We Meritocrats

About a year and a half ago I read Neurotribes. Throughout it I kept seeing in each of the autistic cases Silberman mentions that they seemed particularly focused on merit.

I definitely believe in meritocracy, and I always have. It was only reinforced when I read (and recently re-read) Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, in which Rand (who was almost certainly a fellow Aspie), provides a epic celebration of meritocracy. Indeed, her primary argument against socialism or even the interventionist state is precisely that people are rewarded for things other than merit (for her the worst is mere social connections).

It is perhaps not surprising that people who identify with their work and who aren’t particularly social would think that the best system is one that recognizes people for their actual accomplishments than for their social/political skills. Of course, social skills and political skills are practically the same. Which is perhaps why many on the spectrum I have met have been particularly anti-politics if not outright libertarian. To us it seems a pretty stupid way to get things done, since nothing is getting done while everyone involved get rich and powerful while producing nothing of worth to anyone.

We thus have a tendency to respect creators, inventors, and other such entrepreneurs but not the kind of people who get what they want because of their personalities or their social skills or who they know. We appreciate the artists and the scientists and the inventors but not the social butterflies and the politicians and the demagogues.

But let’s be honest. We creators need the kind of people who can promote our work, if we’re not natural promoters (and we on the spectrum definitely are not). We autistic creators in particular need a promoter in our lives, someone who will make sure our things are published, sent out, or marketed to the right people.

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2 thoughts on “We Meritocrats

  1. The more I read your blog, the more I think that I could be somewhat autistic. I agree 100% with what you’re saying. When I was in school growing up, I didn’t like that I was unpopular because I focused more on accomplishment than socializing. I was very shy and an introvert. But once I would warm up, I could make friends easily. But that changed when they changed me to another school right when I became a teenager and my upbringing (work hard, etc.) and my being shy made the years that followed very hard for me.

    I still believe that merit should override other things. And after being married to a narcissist, I believe this even stronger.

    Liked by 2 people

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