'Equity' Means Equality of Outcome. Period.

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

An article at Reason nicely sums up the purpose and PR genius of the term equity. This term, at least as it is now being misused, may now be all the rage on the left, but most of us had never even heard of it a year or so ago:

Image by John Apps, via Unsplash, license.
For decades, these two divergent philosophical and public policy concepts were represented by a battle over adjectival phrases. Should we strive for equality of opportunity, or equality of outcome? Though intellectual and political enthusiasm for the outcomes-based approach did have some high-water moments in the 1970s, the long twilight struggle against 20th century totalitarianism produced a rough if sometimes reluctant governing consensus that states powerful enough to promise economic and racial parity were far more likely to produce mass immiseration. Striving for equality under the law -- removing legal discrimination by government -- was less ambitious, but more doable.

That laudable goal, particularly in the United States, is being elbowed aside. The 21st century rebranding of equality of outcome into the shinier and more malleable term equity, with its redolence of ownership and fairness, gave activists a linguistic workaround to what had previously been a public relations obstacle of utopian unattainability. You can't and probably shouldn't just wave a magic wand to erase observed inequality. But inequity? That sounds to the ear more like an immediate and surmountable wrong, deserving of intervention. [bold added]
The remainder of this long article examines a raft of bad Democrat policy in light of how well it does or does not live up to that party's own rhetoric. While such an exercise can be valuable and there is lots of information there, the above excerpt has been its most valuable service: Stating in plain English why this high-sounding weasel word has become so common.

Leftists routinely tout as new the same old, long-discredited ideas they have always had. As usual, only the packaging is new, and its primary innovation is to offer a new way to catch opponents unprepared or to put those who accept altruism by default on the spot when their proposals come up.

-- CAV

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