“In hereditary aristocracies, debacles tend to flow from stupidity and pigheadedness: Think of the Charge of the Light Brigade or the Battle of the Somme. In one-party states, they tend to flow from ideological mania: Think of China’s Great Leap Forward or Stalin’s experiment with “Lysenkoist” agriculture. In meritocracies, though, it’s the very intelligence of our leaders that creates the worst disasters. Convinced that their own skills are equal to any task or challenge, meritocrats take risks that lower-wattage elites would never even contemplate, embark on more hubristic projects, and become infatuated with statistical models that hold out the promise of a perfectly rational and frictionless world.”
Ross Douthat in The New York Times
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