Merit First, Identity Second
“May the best man win.” I grew up with that saying. It was a common expression when I was young. It conveyed the idea that merit and ability ought to win out over favouritism and bias. It also meant that the best sort of person should win, someone with good character, an example to everyone around them. It didn’t always happen, but it was the ideal. And that ideal was based on long standing western Judeo-Christian values that we hoped would influence every aspect of our lives. Unfortunately, as we turn to a new and darker chapter in our history, the exact opposite is happening.
The Timeless Concept of Justice
Like so many others, I have been shocked by what is happening in our world. One phrase describing it is “The World Upside Down,” and it is accurate. To be fair, some of the changes we have seen over the last eighty years or so can be attributed to normal societal change. We are no longer scandalized if a woman wears a short skirt or smokes. If someone declares themselves to be an atheist, we are not shocked. So, in some ways, we have moved on. Change happens. But that’s not what we are talking about here. We are talking about a perversion of justice. Justice is a timeless ideal that embraces vital and sacred concepts such as the rule of law, fairness and the worth of the individual. When such concepts are betrayed or sabotaged, there are serious consequences. You can’t ignore rampant corruption or widespread immorality, and if they become normalized, society suffers.
One of the worst examples is the war on merit. Merit should be enough. Whoever is best for the job should get it. Whoever works hard should receive a reward for their efforts. Whoever crosses the finish line first should win the race. It is unthinkable to fair minded people that the best person should not succeed because of bias, bigotry or group think, and yet that is exactly what is happening. I remember watching Martin Luther Kings’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech as a child. In it he expressed the hope that his children would be judged not “by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Even then, as a child, I remember that it made sense. Now, however, the idea of colour-blind merit is considered quaint, invalid or traitorous, something to be crushed and removed. Merit and character have been cancelled in favour of the worst of all social ills: Identity politics.
Identity Politics and Grievance Ideology
Identity politics has now poisoned society’s well. Whether you deserve the job or not you might only get it if you produce the right “oppressed group credentials.” What that means, of course, is that if you are not part of a marginalized or “racialized” group you might not stand a chance of succeeding. You won’t get the job (or whatever else you are seeking). In fact, if you are not “oppressed” you might as well not even apply. Our society has become so obsessed with Identity politics and “social justice” that it has produced the very discriminatory and prejudiced society it once tried to eliminate. We already have an immensely unfair societal preference for aggrieved and minority groups. As I explained in my previous post entitled “DEI is Not a Faith” the false secular religion of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is now creating a world in which a new system of segregation exists, just like the one experienced by people in previous times, except reversed.
Wrong Skin Colour? Don’t Bother to Apply
We are now, more than ever, sorted by skin colour and gender, but not in the same way. You are on the bottom of the pile if you are male, conservative, Christian and white. Any of those categories could get you banished, silenced or cancelled. You are excluded not for any good reason, but because of your skin colour and the historical crimes of your “colonialist” ancestors. You may be the best qualified for the job, but your “whiteness” and “unconscious biases” disqualify you. Oh, and by the way, your biases are unconscious, so even if you know you don’t have them, you do. Time to attend a mandated “unconscious bias” seminar to learn about your racist tendencies or lose your job! You are a “white supremacist” even if you don’t know it, and that must be purged from you and the state.
I can’t think of anything more horribly unfair than what I have just described, and yet I see it all the time. What we once called “reverse racism” is now considered “justice.” But it can’t be just if it hurts people and perverts the idea of fairness. Indeed, why bother to even try to get that job if you are going to be judged unsuitable for it on based on your skin colour. Yes, we all know that was what happened to people of colour in previous times, and we recognize it as having been unjust but…that does not make DEI discrimination against males or those of European origin justifiable now. Gender and racially based bigotry weren’t okay in former times, and they aren’t now.
No Justice, No Balance
In the warped value system of Wokeism the only way to achieve “retributive justice” (a term no one can precisely define) is to apply what Herbert Marcuse, the grandfather of post-modern Wokeism, called “Oppressive Tolerance.” We must practice injustice to bring more justice into the world. That is like saying we must drink more alcohol to achieve worldwide sobriety. Like so many other extreme ideas it makes no sense. We will not achieve justice until we consider the rights of all people, regardless of their “identity.” That is what Martin Luther King knew and what the giants on whose shoulders he stood advocated. Wokeism, and its handmaiden Identity politics, are two of the most unjust belief systems in history. And in these troubled times we cannot afford more injustice. Merit must be the measure of all things. If it is not, then civilization itself may crumble and conflict will most certainly ensue. No Merit, no Justice. That is all we need to know.
This is part of the price we pay for allowing counter culture and woke politics to thrive.There are movements afoot who only want to see all the old traditions destroyed. No more statues left standing of colonizers and take their names off of public buildings while you are at it.Will the future generations know anything about the history of their nation or even the story of their own families?And of course the subject of this post goes right to the core of the transgender movement and their attempt to make inroads in sports competitions.I am thrilled that the World Athletics… Read more »
In the context of your article, merit should come first and your article is excellent as usual. However from a Christian World View, might I suggest that identity comes before merit? For example, I suggest there are ONLY TWO identities that have eternal consequences. We either identify with Christ or we do not. In my particular case I do NOT ‘identify’ as Salvationist, Baptist, Evangelical Episcopal, the church I was ‘born again’ in, nor the CMAC (although I attend there), nor do I identify as a ‘sinner saved by grace’, although that happened, but rather I IDENTIFY as an adopted… Read more »
The grace of God certainly trumps fairness, Hal. That is a higher standard indeed! However, the people of God are called to defend those who are mistreated (Isaiah 1:17), to stand for what is fair, to refuse to treat others in a biased manner (James 2), to be salt of the earth (Matt 5:13 and the beatitudes which precede that). To “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matt 5:6), which involves insisting on fair play, is pleasing to God.
I agree with everything you said, so I am not sure why the “However”.
Very well said, Perry! Your quote from Martin Luther King Jr. is a propos. The legitimate concern underneath reverse discrimination is a need for equal opportunity. If that is provided, merit should determine who is awarded a job.
A professor I studied under in the eighties taught that the current (at the time) direction of western culture is towards dissolution and death, and that without an attitude of humility and godly transformation of our institutions we would one day disintegrate as many cultures before us have. Since then, we have continued to slide downwards culturally and the end is drawing nigh for western civilization UNLESS there is a turning away from our personal and our corporate sins before a holy God. This is the story of history! What you are highlighting in this article makes perfect sense of… Read more »
I couldn’t agree more. I would like to add that identity politics also creates an incredible distraction from what people really need to be paying attention to. Issues that need to be contemplated using critical thinking and discrimination, are pushed to the side in favour of a whole host of issues which take our attention away from the loss of our basic human rights. And with such irrational ideas being sold as “facts” people lose the ability to clearly see that we must have the best and brightest among us moving our society forward. Sadly, people appear to be suffering… Read more »
Brilliant. Well said. Ms. Foster!
Waking up may no longer be possible for many “woke” people since many have been given over to “a strong delusion”. Only a radical event might snap them out their pride and sinfulness.
Revd.Dr. Martin Luther King is rejoicing from beyond right now. So good.
??? You know a person’s eternal destiny?
Such an insightful blog Perry: you reveal that at the (rotten) core of woke ‘justice’ is nothing but injustice. I kept hearing Pieper’s words while reading your text: ‘All just order in the world is based on this: that man give man what is his due. On the other hand, everything unjust implies that what belongs to a man is withheld or taken away from him’ (The Four Cardinal Virtues). The astute commentators here are aware that the ultimate source of merit transcends our puny selves, and yet our gifted self-worth is also therefore in the divine image. The woke… Read more »