Official Progressive Deceit: The Equality/Equity Scam

In describing to lawyers what deceit is in my ethics seminars (it is amazing how many layers don’t know what deceit is, though it is forbidden in the ethics rules), I often say that deceit is the official language of Washington, D.C. It’s a reliable laugh line, but it’s not funny. Using linguistic tricks to deceive and mislead the public is a tool of dangerous and untrustworthy governments, movements, leaders and politicians. I don’t know if this age old practice has become worse in recent years; to me it seems that way, but it could be an illusion. In the Sixties, leftists like Abbie Hoffman liked to use “liberate” as a synonym for “steal.”

The success of “Black Lives Matter” relied on a linguistic disorientation, like the old gag about a lawyer asking a witness, “When did you stop beating your wife?” What has been dismaying is how few people have the wit and courage to call out the trick and refuse to back down. The use of “immigrants,” “migrants,” “undocumented workers” and other deliberately misleading terms to hide the reality that the subject is law-breaking aliens has also been largely successful in bamboozling the public. “Affirmative action,” a nice and deceptive way to say “racial quotas,” is finally going down, but it kept the Constitution at bay for half a century. The all-time most sinister linguistic cheat, perhaps, is the use of the benign word “choice” to describe the right to kill unborn children.

Lately, the most prominent verbal deceit is embodied in the “Diversity-Equity-Inclusion” mantra, with “equity” serving as the cornerstone of the cheat. Most Americans—hey, thanks, public education system!—think that equity is just another word for equality. Now that Democrats and progressives are fully committed to socialism (while denying it—that’s not deceit, it’s just lying) they have been bombarding the public with the word without clarifying its implications. Equality means equality under the law; it means that every citizen has the same opportunity to accomplish what his or her talents, effort, ingenuity, determination, laws and the vagueries of fate and fortune allow without obstruction by the government. Equity means that every citizen should be guaranteed the same success to the extent government power can make such “equity” possible. It is based on the socialist/communist ideal that it is unfair that life provides unequal benefits , ability and advantages, so central power must ensure fairness by artificially eliminating as many disparities in these benefits , ability and advantages as possible.

Equality is a core American principle. Equity is antithetical to foundational American beliefs.

On HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Senator Bernie Sanders claimed that he wasn’t able to distinguish between the two words. “I think a lot of people hear ‘equity’ and they hear ‘equality,’ like it’s the same word, and it’s not the same word and the same concept,” Maher began. “How would you differentiate between ‘equity’ and ‘equality’?” Maher asked Sanders.

” I don’t know what the answer to that is,” Sanders replied. “Equity is, I think, is more guarantee of outcome, is it not?””” Maher said. “I think so,” Sanders answered.

Right, Bernie, you old Commie. You “think so.”

“So which side do you come down on?” Maher asked.

“Equality,” Sanders said. He knows most Americans do not approve of guaranteed outcomes, just as polls always showed that the public opposed “racial quotas” but thought “affirmative action” was just swell.

Counting on this confusion, a new executive order from President Biden directs federal agencies to base hiring and other personnel decisions on racial group membership rather than the character and qualifications of employees and contractors. Under the cover of ‘equity,” it endorses racial quotas in hiring, procuring, and more throughout the government. It is a call for “good discrimination.”

In pursuit of the goal of advancing racial equity throughout the federal government, the EO uses “equity”21 times, while spewing verbal fog about “new action plans to advance equity,” and “extending and strengthening equity-advancing requirements for agencies. It requires agencies to convene “Equity Teams” charged with ensuring that their agencies are “delivering equitable outcomes.”

You know: equality. As in “all men are created equal.” What good American could object to that?


ADDED: Apropos regarding recent posts: “insurrection” is another word being deliberately misused, and has been for two years now..

20 thoughts on “Official Progressive Deceit: The Equality/Equity Scam

  1. To further confuse matters: is it not the case that decision-making based on equality yields equitable (fair) outcomes, but decisions based on equity yield equal (identical) outcomes?

    • Decisions based on equity mean one thing for sure: the people making the decisions get to keep all the power and the good stuff for themselves. Communist and fascist leaders always have the best stuff. Fidel Castro didn’t tool around in a ’56 Chevy. There’s no interest like self-interest.

      My personal favorite instance of current verbal obfuscation is we’re not supposed to notice CRT and its affiliated concepts are essentially segregationist and separatist movements. Bottom line, they’re pushing for separate but equal. It’s back to the future.

    • No. Decisions based on equity do not, in fact, yield equal outcomes because they do not consider innate differences in talent, skill, intelligence, etc. Equity would dictate that I, as a 6 foot portly guy from Northfield, OH, infinitely cursed with a lack of physical coordination, should be compensated at the same level as LeBron James, simply because I identify as a 6′ 9″ fellow from Akron, OH, blessed with unbelievable physical presence, skill, and awareness who can sink a 3 pointer from 300 yards away from the stinkin’ basket.


      • No, an equal outcome is precisely that: everybody gets the same thing, irrespective of innate ability, work ethic, etc. It’s not a fair or (wait for it) equitable outcome. My point is that the two terms–equity and equality–flip meanings when you move from the noun to the adjective.

    • Curmie, You might be engaged in the same practice Jack is writing of (misusing the work equity). Decision-making based on equality (providing equal opportunity) is more likely to yield just (fair) outcomes rather than equitable outcomes (which are rarely just or fair).

      Justice is based on what a person has earned and therefore deserves. Equity assumes everyone deserves the same (equal) outcome regardless of what he or she has earned through his or her behavior.

      • Read what I wrote.
        First dictionary definition of “equitable”: “fair and impartial.” I simply want to point out the linguistic confusion caused by expecting equitable (fair) outcomes from equity-based (designed to create identical results) decision-making.

  2. Biden’s equity EO has broader implications than simply federal employment hiring. It would have an impact on government contracts for roads, buildings, etc., where contractors have to meet these same requirements. Think ESG in corporate investment strategies or DIE requirements for corporate boards.


    • Currently, Prince Georges County in Maryland and Fairfax County in VA are competing for the new FBI headquarters. Maryland is demanding that they get preference for the site because of income inequity between the two political subdivisions and are specifically citing Biden’s Executive order. It seems to me that if income inequity is the controlling factor neither subdivision would qualify because I would bet there is some county in New Mexico that has far lower per capita incomes than anything anywhere near these counties who suckle at the breast of the federal government.

  3. Counting on this confusion, a new executive order from President Biden directs federal agencies to base hiring and other personnel decisions on racial group membership rather than the character and qualifications of employees and contractors. Under the cover of ‘equity,” it endorses racial quotas in hiring, procuring, and more throughout the government. It is a call for “good discrimination.”

    I wrote a note to myself earlier that this EO should be challenged in court. It is a prima facia violation of the constitution.

  4. They’ll need to start hiring fewer black people. According to the numbers, blacks are overrepresented in the federal work force by about 50% relative to their portion of the general population.

    • Tagging along on JVB’s basketball related comment above, if there were equity, thirteen percent of the general partners at Goldman Sachs would be black guys or women and, of course, only thirteen percent of the NBA’s players would be black. This quota, er equity thing, only works one way.

  5. The graphic explaining equity assumes that there are finite opportunities (which is true). Thus, to provide increased opportunities to a group experiencing fewer opportunities you MUST take opportunities away from someone else.

    If the government creates a fiat by which one group is forced to give up opportunities in order to give them to another several things can happen: opportunities may not be acted upon; opportunities given to less qualified persons may result in failure due to execution risk; and/or some experienced adults will leave the labor market taking with them considerable experience due to increased opportunity costs to seek new employment.

    What is described above is a tenet of centrally planned economies such as the Soviet Union.

  6. The thing is that they’re not even looking for equity.

    If equality refers to opportunity, and equity refers to outcome, and all these progressives are so hellbent on equity, then why are they still pushing for women in post secondary education? There are more women going to school, women are doing better in school, and more women are graduating in school. It’s been like this for the better part of two decades now, it’s gotten to the point where women in the younger age brackets out earn their male peers.

    So how about some of that equity, eh? I’m not going to hold my breath and wait for progressives to start talking about how young men should be incentivized to attend university, or how we need special bursary or scholarship programs to give young men an equal playing field. I’m not expecting the talk about the earnings gap to disappear, and in fact: “Equal Pay Day” is right around the corner. Does anyone want to make a bet against the likelihood that progressives and this administration use March 14th as an opportunity to trot out yet another deceptive figure for political clout? Because I’ll take your money.

    As always, progressives have no principles. They have devices that they use to grab power.

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