Half Past the Month

July 8, 2021

“A Raytheon toolkit instructs employees to oppose ‘equality,’ defined as ‘treating each person the same . . . regardless of their differences,’ and strive instead for ‘equity,’ which ‘focuses on the equality of the outcome.’ The company claims that the colorblind standard of ‘equal treatment and access to opportunities’ is not enough; ‘anti-racist’ policies must sometimes utilize unequal treatment to achieve equal outcomes.” — City Journal, July 6, 2021

‘WE RECOGNIZE that equality of opportunity is sacrificed in pursuit of equality of results.”

When we jotted down that sentence on a napkin at Acapulco Joe’s some 32 years ago we did not think it controversial. We were trying to list some obvious truths on a mission statement to guide our little group.

We hoped to prompt others into thinking more deeply about the then-nascent social justice movement here and its push for an egalitarian utopia. We thought it would become clear that equality not only was impossible but its pursuit was dangerous.

Boy, were we wrong.

Some outside our membership now wonder why we hang on to such an anachronism. “Equality” isn’t even a real word anymore, thrown down the memory hole to be replaced with “equity,” defined by results and not mere opportunity. 

And the constitutional guarantees attached to property are outside that definition. The Biden administration, for example, wants to limit the ownership of single-family homes and order cities to build subsidized high rises. Biden would situated them in the suburbs in a “diverse” manner. It is said to be the anti-racist, equitable thing to do.

No, it’s the dystopian thing to do, and how did we get into this mess anyway?

George Soros pulling levers behind a curtain is one answer, but there is a more humdrum explanation. 

What if we were overcome gradually by prosperity? What if a pleasant post-war economy made it possible for several generations of Americans to grow to adulthood never needing to face an absolute, something that couldn’t be forcefully equitized?

Fewer of us now own a business, an experience that includes the absolute of a weekly payroll. Fewer of our doctors, now in partnerships with huge hospitals, feel an absolute life-or-death relationship with us as patients. Fewer of our courts recognize the absolute of the Constitution. Fewer of our elected representatives recognize the absolute of Common Law. Life itself is not considered an absolute at its beginnings in a womb. Fewer of us call upon an almighty God for humility and wisdom.

Nothing today prepares us to see the cost of making things equitable, the impossibility of it. The concept is an abstract, a simplistic idea that sounds good at a cocktail party, in a college dorm room or as a cartoon. Dan Henninger touched on this in a recent column:

“A phrase like ‘diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility’ is what’s known as a political narrative — a repeatable description of political goals whose implicit message is: Who could be against this? It is not an overstatement to say the future of the world will rise and fall on whether these pablum-like narratives can be turned into hard policy.”

Most can’t imagine having to pay for something so seemingly fair-minded. But we will pay for it. There is a cost, one so high that economists don’t try to put a number on it. It is paid in lost productivity, the kind that only freedom makes possible.

Hoosiers should know better than anyone the truth of that. Indiana was home to the first full-blown experiment in equity. The New Harmony village was founded in Posey County in 1825 as a socialist utopia on the Wabash. It was disbanded two years later when its productive members got tired of supporting its unproductive ones.

It boils down to this: If you allow equity to rule your village, your city, your state, your country, you will fall into mediocrity if not poverty. Enemies, domestic and foreign, will be at your door. Liberty will be a memory.

An exaggeration? Ask Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Ask Ayn Rand. Ask a Portland retailer.

So for now we’re going to keep that little sentence in the mission statement. It might come into fashion again. — tcl


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