Modern Leftist-Driven Quandary: Traditional Merit vs. Progressive Equity

Once upon a time, in a traditional land now seemingly far away and often unrecognizable, but one that was once very near and patriotically dear (i.e., America), school progression, college acceptance, career entry, and civilian/military advancement, in sum, the anticipated sequential professional growth, from youth to maturity, were all based on academic achievements, personal ability, work advancements, observations, references, and expectations.  In other words, growth based primarily on demonstrated and anticipated skills and abilities, developed and broadened along the established educational and career pathway.  An evaluation, that is, of one’s actual educational, professional, and career growth-progression.  That traditional tracking and reward system is known as MERIT (equal opportunity).  Well, that was then. Something very different has emerged now. A front-loaded, preference-based, thumb-on-the-scale, ‘assisted’ evaluation’ system, which is openly and by design, purposefully race and gender biased.

Enter, then, the new, modern, elitist, progressive, ever-so-woke substitute profession and career evaluation system known and strongly promoted and endorsed by those residing in the Land of Oz. An evaluation system oft-blinded from real-world reality and need, due to practitioners having their progressive-elitist heads continually jutting above the clouds. This intentionally unequal system of evaluation, promotion, and selection is known and promoted today as EQUITY (equal or preferential results).

Whereas, Merit’s preferences and rewards are universally achievement-based, Equity’s evaluation and selection arena is required to be open to a broader range of candidates, that is to preferably non-whites/non-males and with varying achievement levels. One look at, and evaluation of, some of today’s Biden-era federal cabinet and other selectees, for instance, provides ample evidence of the questionable impact of applying equity first, and merit second, if at all, to the evaluation and selection process. Beyond the federal and other government level recruiting, equity-driven selection is now likely being actively applied to most all initial hiring, and subsequent leadership positions, within progressive-elite-driven, pro-Democrat-dominated universities, corporations, agencies and organizations across America.  With the resulting performance exhibited, and ultimate negative impact decisions made, that are too often expensive, even punitive, results-wise, but nonetheless politically self-fulfilling to those guiding the selection.

Reviewing the basic definitions, Equality means equal opportunity will be provided to all who apply, whether for initial entry or for employment advancement later on.  Equality promises equal consideration regardless of race, nationality, gender, or even age.

Equity, on the other hand (the progressive one), implies equal results. Or if not absolutely equal, at least the overseers’ preferred results!  Meaning that applicants who begin the schooling, training, employment, promotion, or retention race, along with or subsequent to others, are all presumed to reach the prescribed consideration ‘finish line’ with equal standing. Which definitionally and realistically is impossible.  And that’s because all humans, whether through genetics, upbringing, schooling, and training, possess differing skills, abilities, and work attitudes.  Although it’s a nice sounding ideal, while all men and women are indeed ‘created equal,’ by elementary school entry, or even before, definite differences in aptitude and ability will inevitably have emerged.  Thus making the goal of equal (or preferential) results, across a broad range of race and gender candidates, impossible. So then, with equity, what must happen to make equal outcomes seemingly possible?  Realistically, judging and evaluation standards and requirements must be altered, changed, lowered, or perhaps, at the extreme, even partially eliminated, in order to make that equity goal happen. Assistance in some form, then, must be provided in order to achieve the desired goal(s).

The basic question, thus, becomes, as an example: Would you want a merit-based selected and trained heart surgeon or commercial airline pilot, who was originally selected by, trained according to, maintained, and who has ultimately met, the long-in-place rigid performance standards of their profession, OR would you prefer one, whether in a profession or political appointment, chosen by, and processed through, the likely altered equity standards and expectations, held firmly to by progressive elites in order to maintain their anti-white race, gender, etc.-favored selection preference?  With critical life-on-the-line careers like surgery or aircraft piloting, it is realistically unlikely that professional training and evaluation standards would be overtly altered or lowered. But it is possible that selection criteria for non-white/non-male candidates, in less critical professions or appointments, might be unofficially and quietly deemed more ‘flexible’ along the way, if needed, for continued progression through the evaluation sequences for “affirmative action” favored candidates. Again, it’s possible, but most often, not probable, depending on the degree of skill and certified expertise a particular career may require.

And let me be quick to say that by no means am I implying that all non-white/non-male candidates, within any professional, academic, or corporate training sequence, are not, in themselves, well-prepared top achievers for their ultimate employment goals. Thankfully, for eventual patients and passengers, they can, and must, meet the very highest standards and expectations for professional or federal approval, upon training graduation and certification.  Perhaps, today, the equity (preferential) selection and progression standards apply most visibly, and too often regrettably, to persons selected by progressive ‘standards’ for national/state/local political appointments.  The equity expectation, itself, is simply not realistic, as no group of us, for a variety of reasons, are, or likely will ever be, equally qualified to produce the required highest-level expectations and results.

Over the past year or two, the progressives have married-up equity with diversity and inclusion, forming the oft-seen and repeated “DEI” concept.  That’s really just the Affirmative Action of old, all dressed up, in a new tux and gown, for the elite prom.  Not long ago, make it about Year 2000-ish, universities and corporations began rushing to add DEI officers to their HR and recruiting teams, in order to show and prove just how darned serious they were about providing hiring opportunities and ultimate promotions, via the equity inspired, and practiced, pathway focused primarily on the elite-directed and accepted non-white ethnic and gender categories.

Well, that was exclusions and preferred candidates then, and this is the recent post-Supreme Court decision now, with known employment or enrollment ethnic & gender ‘indexing,’ effectively Affirmative Action, struck down by the highest court in the land. And, quite likely, at least partially, connected with that one-time frantic race to hire DEI officers, so as to assure progressive elites on-high that said school or company was indeed equity-alerted, hip and with-it.  In fact, between 2019 and 2022, “DEI positions skyrocketed 170%, with most of that acceleration happening in the wake of nationwide protests and riots in 2020.” That surge was said to be a reaction to the “rage of the moment” (in this case-specific, the death of George Floyd).

But as sometimes happens, red hot whatever (insert issue or urgency here) can ultimately burn on down, over time or quickly, to nothing but cold embers. Wrote columnist Adam Coleman: “The rush to build a new diversity infrastructure within corporate America (including universities, too often anymore, one in the same), often operating completely separate from human-resources departments, had companies nationwide failing to ask essential questions before investing millions.”  And those questions inevitably dealt with how success from these new efforts was to be measured, and what, specifically, were the diversity officer’s actual responsibilities.

Today, the cold embers have emerged for many eager-to-please large employers, academic or corporate, with the termination, or self-departure, of several DEI officers and personnel around the nation.  The substantial dollars invested under societal pressure were, apparently for several entities, failing to produce tangible results, in the language of the real world (i.e., increased product output and revenue), and seemed to only be an adherence to what many would call an elitist philosophy (DEI), and the specific corporate or academic guilt-trip of the moment.  Regardless of the Supreme Court ruling, however, there is no question that, within major corporations, companies, and universities, and the smaller ones as well, the responsible effort to adhere to internal diversity and inclusion, in hiring, training, and promotions, is now fully ingrained and will most certainly continue, in a form deemed to be compatible with the Supreme Court ruling.  Hopefully with equality, and not the equity fallacy, as their guiding light.  There is no question that merit-based racial and gender diversity is a definite positive, not only within our corporation and universities, but bolstering the other endless employment and advancement opportunities throughout America, as well.

(Information Source: The DEI Officer surge in corporate and higher education America via, Adam B. Coleman, 8-3-23).