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E-Pluribus | August 27, 2021
Woke Verizon, a governor and his Emmy are soon parted, and what Afghanistan says about the American leadership class.
A round up of the latest and best writing and musings on the rise of illiberalism in the public discourse:
Christopher F. Rufo: Critical Race Capitalism
Here we have another large corporation pursuing modern diversity training, and another whistleblower delivering the goods to Christopher Rufo. Verizon couches its training as “inclusion” and “anti-racism,” but it doesn’t take long to devolve into separating employees into “oppressor” or “oppressed.”
In the flagship “Conscious Inclusion & Anti-Racism” training module, Verizon diversity trainers instruct employees to deconstruct their racial and sexual identities and, according to their position on the “privilege” hierarchy, embark on a lifelong “anti-racism journey.” Employees are asked to list their “race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, religion, education, profession, and sexual orientation” on an official company worksheet, then consider their status according to the theory of “intersectionality,” a core component of critical race theory that reduces individuals to a network of identity categories, which determine whether they are an “oppressor” or “oppressed.”
Verizon claims that this conversation, and its broader antiracism program, will “accelerate systemic change.” In reality, however, the company is promoting the conventional wisdom of the academic Left and the American bureaucracy. Diversity lecturers such as Muhammad, pretending to bring radical insights, have simply commodified critical race theory and sold it back to Fortune 100 companies—ignoring how fashionable ideas such as “defunding the police” are deeply unpopular with voters, including the majority of African-Americans.
Read the whole thing.
Christian Britschgi: Ex-Governor Cuomo Has His Emmy Unjustly Revoked
Item #1 of August 16th’s E-Pluribus was a Michael Tracey piece that took a contrarian position on the narrative that Andrew Cuomo was simply getting what he had coming. This week at Reason, Christian Britschgi takes issue with decision to strip Cuomo of his 2020 COVID-19 Emmy, though Cuomo himself might be less than thrilled with the reason.
The [International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences] organization had previously given Cuomo its [Emmy] Founders award back in November 2020. That honor, per the Academy's website, is reserved for people who have "crossed cultural boundaries to touch our common humanity." Past recipients include Oprah Winfrey, Al Gore, and Steven Spielberg.
Cuomo certainly did his share of crossing boundaries while in office. Yet it was his commanding performance at COVID-era press conferences during the early months of the pandemic that ultimately netted him the Emmy.
"The Governor's 111 daily briefings worked so well because he effectively created television shows, with characters, plot lines, and stories of success and failure," said International Academy President Bruce L. Paisner in November. "People around the world tuned in to find out what was going on, and New York tough became a symbol of the determination to fight back."
Nevertheless, if the goal of the Academy was to honor Cuomo for an Emmy-caliber performance, the latest revelations about his conduct make him no less deserving of its award.
Cuomo's masterful handling of his daily COVID briefings made him a darling of both mainstream media, and New York voters. Opinion polls showed close to 80 percent of state voters had a favorable opinion of him.
That Cuomo was able to convince the vast majority of his state that he was an effective executive when disaster was unfolding all around him speaks to his skill as a performer.
Over time more evidence of his maladministration and misdeeds have come to light, from getting his family special access to COVID tests during the early days of the pandemic to running the worst rent relief program in the country.
Peter Savodnik: After the Fall
Bari Weiss hands her Substack microphone to Peter Savodnik who decries the leadership vacuum the country finds itself in. Given the choice between popularity and responsibility, too many choose the former road to the detriment of America and its ideals.
Our elites’ dereliction of duty, their forgetting — about who they were supposed to be and, just as important, what America was supposed to be — is mostly to blame for the ocean of inanity that has engulfed us. The multiplying stupidities. The mythologies we promulgate online unironically or strategically. The preeners. The pronoun displayers. The opportunists. Michael Moore with his mindless Instagram post about everyone having their own Taliban.
A genuine elite would know enough, be strong enough, to say: enough. To say: no. To say: that is nonsense.
A genuine elite would care little about how many followers it had. It would be steeped in its many responsibilities — to those who had come before and those who were yet to be born — and that sense of responsibility would be reflected in its nourishing and cultivation of the institutions of American life. It would ensure that those institutions remained tethered to their heritage while open to new voices. An ever-expanding, renewing worldview. Like America itself.
Instead, we are governed by weaklings whose weakness has enabled all species of moral relativism. The identitarian left can no longer distinguish between its political foes and those who are truly evil. It cannot see that the “toxic masculinity” it decries extended the lifespans of Afghan women and shielded them from their would-be rapists and enabled their daughters to go to school. The identitarian right wonders aloud why America should absorb the Afghan interpreters who helped us prosecute a 20-year-war in their country. It cannot see that admitting these refugees is a matter not of immigration policy, but of honor and integrity and preserving these values that, it claims, are central to the American character. Both camps have been permanently alienated from their home. Both are incapable of charting a way forward, because they have forgotten, among all the many other things, where we are going. Our ignominious departure from Hamid Karzai International was presaged years ago by their ignorance and cravenness.
Read it all here.
So news broke this week that Harvard’s new chief chaplain is… an atheist. Megan McArdle has a thought:
Speaking of religion, Heterodox Academy calls for people of faith in higher education sharing their beliefs more openly and purposefully to facilitate better engagement on religious diversity:
The Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism launched a new program to provide more transparency on “diversity” and “inclusion” initiatives:
And finally, a fascinating lecture from the Institute for Humane Studies featuring George Mason University Professor Peter Boettke on his new book about liberalism: