In the future as in the past, people with intelligence, or born talents, or unusual levels of drive will be compensated more generously, than those who come up lacking in the attributes department.
The italicized and bolded phrase highlights the false facts upon which politically conservative ideologues rely. No, the past was not meritocratic. In fact, it was notably not so. The sly insinuation of such a blatant falsehood is not an acceptable argument. (Whether or not this was sincerely believed, blindly accepted second-hand is irrelevant. It's still every bit as untrue.)
Further, quite aside from the relevant facts that driven people have not been rewarded while undriven people have, the implication that being forceful deserves a reward assumes that not only is society a zero-sum game, but that "winning" such a competition is inherently moral. This is assuming the conclusion in effect. This makes it doubly unacceptable as an argument.
Its the boldness of saying humanity has to grow up to reach the stars. And that growing up means going beyond religion, nationalism, and capitalism.
If you look at history it was religion, nationalism, and capitalism (and competition) that helped make us the explorers that reached out to new vistas in the past and probably will continue to do so in the future.
Egyptian religion and nationalism didn't make the advanced civilizations of Egypt or China or Japan explorers. Mediaeval Europe wasn't notably nationalistic (though the notion of "Christendom" is thoroughly romanticized) either. And the European voyages of exploration at the end of the Middle Ages were far more a cause of capitalist development than a result.
Lastly, the real context here is exploration of space. History tells us that the capitalist and competitive US has only a limited interest in space exploration, not counting space based weaponry. It was the Soviet Union that started space exploration and after its disappearance, space exploration is marginal, in constant threat of extinction. Space race for competitive prestige? The real question is why the USSR government could see space exploration as prestigious, while the capitalist, competitive US could not?
PS It seems Scotpens