Utopian Meritocracy

“Merely existing doesn’t make you worthy.” -Dr. Laura Schlessinger

The movie Starship Troopers is a fun, exciting albeit excessively violent flick. The special effects are satisfying, and the plot, while predictable, mostly makes sense.

The movie stumbles awkwardly and incompletely into a concept that I found particularly compelling, one of meritocracy. The people of this future world must earn their place in society, determining whether they will remain mere “civilians” or become “citizens.” I have a deep admiration and respect for meritocracy, and if I were planning a future for the United States or the world, I would definitely set one in motion.

The trouble often surfaces when such a system is corrupted by blind indoctrination, by those who would manipulate any situation for their personal gain. Much of the time, an unhappy population is the easiest to manipulate, and bringing a major change in social structure is usually only possible through revolution, which is usually made possible by an unhappy population. (The rise of nazism and fascism, or the indoctrination of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge leap to mind as examples.)

So the notion of  “civilian vs citizen” may be an idealistic concept, but I still believe it has some validity.

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1 Comment

  1. I do like the concept of “meritocracy” (much more fully explained in the book “Starship Troopers” than the craptastic movie that was based on it).

    But you’re right. In practice, it couldn’t work and would merely be another avenue to practice racism, sexism, classism, et cetera.

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