on the beginning and middle of the meritocratic era:
Last fall, Toby Young did something ironic. Toby is the son of Michael Young, the British sociologist and Labour life peer whose 1958 satire The Rise of the Meritocracy has been credited with coining the term. Toby has become an education reformer in his own right, as founder of the West London Free School, after a celebrated career as a journalist and memoirist (How to Lose Friends and Alienate People). In September, he published an 8,000-word reconsideration of his father’s signature concept in an Australian monthly. The old man was right that meritocracy would gradually create a stratified and immobile society, he wrote, but wrong that abolishing selective education was the cure. “Unlike my father, I’m not an egalitarian,” Young wrote. If meritocracy creates a new caste system, “the answer is more meritocracy.” To restore equality of opportunity, he suggested subsidies for intelligence-maximizing embryo selection for poor parents “with below-average IQs.” The irony lay in the implication that Young, because of who his father was, has special insight into the ideology that holds that it shouldn’t matter who your father is.His outlandish resort to eugenics suggests that Toby Young found himself at a loss for solutions, as all modern critics of meritocracy seem to do.
more–& a bit more on this from me in a little while, but go and read her thing first. Don’t miss the parable of the “fags’ rebellion of 1829.”