At the core of our democracy, there is a basic inequality, not the inequality of wealth, though that is a problem, or the inequality of speech, though some think that a problem too, but the inequality of citizens. – Lawrence Lessig
meritocracy – noun
1. rule by persons chosen not because of birth or wealth, but for their superior talents or intellect
2. the persons constituting such a group
3. a social system formed on such a basis
Meritocracy is seen by most as a “good thing”, the opposite of and a cure for “aristocracy”. Ironically “aristocracy” originally meant precisely “rule by the best”. Funny how that turned out. Is the term “meritocracy” going the same way? The opposite of meritocracy is in fact “kakistocracy” which literally means “government by the worst persons; a form of government in which the worst persons are in power”. Hmm.
This topic was inspired by Harvard professor and philosopher Michael Sandel and his book “The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good?” He sees our free market meritocracy as one cause of the polarization we see in America. Here is an article about him in The Guardian, and here is short video on the subject by Sandel: Why do people vote for Trump? | Footnotes with Michael Sandel, for any who wish to bone up before the salon (not required).
Bohm Dialogue is a freely-flowing group conversation in which participants attempt to reach a common understanding, experiencing everyone’s point of view fully, equally and nonjudgementally. This can lead to new and deeper understanding.
Join us to listen to what others think and to share what you think. The Religious Exploration Salon is a group that meets 3rd Sundays to discuss various topics in the format called Bohm Dialogue which emphasizes respectful listening and balanced, synergistic sharing. For more details about how Dialogue works, please see this intro.
Everyone is welcome. You are welcome to think about the topic beforehand but no preparation is required or expected — come as you are with whatever thoughts/intuitions you have, ready to listen, learn and contribute. We next meet Sunday November 15 at 7pm via Zoom. Past attendees should receive an email with instructions. Or contact Tom Yelton or Jan Hardenbergh for instructions on how to join the Zoom meeting.
Contact Paul Reising, Tom Yelton or Jan Hardenbergh for more information.