The Tyranny of Merit  

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"I love the poorly educated"[1]


"In 2009, as Obamacare was first being debated, John Mackey, the founder of Whole Foods, wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal arguing against a right to health care. His argument relied on libertarian not religious assumptions."--The Tyranny of Merit (2020) by Michael J. Sandel


"Unfortunately many of our health-care problems are self-inflicted: two-thirds of Americans are now overweight and one-third are obese. Most of the diseases that kill us and account for about 70% of all health-care spending—heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and obesity—are mostly preventable through proper diet, exercise, not smoking, minimal alcohol consumption and other healthy lifestyle choices."--John Mackey, founder of Whole Foods, 2009


"Too often in otherwise polite society, elites (progressives emphatically included) unselfconsciously belittle working-class whites. We hear talk of “trailer trash” in “flyover states” afflicted by “plumber’s butt” — open class insults that pass for wit. This condescension affects political campaigns, as in Hillary Clinton’s comment about “deplorables” and Barack Obama’s about people who “cling to guns or religion.”"--Joan Williams

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Tyranny of Merit: What's Become of the Common Good? (2020) is a book by Michael J. Sandel.

Blurb:

The world-renowned philosopher and author of the bestselling Justice explores the central question of our time: What has become of the common good?

These are dangerous times for democracy. We live in an age of winners and losers, where the odds are stacked in favor of the already fortunate. Stalled social mobility and entrenched inequality give the lie to the American credo that "you can make it if you try". The consequence is a brew of anger and frustration that has fueled populist protest and extreme polarization, and led to deep distrust of both government and our fellow citizens--leaving us morally unprepared to face the profound challenges of our time.

World-renowned philosopher Michael J. Sandel argues that to overcome the crises that are upending our world, we must rethink the attitudes toward success and failure that have accompanied globalization and rising inequality. Sandel shows the hubris a meritocracy generates among the winners and the harsh judgement it imposes on those left behind, and traces the dire consequences across a wide swath of American life. He offers an alternative way of thinking about success--more attentive to the role of luck in human affairs, more conducive to an ethic of humility and solidarity, and more affirming of the dignity of work. The Tyranny of Merit points us toward a hopeful vision of a new politics of the common good.

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