“The Power Elite” by David Brooks (TIMES, 2/19/10)


          The existence of a meritocracy does not prove the existence of democracy. For centuries the Chinese had a meritocracy that served an autocrat and that benefitted the country’s big landowners.

          From the time that autocracy was established in the Third Century BCE, it was challenged by the peasant masses advocating genuine changes that could have made that system more equitable.

          Though those challenges sometimes culminated in huge rebellions that swept all of China and toppled some dynasties, the system was not essentially changed. The Chinese needed a revolution to consign the “old curiosity shopsign of Confucianism to the dustbin of history.” But when such a revolution seemed to be succeeding in the last century, it was compromised by an international order too strong to resist.

          That international order was then and is now dominated by the USA. The commitment of the U.S. rulingclass, which has not changed very much from the late 18th century, is to a New World Order that stands in the way of a genuine democratic system and no meritocracy currently active can change that situation.

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