A short essay by Beaver on the effects of cronyism and nepotism when they run rampant in society. His analysis of these issues are not particular strange, but what’s surprising is the tone of anger that shows through. Perhaps, as with many other people who make a living in today’s world, he’s been on the receiving end of these issues on more than a few occasions; when being connected to the right people on LinkedIn or whatever else becomes more important to getting a job than actually being able to do the job, the below essay resonates on a more personal level:
Such a statement might seem self-evident to many, yet many won’t believe it either. These people seem to think it is possible to survive indefinitely on a system where the competent are enslaved by the incompetent. It is not so. Nature itself works this way: In order to survive and to propagate yourself, you must be able to feed yourself and protect yourself from harm. Humans may seem out of reach of the laws of nature, but they are not. Humans must still feed themselves, they must still protect themselves from harm, and all the goods and technologies you see around you had to be made by someone. None of what you see around you merely appeared at your wish. Someone had to think for it, had to put it there for you, even if that person was yourself.
Keeping this in mind, we then understand that in order for society to function, people must work. They must think. They must produce. And the more people work, think and produce, the better society works. And the better society works, the more people are motivated to work, think and produce. It’s a virtuous cycle, where one enjoys the product of one’s own labor, hence is encouraged to be productive and intelligent.
However, cronyism and nepotism stand in the way of this simplicity.
Cronyism and nepotism are the idea that people should not be rewarded based on their contribution to society, on their work and intelligence, but rather on who they know, who they’re related to, who they’re friends with and what they think. A system where efforts and talent are less important than friendships, blood ties and blackmail.
Though not diametrically opposed to meritocracy, it nonetheless interferes with it immensely, as you’d expect. When cronyism and nepotism reign, people quickly become less interested in working and learning, preferring to make the right friends and obtain embarrassing information on people with positions of power to use as blackmail against them. Furthermore, as time passes, those who refuse to participate in this obscene system find themselves destitute. Their hard work and their intelligence do not pay off; instead, what they produce is stolen from them, often at gun point, or at the implication of a gun pointing at them. Furthermore, even those who manage to both be hard working and intelligent yet also have the good friends and family ties quickly become disillusioned, realized that they are sustaining a system of leeches.
The eventual outcome of such a system is mere logic. You do not need the power of divination to see that it is unsustainable, and thus will eventually collapse upon itself as production falls off while the population remains as large as ever. Just become people stop working does not mean that they no longer need to eat and remain safe, and having friends and family will not make that food and safety appear in front of you. Society is doomed.
And this is my warning to all those who may read and who seek to sustain a system where anything but merit is rewarded: You are working against yourselves. Anything you do to delay the collapse of that system will merely be a sacrifice, a sacrifice of individuals and resources which will no longer be available to you when the inevitable happens and you need to rebuild. And you will run out of things and people to sacrifice eventually, make no mistake. And at that moment, you will face the abyss and it will be too late. You will be swallowed up and out of the darkness you left behind, if there are any left, they will rise up and rebuild out of the rubble you left behind. It has happened before and if you do not change your course, it will happen again.
Understand this: No sustainable system can be anything but a meritocracy of some form. We might disagree on what merit might be, the specifics and the details. But the undeniable fact is that anything else is society suicide in the long run, something which no one will profit from.
Cronyism and nepotism are the death of human civilization.
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