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Thursday, June 03, 2004

Discrimination and Merit

As is often the case, Roger Clegg has some interesting insights on the issues of racial discrimination and standards:

Once upon a time, the Left opposed racial discrimination. It argued that it was unfair to let racial considerations trump qualifications based on merit. The principle of nondiscrimination carried the day in the 1960s, and it was enshrined into law in various statutes. But these statutes have not resulted in proportional representation for some groups, particularly African Americans, at the upper reaches of our elites. And so now, ironically, it is the Left that pushes racial preferences and denigrates merit.

There are both charitable and uncharitable ways to explain this. The charitable explanation is that the Left cares so deeply about integration that it is willing to sacrifice or bend considerations of merit. If you insist on integration, and merit stands in the way, then you must sacrifice merit. The less charitable explanation is that the Left has never been comfortable... with the whole notion of merit...

It is wrong to discriminate on the basis of race and ethnicity; it is foolish not to discriminate on the basis of merit. And so the Left's program of favoring the former and opposing the latter is both wrong and foolish.

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