EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY ARE NOT VIRTUES
These days, the word ‘equality’ is regularly thrown around as something inherently good. If you read many workplace policies or government programs you will be sure to find the word ‘equality’ plastered throughout, acting as a self-evident force for good.
You will often find social justice warriors carrying large signs demanding for ‘equality now’. Politicians on the Left will often point to the growth of inequality as an important social ill that must be addressed and rectified.
I’m here to tell you that equality is not a virtue. The world is built on inequality. Ask yourself: why are you motivated to do anything productive? Why might you want to work extra hours? Why would you study a particular field? Why do you save money?
The answer: you are trying to get ahead.
We hear this sort of talking all of the time. Save money to get ahead. Work overtime to enjoy extra pay. Upskill in order to secure a better job. Train harder in order to get a leg up on the competition.
All of these actions are motivated by a desire to ‘get ahead’ and direct one’s life somewhere positive. They are also actions that essentially glorify inequality. By trying to ‘get ahead’ of the next person, you are rendering the world more unequal, shifting the ledger towards you and away from the pack.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. It is a natural, instinctive desire to advance through society’s hierarchy, ‘getting ahead’ to the most optimal position in the pursuit of comfort, security and perhaps even power. This desire for self-improvement is embedded in the human psyche. It is natural.
This is why the blind glorification of equality as some sort of self-evident virtue is misguided, especially equality of outcome. Granted, equality before the law in order to protect basic rights should go without saying, but equality of outcome is antithetical to a healthy society.
Equality of outcome can only be achieved through legislation or strict internal regulations that ironically place power in the hands of a few selected people. The search for equality inevitably leads to a higher concentration of power where selected individuals will create and enact policies for the ‘benefit’ of all. This completely undercuts the idea of equality. If the price paid to achieve equality is to forfeit power and agency then that is not a solution. Tragically, millennial snowflakes are taken by this idea of equality. One can hardly blame them. It has been repeated to them as an unquestionable virtue since they left the womb. Tragically, no-one questions what is actually meant underneath it. The push for equality masks the collectivist Marxist desire to overthrow the essential elements of western capitalism. By socially engineering every aspect of society, the formerly defeated socialists are playing at a new game, and snowflake millennials are their pawns.
The ‘Gender Pay Gap’
Perhaps the most prominent issue in the equality debate is the so-called gender pay gap. We often hear that women only earn 77 percent to the dollar that men make. The first logical question to that is: why don’t companies hire more women if it is inherently cheaper? The answer: the 77 percent statistic is actually false.
It is false because it is based on simplistic analysis. It comes from calculating the average median earnings of full time working men against the average median earnings of full time working women. There’s absolutely no multi-varied analysis delving into the job preferences or hours worked. It’s simply one plucked statistic that’s repeated ad nauseam without any attempt to understand why it exists.
Fact: Men gravitate towards higher paying careers: science, technology, engineering, mathematics. Commonly known as the STEM fields. There’s been various studies as to why this is the case, and many commentators would have you believe that it is due to ingrained discrimination that women do not gravitate to such professions.
Fortunately, the Nordic countries were able to counter this false claim. In 2008, the World Economic Forum named Norway the top country in the world for gender equality, followed by Sweden and Finland.[i] Yet something strange happened on the way to gender equality: the gap between work preferences for men and women increased rather than decreased. Who knew?
Men still occupy 80 percent of jobs in the STEM fields, and the campaign to recruit more men into nursing has failed. As Barbara Kay of the National Post accurately surmised: “in what is known as the “Norwegian gender equality paradox,” gender-segregated labour markets persist in gender equality-oriented welfare states. Even though girls do better across the board in school, and the number of female doctors and lawyers has increased, the number of women opting for Google-type engineering careers has remained low. Notwithstanding more equality in opportunity, choice, pay and work/life balance support, women have resisted entering certain traditionally male-dominated professions, and men have resisted entering certain traditionally female-dominated ones”.[ii]
Researchers from Leeds Becket University and the University of Missouri discovered the same thing. Using data from more than 475,000 people across 67 countries, they concluded that countries with greater gender equality witness a smaller proportion of women working in the STEM fields.[iii]
The data is in, and time and again the finding concludes that it is not the ‘patriarchy’ drawing women away from higher paying jobs. It is their personal preference for careers that tend to earn less. Ironically, the countries with the least gender equality featured the highest number of girls in STEM: Algeria, Turkey, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Indonesia. One explanation could be that for women in these countries, STEM is seen as a way to advance the social ladder as a path to freedom. In western societies where women have that freedom, they select the occupations they actually want.
Across the western world, women tend to gravitate towards service roles such as nursing, childcare, administration, retail and hospitality. This is the same in Scandinavian countries despite efforts to socially engineer it the other way.
This simple, basic analysis should be assumed as a given. A grade 5 student is capable of conducting research at this level to conclude that if men are, on average, choosing higher paying careers than women, then of course there is going to be a gender pay gap.
Yet this most elementary research has escaped gender studies classes and government departments across the globe, and every International Women’s Day we have to tolerate calls to close the gender pay gap. Women could close the gender pay gap by altering their work choices, but they choose not to.
It is also true that women work less hours than men. According to the 2015 American Time Use Survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, among full-time employees, men worked 8.2 hours compared to women working 7.8 hours.[iv] Once again, this inconvenient fact is often brushed aside during any discussion about equal pay.
Women’s choices, more than any other factor, account for the gender pay gap. A gender earnings gap does indeed exist as a single statistic across the entire economy for many western countries, but one does not need to dig too deep to uncover the fair and understandable reasons as to why it exists.
Michaela Novak from the Australian Institute of Public Affairs sums it up nicely:
“It generally appears that women tend to assume working roles which provide more pleasant and safe conditions, and which provide greater flexibility for part‑time work to accommodate family responsibilities.”
Numerous empirical studies, here and overseas, suggest that factors predominantly captured by observed differences in labour market choices and worker characteristics explain a significant amount, but not all, of the variation in the average gender pay gap between women and men.”[v]
Despite this, it has not stopped many governments from pursuing social engineering policies that are counter-productive, discriminatory and damaging for fairness and social cohesion.
In 2015 Germany legislated to enforce regressive gender quotes. The Law on Equal Participation of Women and Men in Leadership Positions in the Private and Public Sector makes it compulsory for at least 30 percent of all supervisory board positions in Germany’s largest companies to be held by women. Not only is this unnecessary government interference in the managerial decision making of private companies, it’s blatant gender discrimination enshrined in law: judge an individual not on their merit but on whether they are male or female.
Unfortunately, Germany is one of many nations during the past decade to concede to such nonsense.
Norway has a quota of 40 percent minimum for each gender working in public companies (this is to say nothing of the apparent 63 genders that exist, instead of two), imposed in 2006 and achieved as required by 2008. Breach of this requirement incurs the same penalties as breaking other Norwegian laws relating to company governance. Companies may be subject to forced dissolution if they do not meet the quota. The agenda is clear: big government involving itself in private business under the guise of gender equality. It’s a socialist paradise.
France has a quota law passed in January 2011. The approximately 2,000 companies to which it applies must achieve at least 40 percent representation of each sex on boards by 2017 with an interim quota of 20 percent by 2014. Failure to comply will result in board elections being nullified and directors’ benefits suspended.
Italy’s 2011 quota law requires at least 33 percent of each gender on listed and state-owned company boards of three members or more, by 2015. Enforcement mechanisms include warnings, fines and forfeiture of board members’ positions. Watch out, because the government is watching you.
The European Union is considering a draft law to create a 40% gender objective by 2018/2020 for the underrepresented sex on large publicly listed company boards.[vi]
Australia is unfortunately treading down the same dangerous path. In 2012, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency was instituted to enforce the tyrannical Workplace Gender Equality Act. It should never have come into being and it should be abolished immediately. One only has to read through their stated role in Australian society to decode what is an authoritarian, tyrannical agenda…
The Workplace Gender Equality Agency is an Australian Government statutory agency created by the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 – TRANSLATE: a government bureaucracy paid for by the taxpayer to enforce an unnecessary and invasive law on all Australians.
The Agency is charged with promoting and improving gender equality in Australian workplaces. TRANSLATION: Charged with enforcing discrimination based on gender in Australian workplaces.
We work collaboratively with employers providing advice, practical tools and education to help them improve their gender performance. Our staff are workplace gender equality specialists and provide industry-specific advice. TRANSLATION: We impose ourselves on employers who do not want us, cannot stand us.
We also work with employers to help them comply with the reporting requirements under the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012. This reporting framework aims to encourage measures that improve gender equality outcomes and has been designed to minimise the regulatory burden on business. TRANSLATION: We are proud to add unnecessary red tape and work to companies. Do as we say or we will come after you.
The Act is a disgrace. It requires non-public sector employers with 100 or more staff to submit a report annually. Judith Sloan of The Australian sums it up nicely:
The WGEA was established by the Gillard Labor government and its stated role is to “promote and improve gender equality in Australian workplaces”. To do this, the 25 staff members, 84 percent of whom are women (where’s the equality there, I ask), who cost the taxpayer more than $6 million, annoy employers by asking them to fill in endless surveys containing badly drafted questions, the answers to which are often known through other sources — most notably the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The organisation laughably provides some sort of consultancy services — free, of course — to employers “to identify areas for focus, develop informed strategies and measure performance against peers over time”. This is called competitor analysis benchmark reporting. The mind boggles.[vii]
In 2017, Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, suggested that government contractors should try to employ at least 40 percent women. Because who cares about merit, right? Clearly not the Australian Labor Party. The Daniel Andrews state government of Victoria has adopted gender quotas with alacrity, making it law that 50 percent of Victorian government board appointments must be women. And in 2018, the Federal Labor Party started promising to tackle the non-existent ‘gender pay gap’. One can only wonder what regressive legislation they plan on introducing since according to the Fair Work Act it is already illegal to pay someone less based on their gender.
The same malaise is infecting other Australian states too, with the NSW Fire and Rescue service mandating that 50 percent of new applicants be women. It has resulted in men who ranked higher in the application process missing out on a position purely due to their gender. This is nothing but blatant discrimination, but it is fast becoming the norm, and the sensible people who question this nonsense are derided as sexists or misogynists.
Qantas, Australia’s national aircraft carrier, has caved to gender equality acolytes, issuing demands that its employees use gender neutral language and committing to achieve gender parity with its pilots. Personally, when I board a plane, I only want the pilot to be competent. I don’t care what their gender is and I don’t believe it is remotely relevant.
Qantas is also the highest profile case of an organisation utilising the Diversity Council’s WordsAtWork campaign, a social engineering ploy aimed at policing language in Australia’s workplaces.
However, thankfully soon to be former Australian Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane would be thrilled with such developments. It is exactly the sort of social engineering he advocates for. In April of 2018, he released new research that bemoaned the fact that Anglo-Celtic Australians dominated the ranks of Australian Chief Executives by as much as 97 percent. The report, Leading for Change: A Blueprint for Cultural Diversity and Inclusive Leadership Revisited, labelled the findings as “dismal”. I’m sorry, but isn’t the Race Discrimination Commissioner supposed to be fighting racism, not promoting it? By framing Australia’s work landscape through the lens of race, he has done just that.
His solution, along with the Cultural Diversity Council of Australia, is to encourage organisations to set quotas and targets, hence taking the emphasis away from merit and towards race and gender. It is astonishingly ironic that Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner would promote practices that essentially embed racism in our cultural, social and institutional fabric.
Their retort? They claim that workplaces are cesspits for unconscious bias that favours white men over minority candidates. So we now have a situation where public policy is being crafted based on an invisible, impossible to quantify hunch propagated by social justice warriors obsessed with race, gender and sexuality.
These are indeed dangerous times. We have invasive laws and diversity bureaucrats enforcing top down cultural engineering based on a myth. We are entering an epoch where merit, skill and competency come second to arbitrary measures of identity, and companies are driven from their primary motivation, profit, to fulfilling government requirements to meet gender and diversity quotas. If it all sounds very Orwellian, it is because it is, and it is only about to get worse…
Inequality is a Natural State of Being
It is often viewed as a great injustice that the richest 1 percent own more wealth than the vast majority of the population. In the United States, the often cited figure is that the richest 1 percent own more wealth than 90 percent of the population. This is probably true, but it is not cause to break down the walls and burst forth in a wave of revolutionary fervor. Rather, it is the natural state of being.
This is human civilization 101. If you take any example, there is always an uneven distribution on the top as opposed to the majority. Let’s look at a few examples among many.
The top 25 NBA players earn more than the rest of the competition combined. This principle is the same in other sporting organisations. In Australia, the top 10 AFL players combined would earn more than the majority of the competition. In any club, the top 5 players’ salary would exceed that of the next 10.
If we look to performance on the sporting field, the majority of prizemoney goes to the same minority of players. Take tennis, for example. Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray have won more than 90 percent of Grand Slams over the past 10 years, with only the odd exception. There are millions of tennis players around the world, and thousands of professional players, yet the big money is rewarded to the same four players. This is not the product of social injustice, it is just the way things are. Inequality is a natural state of being.
Take music as another example. The top artists in the world make up for 90 percent of sales. Artists such as Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Drake, among others, consume the majority of music sales comparative to the millions of artists in the industry. The same goes for film. The top 10 grossing films of any year earn more than the thousands of films combined.
What about books? There are literally millions of authors in the world, but the same minority of big names – J.K. Rowling, James Patterson, Stephen King, John Grisham, Danielle Steele, Nora Roberts, Dan Brown, take the lion’s share of book sales.
Let’s take even a more basic example. A school classroom. In any given subject, the distribution of strong results will gravitate to the same select group of students, often year after year.
In a local football team, the majority of the possessions will be enjoyed by the same minority of players, game after game.
In any given field, there is always a minority that enjoy the great majority of wealth and grandeur while the rest struggle underneath. This is not the result of oppressive hierarchical structures or ‘the patriarchy’, but a natural principle that plays itself out. Marxists have never been able to accept the truth that inequality is a normal, regular aspect of humanity.
This is basically Price’s Law, the theory coined by physicist Derek J. de Solla Price. The relationship between the literature on a subject and the number of authors in the subject area, stating that half of the publications come from the square root of all contributors. Thus, if 100 papers are written by 25 authors, five authors will have contributed 50 papers. Put simply, the basic law of distribution signifies that the weight of numbers and averages fall to the minority rather than the majority.
This has not stopped the futile push for equality across fields, however. It is in humans’ nature to be hierarchical, to be unequal. To attempt to socially engineer a group, an organisation, or an entire population to the dangerous ideal of equality is folly, but that has not stopped them from trying.
Diversity is Not a Virtue
“We need more diversity”
“The parliament should be representative of the diversity of the nation”
“A company’s board should reflect the diversity of the population”
Unfortunately, you have probably heard variations of these claims before. The new word of choice, along with its foolish brother, ‘equality’, is ‘diversity’. Achieving diversity in our workplace is now held as a natural virtue, something public and private companies are being encouraged, and increasingly compelled, to strive toward.
We have the Diversity Council Australia, Diversity Australia and a range of other bodies that specialise in supporting workplaces to achieve greater ‘diversity’. We have legislation that requires companies with more than 100 employees to submit a report on workplace gender equality. Indeed, diversity and equality are upheld as the great virtues of our time.
Here’s the problem though: what do you mean by diversity? Often, it’s synonymous with race, gender or sexuality, just three dimensions upon which people vary among many. The right question to ask when someone wants to promote a diversity agenda is this: where do you want the diversity to end?
There’s an infinite number of ways that people vary that extend beyond our narrow obsession with race, gender and sexuality. Often, these dimensions of variance are more influential on an individual’s mindset and capacity than the assumption that they are defined by their race, gender or sexuality.
Age: it’s advantageous to be young. Older people have more experience. So, how much age variance should be strived for? A fun question to ask for the ‘it should reflect the population’ argument is how many different ages do you want to achieve? Should there be an equal number of people in their twenties on the books as well as people in their thirties, forties, and so on? Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?
Weight: People vary strongly when it comes to body shape and size. If you want to achieve diversity, how many athletic people should be on the books as opposed to overweight people?
Attractiveness: this one is significant. Whether right or wrong, it is significantly advantageous to be physically attractive, whether you are male or female.
Geographical Location: obviously the area one grows up in has a significant influence on how they see the world. Therefore, if diversity is to be achieved, from how many varied locations, be they states, countries or suburbs, should people hail from that would be considered sufficient?
Height: how many tall people as opposed to short people should be on the payroll?
Intelligence: individuals vary considerably not only in their level of intelligence but in the way they learn. There’s kinesthetic people, audio-visual people, linguistic people.
Parental Status: whether or not someone has a child bears an influence on how they see the world and operate within it.
Disability and Health: this is a huge one. There’s myriad of ways people vary in regard to health, physical and mental capacity.
Temperament: Extraverted? Introverted? Emotional? Logical? Calm? Rational? Excitable? Eccentric? Optimistic? Pessimistic? Impulsive? Reflective? Better make sure we measure the right amount of different personality types on the books.
Wealth: one’s income status and their access to money or lack thereof while growing up will have a strong influence over their experiences and understanding of the world.
Interests: impossible to quantify, suffice to say that a person’s passions within and beyond the workplace make up a large sum of who they are.
These are just 11 variations of ‘diversity’ that are seldom discussed, and even within these variations there’s an infinite number of dimensions to them. Is it really possible to cater for them all?
So, if an organisation you work for sets forth on the noble pursuit of diversity, it’s best to ask what they mean by diversity, because if it is merely a synonym for arbitrarily defining people by their race, gender or sexuality, it is inherently problematic.
Tragically, that is precisely what is happening. One only needs to look to Fortune’s ‘100 Best Workplaces for Diversity’ report for 2017 to see where the markers are. The criteria is as follows: Minorities, Minority Executives, Minority Front Level Managers, Minority Mid-Level Managers, Women, Women Executives, Women Front-Line Managers, Women Mid-Level Managers, Boomers or Older. Race, race, race, gender, gender, gender. That’s the only focus.
Sadly, it is contagious. For example, a common argument is that the Australian Parliament should reflect the diversity of the population. This might sound like a reasonable proposition, but what is meant by that, exactly? And are members supposed to be upheld as representatives of an entire race of people?
We currently have Ken Wyatt and Linda Burney as members of the House of Representatives. Both of these individuals have indigenous heritage. Is it therefore assumed that they represent all indigenous Australians? The truth is that within cultures and any other dimension there’s more variance within groups than between them. Does Donald Trump represent all white people? No, he does not. So why make the presumption that a minority candidate can represent an entire race?
Is it expected that an Islamic member of parliament is representative of all of Islam? There’s unquantifiable differences between Islamic people that could not be carried by one individual. And to assume that one individual is defined by, and defines a race, is the precise meaning of racism.
The justification for a diversity agenda is usually that a field is dominated by ‘old white men’. This is a racist and sexist assumption since it blatantly and unapologetically defines this group as culturally homogenous. The irony is that in that group of ‘old white men’ there would be infinite diversity that extends beyond the narrow dimensions of race and gender. Private educated, public educated, athletic, large family, small family, conservative, liberal, empathetic, blunt, aggressive, patriotic, wealthy, tall, short, overweight, tradesman, lawyer, teacher, social worker…the list could go on and on. Strangely, this already present diversity is overlooked by race obsessed social justice warriors.
You cannot assume that someone is representative of, and defined by, their race, gender or sexuality. We already made that mistake across history. It is merely racism and sexism appropriated to serve an ideological cause. The fact is that five separate companies could hire 5 managers of Chinese heritage and none of them are even remotely similar in terms of temperament, personality or productivity, yet when the diversity advisors come knocking, these companies will be able to say that they have made strides in regard to racial diversity.
So where does this leave us? Well, if you accept the notion that there’s an infinite number of ways that people vary and these extend beyond race, gender and sexuality, the only logical conclusion to draw is that each individual is different. They are not flag bearers for any particular group or community, they are merely them, made up by the diverse, multilayered variances that define every human being.
The great achievement of western civilization was that we recognised this and upheld the sovereignty of the individual as sacrosanct. Regrettably, we are regressing and turning our backs to this truth, surrendering to the prejudiced idea that what defines someone is their race, their gender, their sexuality. History has taught us harsh lessons, and tragically, we seem intent on repeating the same mistakes.
Diversity, in and of itself, is of course a good thing, because any workplace is of course going to benefit from varied viewpoints and perspectives. The problem lies in the assumption of what diversity entails. It is not and must not be synonymous with race, gender and sexuality. The fact is that a board room meeting of ‘old white men’ is already diverse, just in a different way to what is often assumed. The same principle goes for a board room of young women. If you cannot recognise this notion, then you are too preoccupied by race and gender and not individuality.
Further to that, the solution is worse than the ‘problem’. Often, increasing ‘diversity’ results in quotas or affirmative action. Yet since the dimensions upon which people vary are endless, what’s the appropriate outcome until an organisation can aptly say that they’ve achieved ‘diversity’? Are they supposed to have an even percentage of white males, females, Indians, Chinese, indigenous, homosexuals, bisexuals, young people, older people, Islamic people, Buddhists, Christians, disabled….you get the idea. You can keep playing the game endlessly, and the end point you arrive at is either the realisation that any diversity agenda is ultimately arbitrary where powerful people will decide which dimensions are important, or you can forget the agenda altogether and recognise the truth that all people are individuals and that the individual is the ultimate minority.
What’s more is that this sort of positive discrimination runs counter to the interests of shareholders in publically listed companies. Acolytes to this sort of nonsense often claim that companies with ‘increased diversity’ return better results, but there is no discernable difference between correlation and causation. A publically owned company should have one responsibility: the interest of their shareholders. That responsibility zeroes down to profit.
Yet in 2018, draft corporate governance rules by the ASX impose new, vague concepts such as ‘a social licence to operate’ and avoiding ‘aggressive tax minimisation’. CEOs were once grilled on the business strategies they were employing in the pursuit of profit, but nowadays, they’re quizzed on ‘diversity’ of their board, their efforts to pursue renewables, their policies on climate change, their efforts to be inclusive. These are all markers that identity obsessed social engineers want.
It is actually enshrined in law that companies should not allow discrimination to influence their hiring practices, but corporate rules seeking to enshrine diversity do exactly that. Is it not an invasion of privacy to inquire about an individual’s religious convictions or family history? Is it not grossly invasive to inquire about an individual’s sexuality? How can a company adequately report on their efforts to improve ‘diversity’ without imposing on their employees, or potential employees’ private lives? Are our positions in an organisation to be marked by what we are rather than our capacity to work?
‘I’m the Indian accountant’. ‘I’m the white-anglo payroll officer’. ‘I’m the female member of the board’. This is, essentially, what inquiries into the ‘diversity’ of companies simplify people down to. Not as individuals with merit regardless of skin colour, gender or religious conviction, but as banner carriers for an arbitrary, racist and sexist notion that a person is a representative of a wider grouping in society.
We must, as a society, be weary of any diversity agenda and ask hard questions about what it ultimately means. We must guard against collectivist, group identity thinking that reduces individuals to shallow standard bearers of an arbitrary sub-section of the community. We are, above all else, individuals, and nothing else should matter.
[i] World Economic Forum.Retrieved from http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GenderGap_Report_2008.pdf
[iii] Halpin, H. (2018, March 18). ‘A gender equality paradox’: Countries with more gender equality have fewer female STEM grads. Retrieved from http://www.thejournal.ie/gender-equality-countries-stem-girls-3848156-Feb2018/
[v] Novak, M. (2015, March 8). Pay gap due to women’s choices, not gender bias. Retrieved from https://www.smh.com.au/opinion/pay-gap-due-to-womens-choices-not-gender-bias-20150308-13y5bl.html
[vi] Workplace Gender Equality Agency.Retrieved from https://www.wgea.gov.au/sites/default/files/2014-03-04_PP_targetsquotas.pdf
[vii] Sloan, Judith. ‘It’s costing us $6m to ‘solve’ the gender pay gap myth.Retrieved from https://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/judith-sloan/it-is-costing-us-6m-to-solve-gender-pay-gap-myth/news-story/6bae6e2d5639f9acd856692ed77bb9d6