Aristotle wrote: “The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal”. Many people in the modern world seem to perpetuate this form of inequality, as if trying to make unequal things equal somehow made them equal. These people who spout such nonsense aren’t usually interested in the truth, but rather, they’ve got a proverbial ax to grind. Imagine that! I find this very concerning, however, and even dangerous. If we allow people with a clearly biased agenda to interfere with those who are seeking truth then we, as a society, are likely going to face devastating consequences at some point. Sadly, I believe this is already happening.
One of the beauties of living in America is that it generally encourages freedom of thought, freedom of speech, open-mindedness, and diversity. Unfortunately, it also has an ugly history filled with discrimination and oppression, namely committed by white males. However, in modern American society, white males are discriminated against too and unlike others who are discriminated against, they are implicitly told that they better like it and accept it! I’m disgusted when I see others drinking this form of political correctness Kool-Aid because it’s just another form of discrimination incognito.
One of my chief concerns with modern culture is that we embrace the differences amongst people (as we should) most of the time, but for some reason, when men (particularly white heterosexual men) prove to be better at something in any capacity, there is cultural outrage in the name of inequality. I suspect that there is good reason for this bias and it is largely rooted in historical reality. Given the tumultuous events that have occurred throughout history, I can empathize with the warranted disgust towards the appalling social conditions and discrimination many people’s ancestors faced from white males. I would further argue, though, that virtually all of us could play “the victim card” if we look back far enough in history. Yes, at some point in history I think one of my ancestors was mistreated. Does that somehow entitle me to discriminate against the racial group or gender that harmed my ancestors? Of course not! How does dwelling on the misgivings of the past help me in the present and future?
Through moral progress many of these ills no longer exist (yet, I’m well aware that some of them still do). However, the way to cure discrimination is not with more discrimination, but rather to abolish it in the first place. In order to do that though, we need to figure out what discrimination really is. Discrimination does not necessarily occur in situations where there is an unequal outcome. Fairness and unequal outcomes can be perfectly congruent because not everyone is identical and, thus, not every outcome from human action is identical.
Let’s consider a few interesting modern examples that demonstrate unequal outcomes without discrimination.
1) The NBA is disproportionately filled with men who are of African descent and who are over six feet tall; however, there are some players who are shorter than six feet tall and there are some players of European descent in the league. Is this a form of discrimination against males of European descent and those other males who are under six feet tall? No! The NBA certainly discriminates on talent, but it does not discriminate against shorter males or males of European descent in any sensible definition of the way we use the term negatively.
2) Every year there are significantly more men than women who are put to death for crimes they were convicted of. And American prisons are also overwhelmingly filled with male inmates. Should I be horrified about this form of gender inequality? Is this inequality the result of some feminist conspiracy? Of course not! Men commit a disproportionate amount of the crimes in society and therefore it is perfectly logical that they are put to death more regularly and compose a large percentage of our prison population. This too is not discrimination in any sensible definition of the word.
3) If the departments in the natural sciences at Harvard are predominantly made up of males. Should I be outraged at this gender inequality? <sarcasm> Absolutely! This is conclusive evidence that the evil patriarchy is discriminating against women and oppressing them. </sarcasm>
In January 2005, the president of Harvard University, Larry Summers, was demonized for making a speculation in regards to question #3. He offered a mere speculation (not even a formal claim) as to why the departments in the natural sciences were made up of mostly men. Mr. Summers suggested that there might possibly be a larger distribution of men at the highest levels of intellectual ability and that mere speculation was enough to sound the femi-nazi alarm bells. How could Mr. Summers say such a horrific thing?!? It’s as if he was claiming that the process of evolution didn’t care about political correctness, 50-50 ratios, and perfectly even distributions of abilities amongst men and women!
Ultimately, Mr. Summers had committed the most heinous of thought crimes, i.e., he speculated that there might be differences between men and women. That type of freethinking and truth seeking simply isn’t tolerated at America’s quasi-intellectual institutions.
In his book, Is There Anything Good About Men?, Roy Baumeister defends Dr. Summers by asserting that his speculation was based on solid scientific grounds. In the book, Dr. Baumeister also claims that men and women are both capable of doing amazing science; however, there is a larger cluster of men who have the inclination and motivation to do the often unpleasant work that is required to succeed in the highest levels of science. It doesn’t, however, mean that women can’t do science.
I’ll reiterate the point that Dr. Summers speculation was based on solid scientific data, which showed that the male distribution of IQ scores has fatter tails than does the female distribution. Now, whether or not IQ scores have anything to do with overall intelligence is philosophically debatable, but I digress. It’s important to note that Mr. Summers said nothing about men being inherently smarter than women or that men, in any capacity, were innately intellectually superior to women. Rather, he simply suggested that for some reason there seems to be a larger cluster of really intelligent and motivated men on one end of the distribution and a larger cluster of really stupid and unmotivated men on the other end of the distribution. Mother Nature has been known to do stranger things.
Unfortunately, Dr. Summers was pressured into resigning from his role as president of Harvard. This, however, was not before he had to, in the name of “diversity”, vow to spend $50 million dollars to help solve the problem of a lack of women scientists (I still fail to see why this is a problem). As many snarky critics have pointed out, this clearly wasn’t done in the name of supporting “diversity” in opinion.
So why aren’t there calls for affirmative action in the NBA? And shouldn’t 50% of the the humans who are electrocuted and put in prison be female? Why are we so focused on equality in some spheres, but not in others? When did political correctness become more important than seeking the truth? For those interested in truth, it would thus seem wise to think carefully about what white males can’t say in the name of political correctness.
A Final Note:
Let me make it crystal clear as to what I did not suggest in this essay. I’m not suggesting that any ethnicity is innately “superior” to any other ethnicity in intellectual capabilities. Secondly, I did not suggest that men are innately “smarter” than women. What I am suggesting, however, is that there may be differences in terms of how abilities are distributed statistically across these population groups.