Word of the Day: ‘Meritocracy’ and Regarding Obama, MSNBC Chris Matthews Doesn’t “Sense Executive Command”


MSNBC Trashes Obama’s Address: Compared to Jimmy Carter, ‘I Don’t Sense Executive Command’ AND enough MERITOCRACY to make you barf.

Why does he (Obama) continue to say that the Secretary of Energy has a Nobel prize? …
I’d barf if he’d do it one more time.

— Chris Matthews, MSNBC

Meritocracy is a system of a aristocratic or oligarchical government or other organization wherein appointments are made and responsibilities assigned to individuals based upon demonstrated talent and ability (merit). In a meritocracy, society rewards those who show talent and competence as demonstrated by past actions or by competition. Evaluation systems, such as formal education, are closely linked to notions of meritocracy.

This is opposed to other value systems, where reward and legitimacy is based upon possession of wealth (plutocracy), origin (aristocracy), family connections (nepotism), property, friendship (cronyism), technical expertise (technocracy), seniority (gerontocracy), popularity (representative democracy), or other historical determinants of social position and political power.


Some people who live in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana say, despite Tuesday night’s address to the nation, President Barack Obama is not doing enough to respond to the BP oil spill. (June 16)

A meritocracy tends to function upon, and promote, credibly recorded demonstrations of talent, and doing so only hoping to promote talent itself. Individuals may be talented, and yet lack any record of demonstration. Examples might be anything from a talented writer who has never sought to publish a book, a beautiful person who has never been invited to a photo shoot, a good idea which has no credible source, and a genuinely intelligent person who wasn’t graded well in school. A meritocracy can actually suppress talented individuals who have not demonstrated their talent if the meritocracy requires merit to record, or display, demonstrations of talent, which is a paradoxical situation commonly referred to as a catch 22. Also, rewarding such demonstrations is sometimes rewarding talent practiced outside of genuine need, such as student-testing or performance-testing, where arbitrary conditions are known to be subject to time limits, anxieties, limitations, and other factors hampered by conditions which do not genuinely call upon expressions of the talent in question.

The Peter principle, “In a Hierarchy Every Employee Tends to Rise to His Level of Incompetence,” notes that meritocracy promotes individuals based on the ability to perform their prior assignment, not the new assignment.

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Wikipedia: Meritocracy