Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The meritocracy of mediocrity

May 16, 2010

Tonight BBC America showed V for Vendetta. When it first came out, the hype repulsed me from the movie. When anything seems to be artificially pushed into prominence (the rock group Blink, The Incredible Hulk movie…) I tend to avoid it like the plague. Often, I will find my reluctance justified... and other times I will revisit the object of my prejudice – after all the hype has died down – to find my biases were unfounded (as was the case with the Harry Potter series.) When I first saw V for Vendetta, I caught it halfway through and was put off by many of the political stereotypes. Since it was released during the Bush administration and portrayed the evil government with various well-worn accusations against ‘right wingers,’ I saw it as typical Bush-bashing left wing propaganda. I shrugged it off and figured I would revisit it later when I could watch the whole thing.

Since then, over the last year particularly, I have been reading voraciously about the rise and implementation of Fascistic states… Stalin, Mao, Hitler… Wilson and Roosevelt… and upon watching the movie tonight I was impressed with how well it
    replicated the government-fed fear...
    the totalitarian control...
    government created and induced ‘crises’...
    controlled media...(often through the media's laissez faire attitude rather than actually physical government oversight or cooersion!)...
    government stepping in to be the “savior” of said self-induced crises,...
    the ‘us vs. them’ framework of a draconian state…
    fanatical nationalism...
    …as well as the personalization of power and control by the inevitable ‘fuhrer.’
The connection they failed to make was that without exception, all fascist dictators have been leftists… against business and capitalism… against private ownership of guns… in favor of unrestricted abortion… pushing a government-mandated healthy lifestyle… in favor of environmentalism… in favor of ‘elites’ telling others how to live… But that’s to be expected from Hollywierd.

I realize this particular movie was pushed and produced by those who sincerely felt threatened by GW Bush… who honestly felt he led us into Iraq based upon lies, stole the 2000 election, was planning on using the Patriot Act to keep himself in power… or any of another mischaracterizations of the former President, but I can still appreciate certain aspects of the film. In fact, I can potentially see it becoming one of my favorite movies. It’s almost a 1984 or Brave New World with a happy ending. It is what the common man can do to defeat an overbearing, oppressive government. It is what the colonists did in the 1770’s and it’s what we all wish the Germans had done in the ‘30’s and ‘40’s.

Another aspect struck me, however…a small yet significant side issue brought up regarding the victimization of gays and lesbians. Granted, Hitler persecuted the GLBT community… as do the Islamofascist extremist governments today. (A.D.D. moment- GW Bush never treated the GLBT community as badly as the Taliban or Iraqi governments… why did’t they kiss GW’s feet for deposing those intolerant regimes?)

Anyway, back onto the track. I finally figured out WHY I have such a disdain for the activist wings of the GBLAT community as well as of the gender-based NOW group or any of a number of racially-based groups like the NAACP, La Raza,, Ku Klux Klan &ct. You see there are two types of people out there in America today. The first group is in line with the Founding Fathers; they believe in a meritocracy.
This group does not begrudge John Elway, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, or even George Soros for making and holding their millions or billions of dollars. If they earned that money through their talent, intelligence, and abilities… more power to them! If they earned it through treachery, deceit, underhanded backroom deals… then they should be shunned and despised. If they earned it illegally, they should be prosecuted. But all these actions rely on judging the merits by which the individuals gained their fortunes……… which should be the ONLY judgment we should place upon them.

The other group… the one currently in power and gaining acolytes by the day, base their values upon on things that require no hard work, no talent, no intelligence, wisdom or creativity.

Who you choose to sleep with, what the color of your skin is, whether you are a ‘protected class’ or how destitute you are. These are the new criteria for how well you are treated by the state and society at large.

    ---Violent or drug-addicted mothers get custody of children not based upon their qualifications as a parent, but their gender.
    ---Construction contracts aren’t awarded by the government based upon their quality of work, efficiency or experience, but by ‘preferred minority status.’
    ---Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton don’t judge a man by the content of his character but by the color of his skin. The same goes for the President’s assessment of the Cambridge Police and the Arizona state troopers.
    ---Colleges don’t admit the best and brightest, but are required by Federal mandates to accept the darkest and poorest – regardless of their study habits or hard work.

More and more we see any semblance of merit discarded while non-meritorious traits are used to judge, endorse, and assist segments of society. Personally, I don’t care who or what a soldier decides to sleep with, only how his/her presence helps the Army achieve its purpose of protecting the country and delivering whoopass upon our enemies. And if the Army believes that someone with polka-dot freckles is disruptive to the mission…well, so sorry polka-dotted friends, you have no place in the military. Join Blackwater or some other NonGovernment Agency… but the military is not the place for you. If the Army decides that guys who listen to Duran Duran aren’t helpful to the mission, I’ll gladly step aside and say “good luck, guys… go get Bin Laden without me!” Why? Because the military’s mission isn’t all about ME… it’s about protecting the country and keeping this country safe. If I can help the mission by serving, great! If I can’t, or if my presence would hinder the mission… then it’s better for the country that I’m not there.

[“Ah! But then aren’t you saying that a person should be disqualified based not upon merit, but upon something else?]

Good counter, but the military is a separate issue in that fairness isn’t the primary goal – the mission comes first, not the political correctness or even fairness… the military can be as unfair as it wishes as long as it gets the job done. In this sense, it is the ONLY organization that I feel it is right to place the ends over the means… the military PROTECTS democracy, it doesn’t PRACTICE it… it never has! I believe that if the military is defeated due to an abundance of political correctness, so-called fairness, or other distractions, nothing else will really matter… ‘cause at that point, fairness, political correctness, gay rights, women’s rights and waterboarding wont matter as much to Americans as the death of a million or more of our fellow citizens. And I, for one, will not sit back watching a mushroom cloud hover over Manhattan and think, “well, at least we didn’t torture anyone.” Tell me something, if there were a dirty bomb detonated a block away from your son or daughter would you be willing to accept the results of not using enhanced interrogations?

But we’re getting sidetracked again; the question is merit. I don’t want anything I didn’t earn! And if I have the choice of getting a house just because I’m of Irish descent or living in an apartment for the rest of my life, I’ll take my chances with the apartment thankyouverymuch!

But so many today, our children particularly, believe that just because they are breathing air, just because their mom’s popped them out in America they are OWED something! This is what the graduations-without-valedictorians, contests-without-winners, participation awards without first- or second-places, and lack of competitions (dare I say bailouts-without-failures?) have created! The meritocracy our Founding Fathers fought and died for is itself an archaic concept! And as is always to be expected when competition, challenge, success and failure are removed from the equation, the environment will inevitably settle to a level of mediocrity.

If you work hard, develop a new and improved mousetrap, and become fantastically successful you will be vilified, taxed and condemned. You will be called a ‘fat cat’ by the President and the majority of your income will be taxed to pay for the 49% of Americans who AREN’T paying any taxes at all.

But if you just go out and @#$%@#$% a person of your own gender, you will be protected, paraded, lionized and told you’re ever so brave and courageous for your…. mmmm…. habits of fornication.

Really?!?! Have we truly gotten to a place in our history where whom I sleep with says something, ANYTHING worthwhile about who I am as a person? Do I really want to hang my reputation, my worthiness as a member of society on who I have sex with? Sex! It’s not exactly an achievement to have sex with someone, or something. Animals do it. It doesn’t take intelligence, hard work, integrity, work ethics, devotion, honesty, or bravery. It’s just sex. And yet THIS is with what we value our own existence? I could say the same for skin color. Does the color of your skin have ANYTHING to do with what kind of person you are… if you’re kind, caring, compassionate, loyal, honest, truthful, tenacious, ethical… ANY of the things that really matter about a person?


Skin color and sexual behavior have NOTHING to do with ANY of that, so why do we even care about it? Much less why do we judge a person’s worthiness on something so unimportant and unevolved? Should we base our values of a person on whether they stand or squat in the restroom? It has just as much significance! I’ve often laughed at ‘taggers’ and graffiti artists… they take pride in doing something my dog does (marking its territory – of course he does it with urine and they do it with spray paint… but it’s essentially the same thing.) Do you really want to be remembered for doing something any schnauzer or dachshund does on a daily basis? Do you really want to be remembered for your sexual habits, something every animal does? Do you really want to be remembered for what color your skin was?

How far down this rabbit hole must we go before people realize there is merit to a meritocracy?

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