Equality vs Meritocracy

What do windmills and highrises have in common? I’ll wait.

True, they are both tall. What else?

What are things I don’t want in my backyard, Alex.

Ding, ding. That’s the money answer.

Nimby. The proof that you were called on a bluff.

You want clean energy and you want lower rents. But the moment you become a homeowner you change teams. You are now balls long a housing crisis. Your outward embrace of high-density housing is like a private unicorn stock. It sounds great but nobody really knows what your untested sentiment is worth. The moment Avalon buys a plot of land in your town, your virtuous stance has to go public and it gets immediately “marked-to-market”. If you don’t want that building in your lovely, bucolic town, then you can write that stance down to zero. Abstract ideals, that was a cute ride you took us on but its time to step aside. Concrete self-interest is gonna drive, we’ve got places to be.

That was a morality warmup.

Going from renter to homeowner is one thing. Now try urban DINKs to parents. The Atlantic’s George Packer is an esteemed journalist, part of the white privileged class. His children were guinea pigs in a prisoner’s dilemma where democracy and meritocracy are on trial. But he at least had a choice. For those less fortunate, there is no shelter from the prevailing winds of current school politics. His story will make you wonder what you will do when the culture war comes to your kids. When your egalitarian values go on trial.

The article is controversial if not poignant. You should read the whole thing because the dilemmas live in the details. At his family’s supper table. At the school board meetings. In the “N-word” passes, and the bathroom crisis. The details are what our kids have to deal with day-to-day while their parents battle over idealogy.

The article is here.

I said you should read the whole thing. Some of you won’t. So I refactored it’s 10,000 words into 1,000 words. You can find that version here.

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