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Friday, December 23, 2016

The Philosophical Origins of (the Left's) Identity Politics

The Philosophical Origins of (the Left's) Identity Politics

Hi everyone, KeLvin here! Today , inspired by this charming lady blog post, What is identity politics?, I decided I should explore an avenue of identity politics many ignore all about: the origins of this type of reasoning. Cursed did a good job pointing out the historical usefulness of such politics, and that now they are obsolete, however, where did the modern day definition of identity politics, with all its craziness, originated from? There is a short and a long answer. The short one: phenomenology and the pionner third wave feminist work of Caroll Gilligan paved the way for modern left leaning identity politics . Now for the long one.

Ever heard of phenomenology? I talked about it before, but here is a reminder: Phenomenology is a philosophical epistemological perspective (branch of philosophy that study the concept of knowledge) or current if you prefer, that do a complete 180 degrees and turn it's back to what was, for the longest of time, the only way to think of knowledge. One could argue it was kind of revolutionnary, though maybe not in a good way, since it was very divisive, it opposed those who believed science discovers things from nature , and those who think knowledge is a human creation.  What is that perspective phenomenology is against? Analytical philosophy.  Analytical philosophy is the kind of philosophy you probably know the most about, most philosophers are considered analytical philosophers, most philosophy that is taught also use that perspective, or methodology, since perspective matter a lot in philosophy. What are those you ask? Well, phenomenology, in short, focus on the synthesis of the phenomena, on the synthesis of an experience, while analytical philosophy focus more on concepts, language and objectivity, on the analysis of the phenomena and an experience. If all of this makes no sense, here is  two examples: Jean-Paul Sartre and Immanuel Kant. The first one, father of existentialism, is considered phenomenologically inspired, the second, who created the basis of modern western philosophies AND the division between phenomenology and empiricists, is definitely an analytical philosopher. Now, if you know a little about those two philosophers, which is likely, since they are very influential and important philosophers, you'll know that they have radically different philosophies, but you would certainly notice their work have different perspectives, existentialism is more of a ''first-person'' philosophy, while Kant work is certainly more detached. Amusingly enough, Kant himself seems to have brought phenomenology by using analytical philosophy... To make it simple, Kant realised there existed two levels of reality, the noumenal and the phenomenal.

The phenomenal is all that can be experienced, so our personal experiences, our emotions, what can be scientifically observed... it's reality as it seems to be, it's the real as we experience it (Sugar is white and taste... good). The noumenal is what  the ''true'' real is, but, also, what we can't experience (Sugar is C12H220, a complex molecule made of different atoms and held by different forces, both chemical and physical... this is only an example to illustrate the shift in perspectives, since, technically this is observable and is thus a phenomenon. a true noumenon  would be other people thoughts, emotions or imagination for example. Our imaginations can imagine worlds that defy the laws of our phenomenal world, and no one can know the thought of anyone but themselves. Some think mathematics may be pre-nominal knowledge, but let's not makes things more complicated.). The noumenon goes beyond the phenomenon. Kant said that it's not the human mind that is dicovering nature's knowledge trough science, but the human mind limited perceptions that is creating a knowledge that makes sense relative to our innate sensorical biases (the atom is only a conceptualisation of the noumenon behind the phenomenon that is  matter for example). He's the most famous for saying the human mind itself is a noumenon with his ''paradox of causal decision'': if everything in this world is logic-based as are all phenomenons and that there is a cause for everything, then that means that our free decisions, the cause of many events, must also have a cause, that itself must have a cause... Kant solved that paradox, not by claiming God is the first cause, as did many philosophers before him, but by claiming that the human mind is a noumenon and, as such, can ''break'' the rules that govern the phenomenal 

 Ever heard of the Allegory of the Cave, by Plato? I'm sure you did, it's a very commonly told one, but in case you didn't know, the story goes as follows: a few prisonners are facing the wall of a cave for all eternity, chained to it, behind them,  a light source, a fire, is projecting the shadows they can see. The shadows is all that those men know, all they ever saw (they can't look behind them, or at themselves, and all that is ever shown to them is with shadows, all sounds they hear, they believe it's the shadows). SO, when one day one of them is freed and get to leave the dark cave, to discover that the reality he knew about, the shadows, was just a projection of the world, he tries to bring his friends with him, but they refuse to follow him, they are content with the reality they already have, as they know no better, and got no desire for the truth if it's the unknown. And of course, the freed prisonner himself could barely believe this was the truth, he had to accept it since it was shoved in his face, but his friends didn't have that experience, so they don't believe him. Seeing that he now says he's blind in the dark, that it's not light that is true blindness, but the dark, his friends believe the ''light world''must be dangerous, that it corrupted their friend and gave him weird ideas about a ''superior world'' where ''what we see in the cave is only a projection of the real things''. The freed prisonner want to bring them out by force if necessary, they have to learn the truth! But the prisonners refuse, and kill him. From that point on, anyone trying to bring them into the ''light world'' by force would be killed, for daring to cast  doubts about their reality, their experiences, their phenomenons. If that allegory is too hard, considers that for computers the world is made of only ones and zeroes,as it's all they can know... For more read on Kant, look at this website.

If you are wondering where identity politics come into play, worry not, I'm going there, bear with me. 
SO, now that you aboslutely do understand what is a phenomenon and a noumenon, why is there phenomenologists and analytical philosophers? Well, people didn't like the ''two level of reality'' set by Kant, and so two team formed, the camp ''everything IS phenomenal, the noumenon doesn't exists as Kant describes it'' of the phenomenologists and the ''the phenomenon is lesser than the noumenon, but we can't know the noumenon, so this whole separation is meaningless, as far as we are concerned, only the noumenon matters'' of the empiricists. Yep, I said empiricists, not analytical philosophers. Confused? Don't be, empiricists are merely an extreme form of analytical philosophers. You see, most analytical philosophers found Kant two tiered system of reality rather satisfying and pragmatic, but for some of them, the idea of NOT being able to know the noumenon really upsetted them. So, those philosophers created empiricism, a philosophy of extreme materialism that focus on all that can be observed and demonstrated with evidence. It's the second half of the modern scientific methodology. The first half, I'm sure you remember, is hypothesis. But empiricists don't like maybes, they care about what they can observe only, So, if they only see white swans? Only white swans exists. A modern scientist would hypothesize the existence of color variations, based, say on genes or other prior proven observations of similar species and then would look for the evidence or an experimentation ( breeding a genetically engineered swan in this case) to back it up. Needless to say, all conjectures without evidence is all white smoke, and all evidence without conjectures is pointless. You need evidence to validate hypotheses and you need conjectures to begin looking for evidence to falsify or validate those hypotheses in the first place. That's, people, is why the scientific method has empiricism, rationalism and skepticism. So empiricists were a little... stubborn. They aren't much of a thing anymore. Phenomenologists however... well we are almost there, bear with me a bit longer. 

Phenomenology influenced more than philosophy, it also, understandably, influenced science, especially the social sciences. Sociology is the prime example, followed by psychology. Back in the day, when feminism started being a thing, they were backed by both analytical and phenomenological thinkers (Karl Marx is often considered, along many others, to have contributed to feminism premisses), the second wave is to me, where both approachs influences where at their best. Read Cursed post on that for examples, she did a great job. It's commonly thought that the second wave was just an intellectually more mature version of the first wave, more reflective and calm than the previous wave. However, no one says so of the third wave, ever wondered why? Why does the ideology ( yes feminism is an ideology, not a movement, get over it) of feminism changed so much in about 20-30 years? Carol Gilligan is the answer. Who is  she? Carol Gilligan is mostly known for being the philosopher behind the Ethics of  Care, a phenomenological philosophy based entirely on subjectivity. Explaining the Care isn't simple, but 'ill try... basically she postualte that in morality, the question ''what is just?'' or ''what is good/evil?'' goes behind the question ''how to respond to injustice?''. Gilligan believe we are all, to some degree, interdependant, which isn't false I guess, and she also thinks we need to be extra wary of the consequences of our actions to those that are the most vulnerable to them ( so not the most objectively affected, the most subjectively affected). She also postulate it's men who tend to view things as objectively just or not, that's it's men who tend to make justice objective. If you are confused, I don' blame you, you really need to know Gilligan backstory to understand that part, which is basically backpedalling.

 So, before creating the Ethics of Care, Gilligan was the student of Lawrence Kohlberg, a psychologist. Kohlberg was particularly interested in morality from a psychological point of view. So, he created a little thought experiment that he submitted to a group of men of varying age groups. The experiment was simply asking the men and boys ''if your wife was dying of a terminal illness, and that the only way to save her was to steal the drug from the pharmacy, would you do it? and why?'' the important part for Kohlberg experiment was not to know if they would steal the drug or not, what interested him was the moral justifications people would come up with. So after the experiment, he created a scale of 1 to 6, each stage being incremental, stackable and non-reversible. He concluded that people moral development matured as they aged, but that most people would never reach the two last stages, and that some, like psychopats, never leave the early stages, associated with childhood. After the experiment, Gilligan, bieng a good student, noticed a flaw in his experiment: he assumed the results would be the same for women, and didn't test it. Kohlberg admitted completely omitting the possibility women and men had different moral development rates. So, he and Gilligan remade that experiment, but gender-swapped this time. The results were... embarassing for Gilligan, to say the least. She found out that women, apparently, for the most part, never get over the third stage, related to group conformity ( not authority, the group) and understanding of others intentions. This stage being associated with adolescence, you can understand why Gilligan was upset with the results: she had just demonstrated most adults women used the same moral justifications as teenagers!

 To try to justify this apparent ''female moral immaturity'', Gilligan created the Ethics of Care, and postulated the higher degrees of moral development Kohlberg described were not more mature than the third stage, just different. Women, according to Gilligan, base their moral choices and perception of justice based on personnal relationships, and social links or consequences. She argues women are by nature more emphathetic and compasionnate than men, explaining why their decisions are more focused on tjhe consequences for groups of people they know, rather than an objective moral truth. Ever noticed your aunts or just middle age women in general love talking about people, describing them by the relationship they share, jumping from one person to the other, using one relaionship link to the other? Well, for Gilligan, this just shows how women care about more than themselves. Of course, many feminists and non-feminists alike have criticised her ethics for reinforcing the stereotypes that women are good and that men are cold bastards, but her influence on modern day feminism is undeniable. It's her philosophy, her ethics, that eventually morphed into what is known as intersectionnal feminism, the motherload of the left identity politics (See? Told ya I would get there eventually).

Intersectionnal feminism was just her ethics pushed to the extreme, hence why absurdities such as safe spaces and censorship are promoted by this new wave of feminists. Patriarchy theory exploded with intersectionnal theory coupled with the Ethics of Care. It's obvious, not only is the patriacrchy is sexist, intersectionnal theory says it's racist, homophobic, classist, transphobic... and that everyone that is not oppressed is just like the men Gilligan describe in her Ethics: subscribing to a cold, unempathetic way of thinking.The WRONG way of thinking... Sounds familiar eh? So, there you have it, the philosophical origins of identity politics. I really pushed myself for this one! Hoped you liked it! Sorry for the drawn out explanations, I felt they were necessary, given the complexity of the topic. Thanks for reading, and see you next time! -KeLvin

Here's   a link to a scholar explaining what is intersectionnal feminism, and why it's stupid, I even timestamped it to the important part.

P.S: Thanks Cursed! Your post kind of inspired me to write this. So thanks a lot.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

You Are Not Upset About Fake News...You Are Upset That The News Don't Share Your Biases.

You Are Not Upset About Fake News...You Are Upset That The News Don't Share Your Biases.

It seems that recently the medias, both mainstream  and ''alternative'' are being thrown under the bus for reporting ''fake news''. It was a topic during the american elections, how Trump was being cartoonishly vilified by  the mainstream media (''he's literally Hitler!'' ''I had sex with one of his supporters! OMG!''), and how the alternative media was just making shit up about Hillary ( like that idiotic spiritual cooking thing? That was ridiculous). Now that the elections are over, it seems an avalanche of hoaxes and conspiracy theories are being thrown around.That pizzagate one just being the latest.

 For those unaware, Pizzagate is a conspiracy theory that claims that Hillary and the DNC are involved in a secret pedophillic network in the basement of the pizzeria of a big donor for the DNC in Washington D.C. There is countless reasons why this is false... one of the most obvious one you ask? 

The pizzeria doesn't even have a basement. 

I think I even read somewhere there couldn't even be a secret basement because it's not even possible to build one due to the soil.  

 What really grabbed my attention was all the fake assaults and  hate crimes being reported. Most I heard about were of minorities faking to be attacked by Trump's supporters, or just people spreading pictures of crowds or beat up folks to claim it's a rioting crowd or a victim of aforementionned evil partisans of Trump. Don't worry person that think I am super duper biased myself(I disliked both candidates, for the record), there was also Trump's supporters spreading fake hate crimes against them by Hillary's supporters. They didn't get as much coverage on the mainstream media, but oh boy, that the alternative media believed all of it!

It's a little dissapointing that a simple google image search can prove to you that the pictures used are from older, unrelated events, and that no journalist seemed to have bothered doing that zero effort research themselves. Oh well, that's nothing new for the news... You may complain about fake news, but chances are you are in reality complaining that the news' biases are different than yours.

''Look at these [PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE]'s supporters! They are faking [EVENT THAT NEVER FUCKING HAPPENED]!They are so horrible!'' - Person who most likely shared those fake events themselves  when it  was one that appeared to make their fellow supporters be the victims or made the other camp supporters look bad. 

Seriously, the double thinking and hypocrisy was over the charts during the 2 weeks following the elections. I could talk about all examples of apologetics for Trump or Hillary when they dissapointed their own supporters (like when Trump's supporters learned the wall might just be ''a very tall fence'' that would only be ''partly financed by Mexico'' xD) but that would take too much of  your time ( and mine). Ever noticed that news outlet generally report news accurately EXCEPT when it's against the narrative of the ideologues that dominate their company (or too scientific for them so they get it all wrong and misinform everyone)? For mainstream, it's mostly left leaning, with a few exceptions, like Fox news, and for the alternative media, it's mostly right leaning, except a few odd ones. This is nothing new, in the past those roles were reversed, mainstream was mainly conservative, the alternative was mainly liberal. Nothing surprising to me that when the mainstream take a side, the alternative, hence the name, take the other. That's not a problem really... it kind of always was like that.

The problem is that people are not educated enough it seems to be skeptical of the information being presented to them. When something seems dubious or subject to heavy political or religious bias, you should always try to find multiple sources, even if they contradict each other's, to figure out the truth for yourself. Don't be a mindless  sheep. Wake up sheeple 2015 ( nod to sh0eonhead, you might get the reference... or not). If something seems to especially appeal to your own biases? Then be double skeptical, often reality is less tailored towards your biases than you might like to admit.

Fake news always were a thing, and probably will always be. Sure, I would like journalists to care more about journalistic ethics, especially when you are just reporting an event, the most basic thing would at least be to have evidence it happened... Having biased language when reporting an event is one thing, reporting something that didn't even happen is another. Saying that a politician's opinions (like Trump's) are objectively bigoted or wrong with subtle or not language on what is supposed to be news reports is a thing, claiming the DNC hold pedo orgies in the basement of a Pizzeria without evidence is another.  I would like news outlets to be more reliable, of course, but reality is you still have the responsability to inform yourself. Don't hesitate to consult mutltiple sources, also, you should try to look at sources with different ideological stances than the ones you usually consult, so that you can read between the ideologies to find the facts.

To end this, I will name a few ''news'' outlets I find are utter  garbage over 50% of the time:

Rebel Media,TYT,Infowars,Fox News, The Guardian, Breitbart, Huffington Post, CNN, 99% of sites with the words feminist, communist, nationalist, libertarian, or any other ideological position in the title or in most of their articles. oh, and of course, Buzzfeed, The rectal cancer of the internet.

see you next time -KeLvin 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Is Meritocracy Really The Fairest System?

Is Meritocracy Really The Fairest System?

You read the title. Is meritocracy really a fair system? Most people instincts is to answer yes to this question. But I'm skeptical. The basics of this system is "you reap what you sow" "you get what you earned" "your wealth is equal to your contribution" (the opposite of the communist thinking "everyone get the same wealth regardless of contribution" way of thinking. Interesting). While it does seems to make sense, I always doubted part of it. I mean, of course that the best person for the job should be hired, and of course that certain professionals deserve better pay for spending more time studying (scientists, doctors...) or risking their lives everyday (police officers, firemen/firewomen...)... But if that system is supposed to be the fairest by being the most logical... Why on Earth are those who support it also seems to oppose minimal wages, taxes and most left leaning economical policies? I know, I know, I should judge an idea by its own merits, not by who is supporting it... But it just puzzle me so much.

I find it odd that those people that goes on saying that communism is unfair because it treats all investment in your career as equivalent for the same rewards (and thus unfulfilling, why bother being a doctor if you could get a life as comfortable as a janitor?), think that most billionaires deserve their billions, or that most minimal wage employees deserve their low paycheck... Seems contradictory. It's fairly obvious that many, MANY rich folks didn't work very hard to get the money they got. Many inherited and reinvested part of their fortunes (look at the charts for the richest people on Earth, most inherited a fortune from their families), which is arguably taking a risk (even though many invest in relatively stable or safe investments), but undoubtedly not that hard to do. It's not physically challenging and not that intellectually challenging either, since a lot hire other people to manage their own money.

 I also find odd that a system based on equality of opportunities would work with the current inheritance and education system, or that taxes wouldn't be necessary. Many told me that if you want a good pay, you must invest in your education and negotiate for a good salary. But how do you do that if you are born poor? Obviously if you are born in a rich family, you start with an advantage. It's not very fair, the rich have more opportunities to better themselves than the poor, and would end up being the best, and thus reaping the most rewards, in many cases. Plus isn't such a system immediately screwing those who don't want to study, the physically or mentally impaired, and anyone that is just... Average? Because let's face it, if the current trends for jobs availability maintain themselves (which I have little doubt about), then there will be less and less jobs available. Automation and workplace efficacy has improved so much, that even booming developing countries where the first world sub contract all the shitty jobs for cheap are getting scarce. Slowly, granted, but it's still happening. We also have an ever aging population, we can't just make old folks work till they die for forever, that's not only unfair for those who worked hard all their lives, but also unsustainable. Oh another good point! That system is automatically ageist. It automatically favors those with experience in many cases, and in some specific cases, favor younger people. 

If jobs get rare, without a minimal wage and a financial safety net for those who aren't the best, we are running straight into a disaster.  More and more less skilled jobs are getting replaced, or more efficient so less workers are needed. It's a system skewed against non-intelectuals and those who just want to make a living and don't work out of passion. And, in case you didn't know, more than half of the planet live on wages close to their country minimal wage, when there is one. Even in developed countries most people live on wages close to the minimal wage. The official statistics often only take into account those on the exact minimal wage, but if you earn only 10 cents above minimal wage or between 1 and 3 more per hour, you are still pretty close to it. Yet it's not accounted for in official statistics. Anarcho-capitalists and libertarians can rant all they want about how "easy" it is to get a business and make money, reality says otherwise.

Think about it too, if there is no minimal wage in the future coupled with the job availability decline... What does your knowledge of economics tell you will happen? Even AnCaps and libertarians are not blind enough to ignore the answer: with a lowered offer of jobs, and an ever increasing demand for jobs, people will do anything to get a job, in that case, that mean accepting the shittiest wages (and work conditions) possible. Remember, there is always more desperate than you, always someone willing to live out of unlivable wages in times of crisis. Doesn't matter if you "negotiate" your salary, in the present and near future, employers still have a net advantage in the negotiations. I also bet many are willing to hire "not the best" workers so they can save on wages if the more skilled workers refuse to work for basically nothing. So that's the "hire the best for the job " mantra out of the equation. As annoying as it is when companies and governments hire people solely on their "diversity" levels so that they look good on a public report, or when the opposite happens and people get discriminated against instead of for, let's not forget that companies (and often governments, unfortunately) first and foremost goal is, and was always, making money. Often it's not the best that is hired, but just the cheapest most docile employee that can do the job kind of alright.

How would the large part of the unskilled population that is without a job because of automation and workplace efficacy make a living if there is no financial safety net or if there is one, but it's ridiculously low and not enough to even afford basic needs or rent? It's seems to me that a meritocracy is not even possible without social Democrat ideas like universal basic income and minimal wage. And even with those, the system is still unfair as inheritance and education are still as elitist as they are actually. Because remember, there is also education to take into account for that complicated equation, and education is right now available in limited places too. And thus education tend to favor, again, the rich and the successful. We already know that good looking people have easier lives, simply for having the luxury of being lucky with their isn't fair. Merit isn't enough, it's not always the most deserving that win, even within a meritocracy... That's as naive as believing the good guys  always win, or that  forcing people to share all equally works ( Hi commies!). 

The more I think about it, the more I believe that the only ''true'' meritocracy would, ironically, have to take some authoritarian ideas from communism, and force everyone to start at the same level and have access to the same opportunities, by screwing inheritance laws and forcing schools to take in all students (and building more universities for those students). Of course, that would also be terribly unfair, some people worked really hard to earn a legacy for their descendants, so rendering their hard work meaningless is as awful as the communist "all  work is equal, work is sacred, all must work" belief (that belief is basically advocating slavery by the way. Communists seems to think all those who can work have to. And thus if you force people to work... Well that is slavery. The current system is similar, in that we got to work to earn a living, but at least it's not forcefully imposed by force... Just by the fact that if you don't you will be homeless and starve. Yay!).

I don't know if meritocracy is really the fairest system, but what is sure it's that the current system is terrible. We got an income inequality that is so huge that about 80 people own half of the Earth resources/money/privately owned land. That's outrageous. There is NO amount of work that justify that amount of wealth, these people are disgustingly rich. And since money equal power, they got the means to maintain and even worsen those inequalities for their own interests. Why do billionaires want money until they don't even know what to do with it and even being in the 0.0001% get boring? I don't know, they must be addicted to money , power, or something. Maybe that something is human stupidity, it's infinite apparently, so you can never get satiated with it.  It's unacceptable that in a world where we are able to feed everyone fairly, we choose not to so that we,first world citizens, can gorge ourselves with food until our bellies explode. As terrible as communism would be, I understand why it can be so appealing: at least under the authoritarian regime of the commies everyone can eat, drink and have a roof, even if it is as a slave.

I think we, as a civilization, need to rethink the way we view work. We still view work as something sacred, and we still despise those who don't, can't , or choose to not work, we still judge each other's based on a arbitrary number of diplomas, hour worked and zeroes on paychecks. It's obvious to me that with the automation of low skilled, monotonous alienating jobs, and the ever increasing workplace efficacy, we won't need to all be working to have a thriving civilization. Many fear the automation because of how it affects jobs, but I think resisting this ultimately helpful progress is regressive. People had the same fears during the industrial revolution "Will machines replace us? Will we be homeless and penny less?". And while it is true that it was a hard time (perfect example of a lowering offer, high demand, no minimal wage and work regulation scenario, that eventually lead to the 1929 crash by the way ), it was made pretty clear that without those job stealing machines, we wouldn't have the comfort we enjoy today. Mass production really helped our civilization.
We can pressure governments to create jobs either directly or indirectly, it won't change the reality: we don't need everyone to work anymore. Sure, you can say "let's just raise the demand, then we'll have to raise the offer and thus create jobs to keep up with the demand" but that isn't sustainable. It's clear that the ratio demand/offer is skewed since we are now so efficient at meeting the demand. The demand need to rise indefinitely and ever faster to keep up with our ever increasing population.

Plus do people forget we live on a planet with limited resources? Sure we haven't seen much of the adverse effects yet, but it is bound to happen, sooner or later we will ran out of oil for our transport and plastics, or gold for our computers, or arable fertile land to grow crops on. Shortages will happen eventually. There isn't many solutions to such a problem...we can diminish our consumption of those ressources, diminish our population (without killing people), both, become more efficient, make new technologies that don't use those ressources... Whatever is the price, no one wants to pay it, that's for sure. 

Considering the progress made by our civilization, and the switch from societies of survival to consumerist societies, I think we need to brace ourselves for another great change. We need to enter a society of leisure in my opinion. A society where no one is forced to work nor need to work to live a decent life, and it's fine, since working grant great rewards, so it is still appealing, but not working? No punishment, just no reward and an average life. May seem a little bit ridiculous for now, but we'll reach that point soon enough. All of those movies where humans lead laid back lives now that robots do everything? Well maybe that's not as impossible as we used to think. There will always be a need for real human workers, especially for certain jobs where machines can't, and more importantly, shouldn't, replace humans, like: Physician,Scientist,Lawyer,Social Worker, Police Officer, Teacher... Such a society will get rid of the monotonous harsh physical (or just plain  repetitive) work most of workers in this world do right now. Such a society won't get rid  of the elites, that's for sure, but at least no one  will be left out anymore... Let me know what you thought of my reflections, this one is still quite the quandary for me, as usual, so feel free to comment and tell me what you think. But, as of right now... I don't think meritocracy is as fair as it's supporters says it is. Meritocracy isn't the fairest maiden of the lands. It isn't the ugliest, far from it, but the fairest? We probably will never meet her... -KeLvin