Many times I hear the same refrain, that they don't like multiculturalism or affirmative action or welfare or crime either, and that they would clean it all up too, but they would do it without ever involving race, they would do it democratically, they would do it without hurting anyone, they would do it all with birds singing and rainbows shining in the background.
Their solution is libertarian meritocracy. In this scenario, people of all cultures and backgrounds could live together because no one could impose their way of life on anyone else, nor would anyone be a burden on anyone else, no matter how poor their performance. Race and culture don't matter, only merit matters, anyone who wants to do well for himself is welcome to live in this enlightened land. Freedom is supreme, wealth flows eternal through the gardens of capitalist free-market competition and trade, and everyone gets together to sing kumbayah at the end of the day since peace enters the hearts of all prosperous and happy people. However, they have never explained to me HOW this law code is going to come about, or how this state will be kept a capitalist meritocracy, or how such a country can be founded in the first place, since it has no adherents and no natural base population but is an ideal shared only by those who would benefit most from it -- smart rich elites.
No one wants to live in a libertarian meritocracy, except the very proponents of this plan. It has never existed in human history, unlike practically every other government system on earth, precisely because it is the least popular government imaginable. The idea that if you simply talk to people enough, you will convince them of the blessings of libertarian meritocracy, ignores human nature or the fact that only a few winners would ever exist in such a system. It is not in people's self interest to live in a libertarian meritocracy, if they self-destruct when left free and lose when forced to compete. It is a system for a bunch of spoiled smart people who somehow imagine everyone is like them, instead of with IQs as far apart from them as normal men are from dogs. That everyone is ruled by reason, when nearly everyone is ruled by instinct and emotion. Compared to "Race is everything, there is nothing else." Or "There is one God and Muhammed is his Prophet." Or "Jesus died for your sins." Or any other short, simple, comprehensive morality, libertarianism demands everyone take care of themselves and, in a zen like meditation, form their entire own unique perspective on life and moral code just like Plato or Aristotle did. This is absurd. Only a handful of people every century are bright enough to be 'their own men.' Everyone else follows, and is glad to follow, and wishes to be ruled. It is a complete ignorance of human nature to demand everyone be a philosopher-king and no one a simple minded peasant subject. Egalitarianism, the idea that we're all essentially the same and have the same capabilities mental and spiritual, strikes again. Libertarianism, far from being a universal good, makes most people a slave to their passions, instead of a moral order, a strict God, or a guiding State. Instead of producing rainbows, it produces slums, anarchic gangsterism, teenage dead-enders full of drugs and alcohol and looking like auschwitz victims as they stumble into the hospital for yet another detox. Libertarianism, instead of producing songbirds, produces silent springs where 1/3 to 1/2 of women don't have a single baby and no strollers, no playgrounds, no streets resound with our new generation's shouts and cries. This is the result of the freedoms already granted us, we are choking to death on them, and yet libertarians insist that more freedom, not less, is the answer.
I haven't even mentioned yet the obnoxious accumulation of wealth into a tiny few hands who, through libertarianism, gain more power than any dictator or king ever had, due to the nature of competition. If a gold medalist wins by even .01 seconds, that person will be showered with adulation and praise and endorsements, while the loser will be forgotten and ignored. In the same way, if some industrialist manages to save a single penny over his competitor, his competitor will go bankrupt and collapse into ruin, while the penny pincher will triple in wealth from this feat alone as investors and employees rush in. This natural phenomena would serve to concentrate wealth into an ever-decreasing circle until one could imagine the entire country belonging to a single man who managed money the best. Where else would anyone put their money in a meritocracy? Never minding the fate of all the losers in a meritocracy who by not being economically productive, are deemed worthless spiritually as well and cast off by a libertarian meritocratic society to go die in some gutter somewhere. After all, why would charity exist in a world that recognizes no moral authority (libertarianism) and venerates only merit (meritocracy)? The same people who wish to disband all obligations and all legitimacy to the poor, turn around and sneeringly say 'private charities' will take care of them. Private charities infused with the same moral principles as the government? Private charities infused with the same spirit of competition and absolute individualism as the government's laws? And how, pray tell, would the government be maintained unless everyone agreed with its moral principles? So, given that the populace is not forced against its will into a libertarian meritocracy, but are all true believers in the moral rightness of libertarian meritocracy, who exactly would pick up the tab? Family members? But a meritocracy has no place for ties of 'blood,' relatives would judge each other purely by merit and accept no constricting requirements or costs on taking care of someone they didn't choose to owe anything. Churches? But a libertarian world has no place for a strict God or an irrational Faith, that would tie them down. Who is going to pick up the tab? Greedy capitalists who have been taught their merit grows and grows by the money they make, not the social good they do for others? Rich industrialists who compete with each other for the prize of 'merit' and the esteem of the public who have now perfectly wedded morality to money? Unless the system is self-subsistent, I refuse to allow some alternate philosophy to be doing all the hard work while libertarian meritocracy just kinda floats above it all and enjoys the high life of a tax-free world. That is a cop-out. Libertarian meritocracy has no solution for the poor, unfortunate, or inferior. In truth, they intend to simply wipe these people out, as that is the only result of a world with absolutely no obligations to people who cannot take care of themselves. The other alternative is through selective immigration to a new world or secession to form their own state, a libertarian meritocracy could be composed of 'only the best.' Even then I foresee singers who can outsing 99.99% of the people on earth losing in a meritocracy and starving to death in some gutter, unable to afford a crust of bread because they don't 'merit' it. Why bother with second place after all? What, after all, is a country composed of only the best? How many people could that possibly be? 1,000? 10,000? Whatever the number, it's meaningless for the remaining 6.7 billion of us who still need a government system that supports and uplifts us.
Furthermore, people are innately resentful of anyone who stands far above them. They have an innate desire to pull down and humiliate anyone who lords over them. The pecking order, the totem pole, is an essential characteristic of all pack animals, and the lessers are always trying to pull down and replace their betters. No one is going to see these rich winning by 'merit' all the women, all the wealth, all the natural resources, all the esteem, all the everything, that these same rich cannot hold by force. Let's put this simply, no one is going to lie down and die for you. The illusion that everyone will freely consent to the 'merit' of money-makers to 'deserve' all the rewards of the world funneled into one giant basket of personal consumption is naive. People would immediately resort to violence to reclaim what they could not get through free market competition, because WHAT DO THEY HAVE LEFT TO LOSE? Your competition has already taken everything from them, even their women in giant alpha-male harems, because again, a meritocracy must be infused with the ideals of merit, and that means all the women would want only the best, richest, alpha males and would never be content with the leftovers. This is not some libertarian meritocracy that actually follows a completely different set of morals, that is too convenient for the proponent, I want a system that is self-sufficient and doesn't need other principles buttressing it up. It's what I can provide, and if my opponent cannot but must become a chimera of conflicting, pretzel beliefs to create even a halfway decent society, then through aesthetic simplicity alone my principles are superior. In my society, lessers respect and obey their betters, and betters love and protect their lessers, because they are all one race, one body, one community, and they are all in it together. Libertarian Meritocracy, that utter pipe dream that has never been enacted and never can due to it foundering upon the rocks of human nature, cannot do this. It fails the most simple test of government and that is to ensure domestic tranquility and the general welfare. Not the special welfare of a lucky few, the General welfare. Everyone in your society must be better off due to your government, not a tiny handful, or why should they remain in such a losing proposition?
Let's go back to libertarianism's gingerbread house promises, which in the end just feed you for the witch's own ends:
1) Freedom from government, but with a powerful police and army to protect from any other aggressors, a peaceful foreign policy that doesn't make trouble with others. No taxes will exist, and thus no public spending either, beyond some tiny pittance to support the common defense. No regulations will exist and people will be allowed to conduct any sort of contractual agreement they please, whether selling themselves into slavery, prostitution, or buying drugs and becoming living slugs. No morality will be propagated and everyone will be free to come up with their own in zen-like meditation. No public goods like parks or natural resources will be permitted, no investment in human capital via education or health care will be allowed, no patriotism or religion will be enshrined, no infrastructure or research or monuments, nothing at all will be done by the government. No other group will do any of this either because people take their moral cue from those in charge and will simply emulate them and their cutthroat morality. No substitute government will charge in like a white knight and do the job for them, or if they do, it no longer would be libertarian anyway--the jobs so necessary to the state will simply be left undone, and everyone left to fend for themselves.
However, the gingerbread portion is no regulations means--no bad regulations like affirmative action! No taxes means--no bad spending like welfare! No public goods means--no nasty environmentalists getting in the way of production! No investment in the future means--getting to live it up in the present, free and rich! No children means--more workers and a growing economy, fewer unemployed! The absolute myopia of their solutions, solutions that simply destroy the state so that no state errors will be made, does indeed offer a solution to every issue arising--but so would simply blowing up the planet which could quickly end welfare, affirmative action, and unemployment too.
As much as I detest freedom and the resultant individualist uncaring hedonistic nihilism that follows, meritocracy is an even worse dystopia.
Let us be clear, whenever people talk of a meritocracy, they speak of a MONIED meritocracy. People shall be given whatever they can earn in a free market society, and be esteemed for their great value and worth, precisely based on how much they earn. They shall be allowed to buy anything they want with this money, and no one else has a right to any of it. Anyone who can't make money is worthless, and that is why the libertarian half where you don't have to spend anything on them comes blissfully in. Only in a meritocracy can a libertarian government be justified--in every other moral code, people have innate worth and thus a claim on their fellow man. Only be denigrating the value of mankind and a human life, can one be freed from any responsibility to it. This is the double punch of libertarian meritocracy. As you can see, libertarianism is hedonism that requires meritocracy to enjoy its selfish existence, any other principle would quash it and thus people would lose their precious freedom. This means it is meritocracy, not libertarianism, that deals the real death blows to life. It is meritocracy which dissolves the family as a sentimental meaninglessness, because your brother is only a such-and-such wage earner, not your brother. Your child is only a such-and-such wage earner, not your son. Your wife is only a such-and-such wage earner, not your wife. There is no merit outside of money. And no worth to anyone not making money. A meritocracy denies the soul because the soul doesn't make money. That is why they can all be discarded to die at the roadside, never given a helpful word of advice, never given a moral guide, never given a chance by supportive services, never given anything because they didn't deserve it. Meritocracy grows even more absurd when leading figures of the country, buggy whip manufacturers for instance who have been vastly productive, well beloved, deeply respected, suddenly become morally 'worthless' with the invention of the car and abandoned by all to starve to death by the roadside. The exact same person who yesterday was, through 'merit,' one of the best people in the nation, is the next day, though the exact same, through the same 'merit,' becomes one of the dirty worthless wretches who needs to crawl away somewhere and die. So much for gratitude in a meritocracy! Not the way you lead your life, or the values you share, or brotherhood, nothing but 'how much are you earning now?' enters the formula. It is needless to mention that the retired elderly in a meritocracy would be abandoned to their fates--better save up or tough toots, grandpa. Like the eskimos the tribe will simply leave them on the ice and keep walking if he can't keep up. There is no love in a meritocracy, only cold calculation. A relationship that has lasted 20 years can end the next day, if the wife finds someone with higher 'merit.' After all, if merit is the sole justification for property possession, then if someone else is better than you, you've lost all rights to your wife of 20 years. Who are you to complain? You didn't deserve her. You have to earn what you have, and that's through competition, right? And libertarianism is singing right alongside saying there's nothing wrong with any voluntary act between consenting adults, even if that's adultery, treachery, or abandonment. After all, it was her CHOICE, and what matters is people are free to choose--not that the choice is good, right, just, or true. All human bonds are torn asunder in this nightmare universe of unnatural values. The imagination opens up to endless vistas of suffering the more you adopt the code, the more principled you make it. It is worrisome when advocates of a position must make it as weak as possible, as little used as possible, to make it at all workable. I much prefer principles that strengthen you the more you adhere to them, that shine the brighter the more closely they're followed, which promote good the more power given to them. Libertarianism and meritocracy are the exact opposite. The more sway they are given, the more obnoxious they become. If kept in their place, of a few limited freedoms and a few limited property rights, in the field that becomes them most, like lighting on a stage or costumes for a play, they can both do quite nicely. Unfettered, unsealed, they become ravenous dragons which consume society whole and leave nothing but ashes and extinction behind.
So the next time a racist or a fascist hears the siren song of libertarianism, asking you to come closer to live in your color-blind society which respects all men equally and universally protects your property and freedom from all the ravages of third-worldism, tell them no thank you, strap yourselves to the mast, put earplugs in your ears---the song is sweet, the destination bitter.
There is only one natural society, and that is tribalism, the one we evolved to live under for millions of years. There is only one modern government informed with the principles of tribalism, and that is nationalism. There is only one bind that truly glues together a society, that truly promotes domestic tranquility and the general welfare--and that is blood.