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|Posted By: Allen Lambert on July 9, 2008|
|What kind of society would we have were we to treat only institutions rather than individuals? |
What kind of sports would we have were we to think in terms only of teams, e.g., Yankees and Red Sox, rather than also in terms of indivduals, e.g., Babe Ruth and Ted Williams?
Did the Chicago Bulls achieve greatness, or Michael Jordan?
What institution produced Einstein and Relativity? Or Edison and his inventions of such great practical value to modern living?
What kind of society would we have without rewarding individual merit?
Of course there is a socio-cultural dimension to defining merit -- and all other attributes. Is there not also an individual dimension? One worth aspiring to, however imperfectly defined and distributed?
Institutions and individuals are, and will ever be, imperfect. But individuals have a reality which institutions do not. Individuals have unique qualities, like "life" (whatever that is), agency (however limited), consciousness (however false, yet correctable), and so on. We educate individuals, not institutions. We honor persons who act heroically, not institutions. Etc.