Meritocracy has been jettisoned in the interest of leveling the playing field of human achievement, to keep children and young adults from feeling "disappointment", or experiencing any sense of inferiority or failure. The concept of ‘excelling’ has been compromised; suffering a gruesome knife wound to the core of what has made our country great. I cannot imagine a more ridiculous philosophy.
Excellence has historically been something that was rewarded when identified in someone. It truly has been one of the backbones of our Democracy. No longer. College campuses have morphed into a contradictory morass of inclusion and separatism. Nobody can be excluded, but every fringe group has their exclusionary window. Every race, every nationality, every religious faction, every sexual orientation, has their own club, student union, mess hall, dorm, newsletter. Just don't try to keep someone from joining it.
It separates people. On a college campus, no less. One of our few remaining sacred bastions of free thinking and the pursuit of the truth. So why is this divisiveness not only allowed, but encouraged?
It starts much earlier. The sports landscape has been completely bastardized on the grade school, middle school and junior high levels. There is an invasive faction that wants winning to be de-emphasized, so there are no losers, and the focus on kids ‘self esteem’ has supplanted the goal of success.
I hate this on a level so personal that I won't bore you with my rant. Sports, when engaged in the way it was meant to be engaged, is about healthy competition, with a winner and a loser, and has often been, for many young people, more of a learning arena than the classroom, with the potential to teach life lessons very succinctly. Some of the most important tenets of what the human experience is about are NOT ambiguous. There is no gray area in some parts of life where common sense and pragmatism rule. And sports provide an environment for which the classroom cannot compare.
The absence or elimination of meritocracy will breed mediocrity. Where never is handed down a discouraging grade.
Is that what we want?
It is a radical liberal mindset that is behind this movement. People are not created equal. To pretend otherwise is ignorance at its most dangerous level. Life has never been remotely fair. To contrive a landscape where fairness presides is misleading, and steering children down a dark road of denial. There are winners and losers in life, as in sports. To artificially change that will screw up the mindset of a whole young generation which will have no tools to deal with the first time life punches them directly in the nose. We are not equipping this generation with those tools.
I like to call it toughness. I think we will be represented shortly by a generation of pussies. If boys and girls have not been taught resiliency, not been taught how to deal with defeat, not been taught how to get up and fight back, what do you think they will be as adults?
I have played sports almost my whole life. I am a scholar of the professional sports scene. A person can clearly learn more from losing, than from winning. About character, about toughness, about resiliency, about reality, about facing failure head on. About bouncing back from losing. It's called life. Sports are such a valuable and easy classroom from which to teach young people about life.
So, in either academia or sports, if the effort is to assuage the underachievers to the detriment of the greater good, that is ridiculous, and it undermines centuries of the noble pursuit of excellence. We should anoint the superb. Give the overachievers the benefit of the doubt at all turns, and reward excellence.
That should be the goal.
© Copyright 2016 Bill Rayburn. All rights reserved.