Leftists specialize in pejorative labeling of anyone who disagrees with them, calling them racist, sexist, homophobe, transphobe, Islamophobe, deplorable, etc. But they save their ultimate insults for their most important targets; they are labeled “fascists,” “Nazis,” and “literally Hitler.” These childish insults take the place of serious debate, of presenting arguments substantiated by evidence, and of countering disagreements with the same. Here, argument will be attempted and the labeling rejected.
Any resemblance between America in 2023 and Germany in the 1930s is purely coincidental. Yet there are some worrisome resemblances.
As early as 1933, the formal exclusion of Jews was initiated with Chancellor Hitler’s declaration of a national boycott of Jewish businesses. The “Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service” prohibited “non-Aryans” from serving in the legal profession or civil service and from teaching in secondary schools and universities. On May 10, 1933, there was a nationwide book burning of “un-German” books, including those by Jewish authors.
Successful and prosperous Jews were in this way cut off from their professions and from commerce. Jews who had served in the military or were tenured in the civil service and in teaching positions lost the professions and statuses that they had earned. Hitherto successful businesses and stores found themselves without most of their customers, and many failed.
The Nuremberg exclusion laws (see also here) passed by the Nazi-dominated Reichstag in 1935 included the “Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour,” which forbade marriage and extra-marital intercourse between Germans and Jews, and the “Reich Citizenship Law” declaring that only those of German blood could be citizens of the Reich, others being “enemies of the race-based state” without citizen rights, including Jews and Romanis, with blacks also excluded from citizen rights.
Assimilated Jews, including those who had converted to Christianity and those who had married Germans, found themselves cut off from their German friends, in-laws, and even spouses. They were excluded from their own lives.
These Nazi laws were based on a race policy that distinguished between the German pure master race and the inferior races of non-Germans, mainly Jews but also gypsies and blacks, a theory that also put non-German foreigners, such as Poles, into alleged subordinate racial positions as members of inferior races.
American race theories are quite different from Nazi ones. Both in the U.S. and Canada, races are distinguished not by purity, but by virtue. Evil races are oppressors, privileged races, and virtuous races are oppressed, victimized “marginalized and underserved” minorities, a general category that includes “victims” of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and Islamophobia, and the discrimination that results from these.
The “evil” race in America is whites, the statistical majority in both countries. (Remarkably, successful minorities such as Asians and Jews are classed with whites as blameworthy “white adjacent” or “hyper-white,” for the unforgivable sin of being successful.) Males are the “evil” sex; heterosexuals are the “evil” sexuality; Christians and Jews are the “evil” religion; the able-bodied are also “evil oppressors.” BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color), LGBTQ2S++ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual, queer, two-spirit, plus many other varieties of minority preferences), the disabled, and Muslims are all alleged to be “marginalized and underserved” victims of bigotry and discrimination.
Based on this American racial theory, “social justice” is now defined as the implementation of “diversity, equity, and inclusion.” But the initiatives for this did not come from the U.S. Congress or the Canadian Parliament. The people’s elected representatives had no say in this imposition. Rather, the postmodern holy trinity of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” has been imposed by executive order in both the U.S. and Canada.
In Canada, the Liberal government launched in 2019 a new program to which all universities, professional academic organizations, and funding agencies were expected to commit. It is called “Dimensions: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.” According to the government of Canada, “Dimensions aims to address systemic barriers, particularly those experienced by members of underrepresented or disadvantaged groups, including, but not limited to, women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible minority/racialized groups, and members of LGBTQ2+ communities.” A “Charter” for “Dimensions” was distributed to all presidents of all post-secondary educational institutions, disciplinary organizations, and funding agencies for endorsement. The government plan is that “Institutions that endorse the Dimensions charter commit to embedding EDI principles in their policies, practices, action plans and culture.”
In the U.S., President Biden’s Executive Order 13985 “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government” (see White House briefing here) states that:
It is therefore the policy of my Administration that the Federal Government should pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality. Affirmatively advancing equity, civil rights, racial justice, and equal opportunity is the responsibility of the whole of our Government. Because advancing equity requires a systematic approach to embedding fairness in decision-making processes, executive departments and agencies (agencies) must recognize and work to redress inequities in their policies and programs that serve as barriers to equal opportunity.
The background is Biden’s assertion that the U.S. is “systemically racist.” The stated intention is for DEI to correct that.
These top-down initiatives could not have been more successful. The targeted recipients throughout government, education, media, industry, medicine, and law took up DEI with the enthusiasm of “reborn” new converts. DEI requirements were imposed on every nook and cranny of organizational existence. But enforcement of DEI was not left to the workers, soldiers, teachers, nurses, clerks, and other front-line workers. No, across America thousands of DEI bureaucrats were hired, many at top salaries, to publicize and enforce DEI. These bureaucrats, acting as political commissars, were often relentless in imposing DEI and crushing dissent. These bureaucrats are the new executive elite of America.
So what does DEI turn out to be in practice? Let us take each term in turn.
Diversity, you might think, means bringing in everyone. Wrong. Diversity means bringing in maximal number of people with victim credentials, that is, BIPOC, LGBTQ2S++, females, the disabled, and Muslims. Others — whites, especially white males, “hyper-white” Jews, “white adjacent” Asians, the able-bodied, and Christians — are deemed “not diverse” and are not selected; that is, they are mostly excluded, in many cases explicitly.
McGill University, ranked the number one medical university in Canada, celebrates its DEI success. In an article titled “McGill sees 400% increase in incoming Black medical students thanks to inclusivity programs,” McGill reports that “Thanks to initiatives such as the McGill Black Candidate Pathway and the Community of Support Program whose goal is to increase the number of Black students within medicine, McGill’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences saw a 400% increase in the number of incoming Black medical students in the Fall of 2022, with 24 Black students among the incoming group of 200 new medical students.”
So among the medical admittees, 12% were black, while blacks are only 4.3% of the Canadian population, an overrepresentation of some 250%. Note that McGill does not brag about admitting the best students ever; rather, they brag about diversity admittees. The question of how heavily academic merit weighed in admissions is not stated. Should Canada have diverse doctors or excellent doctors?
In other cases of student admission or hiring of professors or administrative staff, not only are minority candidates encouraged, but “non-diverse” members of the majority or members of successful minorities are also explicitly excluded. Thanks to the ongoing vigilance of the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship, here are a few current examples, which can stand for thousands more (emphasis added):
- Nova Scotia College of Art and Design “NSCAD University is in Mi’kma’ki, on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq Nation. NSCAD University has committed to reconciliation and to establishing respectful ongoing relationships with Indigenous peoples. As part of NSCAD’s ongoing development of anti-racist practices and the dismantling of oppressive institutional structures, these opportunities are restricted to applicants who identify as Black, Indigenous, or as a person of color. We seek applicants whose practice, research-creation and teaching will support programmatic missions of equity, inclusion, social justice, decolonization, anti-racism, human development, belonging and well-being.
- Simon Fraser Department of History, Assistant Professor in History of Black Americas — 11 February 2023 The Department of History in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Simon Fraser University, respectfully acknowledges the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), q̓íc̓əy̓(Katzie), kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), qiqéyt (Qayqayt), qʼʷa:n̓ƛʼən̓ (Kwantlen), Səmyámə (Semiahmoo), and sc̓əwaθən (Tsawwassen) Peoples, on whose ancestral, traditional, and unceded territories Simon Fraser University’s three campuses stand. We are committed to reconciliation through decolonization and Indigenization, telling inclusive stories about the past, and acknowledging different historical epistemologies. The Department of History invites applications for a full-time tenure-track appointment in History at the rank of Assistant Professor, to start as early as July 15, 2023. We seek a scholar with expertise in the history of the Black Americas, broadly conceived. We especially welcome scholars whose research and teaching focuses on Canada, the Caribbean, or Latin America, while also welcoming comparative, transnational, and crossregional approaches. The successful candidate must have research and teaching interests and lived experience in Black communities, including a demonstrable history of community involvement. Ideal candidates will have experience teaching a diverse student body.
- Dalhousie University, Instructor, Assistant, Associate or Full Professor of Science — As a signatory of the Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion, Dalhousie has committed to taking decisive action to recruit Black scholars to the university and to employ best practices to support their retention and advancement. …to correct historic underrepresentation. This initiative will support inclusive excellence by appointing five Black scholars to the university across multiple disciplines. Cluster hires creat[e] communities of support for scholars from underrepresented groups. These new scholars will find opportunities for scholarly contributions, collaboration, and support as Fellows of the newly established Black Studies Research Institute (BSRI) and will contribute to our emerging transdisciplinary program in Black and African Diaspora Studies (BAFD).
- Wilfrid Laurier University, Faculty of Science, Department of Psychology, Canada Research Chair (SSHRC) Tier 2 in Psychology of Just, Inclusive, and Sustainable Futures (Internal) — The Department of Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University invites applications for a tenured or tenure-track Tier 2 Canada Research Chair (SSHRC) in Psychology of Just, Inclusive, and Sustainable Futures. In alignment with the goals of the Department of Psychology and the CRC Program’s equity target goals, this position is only open to candidates who identify as a member of a racialized group.
- Acadia University, The Jodrey School of Computer Science invites applications from candidates for one of three tenure-track positions commencing on 1 July 2023. We invite applications for the following faculty positions from women, people with disabilities, and Black, Mi’kmaq, and Indigenous Canadians.
The result is that “diverse” minorities are overrepresented, as in the McGill Faculty of Medicine case mentioned above. As well, females now make up 60% of Canadian university students, while males are 40%. This is a substantial overrepresentation of female students, yet they still are the priority for admissions and hiring, as in the Acadia ad above. A further example is the article, “Celebrating McGill’s women of STEM,” which takes great exception to the fact that there is one corner of the university not dominated by females. Among American university administrations, females also are in control, with 66% of all administrative staff being female, and 75% of Ivy League university presidents being female.
Between the time of systemic discrimination against the Jews through the 1920s, when Harvard and McGill had quotas to limit the number of Jews, and the end of the 20th century, Jews were high achievers in academia. By the mid-20th century, Jews were 21% of the professoriate. With the establishment of President Johnson’s reformulated affirmative action for non-Jewish minorities and the increasing redefinition of “social justice,” Jews were decreasingly accepted in higher education and the professoriate so that by 2020, only 4% of the professoriate were Jews. Being on the wrong side of “diversity” has undermined the Jews’ position in society.
What does this preferential racial, gender, and sexuality policy say to Canadians and Americans? It says that you as an individual do not matter. We don’t care about your accomplishments, achievements, merit, or potential; we only care about your race, sex, sexuality, and disability. It says to heterosexual Ukrainian Canadian males, able Korean Canadian males, able Italian Canadian males, able Quebecois, able South Asian Canadian males, able Latin American males, able Finnish Canadian males, Chinese American heterosexual males, Iranian American heterosexual males, Scottish American males, Swedish American males, Polish American males, Thai American males, Japanese American males, Welsh American males, Jewish American males, and so many more, that all of you can be freely disregarded.
“Diversity” not only doesn’t mean diversity of all people, but it also does not mean diversity of thought. The commitment to DEI is that of a religious nature, a set of truths that may not be questioned. Any dissent is deemed to be heresy, and the heretic is turned over to the DEI officers who enforce it in the spirit of the Office of the Holy Inquisition. A recent example of many cancelations is the firing of Frances Widdowson from Mount Royal University for her scholarly analyses of Canadian indigenous native history and government policy. Nor was she allowed to speak about her views and experiences at Lethbridge University. This is a remarkable turn for institutions that were, during past liberal modernity, committed to diversity of view, freedom of exchange of ideas, and argument and evidence as the bases for truth.
Equity means equal outcomes for all census categories of people, as distinct from equality of opportunity. In the DEI playbook, members of different categories must have the same results — whether test results, income, percentage of positions, or awards — or else something is deemed to be wrong. Any statistical disparity between members of different categories is taken as proof positive of racial, sexual, homophobic, transphobic, or Islamophobic discrimination. This, in my opinion, is the worst and least-substantiated sociological theory in the 21st century but the most fervently held by DEI converts.
An example of “equity” is the withholding of National Merit Awards from students at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Virginia. The principal, who wanted to cancel the competitive admission procedure to increase “diversity,” was perhaps offended that so many of the award winners were Asian Americans rather than other minorities. So students were not informed of their success and thus could not submit the result for college admissions and scholarship applications. According to the author, “the decision to withhold the information from parents and inform the students in a low-key way was intentional. ‘We want to recognize students for who they are as individuals, not focus on their achievements,’ he told her, claiming that he and the principal didn’t want to ‘hurt’ the feelings of students who didn’t get the award.” The attitude of the school’s administrators reflects the school district’s new strategy of “equal outcomes for every student, without exception.”
“Inclusion” is not about including people or ideas but about making minorities feel comfortable by not allowing any opinions that might upset them to be spoken or written. Inclusion is about excluding any views that might not be welcome for the increasingly sensitive minorities. Thus its main goal is the suppression of free speech and opinion. It is thus quite in accord with the illiberalism of “diversity” and “equity.”
The Germans in the 1930s — and keep in mind that, at the turn of the 20th century, Germany was the most advanced society in the world — thought that they were doing a good and important work in discriminating on the basis of race. They thought they were guaranteeing the purity of their race and the honor of their country. Today, the American elite thinks they are doing good work in discriminating on the basis of race, sex, sexuality, disability, and religion. They think that they are advancing “social justice.” Perhaps they never heard the saying, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”
Discriminating on the basis of race and other immutable characteristics is never good; it is always illiberal and always disregards the dignity and rights of individual persons. Such means as discrimination never justify the ends because these means always destroy the ends hoped for. America has replaced historical injustices with new injustices, and those in the future will look back at this with shame.
Philip Carl Salzman is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at McGill University and Senior Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.