Challenging the ‘Cognitive Meritocracy’ | Beaufort County Now | Jorge Gonzalez-Gallarza Hernandez reviews for National Review Online a new book that challenges popular beliefs about leadership from the “best and brightest.” | john locke foundation, cognitive meritocracy, leadership, popular belief, december 8, 2020

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Challenging the ‘Cognitive Meritocracy’

Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the John Locke Foundation. The author of this post is Mitch Kokai.

    Jorge Gonzalez-Gallarza Hernandez reviews for National Review Online a new book that challenges popular beliefs about leadership from the "best and brightest."

  • [C]onsider David Goodhart's discussion of the crisis in what he calls today's "cognitive meritocracy." The doyen of British scholars of populism, Goodhart in his bestseller The Road to Somewhere (2017) documented the profound value divides that Trump and the Brexiteers rode in 2016, between communitarian patriots and a deracinated elite driven by self-actualization, cosmopolitanism, and adaptiveness to social change. Even when they take the form of electoral upsets, these divides remain rather symbolic. Those who weaponize them electorally haven't always translated them into actual policy change. After formulating the anywhere-versus-somewheres dichotomy, Goodhart in his new book, Head, Hand, Heart (2020), shows again his knack for capturing complex social science in readable prose, although this time with a deeper cut. Here he extends his inquiries beyond the realm of politics and grounds them in far deeper moral questionings.
  • The over-rewarding of cognitive merit at the expense of the wider spectrum of human ability is, in a way, one cause of our populist moment. But in another sense, unlike the case with unchecked immigration, supranationalism, or deindustrialization, it was not the elite's deliberate policy preferences that gave us a "cognitive meritocracy" but rather far deeper trends in political economy and social mores, trends that Goodhart is ahead of the curve in documenting. The book was ready before March, so if COVID-19 helps in any way to even out the rewards to those who have different skills and make different economic contributions, it'll have been sheer luck for him. The pandemic may in fact also take the political sting out of his case, for it is precisely the cognitocrats working remotely who were made to realize the indispensable role of hand and heart — the essential workers keeping our shelves stocked and our ailing patients ventilated.


Latest Op-Ed & Politics

This man sets and example for us all
Naomi Lim of the Washington Examiner reports on special plans for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week.
Less than a year after an audit of the N.C. Department of Transportation found massive overspending, a blue-ribbon panel is recommending the department get a 40% budget hike.
Today, America's second Fake Impeachment of Donald J. Trump, just days before he leaves office, may speak more about those Impeaching the President than he who is indicted.
For the last four years, Donald Trump kept back the tide. But now, it’s up to Congress.
In her fine opinion piece for the Martin Center, Megan Zogby bemoans the “Quixotic” requirement that North Carolina college and university students take between two and four courses in a language such as Spanish, French, or German.
Andrew McCarthy of National Review Online admits early in his latest column that he believes President Trump has “committed impeachable conduct.”


With civic and political conflict headlining the news nearly every day, I’ve been searching for a bright spot on which to pin my hopes for reconciliation in this country.
According to Politico, Sunday’s rehearsal for Joe Biden’s inauguration has been postponed due to safety concerns, with the rehearsal now being planned for Monday.
Get a good cup of coffee and decompress with The Wolfman as he gives us his account of what really happened on the ground in DC. This is an exclusive series that will not be found anywhere but BCN.
Rich Lowry of National Review Online documents the social media giant’s influence on American political culture.
Pot calling kettle black: Another example of the hypocrisy of the Left/Democrats


More and more school districts are making decisions not to return students to in-class instruction until early spring
Former State Board of Elections Chairman Josh Howard says there could be dire consequences for future elections if the governor is allowed to appoint a judge to a newly created Wake County District Court seat.
Two banks that previously did business with President Donald Trump are cutting him off following the Jan. 6 riot in the U.S. Capitol.
Alan Jacobs’ new book, Breaking Bread with the Dead: A Reader’s Guide to a More Tranquil Mind, is a coaxing argument to read “old books that come from strange times.”
Hayden Ludwig writes for the Washington Free Beacon about a new method for left-of-center money men to bankroll their favorite political causes.
The Supreme Court struck a blow for good government Wednesday when it upheld Texas' restrictions on mail in ballots
Nearly a month after COVID-19 vaccines made it to North Carolina, the state has administered only a quarter of the doses it has on hand — one of the slowest roll-outs in the country.
Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook has now joined the ranks of those of us who have created moderated informational platforms that act as a hybrid publication.


Back to Top