished. My own personal view on champagne socialism and its ilk is, however, probably in line with your own.

Originally Posted By: Dax9
The problem is that many youngsters in this country don't deserve a free public school education because they have no desire to learn. Delinquents who constantly fight, bring drugs/weapons to school, have sex in the school bathrooms, and disrespect their teachers should be pulled out and sent to work in the fields as far as I'm concerned.

Children born into a poor family of generational joblessness and poor parenting aren’t going to school with the intent of being a nightmare; it’s the only behaviour they’ve ever learned from a “family” unit that’s hopelessly dysfunctional to the point of parental negligence. Problems range from being up all night due to drug-addled parents that won’t turn the TV down, and extend to physical, mental and sexual abuse on a daily basis.

Satanic realism doesn’t really advocate wishing the problem away; a realist would accept that it happens, and come up with the best solutions possible. These children sure as heck aren’t getting equal opportunities, and their only crime is being born to horrendous parents. Maybe they could be good scholars, if a little discipline and authority could get into their lives while they’re saved from parental brutality.

This might amuse you, but I recall reading an essay in Satan Speaks! about third-side awareness and found LaVey’s argument about sterilisation quite persuasive.

In the meantime, we need to deal with these kids in some way.
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#504896 - 09/04/17 09:09 PM Re: The Myth of Meritocracy [Re: Isobel Gowdie]
Dax9 Offline

CoS Member

Registered: 10/16/10
Posts: 1003
Loc: near Baton Rouge, LA
Quote:
This is not logical, no matter how much you wish it to be.

“Equal opportunities” is about providing the same chances for everyone, irrespective of their economic, cultural, racial or ethnic background; it’s not about ignoring the basic criteria required for a specific choice.


It is perfectly logical, no matter how much you wish to deny it. There is no straw man or even slippery slope argument. I am in no way claiming that supporters of egalitarianism want mentally challenged individuals to become astro-physicists. Furthermore, I am not even asserting that such ludicrous situations will arise if egalitarianism were fully implemented. What I AM doing is underscoring the implications of egalitarianism to illustrate that the original concept is not very sound. That's it -- a counterexample. As for "ignoring the basic criteria" I can think of various scenarios, such as affirmative action, where individuals are awarded positions they are not really qualified for because of a sickening attempt to "equalize" the lot of us.

Quote:
No campaigner or legislator for equal opportunities has ever suggested that mentally retarded people should become astro-physicists, because such a suggestion is patently absurd (as I told you in my earlier post).


Of course not! So what? In any case I am certainly not the only one who has used counterexamples to demonstrate unwanted implications of egalitarianism. The satirical science fiction short story Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut comes to mind: In the year 2081 society forces everyone to be equal by requiring the strong and athletic to wear heavy weights and restraints. People of higher intelligence are required by law to wear a headset that produces loud, piercing noises to interrupt their thoughts. Folks who are too attractive are forced to wear masks. (Forgive me if you are already familiar with the story.)

Now this is not just some obscure, crackpot tale I discovered on some psychotic website. This is a story many of us were required to read in high school. A movie was made from the story as well as several short, creative films.



With that story Vonnegut is not claiming that anyone in their right mind wants the government to enforce such restrictions on its citizens nor is he even predicting that such a fate awaits us in the future. He is simply trying to open our eyes to the fact that total equality may not be such a nifty idea after all. And that was what I was trying to do with my blind surgeon and retarded astro-physicist examples.

If the implications of egalitarianism are disturbing that is because the concept itself is not very reliable.

Quote:
But moving from an undesirable country, without the money or means to move safely, is what’s seeing Syrians drowning in the Aegean and Mediterranean. They didn’t ask for western governments to reduce their nation to rubble in a hopelessly misguided “war against terror”, but they’re sure paying the price for it.


I have all the sympathy in the world for unfortunate people who live in oppressed, third world countries. I served a tour of Iraq (hence my avatar) and have no inherent dislike of Middle Easterners or even Muslims. Sadly, the upstanding good folks have to suffer for the actions of the handful of nut cases. My comments in my last post were directed at spoiled Americans who needlessly complain.

Quote:
This might amuse you, but I recall reading an essay in Satan Speaks! about third-side awareness and found LaVey’s argument about sterilisation quite persuasive.


Yes, that would be practical, but we both know such a thing would never be legislated. There is an essay in Peter Gilmore's The Satanic Scriptures simply titled "Eugenics" that you may wish to check out if you have not.
_________________________
"The difference between the man or woman who's a practicing Satanist, from an identity Satanist is that the practicing Satanist looks at the picture, while the identity Satanist studies the frame."
-- Anton Szandor LaVey

"Anyone without a sense of humor is too pretentious to be a good magician."
-- Anton Szandor LaVey

Life Everlasting

World Without End





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#504897 - 09/05/17 05:50 AM Re: The Myth of Meritocracy [Re: Isobel Gowdie]
Mannyowar Offline

CoS Member

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 144
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: Isobel Gowdie
[
I believe that everyone should have the same opportunities. That does not, however, mean that I believe everyone is equal; everyone isn't equal. Some excel physically, some academically. Some are imaginative, some are creative. Some are educationally bright, some are vocationally bright. Give everyone a ball and see who runs with it, and makes the most of those opportunities.

That's how meritocracy works.



I'm afraid I find that self-contradictory. You admit that people are not equal, that means there are always going to be those who have a head start in life or are disadvantaged, because of the merits (or lack thereof) of their parents. Yes, that means the child who may make the best brain surgeon or astronaut or racing driver may never get the opportunity to develop their talent and people from poorer background will have to work a lot harder than their richer counterparts. Is that fair? No, but life/nature isn't fair! A lion cub has a far greater chance of growing to maturity than a tadpole, and the strongest lion cub in the litter might be the one that finds itself in the poacher's rifle sights. That's just how nature works, and those laws of nature apply to human beings too. When we talk about meritocracy or survival of the fittest we can only talk about general trends. Luck will always play a part and there will always be those who attain more or less than they deserve. Shit happens, sometimes it's good and sometimes it's not.

Always remember, as Satanists we are pragmatists. We have to deal with the world as it IS, not how we'd like it to be. Man-made concepts like fairness and egalitarianism, that have no basis in nature, should not guide our thinking.
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