Patrick Bobko writes for the American Thinker about one of the necessary conditions for the diversity, equity, and inclusion scheme to flourish.

Harvard President Claudine Gay’s recent testimony before the U.S. Congress and subsequent exposure of her academic history have revealed much about the true nature and purpose of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) ideology.

The most significant “A-ha!” moment from le affair Gay is that DEI only “works” in noncompetitive environments such as government and academia. The principles of “diversity” and “equity” implicitly assume that entities and organizations will continue along their current trajectory regardless of who’s in charge. DEI discounts merit, ability, and leadership and assumes as a matter of ideological gospel that “diversity” will more than make up for their loss.

And although this might be true in glacial bureaucracies at Harvard University, the U.S. Department of Education, or Los Angeles City Hall where funding rolls in at the start of every fiscal year and there is virtually no accountability for poor performance, DEI cannot survive in competitive environments where outcomes truly matter.

Harvard is the paradigm example. The university will continue to exist despite Ms. Gay’s shortcomings, as it has for centuries. Eager students from around the world will line up for a chance at a place in the incoming class. Tuition and grants will continue to pour into the university’s coffers. Because of its secure position in academia and absence of any real competitive threats, Harvard has the luxury of making the conscious decision to place a person in a leadership position who, on the available evidence, is unqualified and incapable of effective leadership. 

Truth be told, nobody cares whether Gay can lead a university or the quality of her academic work, because she has not one speck of impact on Americans’ day-to-day lives. From her perch at Harvard University, Gay is free to theorize about social injustice and systemic racism and her supporters can quibble about the precise definition of “plagiarism” without impacting the price of gasoline, milk, or mortgage rates. She is someone who exists only on TV in a different world from all but a very, very select few Americans.