I patronize a small butcher shop in the weird borderlands between Indiana’s idyllic prairie and Chicago’s concrete hell. The joint belongs to Wally, a blue-jawed titan of a Pole whose grandparents emigrated to the U.S. in the 1940s and promptly got down to pig farming in the Kankakee Valley. Generations of Wally’s family had raised livestock in central Poland and would have gone on doing so had Hitler’s stooges not come goose-stepping into Polish pig country. Forged in tradition and training, Wally’s understanding of all things meat is as innate and absolute as Albert Einstein’s genius and Arthur Fonzarelli’s cool.
Notwithstanding his expertise and the quality and freshness of his offerings, the business Wally runs is conspicuously non-diverse. The register is run by his niece, and the books are kept by Mrs. Wally. Deliveries are made by Wally’s brother, who purchased the shop’s refrigerated delivery truck and leases it to his brother by way of a tax-savvy arrangement from which they both benefit. On weekends, when business is at its briskest, Wally’s teenaged son and daughter help out around the store. That Wally is grooming his children to take over the business is obvious.
I don’t have the heart to tell Wally that his business is doomed. Even if I could bring myself to do so, I haven’t the slightest idea how to explain to him that the survival of any 21st Century meritocracy—like butchering or pipefitting or piloting commercial aircraft—is dependent upon a massive influx of women and minorities. Wally—naively preoccupied with excellence—would argue that he’d happily hire any qualified butcher, regardless of race or gender. He’d point out, however, that women, in his experience, gravitated away from the butchering business, and that the rural roots of meat production precluded much interest from urban-dwelling minorities. He’d also argue that butchering takes years to master, and that he had neither the time, the budget, nor the inclination to turn his business into a primary school for aspiring butchers.
Wally’s antiquated notions of gainful employment being predicated upon ambition, education, and individual achievement are badly out of step with contemporary, progressive ideology, which eschews excellence in favor of diversity. United Airlines’s pledge to repopulate its pilot cadre with women and minorities exemplifies this ethos. Whether or not the legacy carrier will require its diverse, colorful, new-hires to know the first thing about piloting airplanes remains to be seen.
Dateline 28 April 2024
National Football League Diversity Officer Jonathan Beane has denounced the league’s entrenched culture of hiring exclusively powerful, swift, athletic men. During a press conference at the 2024 NFL Draft, Beane revealed plans to relax extant performance standards for purpose of affording women, cripples, the blind, the obese, and the athletically incompetent opportunities to play professional football. Beane assured reporters that the level of play to which fans are accustomed will in no way suffer as a result of the new standards. He then went on to state that anyone averse to the notion of wheelchair-bound wide-receivers is patently evil, un-American, and racist.
Rhapsody In Stupid
United Airlines has been stomping out a desperate, ugly, tap-dance since announcing plans to predicate its pilot hiring practices on race and gender instead of competence. This attitude is repellent on so many levels that the only reasonable response to it is outrage. By pledging to formalize racism as a guiding principal, United Airlines has boldly and decisively exacerbated the ignominy of an industry already characterized by profiteering, passenger objectification, loss and destruction of personal property, and chronic tardiness.
In 1965, United famously invited the world to fly the friendly skies. A lesser known United slogan—and one applicable to both its P.R. conundrum and its next generation of pilots—is 2008’s You can run but you can’t fly.
Wokeism vs Darwinism
The process of natural selection is brutally simple. The very keenest and very brightest are honed by hardship. In the absence of hardship, minds soften, bodies weaken, character decays, and tenacity fails to develop. The removal of hardship is the beginning of failure. The lowering of standards is the rise of mediocrity. As television shows like American Idol poisoned the music industry by affording neophyte performers a direct avenue to ill-gotten stardom, so United’s minority-before-merit hiring scheme will poison commercial aviation. Pilots—like musicians, athletes, and artists—must travel the hard road to success. They must contend with the hardships of earning their certificates and ratings. They must contend with the hardships of grueling, low-paying flying jobs such as flight instructing, cargo hauling, or towing gliders. They must contend with the hardships of military aviation and the looming possibility being blasted out of the sky. By dint of these hardships, the flying public is assured competent, durable, trustworthy airmen into whose keeping lives may be entrusted. Anything else is political theater and—inevitably—negligent manslaughter.