The main antithesis of Meritocracy might be called “the appearance of meritocracy”, that is, the pretense of expertise. As in, pretending to be an expert, and in particular, on a subject which you made up. When I say “appearance”, I mean the faking of it, pretending it.
This can also go by the name of “simulacra”, which in this case would be a simulation of being an expert.
It is possible to manufacture the appearance of merit in a particular, or even a manufactured-for-purpose, field of human concern.
For example, consider a society which was ostensibly Meritocratic, but in which the individuals were not sufficiently educated for critical thinking: it would be possible to manufacture the appearance of some crisis – man-made, natural, or otherwise – and, based on some manufactured fear of some invented threat, and a fear of “non-action”, a desired action could be similarly manufactured, suggested, and thus controlled for which the society would respond, follow, and then become obligated to at governmental levels.
This is called the “Chicken Little” failure point of Meritocracy.
Speaking in terms of some analogy, if the masses could be convinced that ‘the sky is falling’…
…then they can be convinced to do anything about it.
Of course, this isn’t only some mere analogy…is it…
It is in fact a very well-practiced trade, of making a living for some type of otherwise useless “human entities” on this planet, from ancient times, to now.
The invented threat can even be manufactured to actually occur, but this doesn’t change that it was all manufactured and not actually real in the first place. The actual threat, in either case, are the people entities inventing and manufacturing it.