The Equity Delusion and Its Marxist Roots
The high school scandal in Northern Virginia is sure to keep spreading. It started when Asra Nomani broke the story that top-ranked Thomas Jefferson High School (TJ) in Virginia has been hiding National Merit Award notifications from students for years. This is highly injurious, as many colleges recruit National Merit Award recipients, and often grant them scholarships – a benefit that TJ denied its own standout students.
The ensuing investigation launched by Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares now covers 17 high schools in 3 counties. Parents Defending Education also revealed that TJ omitted the prized “honors” designation from the college application transcripts of 2,000 of its top students. Why did these schools engage in such subterfuge against their highest-achieving students?
In a word, “equity.”
Equity is the less-discussed triumvirate of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). By contrast, diversity is the most established, being introduced in the Supreme Court’s Bakke ruling (1978) and upheld in its Grutter decision (2003) as an allowable but limited rationale for racial discrimination in college admissions.
It is widely expected that the Court will rule this year against Harvard in SFFA v. Harvard, an admissions discrimination case brought on behalf of Asian-Americans. That would terminate the diversity rationale, and rightfully so: diversity cannot be implemented without invoking “representation” – the prejudicial flattening of individuals into mere “representatives” of their races – which is inherently racist, collectivist, dehumanizing, and socially corrosive. From Heather MacDonald calling diversity out as a delusion to Christopher Rufo unmasking “diversity training” as a scam, it is long overdue for DEI’s “diversity” to go.
“Inclusion” should follow suit, because inclusion and diversity are just two sides of the same coin. Diversity is the goal; inclusion policies exist to make diversity happen. Diversity demands conformity, and inclusion delivers the necessary conformity by exclusion. The two go together.
Finally, equity. Equity attracted less scrutiny because equity, not inherently linked to racism like diversity and inclusion, has been invoked in genuinely unfair situations. This gives equity a patina of righteousness, even though well-established principles and laws already exist to remedy the unfairness.
Such equity is gratuitous, and grabs credit fraudulently. Equity invoked as part of DEI is every bit as racist and prejudicial as diversity and inclusion and is just as weaponized for collectivist reward and punishment.
For example, equity is invoked to justify explicit racial allocations in medical school admissions, doctor hires, and distribution of medical treatment. Letting race override competence or science literally risks lives.
Equity is also invoked to “repair” presumed “disparate outcomes” in criminal justice; in the resulting mass decriminalization, crime skyrockets, communities suffer, and people flee.
Another major battleground is schools. Aside from SFFA v. Harvard, Asian-American students have sued over racial discrimination in New York City’s Specialized High Schools and TJ admissions. Besides the injustice from racism, the unfolding equity initiatives already damaged educational excellence.
Equity has many variants, but essentially, equity aims for equality of outcomes, ruling in favor of groups based on overlapping, or “intersectional” oppressions – in diametric opposition to our treasured principle of equality, which aims for equality of rights for individuals.
This just rehashes communism’s slogan, “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs,” which dates back to before Karl Marx. Equity, in this context, demands that we confiscate and redistribute, all while employing discrimination to achieve its ends.
In pushing for equal outcomes, equity is deeply delusional. The first delusion is that 100% can be the top 1%. The object of contention – whether it’s getting into Harvard, the Chicago Symphony, the Mayo Clinic, or the NBA – is limited in availability. Excellence is, by definition, scarce.
Also, the inconvenient fact is that, once at Harvard, the Chicago Symphony, the Mayo Clinic, or the NBA, one must perform. The best processes for granting these scarce spots evolved to select for performance. Orchestras have blind auditions, colleges have blind-graded SATs. We can discuss fine-tuning these processes to improve equal rights. Equity, though, wants to be performance-blind. That’s delusional.
The realities of scarcity and performance compel equity to deliver the lowest common denominator; that’s the only way to deliver equal outcomes. It is no accident that standards are lowered when equity trumps merit. Once again, equity’s happy promise is a delusion; equity makes us worse off.
Equity, being a failed delusion, doesn’t deliver the desired outcome, and to reach equity’s promises, equity steals openly. This is not surprising. Marx understood early that Communist Liberation requires dismantling property rights – i.e., state-sponsored confiscation. But for equity, it’s also confiscation of achievements, contributions, and individual rights.
Equity deludes when it postures that 100% can be the top 1%, when it pretends that performance doesn’t matter, when it promises happy outcomes for all, and when it’s just communist theft and confiscation by another name. As part of DEI, equity is also racist. It is time to dispel equity, the last triumvir of the DEI delusion.
Read the full piece from Real Clear Education here