Merit, Fairness and Equality

Noted Canadian chemist Patanjali Kambhampati on the DIE movement:

My “lived experiences” as a Third World immigrant to the United States has in fact led me to be a lifelong defender of the practices of merit, fairness and equality — practices derived from classical liberal principles….My father was born Third World poor. [My father’s] only hope was to gain employment as a secretary or to be able to test into the top engineering school in India, the Indian Institute of Science. By gaining admission to this top school, my father was able to bring his family to America, where we received a superb education and tremendous opportunities.

In my father’s world, it was merit that enabled him to advance and his family to flourish. Merit and the practice of meritocracy are also classical liberal values. Merit is also central to the immigrant dream, and the rise of modern society.

…As a recent example of common practices in science funding in North America, I was denied funding opportunities twice by Canada’s federal science foundations, both of which were detailed in these pages, purely because I said I would hire research assistants based on merit, regardless of their gender or ethnic or cultural backgrounds.

Over the past year, the encroachment of the cult of DIE into academia has only grown. There are now many positions that are simply off limits to straight white men who are not handicapped. One must pledge allegiance to these illiberal principles in order to be a practising scientist in 2022.

These are some of the reasons I am writing about DIE in science and in the broader society. As someone who has dealt with the “lived experience” of racism, I am here to make the case that we need to move beyond antiquated intellectual racism and inept modern anti-racism, and move instead toward a more individualistic approach….I hope that my experiences can play a role in enabling others to speak and think freely and add value to the never-ending drive for human progress and freedom.

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