“Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping? Use them after your own honour and dignity. The less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty.” 

—from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet

If men received only what they collectively deserved, they would receive neither honor nor dignity in return. Salvation is a personal, not collective, affair.  

Both St. Paul and the thief on the cross are thought to have entered the Kingdom of Heaven, though their time and works on earth were remarkably unequal. Paul, once Saul, was a man of two lives, one of the most preeminent men of the Apostolic age, and responsible for at least two millennia’s worth of words and letters. Yet the thief on the cross was rewarded only for these 35 words: “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong. Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” 

Very rarely are men able and worthy enough to confess they deserve the worst for their crimes, especially after bearing witness to the most innocent, good, and true getting punished by the mob’s undignified and dishonorable “justice.” Most men know they deserve a beating, if not a cross to die on, but they usually don’t admit it. They suspect there’s some other guy who probably deserves it more – and that he should go first.  

Individually, some men are certainly worse than others. Men can’t see one another as equals in their own eyes. They are forever wrestling, assessing, contesting, and besting one another for standing, worth, and rank.  

Some men rise through sheer ability and individual merit while others play the game with violence, lies, and other tricks. Some men play their games with wit and a smile, while others promote the popular conceit that “all men are equal” but some are “more equal” than others in their collective need. They believe that some, by guilt of the group, are oppressors, while the oppressed, by boon of their being oppressed, should be hailed as the new elite.  

Yes, I’m talking about the woke DEI regime. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are just the latest terms for the well-worn millenarian hope in a new kingdom to come, though as far as I can tell, intersectional paradise looks like some circle of hell.  

Nonetheless, social justice — with all its racial reckonings, gender queerings, climatological eschatology, and collective identity oppression games — aims to eventually upend the old bigoted and benighted order until finally “the last shall be first, and the first last.” 

Yet DEI treats honor and dignity not as a personal mercy to be offered man to man, nor as a gift of grace from God, but as a group entitlement, a claim on the lives of others to be wielded like a bloody ax hewing through every branch and root of society.  

DEI demands the unearned, rewarding its acolytes a resentful license to carry out collective punishment and unequal treatment in the name of equal justice.  

DEI does not allow for individual freedom; it does not allow for man’s reason nor his divine spark that spurs him to transcend his unequal state and embrace his fate.  

Instead, DEI shackles men to a history they did not live, an identity they did not choose. It makes men’s salvation a function of collectivized political power. 

Even former DEI administrators are starting to get wise to the strange cult of woke in their midst. 

“You can look at everything in American history and in American society and understand the different contributions that have been made through a lens of resilience, through a lens of human dignity and human agency,” beleaguered veteran DEI officer Tabia Lee recently told Glenn Loury, “It doesn’t have to be through victims and oppressors.” 

Again, men are never equal in their own eyes. This is especially true when men are measured and weighed in collectivized political terms. It is one thing to indict a man for his own sins but to punish a man for the sins of the group when he has done nothing wrong – to conscript a man as an oppressor or a victim when he has earned neither description – is to court cataclysm and catastrophe. Only an unequal and resentful creature such as man could conjure up visions of the apocalypse and look forward to it, just so he can see his “lessers” burn in hellfire alongside him. Men are only ever equal in the eyes of God, else they dream of disaster as deliverance. 

At best, men can first admit they are not God, and then while looking to heaven, treat their inequality at last as an invitation to offer their own honor and dignity though none may deserve it.  

Joey Clark is a native Alabamian and is currently the host of the radio program News and Views on News Talk 93.1 FM WACV out of Montgomery, AL M-F 12 p.m. - 3 p.m. His column appears every Tuesday in 1819 News. To contact Joey for media or speaking appearances as well as any feedback, please email [email protected].

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to [email protected]

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