Dave-E says the Military Industrial Complex and the Meritocracy of Ideas do not have to form a dichotomy, implying that both concepts can co-exist, and contradicting his position from the evening before.
I don't know what these big ideas mean, so I've looked them up.
Former Vice-President Al Gore used the phrase, "Meritocracy of Ideas," in a media conference address in 2005.
If the concept has philosophical precedents (which I'm sure it does), I don't know 'em by name.
In his speech, Gore laments a decay in American public discourse, including mainstream news and opinion, and the high cost of individual contribution to public discourse, in contrast to the situation at the time of the founding of the United States.
America, Gore argues, was founded as a marketplace of ideas, open to every individual and governed by "an unspoken duty to search for general agreement." The Meritocracy of Ideas [capitalized in the transcript] is the process by which the fate of ideas is decided. Good ideas succeed, bad ideas fade, "regardless of the wealth or class of the individual responsible for them." Apparently, this is no longer so.
I'm not sure I can buy Gore's pessimistic view of history--or, rather, pessimistic view of the present--but I like the concept of a meritocracy of ideas, and believe this system not only exists, but has existed in some form or other since long before the advent of Democracy, being a by-and-large natural process. In fact, Democracy, I suppose, is a one of those winning Ideas.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned, famously, of the growing Military Industrial Complex in his 1961 Farewell Address:
"This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."
Now we may call him "President and Great Prophet Dwight D. Eisenhower."
Perhaps Industry and the Military are mutually dependent, and as natural as any Meritocracy of Ideas. Which leads us to cry, How dare the Gods grant us the wonder of the engineering mind, but at such cost!
Or perhaps an alternative. For instance, perhaps Peace yet lacks the merit to supercede War in this great meme-eological evolution. Or maybe Peace IS the winning Idea, but our lives are too little to notice the change of epochs!