Mediocracy vs meritocracy
November 21, 2016 § 22 Comments
Aristocracies or ruling classes are typically composed of fairly mediocre ordinary human beings, and that is all for the best. Everyone seems to assume that we need political leaders and popes who will be the best of the best, who will make our countries great again and meet our own special snowflake Current Year challenges as great leaders.
But genuinely great leaders are mostly a big problem, because every mediocrity who inherits a position formerly occupied by a genuinely great leader inevitably winds up all full of himself.
Having midwit leaders – and the great majority of people in authority are and always will be midwits – who aspire futilely to greatness, is an endless source of trouble. A few truly great outliers here and there may pull off a temporary innovative greatness, but that just sets us up for a variation of the apex fallacy applied to self assessment on the part of leaders in general. Once we’ve set the precedent of having a great leader here and there, every ordinary midwit of a leader starts to think of himself as a really important man in a really important position building a really important legacy.
Most of the greatness needed for the maintenance of civilization does not involve innovation, creative destruction, and the like. The kind of greatness which is important for the maintenance of civilization occurs when ordinary people rise up in defense against existential threats to civilization.
The main purpose of a Pope is to reiterate and defend the clear and eternal verities of Church doctrine (something any properly educated orthodox Catholic high school student can do); and otherwise to just not screw things up. Anything beyond that is likely to do more harm than good.
And the same sort of thing applies to aristocracies in general. The basic purpose of an aristocracy is to preserve its inheritance, including the common good of the community of which that inheritance is an integral part, and otherwise not screw things up. So aristocrats need proper indoctrination in how wealthy and powerful civilized people must behave for the common good: a good aristocracy, that is, requires not genius or intrinsic greatness in its human raw material, but proper civilized cultivation.
This cultivation should include constant lessons in not overestimating one’s self importance just because a genuinely great man used to fart into the same seat cushion.