Feb 16, 2020
I’ve always been dissatisfied with Targeting Meritocracy and the comments it got. My position seemed so obvious to me – and the opposite position so obvious to other people – that we both had to be missing something.
Reading it over, I think I was missing the idea of conflict vs mistake theory.
I wrote the post from a mistake theory perspective. The government exists to figure out how to solve problems. Good government officials are the ones who can figure out solutions and implement them effectively. That means we want people who are smart and competent. Since meritocracy means promoting the smartest and most competent people, it is tautologically correct. The only conceivable problem is if we make mistakes in judging intelligence and competence, which is what I spend the rest of the post worrying about.