The Death of Merit and the Race to Mediocrity in Our Increasingly Marxist Universities

Commentary, Education, Philip Carl Salzman

The television series “The Enemy Within” begins by informing the viewer that there are 100,000 foreign spies in the United States working to undermine and destabilize America. China has sent hundreds of thousands of students to America to gain maximum access to the West’s advanced knowledge and technology, some through education alone, some through espionage.

While the foreign threat is real and serious, it pales beside the internal threat represented by the North American education complex. There are 756,900teachers and professors in Canada, and 5.2 million in the U.S. Almost all of these professors and teachers are daily resolutely and relentlessly attacking Western culture, rejecting American culture, and advocating cultural Marxism.

How did this come about? During the 1960s and 1970s, two converging social movements transformed the culture of education. One was the adoption of Marxism by a wide range of North American university professors in the social sciences and humanities. The other was the widespread adoption of feminist theory. Together, Marxism and feminism redefined North American society as a hierarchy of oppression, with white, patriarchal capitalists at the top, and poor lesbians of color at the bottom. All citizens were redefined as members of racial, economic, gender, sexual, and ethnic classes, with people of white oppressing people of color, males oppressing females, rich oppressing poor, heterosexuals oppressing LGBTQ++, Christians and Jews oppressing Muslims, and so on. This approach is called “social justice” theory.

Following the Marxist prescription of class conflict, feminists attack males as “toxic,” and people of color and their “woke” allies attack whites as having unearned “privilege” and being oppressors. But that is only the beginning. “Social justice” theory attacks the most basic concepts of American culture and Western civilization.

The liberal principle of equality of opportunity is replaced by equality of result or outcome. This means that, instead of the allocation of opportunities and benefits on the basis of merit derived from demonstrated achievement, opportunities and benefits must be allocated evenly across the categories in each field: gender, race, sexuality, ethnicity, by means of statistical representation in every organization and position according to statistical representation in the general population. This means in practice, according to the “equity, diversity, and inclusion” slogan, there must always in the U.S. be 50% or more females, 13% African Americans, 16% Hispanics, and at least some LGBTQ++, some Muslims, some other people of colour, some poor and homeless, some uneducated and some mentally ill.

According to “social justice” theory, ideas such as “merit” and “achievement” are male, white supremacist ideas, used to ensure the unfair dominance of white men. “Social justice” requires equal category representation. For example, the prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, who is a great advocate of “social justice,” appointed females to make up 50% of his cabinet. His justification? “Because it is 2015.” But females made up only 27% of the Liberal caucus, which means that 50% of cabinet members were selected from 27% of the caucus, while only 50% of the cabinet were selected from 73% of the caucus. If we assume that capability and potential are distributed equally among males and females, how likely is it that the strongest candidates in achievement, merit, and potential were selected? For Trudeau, gender trumped achievement and merit, “because it [was] 2015.” But, as is par for the course, even this has not satisfied feminists, who demand the most powerful ministries for females.

“Social justice” allocation of opportunities and benefits is well represented in the U.S. and Canada by programs of so-called “affirmative action,” in which people are selected, not because of their merit or potential, but because of their ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and/or race. In other words, underperforming, weak students are admitted to universities, and funded, because their sexuality, or race, or gender is statistically “underrepresented” in relation to their presence in the general population. Although this practice was outlawed by binding referendum in the state of California, the University of California has found “workarounds” to advance racial “diversity.”

And, although the Supreme Court of the United States has imposed serious restrictions on racial preferences, Ivy League universities have proceeded with them cavalierly, for which they have been investigated by the Department of Justice, and currently face court challenges.

McGill University, in its “Open Call” for Canada Research Chair applications, claims that “Chairholders are nationally recognized as exceptional researchers and innovators in their discipline.” But, “for the purpose of a nomination for a Canada Research Chair in the October 2019 round, preference will be given to qualified applicants who self-identify as a person with a disability or as an Indigenous person.” In actual choices, for McGill, disability and ethnicity count more than achievement, merit, and potential. And note that you do not actually have to be disabled or Indigenous, but merely to “self-identify” as disabled or Indigenous. Even in our top universities, identity is regarded as more important than facts. I suppose that, in this competition, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a.k.a. Fauxcahontas, would be given preference as “Indigenous,” as she has in previous employments.

A side note, “social justice” is a disease of the educational sector, not the population at large. In the U.S. the public does not like or support “affirmative action” and gender and racial quotas. According to a 2016 Gallup poll, 63% of Americans say race or ethnicity should not be considered in university admissions, and 66% say gender should not be considered. Among African Americans, 57% say race and ethnicity should not be considered, and a plurality of Hispanics, 47%, say the same. In a follow-up 2019 Gallup poll, 73% of Americans say that race should not be considered in university admissions. 62% of African Americans say that race should not be considered, and 62% of Hispanics say the same. 81% say that gender should not be a factor.

It appears that Americans increasingly oppose “social justice” racial and gender preferences. Note that while “social justice” advocates are pushing for representation on the basis of races, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity, they have no concern with the representation of public opinion. In fact, the one kind of diversity that they oppose is diversity of opinion. Only “social justice” views are acceptable; contrary views are vilified as “hate speech.”

In fact, the educational “social justice” bulldozer plows ahead. The latest ill-conceived initiative is by the College Board, producers of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), the results of which are considered in college university admissions. The College Board is alarmed that while Asian Americans do best on the SAT exams, and white Americans score average, Hispanics and African Americans score low. So, to correct that, in the hope of having equality of result for the racial groups, the Board has invented an “adversity” assessment, giving high scores for negative social, economic, and other conditions, and giving low scores for beneficial social, economic, and other conditions. This would allow admissions officers to explain away poor SAT scores. As one critic puts it, “Tests only discriminate against those who don’t know the answers… The last thing we need is an artificial ‘adversity score’ to tip the scales in favor of those who don’t know the answers.”

The reality is that, while minority students with strong backgrounds do reasonably well in university, students with weak backgrounds and levels of achievement, admitted to university for “social justice” reasons, do poorly, and are harmed by being put into a position that they are ill prepared for. But the overall effect of “social justice” admissions and hiring is the dumbing down of universities and of the U.S. and Canada. Just as world competitors, such as China, ramp up their academic and research achievement, North American universities are catering to  “identities,” and raising subjectivity—“everyone has their own truth”—above objectivity, truth, and reality. This is a deep dive into decadence.

“Social justice” has one simple explanation for differing results among gender, racial, and other categories of people: discrimination. But the evidence does not support this explanation. Some unpopular minority groups are highly overrepresented in prestigious educational and professional positions, which is a result of their family and community cultures, and cannot be attributed to discrimination against the majority. At the same time, we know that underperforming and “underrepresented” minorities have serious internal family and community problems, such as single-parent families and a high crime rate.  Finally, the evidence shows that “underrepresentation” is in many cases the result of the preferences and choices, not discrimination.

“Social justice” teachers, professors, and administrators who dominate our schools and universities do not stop with preferred “equity, diversity, and inclusion” admissions and hiring. Rather, they aim to discredit Western Civilization and American and Canadian society because they were founded and built by white men. The great literary and philosophical works of Western Civilization are no longer read because they are the creations of “dead white men.”

It is offensive to “social justice” advocates, particularly feminists, that white men invented Western culture, science, and technology.

“Social justice” educators, which means just about all educators, see their job as discrediting those white men. Western Civilization, America and Canada are framed as oppressive hierarchies of gender and racial injustice, with no saving graces. The Founding Fathers of the U.S., and John A. Macdonald, the first prime minister of Canada, are dismissed as slave-holding, anti-Indigenous evil villains, who sinned by living in the 19th rather than the 21st “social justice” century, and whose statues should be torn down, and names erased.

The Constitution of the United States is now rejected by “social justice” professors because it is the work of slaveholders.

Slavery in the United States is a trump card of “social justice” theorists, who frame it as the original sin of America which taints everything else. What they neglect is that slavery was the basis of ancient civilization, and a worldwide historical phenomenon; was a major institution in ancient Greece and in Rome; was a major social fact in Africa, where African slave raiders and traders, in addition to keeping slaves for local use,  provided the slaves for the North Atlantic slave trade; in the Middle East where Muslims slavers raided Africa for over a thousand years, and where the Islamic State in the 21st century, up to 2018, enslaved “infidels,” turning the females into sex slaves; in North Africa, where Muslim slave raiders sailed north as far as Ireland to capture tens of thousands of white Europeans to be sold into slavery; while in India “untouchable” quasi-slaves were half of the population; and in Russia serfs performed the same functions. It was white men in Europe who made slavery redundant by inventing science, modern agriculture, and the industrial revolution, raising productivity through the work of machines, so that slave labor was no longer desirable. Furthermore, anti-slavery movements among white Europeans and white Americans led to the banning of the North Atlantic slave trade, policed by the Royal Navy, and the emancipation of the slaves in the Caribbean and the American South. Estimates are that at least 360,000 Union soldiers, almost all white, died in the Civil War that led to emancipation.

“Social justice” subjectivity and advocacy have replaced the search for reality and truth in schools and universities. Objectivity is viewed as a tool that straight white men use to suppress females, people of color, and those of various sexualities. Today, in universities, identity is the most important “reality,” and everyone has their “own truth.” If you argue along with science that men and women are biologically different, you are rejected as sexist. If you argue along with science that men cannot be women and women cannot be men, you are rejected as a transphobe. If you argue that African American culture has serious problems, you are rejected as a racist. If you argue that there is discrimination in favor of, not against females, you are rejected as a sexist. Research and evidence on such matters are suppressed. There is not just peer pressure against views contrary to “social justice” fantasies, but these views are actively suppressed by administrators, the many “equity, diversity, and inclusion” officers, whose job is to suppress them.

Once equality of opportunity, merit, and competition are denounced as white male tricks to maintain supremacy, or as toxic masculinity, it is only logical to reject capitalism and differential distribution of assets, or inequality, and to advocate for socialism. This is no surprise for Marxists, whose sights were aimed at capitalism from the beginning. But the jihad against capitalism has been taken up by “social justice” advocates generally. According to a 2019 poll, “77 percent of Democrats believe that the country would be ‘better off’ if it were more socialist.”

Of course, most American professors are Democrats, and many are Marxists.

Many university departments declare themselves anti-capitalist. This statementfrom the Ryerson University (Toronto) School of Social Work is one that most schools of social work and education would agree with:

School of Social Work is a leader in critical education, research, and practice with culturally and socially diverse students and communities in the advancement of anti-oppression/anti-racism, anti-Black racism, anti-colonialism/decolonization, Aboriginal reconciliation, feminism, anti-capitalism, queer and trans liberation struggles, issues in disability and Madness, among other social justice struggles. Our vision is to transform social structures into more equitable and inclusive social, economic, political, and cultural processes of society.

Apparently, the school has not noticed the abject failure of socialism in the USSR, China, North Korea, Cambodia, Cuba, and Venezuela to provide security and prosperity. Nor the hundred million murdered by those societies in implementing socialism. Nor does it seem to have noticed that capitalism in developed societies has brought levels of prosperity to the average person beyond the imaginings of kings and queens in the past.

Our school teachers and university professors have been doing their best to discredit and destroy liberal individualism, freedom, merit, the search for objective truth, Western civilization, American and Canadian culture, and capitalism, all contrary to the views of the American and Canadian public. This is an ambitious agenda, but through the magic of “social justice,” they have made great progress in shaping the minds of pupils and students, and our future doctors, lawyers, bureaucrats, and legislators, if at the expense of objectivity, science, and truth. In a competitive and dangerous world, they lead us to ever increasing mediocrity and vulnerability.

This article originally appeared on PJ Media.