Meritocracy – Power in the Hands of the Intelligentsia
ONE THING IS absolutely certain: The days of the politicians are over. They have done too well their job of being destructive, violent.
Nothing is favorable to the politician; and as each day passes his death comes closer. He himself is responsible. He improved the weapons, which can bring death to the whole world, to such a point that there is no way of going back. Either there will be an ultimate war – which means death to all and everything – or a total change of the whole structure in the human society. I am calling that change "meritocracy."
One thing – we have to drop the idea that every man, just because he is twenty-one, is capable of choosing who is the right person to decide the fate of nations. Age cannot be a decisive factor. We have to change the decisive factor; that is changing the very foundation.
My suggestion is that only a person who is at least a matriculate, a high school graduate, will be able to vote. His age does not matter.
For the local government, matriculation will be the qualification for the voters. And graduation from a university, at least a bachelor's degree, should be a necessary qualification for anybody running for election, for the candidates. A master's degree should be a minimum qualification for the one who is running for mayor.
For the state elections, graduation with a bachelor's degree should be the minimum qualification for the voters. A master's degree in science, the arts, commerce, should be the necessary degree for the candidates. For the cabinet ministers an M.A. with highest honors should be the minimum necessary qualification; more will be, of course, more appreciated. And anybody trying to become a cabinet minister will have to know something about the subject. His qualification should correspond to the subject matter that he is going to deal with in his term of office.
So if somebody is going to be an education minister, then his qualifications should make him capable of being an education minister.
He should have at least a master's degree in education with highest honors; with less than highest honors nobody should be a minister on the state level. Yes, if he has better degrees – doctor of education, Ph.D. in education – that is good, that will make him more qualified.
The attorney general should have at least a doctorate in law, an LL.D.– not less than that, because he is going to defend the law of the state, the rights of the citizens. He should have the best degree possible so he knows everything about it.
The governor should have the best of all the degrees possible for him: M.A. with highest honors, Ph.D. – his Ph.D. should be in political science – and at least one honorary degree, a D.Litt. or LL.D.
For the federal government, a master's degree will be the voter's minimum qualification. A master's degree with highest honors and a Ph.D. should be the minimum for the candidates running for election. And the ministers should all have the highest degrees in the subjects for which they are going to be ministers. If it is education then the highest degrees in education available in the country; if it is going to be health, then the highest degrees in health available in the country.
The president should have at least two Ph.D.s and one honorary D.Litt. or LL.D.; and the same for the vice-president because he can become president any day. In this way mobocracy is destroyed. Then just because you are twenty-one it does not mean you are capable of choosing the government.
Choosing the government should be a very skillful, intelligent job.
Just by being twenty-one you may be able to reproduce children – it needs no skill, no education, biology sends you well prepared. But to choose the government, to choose people who are going to have all the powers over you and everybody, and who are going to decide the destiny of the country and the world, just to be twenty-one is certainly not enough...the way we have been choosing them is simply idiotic.
I would like all the universities – within each state – to call a convention of all the vice-chancellors and the eminent professors; of the eminent intelligentsia who may not be part of the university: painters, artists, poets, writers, novelists, dancers, actors, musicians. It would include all dimensions of talents, all kinds of people who have shown their caliber – excluding politicians completely.
All the Nobel Prize winners should be invited – excluding the politicians again, because within these past few years a few politicians have been given Nobel Prizes, and this has degraded the value of the Nobel Prize.
So from each state a delegation should be chosen for the national convention, which goes into details of how the meritocracy can work.
From the national candidates there should be an international convention of all the universities of the world and the intelligentsia. This would be the first of its kind because never has the whole intelligentsia of the world come together to decide the fate of humanity. They should write the first constitution of the world.
It will not be American, it will not be Indian, it will not be Chinese – it is going to be simply the constitution of the whole of humanity. There is no need for different kinds of laws. There is no need – all human beings need the same kind of laws.
And a world constitution will be a declaration that nations are no longer significant.
They can exist as functional units but they are no longer independent powers. And if the whole intelligentsia of the world is behind this convention it will not be very difficult to convince the generals of the world to move away from the politicians.
And what power do politicians have? All the power that they have we have given to them. We can take it back. It is not their power, it is our power. We just have to find a way to take it back – because giving is very easy, taking is a little difficult. They will not be so simple and innocent when you take the power back as they were when they were asking it from you. It is our power, but they will go on having it if the mob remains there to give it to them; the mob can be convinced about anything.
It is the function of the intelligentsia.... I would like to say that now, if anything happens to humanity, the whole condemnation will go to the intelligentsia: "What were you doing? If those idiots were ready to kill humanity, what were you doing? You simply went on grumbling, being grumpy, but you did nothing else."
And the time is running short. Once we decide that the voting power is not the birthright of every human being but is a right which you will have to earn by your intelligence... You have to see the distinction: Everybody is given the opportunity to earn it, there is equal opportunity for all to earn it, but it is nothing birth-given; you have to prove it.
Once we move the power from the mob into the hands of intelligent people, people who know what they are doing, we can create something beautiful.
If a man who has devoted his whole life to thinking about education and its problems, has done all that was possible to do to find out every detail, every fundamental of education, all the possible philosophies of education – if he becomes an education minister, there is a possibility that he will do something.
I suggest to shift completely from the mob to the chosen few.
I am not against the people. In fact, in the hands of these politicians, the people are against themselves. I am all for the people, and what I am saying can be said to be exactly what has been said about democracy: for the people, by the people, of the people – just "by the people" I will have to change. This intelligentsia will be for the people, of the people. It will be serving the masses.
It is so simple a thing. You don't elect a doctor, and just anybody can stand, because it is a birthright and people can vote...two persons fighting to be the doctor or to be the surgeon. What is wrong in it? The people choose for themselves: for the people, by the people, of the people. They choose one person – to be the surgeon – because he speaks better, he looks good on the television and he makes great promises.
But he is not even a butcher, and he is going to become a surgeon! A butcher would have been better; at least he would have known how to cut – but you don't choose a surgeon by election.
How can you choose a president by election? How can you choose a governor by election? For one post so many people are hankering, desiring. Those who are most sick with ambitiousness will fight the most, they will kill – they will do anything.
You are giving so much power to power-hungry people; with your own hands you are helping them to hang you!
This is not democracy.
In the name of democracy these people have been exploiting the masses.
So politicians and priests both have to be dropped out of their long, long-standing establishment, and a totally new kind of management has to be developed.
Just to make a distinction I am calling my system "meritocracy." But merit for what? The merit is to serve and share. And once you have decided to shift the power from the politicians to the intelligentsia, everything is possible – everything becomes simple.
Meritocracy is a whole program of transforming the structure of society, the structure of the government, the structure of education.
It is a difficult job, arduous but not impossible – particularly in such a situation when death is the only alternative.