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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

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.


Photo: RUN4FFWPU/Pexels

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'.”


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15 Comments


Richard Rider
Richard Rider
May 26, 2023

In the 1960's and early 1970's, I actually PREFERRED black doctors, as they had made it as an MD in spite of the roadblocks. I figured that they had to be pretty good.


But since about 1975, I've actually avoided black "affirmative action" docs. Sadly, that means I'm avoiding the GOOD black MD's as well as the affirmative action selectees.


All things being equal (or unknown), I now prefer Asian male doctors, as they are the ones most discriminated against in med schools. Only the best of the best get an MD.


Second choice? Asian women.


Third? Jewish men. These guys offer a bonus -- Jewish humor.

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Richard Rider
Richard Rider
May 26, 2023

There are several factors that result in a person demonstrating merit. Yes, life ISN'T fair. But the bottom line is this: Do you want your doctor selected based on DNA, skin pigmentation, sexual preference, etc. -- or do you want your doctor selected based on merit? Indeed, let's try this: Two medical systems which people can choose between: * The merit-based medical system * The equity-based medical system Perhaps the resulting Darwinian effect would cull out the truly dumb people in our society. I'D vote for it! It would be a win-win for America.

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Guest
May 16, 2023

How does one identify real merit as compared to effects of tiger mom parenting or opportunity hoarding?

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Guest
May 17, 2023
Replying to

its bimodal here....mom's educational level is a good predictor.


School is for everyone....how long must nonspecial needs English speaking students wait until they are given lessons rather than review in K-8? When will the state go by its own laws and offer a full schedule to all compelled students? Quite common for older students to have no academic electives but be too young to drive themselves over to the community college.

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Guest
May 16, 2023

Public school parents want more seats opened for their qualified students in Honors/AP. Never happens in my blue state.

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Guest
May 17, 2023
Replying to

One is mixing lots of issues. There are schools that offer AP/IB classes and any student who wants to take the class can. There are the schools that do not offer AP/IB classes because of how few students are at the level to actually take the classes or the school system cannot hire trained instructors (think foreign languages. Then there are the small school systems that have never been able to offer a wide variety of classes (think rural school districts with small population and with no private schools.


However, very few parents are homeschooling because the local school system does not offer calculus, Latin, or advanced literature. Homeschooling is more about the parents wanting to control their children tha…

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Guest
May 16, 2023

Merit is only bad if you don't think you, or whatever groups you're protecting, can't truly compete.

--mrmillermathteacher

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phillipmarlowe
May 17, 2023
Replying to

So they really do that Ann? could you provide links to the words of all these teachers so we be can assess your judgement?

thank you.

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