Backgrounder: They Love Gov. Holcomb at CNN
“No, that’s not a line from Kamala Harris’ DNC acceptance speech. It’s Indiana’s Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb.” — The Point with Chris Cilizza on CNN, Aug. 20, 2020
WITH ERIC HOLCOMB assured reelection, Indiana Republicans might spend some time thinking about what the heck they are doing. Why are they spending so much energy and money pushing to the fore a political anachronism?
Holcomb’s address this week on “equality and equity,” applauded wildly by everyone from CNN to the state Chamber of Commerce, was full of whiny talking points that could have been penned by a junior speech writer for Lyndon Johnson.
In announcing a new bureaucratic title “Chief Equity, Inclusion and Opportunity Officer,” Holcomb imagines the differences between equality of opportunity and of results can be fudged by a sensitive, reasonable fellow such as himself.
It cannot. One is sacrificed in pursuit of the other. It is an absolute, governor, a founding principle.
The riot-spawning social justice movement, of which Holcomb is now an honorary member, began on Sept. 24, 1965, when President Johnson signed Executive Order No. 11246. It turned affirmative action on its head to guarantee specific, politically defined results. “We seek not just equality as a right and a theory but equality as a fact and equality as a result,” Johnson commanded.
A young editorial writer for the old St. Louis Globe-Democrat was among the first to point out problems with such sweeping moralistic decrees. Pat Buchanan asked some hard questions, prescient ones as they turned out:
- What happens under the order when equality of opportunity fails to produce equality of results?
- What if black Americans dominate America’s most richly rewarded sports, while Asians and whites excel in academic pursuits and on admissions exams at Yale and Harvard?
- Why is it right to discriminate in admissions to prestige colleges against working-class white children from Middle America in favor of urban and middle-class black children?
- Who defines social “justice”?
Five decades later we at least know the answer to Buchanan’s last question. In Indiana, it will be Holcomb’s Chief Equity, Inclusion and Opportunity Officer.
That is demonstrably stupid. “If you cannot achieve equality of performance among people born to the same parents and raised under the same roof,” observed Dr. Thomas Sowell, “how realistic is it to expect to achieve it across broader and deeper social divisions?”
But the devil, it is said, loves an impossible task. Great damage is done by such inscrutable, conflicted directives, not the least of which is to classify citizenship, a historic guarantee of civil strife.
The most immediate damage, though, and the one that should concern Hoosiers these next few years, is that diversity for diversity’s sake will distract us from the actual solvable problems before us.
Heather Mac Donald, a much admired commentator here, would dismiss the governor’s approach as merely conforming to a lie:
“Each diversity initiative, whether in academia or in business, requires pretending that it was not preceded by a long line of identical efforts. Instead, every new diversity campaign starts with penance for the alleged bias that leads schools and corporations to overlook some vast untapped pool of competitively qualified blacks and Hispanics. Now, the pressure to admit and hire on the basis of race will redouble in force, elevating even less skilled candidates to positions of power throughout society. American institutions will pay the price.”
Mac Donald predicts that as a result we will not be addressing why economic and incarceration gaps cannot close without cultural renewal of a sense of personal responsibility. There will be no change in the attitudes that many children bring to school regarding studying, paying attention in class and respecting teachers. Nobody in authority will acknowledge that the breakdown of the family is resulting in children with too little ability to control their impulses and defer gratification.
There will be only more excuses. “The persistence of inequality will then produce a new round of quotas and self-incrimination — as well as more violence and anger,” she concludes.
Holcomb has spent way too much time in Washington. — tcl