- - Sunday, October 28, 2018

We should cut Carly Fiorina a lot of slack for her courageous stand on abortion during the last presidential campaign. She values life, and kudos to her for that.

But she has fallen into the diversity trap: In a recent op-ed in The Washington Post she gives a predictable left-wing cheer for diversity. Mrs. Fiorina writes: “There simply is not a representative number of women or people of color in positions of influence, impact and leadership in business, politics, religion or the social sector” and then trots out a number of statistics.

Here’s one: “Nearly 90 percent of all executive directors or presidents of nonprofits or foundations are white.” Are we shocked?

What percent of those executives or presidents does Mrs. Fiorina think should be white? In 2014, whites were 77.35 percent of the population. Is Mrs. Fiorina saying that no more than 77 percent of those executive directors or presidents should be white? And no fewer? But why? Perhaps blacks or women or members of other diversity groups don’t want to be in the nonprofit or foundation world.

Perhaps, if they’re good enough to be in that world, they prefer to work in different worlds were they can make more money. Or perhaps they think teaching is a more public-spirited occupation. Does Mrs. Fiorina know?

Then she references data from a McKinsey & Co. study which says: “Ethnically diverse organizations are 35 percent more likely to outperform their competitors. In the United States, for every 10 percent increase in racial and ethnic diversity on the senior-executive team, earnings rise 0.8 percent.”

Even readers who skipped Statistics 101 may know enough to distinguish between correlation and causality. It’s possible, of course, that the more successful companies studied by McKinsey did better because their workforces were diverse. But it’s also possible that because those companies were doing well they could afford to hire underperforming diversity candidates — which is not (let us not get distracted, please) to assume that all minorities (women, blacks, immigrants, whoever) are likely to underperform.

Probably we should look at the McKinsey study ourselves to see if they know the difference between causality and correlation. It turns out that there’s a number of McKinsey studies, the later ones referencing the earlier ones. But here’s the key sentence from McKinsey’s Feb. 2, 2015, Executive Summary of “Diversity Matters”:

“The relationship between diversity and performance highlighted in the research is a correlation, not a causal link. This is an important distinction, but the findings nonetheless permit reasonable hypotheses on what is driving improved performance by companies with diverse executive teams and boards.”

We all love a reasonable hypothesis, but there’s only so much you can squeeze out of one.

And who counts as “diverse” anyway? Blacks? Of course. (Is that a racist statement?) Women? Presumably. Asian Americans? Hmm. That’s tougher. Here’s McKinsey on Asian Americans:

“For example, if one company had 8 white and 2 Asian executives and another company had 8 white, 1 Asian, and 1 black executive, using the HHI formula allowed us to credit the second company as having a more diverse executive team.” Okay?

How would McKinsey rank a company all of whose executives were black? Would McKinsey and Mrs. Fiorina predict that a company run by (in the late Interior secretary James Watt’s immortal phrase) a black, a woman, two Jews, and a cripple would outperform a company run by five Asian Americans who had been lucky enough to get into Harvard?

About 77 percent of Americans are white. And about 77 percent of blacks born in the United States today are illegitimate. How many of them are likely to be able to join the ranks of executive directors or presidents? Mrs. Fiorina doesn’t say.

For Democrats, banging the diversity drum (“Diversity is our strength!!”) means primarily letting lots of illegal immigrants into the country to replace the blacks who used to vote monolithically for Democrats but who are now taking the very visible aboveground railway off the Democrats’ plantation to jobs created by Donald Trump’s economic policies, which have resulted in the lowest black unemployment numbers ever.

This means the country, and especially minorities, are lucky Donald Trump beat Carly Fiorina in 2016.

On the same day Mrs. Fiorina’s piece appeared in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal ran a piece by Ted Van Dyk, a man involved in Democratic politics for 40 years.

He wrote: “Democratic seniors look back to their roots in the Civil Rights Act and wonder why we so relentlessly attack Republicans as racist when Democrats, the party of civil rights, have no apparent agenda to address daunting school-dropout and incarceration rates, drug trafficking and use, unemployment, violent crime, and broken or nonexistent family structures in afflicted urban neighborhoods.”

Mr. Van Dyk is onto something, and kudos to him for it.

Daniel Oliver is chairman of the board of the Education and Research Institute and a director of Citizens for the Republic, founded by Ronald Reagan in 1977.

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