Meritocracy for Pakistan
One cannot implement democracy in a nation consisting largely of illiterate cretins and expect everything to be hunky-dory.
Am I being too crude? I’ll allow you to be the judge of that in light of the following statistics about Pakistani people:
-78% favor death for those who leave Islam
-80% favor whippings and cutting off hands for crimes like theft and robbery
-83% favor stoning adulterers.
(2009 study by Pew Research Center)
Behold, the state of the Pakistani people in the hands of whom rests the decision to elect our country’s leaders. In a country where 50.1% of the people do not know how to write their own names down on paper, excuse me for being wary of their decision-making capabilities.
Democracy is a brilliant idea for nations that have attained a certain level of public education – where an average citizen is capable of making a good, informed decision, if not the best possible decision. Pakistan, unfortunately, is not such a country.
At the same time I would never, never in a million years, advocate dictatorship. The term “enlightened moderation” for such a thing is naught but a deceptive euphemism, for there is no guarantee that the dictator would be the most “enlightened” person among us.
There is, however, another system that provides this guarantee..
Meritocracy is a system where individuals are selected for high positions on the basis of their merit, not popularity. For readers having trouble imagining how that would work, envisage a country that conducts examinations instead of elections.
What are the advantages of this system?
The country will no longer be held hostage by slick-tongued politicians who can easily manipulate the uneducated masses for their own agendas. The wisest and most capable men and women of the country will be able to find their rightful place in the government.
Furthermore, such a system will encourage citizens to seek the best quality education that they can afford. Enlightened Pakistanis who have been driven abroad due to the lack of opportunities in this country will like be attracted back with this system, since they’ll now have a greater chance at securing high-level government positions.
Who would conduct these examinations?
A special board shall be appointed for conducting these examinations, comprising of some of the country’s top professors in the fields of political science, economics, social studies etc. Candidates will be awarded positions in the administration depending on their merit. The top-scoring candidates will attain top positions in the government. There can be a series of exams, one for each tier in the administration.
Is it possible to cheat you way to the top in such examinations?
Needless to say, these examinations will be nothing like the crude matriculation exams you may be picturing. The exam papers will be meticulously prepared by a team of experts in fields pertaining to the applied positions, and every possible measure will be taken to prevent candidates from achieving high scores through unfair means.
It should be noted that while no system is perfectly immune to corruption, some are less prone to it than others. In democracy, the concern of an election being rigged is always there. In meritocracy, such trickery would be more difficult to achieve. The examinations for high-level government positions will likely receive live TV-coverage, with adequate invigilation. Security checks will be kept over examiners as well.
How does this system differ from dictatorship?
Firstly, the administrative personnel will be selected on basis of their merit, not through power or force.
Secondly, the selected leaders shall remain in power for a limited period of time before having to appear for a re-examination. And there’s a limit to the number of times a person can be awarded same high-level position (like in democracy, not more than two terms). This is different from dictatorship in which the dictator may hold his position indefinitely.
..and the public will have no say in matter?
That’s the idea, because majority isn’t always right. I feel perfectly okay with relinquishing my own vote if I know that the person making the decisions for this country is smarter than I am, and knows thing that I don’t.
However, meritocracy can be amalgamated with democracy as well! In such a case, the candidates for an election would be selected on the basis of examinations. The top-scoring candidates for the exams will then be allowed to announce their candidacy for elections.
Is meritocracy being implemented anywhere in the world today?
Yes. Singapore claims to be meritocratic country. This system is accredited for transforming an ignorable little nation, which it was back in 1965, into a shining jewel of a country in Southeast Asia. We know from this example that meritocracy is perfectly implementable as a system of governance.
Can such a system work in a country like Pakistan?
In my opinion, absolutely. Meritocracy works best in a place where only a small minority of the public is well-educated. This system ensures that in population consisting of a single educated person and 999 that are not, that single capable individual will be picked for the job. It is essentially social darwinism, and I’m all in favor of it!