We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal… This self evident truth is obviously not self evident. Thomas Jefferson undoubtedly knew such to be the case. He meant that we all should be equal before the law and that the laws should be designed without bias or special benefit not thought to further the general good. In other words, special interest laws are OK if the interest of the country is also served.
We live in an especially stupid time, one in which weak thought has sought expression in riot. The pattern of good behavior typically falls short of what we know to be the best; this shortcoming has been a human characteristic ever since we first we able to postulate principles. The decalogue’s commandment against murder (not killing which is a mistranslation from the Hebrew) is no less valid even though murder and murderers are a constant in every human society.
That slavery and its evil legacies are a permanent blot on the American Constitution and character is risible. They belong on the long list of nonsense that only intellectuals could believe in. The intelligentsia then spread this false national narrative to the naive. Since aggrieved intellectuals tend to precipitate in the academy, they have passed their anamorphic views to their students who by definition have not yet reached the age of reason – a condition many of them will never achieve.
It took an ocean of blood to rid the country of slavery. Another century had to pass before the legal impediments to the exercise of liberty based on color were removed. Prejudice and bigotry are a permanent condition in the souls of many. Reason, argument, and exemplary behavior are the only ways to combat the dark side of human nature. Passing laws against impure thoughts will never purge them. Nations are not prisoners of their past; their people can build on their history to improve their future. The past is not a club to beat those you deem blighted, uniformed, or just plain disagreeable.
Inequality is as ineluctable to humanity as DNA. We are born with different genetic heritages and grow in environments as different as dogmas. If you believe in free will, then what you make of where you started life depends to a large degree on how you apply your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. We owe virtually all of what’s good on the free application of our inequalities. Unequal outcomes are the inevitable produce of freedom.
Consider Irene, she has a felicitous set of genes and is raised in a prosperous and safe neighborhood. Then examine Peter who has not gotten a good role from the genetic dice, grows up in a single parent household, which is domiciled in an unsafe part of town. Is it the government’s job to make sure he gets the same outcome that lucky Irene gets? There are many who think that the government must, in the name of equality, make sure Peter does as well as Irene.
There are two ways to accomplish this task. Both make the two equal, at least as measured by outcome. We could drag Irene down and/or raise Peter up. How this ledgerdomain would be achieved by a bloated bureaucracy is rarely discussed by those who advocate leveling. I suspect Irene and her parents would not be willing participants in the scheme. Also unclear is the definition of what government manipulated equality would be.
There are many professions which are thought, by people who think a lot about the proper ethnic representation of professions, to be underrepresented by gender or ethnicity. Take medical schools as an example. The number of women and people of the desired color, Asians no longer count, are felt by the leaders of these schools to be underrepresented, especially at the upper levels of the profession – even as more than half the class is now female. Accordingly, extra efforts are made to recruit more females, especially black, hispanic, or native American women. After these, preference is given to men of the ethnic group thought to need an extra bit of equality. It may also help if your sexual orientation departs from the mean. I’m too far removed from the fray to be sure.
Picking a doctor is a serious business. Anyone who thinks about such a choice and who is able to exercise a preference wants the best doctor available. The are several criteria one could use. Education, board certification, experience, recommendations from satisfied patients, a referral by your primary care physician are among these criteria. But if you know how the selection process works, you might choose a physician, other characteristics being equal, from the group which had the hardest time getting into the profession. Your reasoning would be that a member of an unfavored group had to be better to get through the admission process.
Social justice warriors have recently chosen some odd targets that they think are not as representative as they should be. Classical music and opera orchestras are found to have less players of color than thought healthful. The odd part is that if there’s any activity, other than sports, where black people are found in vast numbers, it’s music. What doesn’t seem to be considered is that black musicians may prefer to play Duke Ellington rather than Ludwig Van Beethoven.
It took a long time to make auditions for classical orchestras blind – ie, the players auditioned behind a screen so that only their musicianship was a factor in their selection. But now there are enlightened tinkerers who wish to scrap the screen so the right orchestral mix can be achieved. Diversity trumps performance. You can see the ads now – come hear the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, we may not sound as good as we used to, but we are as diverse as a box of M&M’S. Strange that no one seems to mind the lack of diversity in the NFL or NBA.
What seems to be at the root of all this mishegas, is the feeling that the living should pay for the”sins” of the dead. Is it any wonder that some of our representatives want to stop teaching history. Forgetting the lessons of the past is not good enough, we must abolish the lessons themselves.
Frederich Hayek vividly described the consequences of state enforced equality. All of us would be forced to do things we didn’t like or weren’t very good at. If we were allowed to pursue the activities that we did the best we might be better at them than someone else. Merit inevitably yields inequality and thus must be discarded. Go farther back, to Adam Smith and his description of how to make a pin. Specialization made the process run smoothly, as each step in its manufacture was done by someone who was better at the task than others.
Stupidity is everywhere and in every epoch. But this one is unusually goofy. Someone needs to find Hans Christian Andersen’s kid and have him tell everyone to get dressed before they catch pneumonia.