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Quotas Are Back

President Biden signs executive orders (MSNBC)

President Biden issued an executive order mandating “racial equity” in all government agencies. 

If you think that this means he’s asking managers to make sure racial discrimination is not happening in their agency, you’re mostly wrong. All decent people would want to see racial discrimination eliminated in government agencies — but that’s not what “equity” means. You may not understand that “equity,” in Wokish, is not the same thing as “equality.” As the always-useful Translations From The Wokish glossary explains, in its entry on Equity, equity is the word progressives use to describe equal outcomes. If there are racial imbalances in a system — that is, if a disproportionate number of white people are in its management — then that is taken as proof of “systemic racism.” No other explanation is possible. The glossary adds:

Because of the blank slatism and simplistic ideas of power and identity found within Critical Social Justice worldviews, all imbalances of representation in desirable areas of work are held to be caused by these perceived power dynamics. Equity is the intended remedy to this problem, and it is made applicable only (and especially) to positions of status and influence. For example, there is no equity program that attempts to increase the number of female sanitation workers, though there are equity programs that seek to increase the number of female doctors and politicians, and these endure even in high-status positions that employ more women than men. Of particular concern are positions that have influence where power is concerned, including in terms of shaping the discourses of society.

I could be wrong about this, but I feel confident that the equity assessors will never find a system in which there are not enough white people in management. But let’s say it did happen. I would find it demeaning if I had reason to believe that I had been chosen for a job over a better qualified candidate of color, only because my employer had a quota to fill. I would be ashamed, frankly. The only way I could get over that shame and do my job would to be convince myself that the racial-spoils ideology of progressivism were somehow just. But then I would be a liar.

From Live Not By Lies:

It is difficult for people raised in the free world to grasp the breadth and the depth of lying required simply to exist under communism. All the lies, and lies about lies, that formed the communist order were built on the basis of this foundational lie: the communist state is the sole source of truth. Orwell expressed this truth in Nineteen Eighty-Four: “The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”

Under the dictatorship of Big Brother, the Party understands that by changing language—Newspeak is the Party’s word for the jargon it imposes on society—it controls the categories in which people think. “Freedom” is slavery, “truth” is falsehood, and so forth. Doublethink—“holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them”—is how people learn to submit their minds to the Party’s ideology.

If the Party says 2 + 2 = 5, then 2 + 2 = 5. The goal is to convince the person that all truth exists within the mind, and the rightly ordered mind believes whatever the Party says is true.

Orwell writes:

It was as though some huge force were pressing down upon you—something that penetrated inside your skull, battering against your brain, frightening you out of your beliefs, persuading you, almost, to deny the evidence of your senses. In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense.

In our time, we do not have an all-powerful state forcing this on us. Under soft totalitarianism, the media, academia, corporate America, and other institutions are practicing Newspeak and compelling the rest of us to engage in doublethink every day. Men have periods. The woman standing in front of you is to be called “he.” Diversity and inclusion means excluding those who object to ideological uniformity. Equity means treating persons unequally, regardless of their skills and achievements, to achieve an ideologically correct result.

To update an Orwell line to our own situation: “The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”

It really is the same logic as communism: that all human complexity must be flattened to make reality fit theory. More Live Not By Lies:

For example, an American academic who has studied Russian communism told me about being present at the meeting in which his humanities department decided to require from job applicants a formal statement of loyalty to the ideology of diversity—even though this has nothing to do with teaching ability or scholarship.

The professor characterized this as a McCarthyite way of eliminating dissenters from the employment pool, and putting those already on staff on notice that they will be monitored for deviation from the social-justice party line.

That is a soft form of totalitarianism. Here is the same logic laid down hard: in 1918, Lenin unleashed the Red Terror, a campaign of annihilation against those who resisted Bolshevik power. Martin Latsis, head of the secret police in Ukraine, instructed his agents as follows:

Do not look in the file of incriminating evidence to see whether or not the accused rose up against the Soviets with arms or words. Ask him instead to which class he belongs, what is his background, his education, his profession. These are the questions that will determine the fate of the accused. That is the meaning and essence of the Red Terror.

Note well that an individual’s words and deeds had nothing to do with determining one’s guilt or innocence. One was presumed guilty based entirely on one’s class and social status. A revolution that began as an attempt to right historical injustices quickly became an exterminationist exercise of raw power. Communists justified the imprisonment, ruin, and even the execution of people who stood in the way of Progress as necessary to achieve historical justice over alleged exploiters of privilege.

So now our federal bureaucracy is going to be run by a racialist lie, and everyone who works within that bureaucracy is going to be compelled to affirm the lie or be considered a racist.

Here’s an example of how progressives think. Two writers at the Five Thirty-Eight site complain that it will be hard for Biden to make a dent in the Mighty-Whitey federal bench that Trump has given us. Excerpts:

During most of Donald Trump’s presidency, Congress was in a state of persistent deadlock, passing relatively few big pieces of legislation. But the Republican-controlled Senate stayed humming, nonetheless — thanks to a steady stream of judicial nominees from the White House.

After only one term, Trump filled 28 percent of vacant seats on the federal bench, including 27 percent of active federal district court judges and 30 percent of active appeals court judges, not to mention three Supreme Court justices. This figure is far higher than for other recent presidents in their first terms — by January 2013, for instance, Barack Obama had appointed just 17 percent of the vacant federal judge spots, and at the end of his first term, George W. Bush had appointed 21 percent. In fact, Obama was able to appoint only a slightly larger share of the federal bench in his eight years in office (31 percent) than Trump managed to do in his one term.


Trump also managed to radically alter the makeup of the courts. His appointees are not only far more conservative than other presidents’ picks but far less racially and ethnically diverse. They’re also fairly young — the median age for Trump’s appellate judges at confirmation is 47 — so given that the median retirement age for appellate judges is 67, these appointees could end up serving for decades to come. And even though Democrats now maintain narrow control of the Senate, putting President Biden in a much better position to make his own stamp on the judiciary than if Republicans still held the majority, Trump’s effect on the courts could be difficult to undo.

Thank you, Trump! As a conservative, I want a more conservative federal judiciary. If achieving that meant nominating a slate of judges that were 100 percent non-white, I would be for it (as long as race wasn’t a criterion for selection). That’s because I care about the convictions of judges, not the color of their skin. Trump understandably outsourced his judicial picks to the Federalist Society, the organization for conservatives in the law. How many persons of color are also legal conservatives?

For that matter, how do progressives treat legal conservatives of color? Ask Clarence Thomas. How do progressives treat people of color who express conservative views at all? Answer: as race traitors.

Listen, I expect Joe Biden’s nominees to the federal bench will be philosophical liberals. Why not? Elections have consequences. About half of America is conservative, more or less, but I don’t believe it’s fair to expect a Democratic president to make half his judges conservative, so that the federal judiciary “thinks like America.” But progressives don’t care about how you think; they care about how you look. They assume that No True Black Person (or Hispanic, or Asian, etc.) would have conservative views. To be a progressive requires having to do so many contortions about these things. Wouldn’t it simply be easier to promote people based on their relevant record and experience, not according to skin color, sexual orientation, and other characteristics worshipped by progressives?

Well, yes, but these are the people now in charge of the executive branch, so we have to live by lies — including the lie that instituting policies that divide and reward Americans on the basis of racial identity is an act of “unity.” Biden reinstated Critical Race Theory training in federal agencies, overturning a Trump executive order. But Christopher Rufo is leading a campaign to fight back against CRT everywhere, especially at the state level. He discusses it here:

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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