Meritocracy vs. Bureaucracy

On a stage last night in Washington, D.C., 10 Democratic presidential candidates took turns criticizing this week’s Supreme Court’s decision banning school districts from using race as a criterion to assign pupils to public schools. Those of you who have been asleep for the last 50 years might have thought this practice was banned by Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, but liberals have resurrected the practice in the name of “diversity.” The Supreme Court quite rightly noted such a reason was not sufficiently compelling to invalidate the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution, which liberals in other circumstances have held to be sacrosanct.

Liberals are fond of finding classes of “victims” and then promising to utilize the power of government to address the “wrongs” that created the victim class in the first place. The “victims” are then appropriately grateful by providing votes to liberals in the next election. More lawsuits for trial lawyers and their plaintiff victims, more “free” healthcare for victims of the insurance companies, import quotas to protect victims of international trade, hate crime legislation for gay victims of society in general — you get the idea. Worst of all, liberals continue to treat black citizens as victims who require “race-conscious” help and assistance, even at the expense of equal protection, even as anti-discrimination laws have leveled the playing field over the years and even as black achievement in all areas of American society has improved dramatically.

In New York City at the same time the Supreme Court was issuing its ruling, the National Basketball Association was staging its annual draft. Virtually every one of the first-round draft picks were black, a major change from even 20, let along 50 years ago. No quotas or special player assignments were involved. The best players were picked first regardless of race or “diversity” considerations. These were the best players and they were rewarded as such. This is the free market at work, providing opportunity to the best and brightest regardless of race, national origin or any other irrelevant characteristic. The private sector is a meritocracy and looks to the future. Government-run schools are bureaucracies and chained to the past.

In writing his majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts noted, “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discrimination on the basis of race.” Isn’t this closer to Martin Luther King’s dream that all of God’s children should be judged “not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”?