Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei 2nd Book: Excerpts on Meritocracy

The following excerpts are from an unofficial translation of the 2nd book in the Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei novel series: Enrollment, Part 2. The series is also known as “The Irregular at Magic High School” in English, and is written by Tsutomo Sato. These excerpts are intended as fair-use for the sake of critical analysis of themes within the series.

Excerpt 1:

However, the idea that this country’s Magicians received preferential treatment from the political system was false. To be precise, since Magicians are treated like tools to be used by the military and other government branches, to say it was “inhumane” treatment would be closer to the truth. This was because when compared to the neighboring country with the highest population in the world, there was no other way to match the sheer difference in the number of troops that could be mobilized besides adopting a quality over quantity approach.

It was true that Magicians serving in the military or the government received a higher salary, but that was in compensation for increased labor as well as expended life energy. The criticisms leveled by the Anti-Magic Organizations focus solely on the lack of their own benefits, and thus create anti-establishment organizations, of which “Blanche” is the most active.


Excerpt 2:

“Their proposal is to abolish the differences in society caused by magic. Just this, by itself, is an unimpeachable and correct idea.”

“…Yes.”

“In that case, what is this so called difference?”

“An individual’s talent or hard work does not reflect adequate compensation from society…?”

“I just said, Miyuki, think outside the box.”

As he said this, Tatsuya picked up the remote control from the table, and turned to the screen. There were sixteen different pictures, one of them was brought forward and magnified.

“Blanche is a political organization on the surface. Their evidence for Magicians receiving preferential treatment comes from the difference in salaries between Magicians and non-Magicians. The difference they speak of is the difference in mean wages. But that’s nothing more than an average, a single result. They do not consider the extent of hardships that Magicians go through to obtain their high salaries. They also ignore the fact that Magicians are only allowed to work in fields pertaining to magic, even if these backup Magicians would receive lower salaries than ordinary office workers.”

Tatsuya’s voice was bland and almost completely emotionless. However, a tiny trace of melancholy could be detected.

“No matter how capable or strong, so long as society does not need that magic, monetary compensation and recognition remain impossible.” Miyuki painfully lowered her gaze.

Tatsuya stood, paced a few steps, then tenderly placed a hand on his sister’s shoulder.

“There is a reason why Magicians have such a high mean salary. That is because society requires certain specialized Magicians. Because there are a small number of outliers that throw off the average, the mean salary becomes so high. Next, for Magicians active on the frontline and capable of contributing to society — no, that’s overly embellishing it. It is because Magicians can provide society some sort of benefit, monetary or otherwise, that grants them larger compensation, and not merely for the fact that they are born
Magicians. The world of Magicians is not naive enough to believe that simply being born with magical talent guarantees prosperity. This, I think we are well aware of. Right, Miyuki?”

“Yes… Very well aware.”

Miyuki nodded as she put her hand atop her elder brother’s hand.

“Thus, Blanche proposes to abolish the difference in salaries caused by magic, but in the end is really advocating the abolishment of using magic to obtain monetary compensation. In other words, they are asking Magicians to selflessly contribute to society.”

“…That’s quite the self-centered proposal. Everyone needs money to live, regardless of whether or not they can use magic. But, they don’t allow Magicians to use magic for a living, even people who are capable of using magic must use other skills to make a
living… In the end, just because they don’t know how to use magic, they don’t want magic to become the measuring stick for a person’s value? Are they saying that it’s OK if Magicians’ hard work cannot receive compensation, it should be obvious that their hard work is not valued… Or do these people not know that simply being born with magical talent is not enough? That using magic requires many years of intense studying and training?”

Tatsuya moved away from Miyuki’s back and returned to his seat with a thin smile on his lips.
“No, they know. They know, but don’t say it. Because if they don’t say it or think about information that contradicts them, they are able to use equality to lie to themselves and others. Miyuki asked this in the beginning. Why would magic students join the activities of Anti-Magic Organizations like Blanche or Egalite?”

“Hm… Is it because they don’t know the real philosophy behind the anti-magic parties?”

“People that can’t use magic cannot learn it no matter how hard they try, and thus feel that it is unfair for society to reward Magicians for usingmagic. Then, how about the students who can use magic, but lack the talent to catch up to the truly outstanding students regardless of their diligence, and in turn are looked down upon — this type of thinking would be perfectly
reasonable, right? Differences in talent is not unique to magic. This is apparent in other fields, such as the arts or athletics. Even if they don’t have talent in magic, maybe they have talents in other areas. If they cannot bear to have no talent in magic, then they should find another path.”

If someone who was only superficially acquainted with Tatsuya heard these words, they might have thought he was saying this to himself. But Miyuki, the only person present, would never make that kind of mistake.

“I believe that people who learn magic reject the ‘differences’ caused by magic, because they are unwilling to abandon magic. Unwilling to give up, but unable to accept being second-rate. Unable to accept the truth that there are people with such talent that are completely beyond their grasp. Unable to accept the possibility that putting in many times more work still puts them out of reach.
Thus, they reject using magic as an assessment. The fact is, they know that the people with talent also put in the same amount of work. This is evident before their eyes. But, they choose to ignore this and pile all the responsibility on inborn talent, and reject it.

“Ah…”
But Tatsuya was someone who, while understanding Miyuki’s statement, could still “understand that sense of weakness”. Miyuki blushed when she realized how shallow her rebuttal was. “If someone isn’t talented enough in modern magic, then use some other
method to make up the difference. Because that is possible, then they can objectively make an assessment as a third party.
If that’s not possible… Then it’s not surprising for them to sink into that delicious fantasy

“For people without talent, to escape the fact that they cannot compare to others, they loudly sing the praises of equality. For those without magic, to avoid the fact that magic is merely one type of talent, they coat that belief with jealousy.
After understanding these basics, what is the purpose of the one inciting them to action behind the scenes? The equality that they are referring to is equal treatment regardless of the presence of magical ability. Abolishing the societal differences caused by magic, is the same as not assigning magic any value. The end result is that magic would lose any and all meaning in society.
In a society where magic has no value, magic cannot advance or improve. Standing behind the Magicians and ordinary people who are calling for an end to the differences caused by magic, is a force that plans to abolish magic from this country.”

“Then what…?”

“Regardless of good or bad, magic is power. Economics is power, technology is power, military strength is power. Magic can become the same power as battleships or fighter jets. Presently, every country is researching magic’s military utility. There are many military spies active around magic skills and information.”

“Then, while the initial goal of the anti-magic parties is to abolish magic in this country, the final objective is reduce the nation’s power?”


Excerpt 3:

“However, I have no reason to change the school.”

Speak of his own thoughts.

“What?”

“I do not have that many expectations on this state-sponsored school.”
These were his true thoughts, without a single hint of hypocrisy.
“The only things I want are access to the undisclosed data files stored within the magic universities and related organizations and to graduate from magic high school. Beyond that, I have no further desires.”

Sayaka was dumbfounded at Tatsuya’s retaliatory response.

“Not to mention that I have no intention of putting the blame for ‘using banned words on campus to hurt others’ or the immaturity of our peers on the school itself.”
From the surface, this comment appears to critique the incorrect ideology leading Course 1 students to refer to Course 2 students as “Weeds”, but in reality, this was a reprimand aimed at those who could not meet their own expectations and sought the easy way out by blaming others for their weakness. Tatsuya let Sayaka clearly understand that.
“Alas, it looks like senpai and I have fundamentally different ideologies.”
After saying this, Tatsuya rose from his seat.

“Wait… Wait a minute!”
He turned around and glanced at the still sitting — or maybe, unable to stand — Sayaka, whose face had lost all color, whose eyes searched for support, and raised her head to look at him. This was definitely not a glare, but an earnest, desperate gaze.
“How… can you be so calm?
What is it that supports Shiba-kun?”
“My dream is to develop a Gravity Control-Type Thermonuclear Fusion Reactor. Learning magic is nothing more than a single stepping stone along the way.”

Sayaka’s face turned blank.
Most likely, she was utterly unable to comprehend Tatsuya’s words.
The realization of a Gravity Control-Type Thermonuclear Reactor, along with the “actualization of Generalized Flying-Type Magic”, and the “development of a perpetual motion device based on the model of unlimited inertial expansion” are known collectively as the “Three Great Puzzles of Weight Systematic Magic.”


Excerpt 4:

(The unfeeling man, truly an ode to Objectivism:)

“Is it wrong to eliminate the differences?
Is it wrong to dream of equality?
The differences truly exist here!
This can’t just be my misunderstanding.
I truly was despised.
I was exposed before their scornful stares.
And I heard all their stupid names for me.
To remove all of these, is there something wrong with that?
Aren’t you the same?
They compared you against your sister’s superlative talents too.
You have also gone through that degradation.
You have also been labeled an idiotic fool!”
Sayaka’s screams seemed to spring forth from within.
From within the well of her soul.

Yet, none of these piteous cries reached Tatsuya. His heart did not resonate with those words. That was because to Tatsuya, “these things” were simply acceptable aspects of reality.
So Tatsuya merely understood the literal “meaning” behind her words as well as the “phenomenon” she was screaming about. Here was a young lady in despair — that was the only thing he took away.

The pity that Sayaka thought she saw in his eyes, were merely the delusions brought upon her by her extreme wretchedness.

(But of course, they still don’t truly allow him to be weak in magic:)

“The love and respect I bear do not come from the strength of one’s magic.
In the eyes of the world, my magic is many times greater than Onii-sama’s.
Even then, these things will not influence the love and respect I bear towards Onii-sama in the slightest.
Before my feelings towards Onii-sama, all of these things become trivial and meaningless.
That is because I know that this only constitutes a small part of Onii-sama.”


Final Aside:

Mari and Sayaka, why Mari said she can’t be Mibu’s enemy – “Everyone is special!” (She wasn’t looking down on her, but actually acknowledging her hard

work without magic put her ahead of her) – Goes counter to the above, but gives more hope to the watcher.

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