any champions possessing the kind of ability

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keannu

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This writing seems to be comparing the capable and the incapable. So what does the writer mean by "any champions = supporter" related to the "underdog"? Someone who helps such incapable people? Or is it a metaphor for incapability?

st15)Free competition, which was the watchword of nineteenth-century liberalism, had undoubtedly much to be said in its favor. It increased the wealth of the nations, and it accelerated the transition from handicrafts to machine industry ; it tended to remove artificial injustices and realised Napoleon's idea of opening careers to talent. It left, however, one great injustice unremedied- the injustice due to unequal talents. In a world of free competition the man whom Nature has made energetic and astute grows rich, while the man whose merits are of a less competitive kind remains poor. The result is that the gentle and contemplative types remain without power, and that those who acquire power believe that their success is due to their virtues. The underdog remains, therefore, without any champions possessing the kind of ability that leads to success.
 
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5jj

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T Or is it a metaphor for incapability?
There is no need to think of metaphors here. The writer is simply saying that the underdogs have no champions - definition #2 here.
 

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I was curious about what kind of people champions are in this context - I'm sorry it's because I can't understand the writing well. I guess it seems to be saying that the natural talent or ability you are born with determines your success or failure, so even if liberalism permits your to try for success unlike in times of caste system, those things can be the standard for discrimination.
So 'champions' seem like people who can't help a failure as success comes from his or her own ability. If my interpretation is wrong, please let me know.
 

emsr2d2

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Did you understand definition 2 in the link 5jj provided?
 

emsr2d2

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Here's an example. I used to work for the Civil Service in a department which regularly dealt with people under the age of 18 who had no family here or whose family were not in a position to look after them. The department I worked for created a job called "Children's Champion". The lady who held that post was a high level civil servant and it was her job to ensure that anyone under the age of 18 was dealt with quickly, fairly and that their welfare needs were met by whichever office was dealing with that child. It had nothing to do with competition, or success/failure - she was their champion because she "championed their cause" - she ensured they got what they needed.
 

keannu

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Thanks a lot! Your example is helpful to prove the other side of the story and let me try to infer the meaning.
In Chosun Dynasty of Korea, where caste system ruled the whole country, even an incapable son of a man with a high social position in upper class called Yangban could get an official position through the help of his father or relatives. To the contrary, a very smart and capable man of the lower class called Sangnom couldn't get any better position in the society than his inherited status.
I'm not sure, but the writer probably meant by the underlined that in the modern society, where your talent and capability is the only factor for success, incapable people wouldn't have anyone to resort to as in the ancient times.


...The underdog remains, therefore, without any champions possessing the kind of ability that leads to success.
 
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JMurray

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Firstly, I don't think this is to do with the "capable" and the "incapable", so much as with different types of capability.

I understand the final sentence to mean this: As the system doesn't favour with power those who are non-competitive, contemplative and gentle, then people of that character have none of their own kind in power to look after their interests. They are without champions.
 

SoothingDave

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I think it's confused, or ill-written. Maybe "advocate" would be a better word and would not invoke the seeming opposites of "underdogs" and "champions."
 

keannu

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Can you tell me why "champions" is less proper than "advocate" in this case? I'm not familiar with the usage of "champion", whose secondary meaning I found here for the first time.
I think probably it's because 'champions' gives too much of ruling image for less successful people.
 

JMurray

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A "champion" has two meanings:
1) someone who is triumphant over others, who is very successful in a specific field
or, as you have quoted…
2) "someone who publicly supports or defends a set of beliefs, political goals, or a group of people", in other words, an advocate.

I believe soothingdave is saying that because of its use of "champions" in a context where "advocate" would be less ambiguous, the passage is not well written.
 
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emsr2d2

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A "champion" has two meanings:
1) someone who is triumphant over others, who is very successful in a specific field
or, as you have quoted…
2) "someone who publicly supports or defends a set of beliefs, political goals, or a group of people", in other words, an advocate.

I believe soothingdave is saying that because of its use of "champions" in a context where "advocate" would be less ambiguous, the passage is not well written.

I wouldn't call it badly written. There are plenty of words with more than one meaning, but the context in which they're used makes it clear which definition is being used.
 
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