Australian Notes

Australian notes

15 April 2017

9:00 AM

15 April 2017

9:00 AM

Diversity’s hypocrites

Let’s say that you’re a ‘diversity’ freak. What you want in life is to take some group X, see what its percentage of the population happens to be, and then to demand that the same percentage of X’s be found in the various jobs and roles that matter to you. This is just quota thinking, but without the bravery of calling it a quota. Your focus might be corporate boards, it might be judicial jobs, it might be top political spots. It probably won’t be heavy manual labour down the mines, sewage workers or garbage collection, though for political reasons it might be jobs in the military as combat troops.

Of course almost all of the people in the West today who focus on ‘diversity’ and ‘equity’ do so in terms of things like the type of reproductive organs one brings to the table, or one’s skin pigmentation. It’s those things, they think, that need to reflect the population at large. It is almost never things such as one’s political outlook or attitude towards open borders or judgements on what sorts of energy sources to develop (or to leave in the ground, as it were).

At universities, where I work, left-leaning political attitudes are massively – and I mean massively – over-represented. In the US, giving money to political parties is public information. So studies have shown that 91 per cent of Harvard law professors give to the Democrats. It’s 92 per cent at Yale and 94 per cent at Stanford. In subjects such as ‘social psychology’ the US academic Jon Haidt has collected data that has found that 96 per cent of these social psychologists working at universities see themselves as left of centre; 3.7 per cent see themselves as centrist; and – wait for it – 0.3 per cent see themselves as right of centre. (Still, that beats ‘our’ ABC with its 0.00 per cent of its presenters, producers or top people generally on any of its TV current affairs programs with a right-of-centre pedigree, but it doesn’t beat it by much.)

You would be a brave person to bet those sorts of ratios are any less biased in Australia or that they would be any less skewed in women’s studies departments, in indigenous studies departments, or in those parts of law schools that focus on ‘human rights’ – and I can personally attest to that last one as someone who writes and speaks and has attended many conferences in the so-called human rights area. I used to bring university meetings to a halt, and I mean this literally, by saying out loud how much I liked John Howard and his government. And at human rights conferences around the world, in between the self-righteous, smug, holier-than-thou bumper sticker moralising, one could count on one hand the number of people who would ever admit to voting for a Thatcher, or Reagan, or Howard, or Harper, or GOD FORBID Abbott.

My core point here is that when it comes to quotas, or affirmative action, or ensuring ‘diversity’ and ‘equity’ (what you call it depends on your honesty), there are never any moves to push for a diversity of political outlook amongst the academics on a university faculty, or in Ultimo-Land at the ABC. Now I am personally opposed to all forms of affirmative action, so would oppose it even here. But it has always struck me that if you’re in the quotas (oops, ‘diversity’) game then you ought to be a lot more worried about exposing students and taxpayer viewers to a ‘diversity’ of outlooks and ideas more than obsessing over a ‘balanced’ coterie of reproductive organs or skin pigmentation.

Which brings me to the issue of hypocrisy. Let’s be blunt. A lot of this ‘diversity’ push is being led by white men well into their fifties. They are the ones who are having these mid-life Damascene conversions about the need – right now by diktat, not a bit later by time and merit – to get more women and minorities onto boards and into top jobs at the Reserve Bank or the military or in the civil service or with big companies. But notice how totally costless this cheap moralising is for these top dog men themselves. Show me a top corporate CEO or top civil servant or big shot army ‘guy’ who is a man and says ‘I’ll step down if you promise this job of mine will go to a woman’ and I’ll say ‘at least he puts his money where his mouth is’. But they never do, do they? No, they want the costs of moving away from a straight out merit system to be borne by our sons, never by them personally. (And of course on their own worldviews it is these later middle-aged white men who have benefitted from what they see as ‘implicit discrimination’, certainly not any young men in their twenties or thirties where women if anything are doing better than those with a Y chromosome.)

So this is bumper sticker moralising; it’s virtue signalling by a few overpaid men at the top end of town who absolutely pay not a penny of the cost of their love of affirmative action. This is the Justin Trudeau world view writ large. (He’s the Canadian Prime Minister, and trust fund child, who basically never had a job other than snowboard instructor before becoming PM and who mouths these affirmative action platitudes with his every passing breath.)

Here’s a rule that all people who urge a move away from straight up merit-based hiring should always have to live up to. If it’s good for the goose then it’s good for the gander. Step down from your own job immediately and we’ll all make sure it goes to a woman or someone with darker pigmentation. Otherwise, shut up, please, you hypocritical lightweights.

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