Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What He Said

Saith the IOZ (typos repaired, just because I'm feeling anal today):
Were it not so plainly a result of obvious yet resolutely unexamined intellectual prejudices, I would find it curious that our freemarketarian friends are so dutifully committed to the plainly preposterous notion that within enterprises outside the political realm, true merit and virtue are rewarded; the cream rises; talent is recognized; ability is a boon. On a small scale, this is funny because it presumes the existence of enterprise outside the political realm. On a grand scale, it's funny because its most ardent proponents have so obviously never spent much time in a business enterprise, where the perversities of who does and does not rise are, if anything, even more deranged than in the strictly political territory of electoral politics. While there are certainly some very smart, talented, incisive, conversant, articulate, and well-cultured businesscreatures in the world, most of our captains of industry are even more cretinous, subhuman, moronic, and depraved than the average US senator, and that's no low hurdle or short sprint.
P.S. From Noam Chomsky's "Psychology and Ideology" in For Reasons of State (Random House, 1973, reprinted The New Press, 2003) p. 355:
One might speculate, rather plausibly, that wealth and power tend to accrue to those who are ruthless, cunning, avaricious, self-seeking, lacking in sympathy and compassion, subservient to authority and willing to abandon principle for material gain, and so on. Furthermore, these traits might very well be as heritable as IQ, and might outweigh IQ as factors in gaining material reward. Such qualities just might be the valuable ones for a war of all against all. If so, the society that results (applying [Richard] Herrnstein's "syllogism") could hardly be characterized as a "meritocracy." By using the word "meritocracy" Herrnstein begs some interesting questions and reveals implicit assumptions about our society that are hardly self-evident.