The news you're not supposed to know...

Austrian Economics: Understand Economics, Understand the World
The Century of the Self: The Untold History of Controlling the Masses Through the Manipulation of Unconscious Desires
The Disappearing Male: From Virility to Sterility

The Obama Deception: The Mask Comes Off
Operation Gladio: The Hidden History of U.S. Sponsored False Flag Terrorism in EuropeThe New American Century: The Untold History of The Project for the New American Century
Article posted Aug 11 2014, 6:45 PM Category: Commentary Source: Wendy McElroy Print

Why the Lights of America are Dimming

by Wendy McElroy

Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received—hatred. - Ayn Rand,“The Soul of an Individualist,” For the New Intellectual

You cannot create passion and talent. But you can destroy them. When people are punished for their virtues, such as the drive to excel and to work hard, then passion and talent become liabilities.

Sometimes people persist for the sheer joy of creation, for the fulfillment of doing work they love. Because that's when the magic happens, when neurons snap in your brain and fingertips tingle with excitement. Most of the time, however, people walk away, refusing to become a pawn in a rigged game. Or they become so hollowed out that the passion within dies and dampens the spark of life. Society is impoverished and life rendered less remarkable with every single departure because society is only the sum total of the individuals who comprise it.

America is actively punishing the best and brightest, the most productive and passionate in a drive for a vicious egalitarianism. Consider the situation at University of Wisconsin–Madison where a new vista of affirmative action is being opened. A July 18 headline in the National Review read, “University of Wisconsin Faculty Votes to Apportion Grades by Race.“

The article explains, “Earlier this year, the University of Wisconsin–Madison faculty senate adopted a new “Framework for Diversity and Inclusive Excellence.” One of the policies is a cry for “representational equity.” The term is defined as “proportional participation of historically underrepresented racial-ethnic groups at all levels of an institution, including high status special programs, high-demand majors, and in the distribution of grades.”

On July 16, The Pope Center, an organization dedicated to promoting academic excellence in higher education, ran an article by UW - Madison professor W. Lee Hansen. He wrote,

“Professors, instead of just awarding the grade that each student earns, would apparently have to adjust them so that academically weaker, 'historically underrepresented racial/ethnic' students perform at the same level and receive the same grades as academically stronger students.

“At the very least, this means even greater expenditures on special tutoring for weaker targeted minority students. It is also likely to trigger a new outbreak of grade inflation, as professors find out that they can avoid trouble over 'inequitable' grade distributions by giving every student a high grade.”

Hansen also commented on the policy's call for “proportional high demand majors,” such as computer engineering.

“[T]he obsession with all those non-academic details about students comes with a cost—the cost of good students who are not admitted because they don’t seem 'diverse' enough. Also, some of the preferred, 'diverse' students will be admitted with significantly weaker academic capabilities than their classmates."

Social justice programs are gutting the quality of American education while making tuition and fees soar. A constant complaint of employers is that degree-holding job applicants cannot spell, compose a grammatical sentence or perform their job descriptions at a basic level. Many financial advisers now say that avoiding a college education is a better path to success. How did America get to the point where it is discriminating against excellence because it is excellence?

Affirmative action is one of the key social programs responsible for higher education being decoupled from success in life. From its early roots as an attempt to impose non-discrimination, it has morphed into “diversity programs” which mandate discrimination in favor of certain racial groups and of low achievers.

The process started in March 1961, when President Kennedy signed Executive Order 10925. It required government contractors to "take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed and that employees are treated during employment without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin."

The goal seemed fair enough; tax money should not be distributed based on race. (Of course, it should be not distributed or collected at all.) But almost immediately – in the same year as the executive order – 'civil rights' and black rights organizations cried out for discrimination rather than its absence. For example, a National Urban League official told a congressional committee that “being colorblind” was not enough or even a virtue. “What we need to be is positively color-conscious.”

From an equality of opportunity (albeit, and alas, a government enforced one), affirmative action hit the fast-track to social engineering in order to achieve an equality of results. The absence of equal results would soon be viewed as prima facie evidence of discrimination in employment, education, housing, credit... across the social and economic board.

On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King famously stated, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” He advocated a meritocracy because he knew it would be the most just society in which his children could live and grow.

Meritocracy: the concept is now as anathema as cannibalism and often for similar reasons. People equate it with elites who feast off power and privilege while the worker ants live in squalor and labor. But by meritocracy, I mean a society in which people advance based on their own efforts; where children are judged by their character and their achievements.

The key difference between the two views of meritocracy is one question. How did any single individual acquire the advantages of wealth and status he enjoys? Market meritocracy refers to advantages that are justly earned on the free market or are gifts from others who justly earned them. It refers to people who rise because they are skilled and diligent about providing services and goods that others want; such people enrich society. By contrast, coerced meritocracy comes from using force or fraud – especially through political connections and legal privileges. These elites trade no services or goods but drain strength from those who do; they gulp down taxes and divert private sector wealth into scams like monopolies; such people impoverish society.

America has moved from being a largely market meritocracy to being a coerced one. The politicians and politically-connected who rose through corruption and theft also made sure they had a loud microphone. They distract attention from their own stolen wealth and power by pointing a finger and shouting at the private sector. While she cried out at companies who evade their taxes, earlier this year Hillary Clinton publicly claimed she was“dead broke.” Meanwhile, Bloomberg (July 21) pointed out, “Hillary Clinton has earned at least $12 million in 16 months since leaving the State Department, a windfall at odds with her party’s call to shrink the gap between the rich and the poor. “

The elite Clinton represents a coerced meritocracy that cannot live in peace or in parallel with a market one. And, so, she blames the market place for the societal problems that she and her ilk have caused, all the while hoping Americans are distracted enough to buy that she is “dead broke” and only “a public servant.” So far, it seems to be working.

But there is only so long that the true merit of society can be destroyed before the lights and color of that society drains away to grayness. America is going gray as its vitality is being demonized and siphoned.
Wendy McElroy is a regular contributor to the Dollar Vigilante, and a renowned individualist anarchist and individualist feminist. She was a co-founder along with Carl Watner and George H. Smith of The Voluntaryist in 1982, and is the author/editor of twelve books, the latest of which is "The Art of Being Free". Follow her work at

Latest Commentary
- Good News: 27% Of Americans Say Government Is Their 'Enemy,' Not Their 'Friend'
- Fear Is The Name of The Game
- This Thanksgiving, Let's Say 'No Thanks' to The Tyranny of The American Police State
- Donald Trump's Presidential "Heel Turn"
- Katniss Vs. Power: The Lessons of Hunger Games
- Tracking ISIS to DC's Doorsteps
- The Paris Attacks Were An Intelligence Community Failure, Not An 'Encryption' Problem
- Two Great Horrors of Terrorism

No Comments Posted Add Comment

Add Comment


Verification *
Please Enter the Verification Code Seen Below

Please see our About Page, our Disclaimer, and our Comments Policy.

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which in some cases has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for the purposes of news reporting, education, research, comment, and criticism, which constitutes a 'fair use' of such copyrighted material in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the DMCA and other applicable intellectual property laws. It is our policy to remove material from public view that we believe in good faith to be copyrighted material that has been illegally copied and distributed by any of our members or users.

About Us - Disclaimer - Privacy Policy

Advanced Search


Remember Me
Forgot Password?

Prosecutors Pissed Colo. Juries Keep Acquitting Marijuana DUI Suspects - 11/23Good News: 27% Of Americans Say Government Is Their 'Enemy,' Not Their 'Friend' - 11/24Family Gets $4.9m After Cops Beat Mentally Ill Son to Death On Video and Walked Free - 11/24Undercover Cop Dressed In All Black Shot While Placing GPS Tracker On Car - 11/20NJ Cop Says He Was Suspended After Blowing Whistle On Dept. Misconduct - 11/24WeAreChange Blocked in France Because of New Censorship Law - 11/24VIDEO: Hillary Fans Voice Support For Her 'Plan to Repeal 4th Amendment' - 11/24AZ State Supreme Court Rules Cannabis In The Blood Does Not Constitute Impairment - 11/24

Man Follows Speeding Cop, Finds Out He Was Speeding To Buy PeanutsMission Creeps: Homeland Security Agents Confiscate Women's Panties For 'Copyright Infringement'Cop Shoots Couple's Dog, Threatens Jail For Trying To Save Dog's LifeSWAT Team Shoots Teen Girl & Her Dog During Pot Raid On Wrong HomeDurham, NC Cop Testifies Faking 911 Calls To Enter Homes Is "Official Policy"Indiana Sheriff Says US A "War Zone" To Justify New MRAP Military VehicleTampa Cops Surveil Pot Dealer, Catch Him Selling Pot, Raid His Home & Kill Him"You Just Shot An Unarmed Man!": Witness Says Police Shot His Friend With His Hands Up