When I read the article the above comes from, courtesy of The Christian Science Monitor,
"The Incredibles" suggests "a thorough, feverish immersion in both American comic books and the philosophy of Ayn Rand," writes A.O. Scott in The New York Times, referring to the founder of "objectivism," a philosophy anchored in capitalism and atheism.
all I could think of was Steve Ditko's early version of the Question, his Mr. A, and the rumors as to disputes about heroic philosophy that engendered his parting of the ways with Stan Lee and Marvel.
Is The Incredibles based on objectivism? Is it an anti-liberal screed promoting the concept of an absolute meritocracy? I don't think so, although certainly any story about heroes fighting against a society that devalues them will have overtones of that.
I'm a life-long liberal; I'm also a guy who went through school as the quintessential over-achiever. Skipped a year in elementary school, honors student in junior high and high school. My elder son is following that pattern--graduated fourth in his class from high school, dean's list at college. I'm completely in favor of a merit-based system of rewards.
But I'm also aware that "merit" means more than high grades, or outstanding achievement on the athletic field, or getting the highest salary. There are more things that deserve "merit" than those. Doing good works is merit-worthy. Doing the best you can with a limited ability is merit-worthy. The classic "A for effort" should not be denigrated.
Making an effort is worth celebrating. Should we not applaud the amputee who walks on his own...even if that stride is clumsy and slow? Or the learning disabled person who reads and writes, even if that literacy is at a level several years below his chronological age?
So, yes, I cheer for my academically gifted child, but also for my dramatically gifted other son. I celebrate the idea of the hero who stands above others by dint of his superior abilities...but I also celebrate the idea of the hero who stands above others by dint of his superior efforts.
To do the former is not to elitist; to do the latter is not elevating mediocrity.