10. The Meritocracy matter

Disclaimer: I don’t know much about this subject. This is just my personal thoughts and essays. Please do not use it as a foundation for your decision-making.

I have to admit, even though I’m not American and don’t live there, I’ve been keeping a close eye on the 2024 US Elections. Well, at least for now 😉

Lately, I’ve been particularly interested in one of the Republican candidates, Vivek Ramaswamy. Maybe it’s because we share our South Indian roots, with me by birth and him by ethnicity.

While diving into his interviews and speeches, I stumbled upon a captivating term: “meritocracy.”

Now, I’d heard of “merit” before, and how crucial it is for achieving success, but this was the first time I encountered it in the context of governance, and it sounded somewhat like “democracy.”

So, what’s the deal with “meritocracy”?

Well, it boils down to this:

Success belongs to those who’ve earned it through their intelligence, talent, and sheer effort.

Sounds fair, right?

But here’s the kicker: What if you’re someone from a marginalized community? You know, someone who’s been pushed to the fringes by an authority, society, or even the government? In this scenario, you might never get the chance to put your best foot forward. Heck, you might not even realize that there’s an opportunity waiting to be seized or that you could be meritorious too.

Growing up, I noticed that most meritorious students hailed from a specific kind of family:

You’ve got the ones where parents are always pushing their kids to excel—whether it’s in sports, academics, extracurriculars, or a future profession.

And then there are those situations where parents are a bit more laid-back, letting their kids learn through trial and error.

Now, let’s talk about the “pushed” kids for a moment. They tend to be ultra-competitive and have a knack for grasping, understanding, and executing things like pros. They’re confident risk-takers, and failure, if it ever happens, is just a minor hiccup they swiftly overcome. In some rare cases, they may face deep depression that’s tough to bounce back from.

So, we’ve got three types of “push families“:

  • 1. The high-values crew, who instill deep moral values and teach their kids how to tackle life’s curveballs, plan strategically and persevere.
  • 2. The simple-values folks, who preach the timeless “be good and do good” mantra.
  • 3. The low-values bunch, who believe in succeeding by any means necessary, even if it’s not exactly ethical.

Now, when it comes to the “no-pushers,” they also come in three flavors:

  • 1. Parents who don’t push simply because they lack the knowledge or awareness.
  • 2. Parents who couldn’t care less about pushing their kids in any direction.
  • 3. Those unfortunate cases where there are no parents or guardians around to provide any kind of guidance. Think orphans.

Both the pushers and non-pushers intrigue me because, let’s face it, society is a mix of both. We interact with all these folks in various scenarios.

Now, here’s where things get deep. In the realm of philosophical debates, there’s a push for governments to embrace meritocracy over quota systems. This essentially means no special privileges or reserved “seats” for disadvantaged groups. It’s a level playing field, and your best effort is what counts.

But here’s my take, and it’s based on what I mentioned earlier: Not everyone starts from the same playing field. It’s already a mix of highs and lows out there. A level playing field would make sense if every individual were trained in exactly the same way, had identical opportunities, and enjoyed an equally conducive environment for competing. Only then could we bring them together and let them go head-to-head.


In conclusion, let me be clear—I’m not against meritocracy. I believe it’s vital for humans to push their limits and reach for the stars. However, as we strive for greatness, we must also extend a helping hand to those who, due to circumstances beyond their control, can’t climb the same mountains we can.

What’s your take on all this?

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