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In the practice of education and educational reforms today ‘meritocracy’ is a prevalent mode of thinking and discourse. Behind political and economic debates over the just distribution of education benefits, other kinds of philosophical issues, concerning the question of democracy, await to be addressed. As a means of evoking a language more subtle than what is offered by political and economic solutions, I shall discuss Ralph Waldo Emerson's idea of perfectionism, particularly his ideas of the ‘gleam of light’ and ‘genius’, as an alternative mode of thinking of human power. Through this Emersonian lens, a provocative shift will be made from meritocracy and ‘mediocracy’ to aristocracy. Emersonian aristocracy destabilizes balanced measures and prevailing discourse about fairness and justice, and makes us reconsider how to achieve a just society in democracy. As an educational implication, I shall propose the idea of citizenship without inclusion—a vision of education for a democratic society in which we learn to live as and with the Great Man.