Americans like merit, but Democrats aren't so sure
Most Americans -- "ordinary people" rather than academics -- believe in merit, writes Ruy Teixeira on Liberal Patriot. They want to help the disadvantaged "compete and achieve." They don't want to hand out rewards for skin color, ethnicity, gender or any other "social justice" criteria.
That's created a political problem for Democrats, many of whom see "merit and objective measures of achievement . . . as the outcomes of a hopelessly corrupt system," he writes. They want equal outcomes, now known as “equity.”
Affirmative action has never been popular, he writes. "Voters have been stubbornly resistant to the idea that it’s fair to allocate sought-over slots on the basis of race rather than merit."
Next month, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether affirmative action in college admissions is unlawful discrimination. The case involves Harvard, which is accused of discriminating against Asian Americans, and the University of North Carolina. The Court is very likely to see discrimination -- because it's obvious -- Teixeira writes.
Democrats who accuse the Court of racism will be out of step with the pro-merit public, he writes.
A 2022 Pew poll is typical: 7 percent of the public thought high school grades should not be a factor in college admissions, 14 percent thought standardized test scores should not be a factor and 74 percent thought that race or ethnicity should not be a factor in college admissions. Among blacks, 59 percent said race should not be a factor.
In a Gallup poll, 70 percent said college "applicants should be admitted solely on the basis of merit, even if that results in few minority students being admitted."
In blue Massachusetts, 61 percent agreed that “equality of opportunity is a fundamental American principle; equality of outcome is not,” while 16 percent disagreed. The margin was 56 to 17 for Democrats and for black voters, Teixeira writes.
Science has been corrupted, he concludes. "A recent paper, In Defense of Merit in Science by 29 distinguished co-authors, including two Nobel laureates, literally could not get published by a mainstream journal because the paper was 'hurtful' and because the concept of merit 'has been widely and legitimately attacked as hollow'.”