Merit vs. Quota – Which System Will Progress a Society Further?

The debate has remained vigorous over the last decade in determining whether America should promote programs that create a diversity of race and gender or programs that award purely on personal qualifications and performance. On one hand, those in favor of diversity quota programs suggest that certain races, genders and sexual orientations are not represented fairly in immigration, higher education and careers as a result of systematic or institutional oppression that places these 'groups' at a disadvantage to achieve the same success as other, more successful 'groups' whether it be directly or indirectly through general life hindrances. 

On the other hand, those in favor of a merit system advocate that every individual should be granted citizenship, college acceptance or a job based on their accomplishments and skill sets that the nation, employeer or school believes will benefit and contribute to them most. The debate of merit vs. quota reigns primarily over the issues of immigration, jobs and schooling which covers most of their applications in the political realm so I will break this debate down and discuss each of the three issues individually.


First off we have immigration, where the discussion of merit vs. quota has just recently been refreshed as a result of Donald Trumps alleged comments said in a meeting over immigration policy. For some, it seems charitable to allocate immigration status equally between races and countries in an effort to allow everyone to live the American Dream, however, this creates a problem for America. Currently in America, to become a citizen of the United States if you immigrated here, you must pledge an Oath of Allegiance. In this Oath, you give up your allegiance to any other nation, including the one you immigrated from, and must pledge to uphold the laws of the Constitution.

With a diversity program much of this oath can often be thrown out the window. By acccepting a quota of people from different nations your pool of qualified applicants is significantly diminished. You can no longer sort out of the whole pool of applicants who will uphold the values of America and who will be a contributing member of society. If you look around the world and see the state of chaos that so many nations are in you can make an accurate assumption that the motives of many of the nations inhabitants are not motives we in America would deem to be morally pure, or even moderate. With this observation you can make an accurate presumption that the incentives of everyone coming here are not always what we as Americans believe to be moderate or acceptable incentives.

An example of this would be Islamic extremism, which whether you are willing to admit it or not, is a prominent threat that faces any nation that allows immigration of Muslims. Whether you conclude that the pros of Muslim immigration outweigh that of the cons is a topic for another disscussion of course, but on a majority basis, it is accepted that there is always that underlying threat. If you only adress a quota when making a decision on immigration acceptance then you often ignore their intent to immigrate. Do they wish to cause harm to Americans or Americans way of life? Do they seek to abolish the values we as Americans predominantly support?

I don't just mean background checks either. That only solves a minor portion of the problem. Someone who wishes to cause harm will not commit the offense before having the intent to in virtually every instance. In addition to these risks, you have a cultural problem. From these quota and lottery systems you often will see immigrants set up their own communities with their own cultures which doesn't always have a negative effect, but often it does. It may sound intolerant to be wary of other culturals, but a rational look at what some culturals support or don't support is evidence enough that some culturals are just simply better than others. In Madagascar there is a potential of Malaria breaking out because of a cultural tradition of the people there dancing with their dead relatives. I'll pass on that cultural enrichment. America will only endure to be a nation of immigrants if we insure that the immigrants we accept are coming to America to be an American, not coming to America to make it the same as the nation they left. 


Colleges using a similar merit system to immigration will produce many of the same negative results, but also many new problems. Higher education is different than the 12+ years of education you have prior. To get into a college or university you must produce a certain grade of test results and have a certain GPA that the school you are applying for deems worthy. With affirmative action however, if you are not of the qualifying skin color, your hard work, good test scores and high GPA could be soon right through to someone that hasn't worked as hard, has lower test scores and a lower GPA. Granting certain races college acceptance despite possibly being less qualified so that there is fair racial representation in their school is done in response to certain races having more hindrances to achieving the same standards as white and Asian Americans.

Legally and also socially (as a whole nation) I do not believe these races have hindrances in their way that prevent them from reaching the same standards but there is for certain a cultural problem within many of these race's communities that cause their grades and test scores as well as graduation rates to be much lower. The statistical fact of this is believed to be due to different factors depending on which side of the issues aisle you may be on but either way, college acceptance should not waiver it's requirements or pick the less qualified candidate in order to meet a quota that is set in place to give every race equal representation in college.

Firstly, like with immigration, you will obviously not be getting the best student you can get which is likely to reflect on your schools performance. Secondly, you are setting this student up for failure because somebody that has better merits will be able to more easily meet the course requirements while someone with less qualification will struggle more. This can lower an classes average performance overall and a reccurance of this will consequentially lead to the professor lowering the class difficulty which can reduce the students knowledge of the course and ability to properly do the job that the course is intended to prepare them for. Lastly, we have the lowered self gratification that a student whose race is represented lower that others in colleges may endure because they have doubt in their mind as to whether they truly earned their acceptance to the school or if they were just accepted primarily due to their race to meet a quota. The core issue of some races having lower graduation rates and test scores should be dealt with at the level in which they occur, not by making further education easier as it solves nothing. We should promote the importance of doing well in school before high school and during high school so that they may have a bright future.

A considerable amount of the same factors apply when looking at jobs and careers as do with post-secondary schools and immigration when a quota based system is applied. The only crucial difference is that there is a more direct and short-term effect to forcing a business to meet a quota of races when hiring. First, it can hinder your ability to simply hire employees if employees if the required race or gender do not apply. Take for example having a business on a side of town where there is less Hispanics, African Americans, Asians or white people. It isn't your fault that there is an unproportionate amount of races in your region. This forces you to try and recruit outside of your area or city which for a small business owner that could cripple your development.  Second, you may have to pass up a very qualified employee because they are not the right gender or race.

For businesses that are not entry level this could be detrimental as you lose the ability to hire what could potentially be one of the best employees for your business that you may ever have. With gender, if you are forced to have a certain percentage ratio, or just an even amount of men and women, your efficiency can be greatly impeded. Take for example construction. There is a place in construction for both men and women as there are so many available jobs within the field. However, most are frequently filled with men because biogically men are typically stronger. Some jobs just are better for men just as some other jobs are better for women. Scandinavia has taken great lenghts to ensure gender equality for men and women (not sure they can accomplish what they have already achieved) trying to give women more opportunities to reach more rewarding careers but even with this, they found that men still dominated engineering 20:1 and women still dominated nursing 20:1. With free choice, women gravitate to certain jobs just like men gravitate to certain jobs. Some jobs both men and women gravitate towards. Women are generally better at certain jobs and tasks because they are generally less competitive and more compassionate. Men are generally better at certain jobs and tasks because they are generally more competitive and are biologically stronger. Men and women were made different and trying to achieve workplace equality in terms of gender ratio is defying basic biology. This isn't to say a man can't be a nurse or a women an engineer, it isn't universal that men are always stronger and more competitive, just commonly.


In the end, individualism will progress a society further than collectivism. Everyone should be judged by who they are as a person. Our government, colleges and employeers should see who someone is as a person. What values they hold, what they accomplished, what they can contribute, the skills they have etc. A person being of the required country, skin color or gender to meet a quota shouldn't be a factor in determining what they achieve. How hard they work and what they have accomplished should be. 








One thought on “Merit vs. Quota – Which System Will Progress a Society Further?

  • January 27, 2018 at 11:05 pm


    Thank you for taking the time to express yourself at great length.

    In the future, I hope that you can focus on just a few parts of your broad argument in order to make it more coherent. Many times you bring up points that have no evidence and make little logical sense. Even if you give one example of why something may be a certain way, if you do not support it from multiple angles, place it in context, and defend it from at least a few common counter-arguments, you are doing nothing more than stringing a few ideas together in a rough way, much like a child painting a picture of a sunset, throwing a sun and a couple of birds against a blue sky and calling it art. 

    Now if I left my criticism as is, this would be about as weak as most of your points. So let me go in depth on just one. I do not have time to go into great detail on each and every one of your points and for that I apologize. 

    "If you look around the world and see the state of chaos that so many nations are in you can make an accurate assumption that the motives of many of the nations inhabitants are not motives we in America would deem to be morally pure, or even moderate. With this observation you can make an accurate presumption that the incentives of everyone coming here are not always what we as Americans believe to be moderate or acceptable incentives." (end of pararaph 4)

    While there are areas of the world in which is "chaos" as in the middle east, that does not mean that you can make any sort of "accurate assumption" about "many of the nations inhabitants". Moreover, this is both an extremely broad and vague statement. At its core, the only argument you make here is one based on a basic emotional response: fear. When you cite chaos, alluding to violence and unrest that you do not understand, it illicits fear. This is the only point you make: that you see scary things happening elsewhere in the world and you are fearful as a result. You follow this up with an exaplanation for this violence: those people have negative intentions and thats why there are bad things. Ok why? How? You are simply making a first glance assessement of a complicated situation which you do not claim to know anything about beyond that it is "scary".

    If for example, someone living in another country were to watch a news station which only depicted mass shootings and police brutality in America, you could come to a similar conclusion about the USA. Now this is a weak point because we do not have the level of violence that exists in the middle east, but so is your broad assumption about the middle east based on a similar level of skin level information. Perhaps it is only a minority of people causing such carnage, in the same way that a deplorable few in America choose to walk into crowded spaces and murder countless people. Using your same logic, that person abroad could think "oh they must all have bad intentions". It is an example of a greater argument that you do not cite explicitly but is hinted out throughout your article. That there are inherent negatives associated with people from other cultures and that they must be causally connected.


    Your argument rests on the fear evoqued when you bring up violence and unrest, which you tie to people of other cultures. Understand that this is all you have. This is a vestigial knee-jerk reaction that was helpful to pre-civilization humans who did not have the ability to understand other situations or human experiences, but today is immoral exactly because we have so many resources and intellectual abilities to understand other human experiences. Your argument is about the same as feeling fearful of people that look different than you for that reason alone. Sure, if you do not have experience being around people that are different than you you will feel less comfortable than you would with people that you have been around your entire life. But does that mean that there is anything to actually be fearful of? Not at all. Maybe there is, but just because they look different than you you have no reason to think that.

    You consistently use terms like "accurate assumption" and "accurate presumption". Never in your article do these terms communicate anything other than a plee that "it is ok to think what you want about this situation based on a feeling that I just evoqed in you". Humans are at a point where we cannot continue to think like this. We have to think about how we feel and really ponder why that is.

    When I was 24 I bought a house in a neighborhood that was by many accounts on the wrong side of the tracks. After running countless simulations in financial spreadsheets and examining the house from every angle imaginable, I was convinced that it was a sound investment. However for weeks I could not bring myself to close the deal. I was afraid. I was afraid of living around people I had not grown up around, such as a group of old people living in a house behind mine sharing a small house because they could afford nothing else. The house next door to mine had an aggressive "do not enter sign", had been poorly reconstructed to accomodate 4 units, and had peeling paint all over the outside of the house. The front porch sagged, and was littered with random pieces of furniture, like the corner of a goodwill. There was a old drunk man who came outside at noon each day to buy his daily liqour, wearing the same tattered and stained t-shirt and faded jeans. There were couples who I would hear yelling at each other as they walked down the street. There was a mentally disabled man who once asked me to turn off the disco lights in my garage because they were keeping him up at night (there were none, he was schizofrenic).

    I lived in this house for years, and never once had a single problem. The older tenants living behind me had a lot of mechanical expertise and would help me fix my car and lawn mower free of charge. In the winter, the mentally disabled man would wake up early every morning and shovel the snow off the sidewalk for the entire block. I also realized that anywhere you live there can be domestic disputes that spill outside the home, and that it was actually pretty uncommon.

    I realized that I had been fearful of living around people who worried about money to an extent far greater than I ever had. People that looked different because they had poorer clothes and drove dirty old cars that often broke down. People that spoke different than I was used to and had a different perspective on life. I do not condemn myself for feeling afraid, but I would if I had decided not to buy the house because of that feeling. In time that house became a home, and was one of the best financial investments I have ever made. If I had only listened to my feeling, I would have concluded that these people were dangerous, untrustworthy, or to use your argument have un-American morals.

    What I ask is that you see this story as an example of how fear is not always justified. That simply saying that you are making "accurate assumptions" and "accurate presumptions" is not saying anything at all. The world is very complicated, it takes an immense amount of time, patience, and analysis to make any sort of real sense out of it. This article, your attitude, your perspective, it does nothing to further an accurate understanding of the world. Rather, it tries to convince the audience that it is ok to make instinctual conclusions, and to not spend any further time or energy trying to understand it. The alternative is to accept that there is a lot that we do not know, and have to spend much more time and energy to have even a glimmer of understanding. If at this point, perhaps you feel a bit "scared" because it is scary to accept that there are things you cannot explain or understand. Know that that is not what I am trying to evoque in you. I want you to be ok with not knowing things, or not being sure, instead of making the basic instinctual conclusions that you are making. These arguments that are so rampant today are only the result of basic vestigial emotional reactions that do not legitimize any action or conclusion in a modern context. 



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