On his first day in office, President Joe Biden issued an Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities which, again, sounds very appealing.
After all, what culturally enlightened and compassionate person of any political stripe wouldn’t want to end all forms of discrimination and support economic and social programs that address injustices and inequities?
Democrats are terrific at pitching legislation and programs titled to say the opposite of the intent.
Think the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, which guaranteed that you could choose among the single medical option that Big Med government lobbyists wanted you to have; the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of which only about 10% is actually earmarked for pandemic recovery; and the currently proposed $2 trillion-plus Infrastructure bill that defines virtually everything — including the kitchen sink — as fitting that definition.
Here again, tricky trigger words like ”equity” can target very costly intents and consequences we haven’t bargained for.
Notice, for example, that the executive order didn’t refer to advancing racial equality … the bedrock principle enunciated by America’s founders in the second paragraph of our nation’s Declaration of Independence: ”We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Differences between equality and equity are fundamental and crucial: differences between assuring equal opportunities and equal outcomes; between equal treatment under the law and fingers on scales of justice; between unbiasedly judging people’s behaviors and achievements as individuals — or stereotypically as members of groups; between rewarding those who strive for achievements and those who don’t.
Most Americans generously recognize a fair and moral responsibility to provide assistance to all poor and disadvantaged citizens who urgently need temporary or sustaining help.
Nevertheless, just as there is a broad understanding that no worker should be laid off because of his race, gender, or religion, it’s also generally understood that such safety nets shouldn’t disincentivize people capable of working from pursuing opportunities to do so by offering equal compensation.
Those who guilelessly — or deceitfully — push for social equity programs openly invite contradictory social discrimination consequences they self-righteously claim to decry.
When Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton questioned Biden’s Attorney General-designate Merrick Garland during confirmation hearings whether a commitment to equity required abolishing equal treatment under the law, he replied, ”I think discrimination is morally wrong. Absolutely.”
Marcia Fudge, slated to run Housing and Urban Development, gave a much different answer. ”Just to be clear,” Sen. Cotton asked, ”it sounds like racial equity means treating people differently based on their race. Is this correct?”
Ms. Fudge fudged her response: ”Not based on race, but it could be based on economics, it could be based on the history of discrimination that has existed for a long time.”
In other words, equity is to be applied as a putative vehicle for government bureaucrats to divine class remedies for unfair treatment of previous generations, or perhaps disadvantaged childhoods, at the expense of individuals with greater merits and needs.
Who would you trust to develop a righteous formula to determine which Americans are privileged too much? How much must be taken away and given to those who have too little?
Broadly applied across government, only tyrannically intrusive overreach could presume to specify such equity rules and enforcements for every business, public institution, and civic organization.
Under today’s prevalent woke identity politics, such social equity programs are increasingly taking precedence over individual merit-based versus hiring and reward criteria in those same non-government entities.
In higher education, for example, we have witnessed Harvard, in its desire for diversity, turn away ”excessively large numbers” of highly qualified Asian-American applicants for admission based upon egregiously prejudicial personality assessments that blanket-rated them comparatively lacking in de-meriting traits such as courage, leadership, and likability.
Charles Lipson, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Chicago, argues that even in deep-blue California, such unequal affirmative action programs became sufficiently toxic to be rejected by voters. Hence, they are now being restyled with the same goals and rebranded under a new name… ”equity.”
Prof. Lipson then concludes that affirmative action and equity are, in turn, evasive rebranding terms for the oldest program purporting to gain equal outcomes. Its name is socialism.
Richard Levine, former U.S. Navy deputy assistant secretary for Technology Transfer and Security Assistance, similarly characterizes equity as a stealth vehicle which ”masks the attainment of wealth and power for the few through false promises of welfare for the many.”
Such a pledge, Levine notes, has never been kept anywhere. ”It is largesse that is never paid nor rendered,” a massive unending theft ”perpetrated against those deemed more fortunate.”
”As proven,” Levine writes, ”such theft will not create opportunity for all, but the impoverishment of everyone except the ruling class, which will subvert the instruments of state and corporate authorities while professing beneficence.”
History has demonstrated that a society devoid of rich opportunities afforded in America might well be more equitable, but not a more just or preferable society to experience.
Or as Black social theorist Thomas Sowell, a Stanford University Hoover Institution Senior Fellow, warned, any ”search for cosmic justice” which demands that existence be made fair and equal in every respect can lead only to totalitarian hell.
Such universal equity goals were never intended by our prescient forefathers to be the determinate role of government. Moreover, any government attempt to do so runs entirely antithetical to precious American freedoms and liberties our Constitution — now under attack — was expressly designed to protect.