Our Merit-Based Society Has Been Displaced by a Diversity-Based Society
"From status to contract" was Sir Henry Maine's description of the rise of a merit-based society in which aristocratic privilege was eliminated and equality under the law instituted. This revolution has now been overthrown, and we as a society have moved back to status as determined by race and gender. If you are a member of an "under-represented" race or gender, you enjoy "diversity status" and preference in hiring and promotion just as aristocrats did in the hierarchy of social class.
The new status-based society is everywhere one looks. For example, the accounting firm, Price-Waterhouse, describes itself as "a culture of belonging." "Unwavering determination and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion" has achieved a Price-Waterhouse board that is 40% female and 40% racially/ethnically diverse. Price-Waterhouse's aspirational goals for 2026 are a 50% increase in the firm's black and Hispanic/Latinx workforce, a 50% increase in women, and to have 40% of its suppliers "certified diverse."
Notice that Price-Waterhouse does not define its aspiration in terms of having the best qualified work force. Apparently, Price-Waterhouse thinks that hiring based on merit would be discriminatory and not inclusive. Why does Price-Waterhouse think that white women and non-white ethnicities are less capable than white men? If Price-Waterhouse did not think that, why does the firm base its hiring on race and gender status?
Merit is clearly discriminatory, but it discriminates on the basis of ability, not on the basis of race and gender. There always have been highly capable women and non-whites. Why not hire them on the basis of their merit, not for their race and gender?
Maybe it is not realized, or perhaps those behind the diversity agenda do, that the reintroduction of status privileges means the death of equality under the law. A legal system of differential rights reintroduces status-based law.