Duke University economics and political science professor Timur Kuran, who, based on his social media feed, either enjoys ironclad tenure or has a substantial secondary income ensuring he need not rely on his Duke-derived salary for a living, in January 2024 posted a lengthy treatise on what he sees as DEI’s shark-jumping moment in the presence of now-former Harvard President Claudine Gay. After laying out his observation of how, in his words, “preference falsification has been central to the trajectory of DEI,” Kuran states:
The shock that unleashed the ongoing cascade in reverse was the Hamas massacres of October 7. The chain of events that they triggered in the U.S. — anti-Jewish demonstrations, the Congressional hearings, the plagiarism revelations — brought to the surface outrage that had been building up quietly for years. As public criticism of DEI grew, and as it became clear that broad segments of the left share the outrage, the DEI-favoring false consensus disintegrated.
While Kuran is probably too quick to declare DEI on the run, his post lends itself to discussing DEI’s fundamental flaws.
DEI, in practice, has been anything but diversified, equitable, and inclusive, with its monotrack adherence to hardcore progressive groupthink and practices. The mythology of equity, defined by progressives as a guaranteed equal outcome regardless of all other considerations and realities, has lent itself to scenarios such as what we saw where all involved parties, from the Harvard Corporation to the mainstream media, made every effort to excuse Gay’s blatant plagiarism including attacking the messenger.
An additional element of DEI in practice bearing no resemblance to its stated goals comes from RedState’s Brad Slager, who observes:
While this initiative is always positioned as a chance for growth and opportunity, the result is usually instead a bitter approach to the past and wanting to take punitive action. Look at how, in halls and common spaces, this task force is not adding and broadening representation with new names but stripping away those supposedly hateful souls – who, despite the implied hateful motivations, somehow managed to develop Harvard into the preeminent learning institution that selected a black female to lead its student body.
Taking DEI from its implemented form to its intended goals, thus at least temporarily setting aside its omnipresent nature of being lollipop dreams in a cotton candy sky, reveals it still suffers from stereophonic fatal flaws. It simultaneously attempts to level the playing field well after the game has already started and put the cart before the horse.
The sole legitimate method of authentic DEI implementation starts at birth. Discipline and education are as colorblind as it gets. Quality parenting is indispensable. It is little wonder why the more rabid white fragility or variations thereof proponents have labeled such common values as hard work and self-reliance as racist. They are not, of course, but attempting to smear them as such is based on an effort to excuse abdicated societal responsibilities. Those who make children alone bear responsibility for their children. It is not society’s fault if you do little other than shove junk food into their faces on those rare occasions when they look up from a phone or tablet screen streaming mindless drek.
There are limits to the dictum that if you can’t dazzle ‘em with brilliance, baffle ‘em with bull. Mechanical or medical expertise is not optional when lives are on the line. Do you want yourself or a loved one in need of life-or-death medical treatment administered by a doctor admitted to and rammed through medical school out of sympathy instead of merit? Do you want yourself or a loved one boarding an airliner built or maintained by quota instead of quality? No. Save for the genuinely racist few who have no place in true conservatism, you do not care about the color or gender of a hand designing or responsible for upkeep on that plane you are boarding. All you want is the best available on the job.
Discipline requires work, effort, and commitment. There are no shortcuts or excuses. Genuine equality will exist only when everyone stops whining and starts working. There is no inherent advantage or disadvantage based on race. A solid home and loving but firm guidance knows no color barrier. Is it easier for some than others? Of course. No government program can change that save a socialist setup in which everyone is equally miserable and oppressed. No one has reason to begrudge the offer of a hand up to those who, through no fault of their own, start from a lesser position. However, at some point, it becomes incumbent to assume responsibility for oneself. A hand up is not a handout. Until the latter no longer serves as an action plan and the refusal to tolerate DEI grows to the level hoped for by Kuran, we as a society will continue to suffer.