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September 7th. Meritocracy.

There is a New Dog with a Bushy Tail in the Park. We find it attempting to Save the Day by rescuing a Small Human from its Unwanted Sandwich.

Caspar and I explain that we are Superdog and his Trusty and Morally Equal Sidekick, Fluffy (or, as Caspar puts it, Fluffy and his Morally Equal Sidekick, Superdog. I think that sounds a Bit Silly but Caspar says that’s what John Lennon said to Paul McCartney when they wrote Yesterday, and Now Look Where We Are.)

That’s All Very Well, says the New Dog, and I am Pleased to Meet You. But I am Superdog.

Not So Fast, I say. You are Too Small to be Superdog, I say. How can you possibly Save the Day, I say.

That is the kind of Sizist Statement no Real Superdog would make, says the Other Dog. Talent is not related to Size, says the Other Dog. I bet you can’t Climb Trees, says the Other Dog.

I do not need to Climb Trees, I say. I have been doing the Job of Superdog for Fourteen Months without Climbing Trees, I say. I have never seen you, I say. Where were you Hiding? I say.

That is None of your Business, says the Other Dog. Just because you have Seized the Job of Superdog that does not make you the Right Superdog, says the Other Dog. That is like saying that the Person who has Seized the Job of Prime Minister is the Right Prime Minister, says the Other Dog. Hahaha, says the Other Dog. What a Plonker, says the Other Dog. I read the Guardian, says the Other Dog. His attention to Dogs in Government Policy is Superficial, says the Other Dog. He does not mention Squirrels At All, says the Other Dog. For me Superdog is not a Job but a State of Being, says the Other Dog. It is Who I Am, says the Other Dog. It is not Who You Are, says the Other Dog.

I have Been Superdog Ever Since the Day I Found my Cloak, I say. It Chose Me, I say.

You cannot be Chosen by a Cloak, says the Other Dog. Cloaks do not Choose, says the Other Dog. That is a Ridiculous Superstitious and Metaphysical Justification of your Power Seizure of a Serious Role, says the Other Dog. It is Frankly Totalitarian, says the Other Dog. It is like Suggesting your can Pull a Sword out of a Stone and be King of all the Britons, says the Other Dog. Cloaks do not just Happen to Arrive, says the Other Dog. They are ordered, says the Other Dog. From Amazon, says the Other Dog. I bet you know your Owner’s Password, says the Other Dog.

That is none of your Business, I say. Who Appointed you as Superdog, I ask?

Nobody appoints Superdog, says the Dog. He is Born, not Made.

That is Positively Feudal, I say. You cannot be Born to be Superdog, I say. You cannot be Born to be Anything, I say. Next you will be suggesting that you need your Own Dungeon, I say.

I would like my own Dungeon, says the Other Dog. I would fill it with Nuts, says the Other Dog.

You cannot have your Own Dungeon unless you Earn It, I say. This is a Meritocracy, I say.

What is so Good about a Meritocracy? Asks the Other Dog.

A Meritocracy is a political system in which Individuals Achieve Status on the basis of Talent, Effort, and Achievement, I say. Advancement in such a system is based on Moral Performance, I say. In a Meritocracy Any Dog with the Right Moral Skills can be Superdog, I say. That is the Only Fair way to Do It, I say. You cannot be Superdog just through Luck of Birth, I say.

That Makes no Sense, says the Other Dog. You cannot Restrict the Role to Dogs, says the Other Dog. If the Choice of Superdog is a Meritocracy then a Squirrel has just as much of a Right to be Superdog as You, says the Other Dog.

No, I say. One has to be Born a Dog to be Superdog, I say.

That is Hardly Meritocratic, says the Other Dog. You cannot both Claim that I cannot be Born to be Superdog because that is Antimeritocratic, yet at the Same Time Insist that only those Born as Dogs can be Superdog because only they are Included in your Meritocracy, says the Other Dog. That seems to be the Antithesis of Meritocracy, says the Other Dog. There is clearly nothing Meritocratic about Meritocracy, says the Other Dog. A Meritocratic system is a Paradox in itself, says the Other Dog. It Rewards Achievement rather than Effort, says the Other Dog. It Rewards what you, as a Dog, Arbitrarily Choose to Define as Worthy, says the Other Dog. This rewards Moral Luck as much as Moral Choice, says the Other Dog. It Arbitrarily Selects Qualities such as Barking, Eating Cheese and Living in the Kitchen as Essential in the Choice of Superdog whilst Failing to Account for Qualities such as Living in a Tree, Leaping from Branch to Branch, and Storing Acorns, which may be of Equal Value for Superhero Status, says the Other Dog. Merit is both Subjective and, itself Unfair, says the Other Dog. It is Pants, says the Other Dog.

You are Missing the Point, I say. It is True that John Rawls said that Fair Equality of Opportunity requires arrangements that allow any persons with the Same Native Talent and the same Effort Equivalent Prospects, I say. But Society will always Most Value the Talents that most Enable Community Thriving, I say. If one does not offer Opportunity According to Ability then one must Level Down and we Will not Flourish, I say. Equality itself is a Paradox in certain Situations, I say. Superdog can hardly be both a Dog and Super if he Lives Up a Tree, I say. His Innate Dogness would be Compromised, I say. Other Dogs would Fail to Respect Him, I say. His Superhero Nature would be Irrevocably Altered, I say. It is like suggesting that a Duck could and should be Prime Minister, I say. Although in Some respects this would be an Improvement, I say. Nevertheless, I say, this is why, in Choosing Superdog, One needs the Best Dog for the Job, I say.

Or the Best Squirrel, says the Other Dog.

The Moral Dog looks more closely at the Other Dog. Hang on a minute, I say.

Hahahaha, says the Other Dog, and disappears up a Tree.

I knew he was a Squirrel All Along, says Caspar.

So did I, I say.

Still, we leave the Park Very Quickly and Hope Nobody was Listening.

Categories: dignity dog dog philosophy

Hergest the Hound

I am a dog of many thoughts.

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