Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 01/01/2024
One of the great ironies of history is that attacking successful people does not create better conditions for unsuccessful people. The superficial act merely creates prejudice, bigotry, enmity, and an even worse condition for aspiring people.
And so we see “soak the rich,” “occupy Wall Street,” “defund the police,” and so forth. These movements generally draw a large amount of people who simply want to cause trouble, nihilists who want to bring down the existing social order—because they are unsuccessful within it. (Every meeting of the International Monetary Fund draws this crowd, it’s not unique to the US.)
What we need to do is to create conditions that provide the opportunity for everyone to equally qualify to meet the prevailing standards and requirements. When we create exceptions for people however, no matter how well-intentioned, we create an “inferiority” around those people, tacitly believing they can’t make it on their own. This is why denying people the right to vote or to an equal education is horrid and unacceptable. It’s also why what Harvard is doing with president Claudine Gay is a farce. I don’t think she’s qualified for the job. The University of Pennsylvania certainly thought that was the case when accepting the resignation of its president, Liz Magill.
And it’s why lowering the standards for admission to a school, or providing priority on factors other than merit and achievement, is dangerous. Do you want a doctor to operate on you who was granted exemptions or whose failures were overlooked? The same applies to an attorney, a consultant, an airline pilot (one recently crashed his plane and killed everyone on board by using the wrong controls when attempting to land), or an engineer.
And to a college president.
My feeling, having attended college in the 60s (for my money, the most exciting decade of my life to date) is that we have decades of failed activism, of failed attempts to create true diversity and true inclusion and true equality. But instead of realizing we have to change our approaches, the activists now need to blame someone else for their failure.
Hence, we have reverse racism and, I believe, the rise in anti-Semitism. We’ve seen mistake upon mistake by granting exceptions instead of trying to improve our schools, the safety of our communities, and the quality of life for everyone.
Blaming people who are successful and continuing to overlook poor performance as “exceptions” is doomed to failure.
And I’ll point out that at no point in history has poverty been eliminated by creating more of it.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!! Maria and I wish you all health, peace, and prosperity. And my thanks for your interest in my work.