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stay off my side

Timothy Egan writes a guest column in the NY Times in which he whines that Joe the Plumber got published. He starts off the article saying "I don't want you writing books," and goes on to rip the plumber to shreds, rhetorically.

And yeah, I'm not going to buy the guy's book, but... who is Timothy Egan, anyway? The "about the author" section for this column just says "Maureen Dowd is off today." Hm, looks like he's written some books, or something. What were his credentials before his first book was published, anyway?

No true progressive tells someone "I don't want you writing books." Grr.


Dec. 9th, 2008 03:44 pm (UTC)
I think that we need to start using different words for elitism and elite-ism.

I want the best of the best to be doing work like guiding the financial industry, corporations, science and the government. Does that mean I'm elitist? Or perhaps I'm a meritist.

I do not want to exclude people from endeavors because they aren't the best of the best. Even from government. But I don't want them running stuff unless they are qualified. I guess that does not make me an elite-ist. In the same vein as I'm not a racist. (Or try not to be).
Dec. 9th, 2008 10:02 pm (UTC)
You're a technocrat then, not an elitist. A technocrat wants the most "competent" to perform the task, an elitist wants someone with the right "credentials" to perform the task.
Dec. 9th, 2008 10:08 pm (UTC)
How is technocracy different from meritocracy?
Dec. 9th, 2008 10:15 pm (UTC)
A technocrat wants the "best" expert to do the task; a meritocrat wants the proven expert.

So when picking a head of FEMA, a meritocrat will look to the heads of the state emergency management agencies, or to the FEMA subchiefs, and find the proven competent expert. A technocrat will look for the technical expert on emergency management and hire them.

Dec. 9th, 2008 11:59 pm (UTC)
I suppose I should define "Best" better. I would tend to believe that in some situations I'd pike the "technical expert" and in others the "proven expert".

I actually don't see a lot of different between the two situations. If your difference is "experience", then I expect you'd understand when I say "bah." There's plenty of evidence of late to show that those with "experience" aren't all that much better at their jobs than any other choice (Fannie Mae, GM, Morgan Stanley, etc's CEOs for instance).

Edited at 2008-12-09 11:59 pm (UTC)
Dec. 9th, 2008 10:20 pm (UTC)
Ah, okay. I am not sure whether Egan is a technocrat or an elitist from that particular column (which in and of itself suggests that he's not a great writer). His objection to Palin does seem to be grounded in her being an incoherent user of the English language (which sounds like an attack on competence as a writer); his objection to Joe the Plumber seems to be more that Joe is an all-around loser. The complaint about credentials was an attack on his not having a plumber's license, which might be back towards elitist again, but I've always been told to make sure that contractors who work on my house are licensed...


just a guy made of dots and lines

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