VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: DEI Cronyism And Woke Grifters

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When ideology replaces meritocracy or provides immunity from the consequences of illegal behavior, systemic mediocrity follows.

Under toxic National Socialism, Stalinism and Maoism, millions of cronies and grifters mouthed party lines in hopes that their approved ideology would allow them to advance their careers and excuse their lawbreaking.

The same thing has happened with the woke movement and the now-huge Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) conglomerate.

Grifters and opportunists mask their selfish agendas under the cloak of neo-Marxist care for the underprivileged or victimized minorities. Meanwhile, they seek to profit illegally as if they were old-fashioned crony capitalists.

During the disastrous COVID-19 lockdown, Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom pontificated about leveraging the quarantine to ensure greater equality: “There is opportunity for reimagining a (more) progressive era as it (relates) to capitalism …We see this as an opportunity to reshape the way we do business and how we govern.”

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 13: California Governor Gavin Newsom (C) speaks as Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass (L) listens at a press conference near the closed I-10 elevated freeway following a large pallet fire, which occurred Saturday at a storage yard beneath the freeway, on November 13, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. Engineers have been assessing the extent of the damage and it remains unknown how long the freeway, which is a major commuter artery through the downtown area, will remain closed and complicate traffic for the city. Newsom said the fire was caused by arson and that over 300,000 vehicles drive through the freeway corridor each day with drivers being urged to use public transit. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Newsom did not seem very “progressive” when he was caught in one of California’s most expensive restaurants dining with sidekick lobbyists while violating the very mask and social distancing rules he had mandated for 40 million others.

Newsom also bragged about social equity when he signed a new California law mandating $20 an hour for fast-food workers — while many of his own employees at his various company-controlled eateries made only $16 an hour.

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 20: (L-R) Governor of California Gavin Newsom welcomes Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Prince Daniel of Sweden at the Stanford Mansion on February 20, 2024 in Sacramento, California. Governor Newsom signed a renewed climate partnership between California and Sweden, continuing the state’s efforts on international climate collaboration. (Photo by Renée C. Byer-Pool/Getty Images)

And he allegedly gave a unique exemption from his wage law to one particular bakery/restaurant chain, Panera, whose owner is an old friend and major campaign contributor.

Newsom apparently feels that the more progressively he postures, the less he’ll be called out for his own hypocrisy and self-interested agendas.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 14: U.S. President Joe Biden (C) talks with California Governor Gavin Newso (L) and his wife Jennifer Siebel Newsom (R) after arriving at San Francisco International Airport ahead of the APEC summit on November 14, 2023 in San Francisco, California. The APEC summit is being held in San Francisco and runs through November 17. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 11: (Top L-R) Jennifer Siebel Newsom and California Governor Gavin Newsom and (Bottom L-R) Lady Gaga with boyfriend Michael Polansky look on in the third quarter during Super Bowl LVIII between the San Francisco 49ers nad Kansas City Chiefs at Allegiant Stadium on February 11, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

In another egregious case, the now-imprisoned felon, Sam Bankman-Fried, may have been the greatest con artist in American history. He siphoned billions of dollars from his cryptocurrency company, destroying the fortunes of thousands when his multi-billion-dollar Ponzi empire collapsed.

How did Sam and his two Stanford law-professor parents manage to accumulate millions of dollars in resort properties and perks without getting caught until after their empire collapsed?

Answer: Sam showered millions of dollars on left-wing politicians to advance their progressive crusades. His parents justified this family giving as a form of “effective altruism.”

That catchy phrase masked the reality that his crusade for social justice was just an incredibly effective get-rich-quick scheme.

The Bankman-Fried family apparently reasoned that their devotion to this woke form of “altruism” would translate into riches for themselves, albeit bankruptcies for investors.

Another example: In Georgia’s Fulton County, District Attorney Fani Willis ran for office, promising to indict supposed right-wing monster Donald Trump.

ATLANTA, GA – MARCH 01: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, left and prosecutor Daysha Young, right, speak to each other during a hearing in the case of the State of Georgia v. Donald John Trump at the Fulton County Courthouse on March 1, 2024, in Atlanta, Georgia. The hearing is to determine whether Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis should be removed from the case because of a relationship with Nathan Wade, special prosecutor she hired in the election interference case against former President Donald Trump. (Photo by Alex Slitz-Pool/Getty Images)

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – AUGUST 14: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks during a news conference at the Fulton County Government building on August 14, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. A grand jury today handed up an indictment naming former President Donald Trump and his Republican allies over an alleged attempt to overturn the 2020 election results in the state. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

She raised campaign money on her woke credentials. Often, when challenged, she played the race victim card.

Meanwhile, Willis hired as a special prosecutor her secret paramour, the incompetent Nathan Wade, although he had never tried a single felony case.

She and Wade then went on expensive junkets. She claimed that she reimbursed him with cash that was, of course, unverifiable.

Given their woke ideology, both assumed they were entitled to splurge at taxpayers’ expense, offer likely-false testimony under oath and violate canons of professional behavior for lawyers.

She wasn’t alone in her corruption. After the death of George Floyd, the founders of the left-wing Black Lives Matter movement went on a house-buying rampage. The more corporations filled their coffers with millions, either from guilt or as protection money, the more new homes the directors purchased.

One co-founder, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, a self-described Marxist, splurged by spending $3.2 million in alleged BLM money to buy herself four upscale residences.

And the most radical Democratic members of Congress — the so-called Squad — apparently feel that the more they level accusations of racism, the more they can profit without fearing any consequences for their wrongdoing.

One squad member, Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, redirected $2.8 million of her office’s allotted government money to her husband’s political consulting company.

Still another member, the radical leftist Rep. Cori Bush, often harangued the country to defund the police. Now the FBI is investigating her for stealthily paying tens of thousands of campaign dollars to her own husband for “security.”

Woke and DEI activists may not necessarily be any more innately mediocre, corrupt or conniving than other politicians and activists.

But they seem so, because they loudly broadcast that they are for “diversity,” “equity” and “inclusion” — and thus assume themselves to be exempt from all scrutiny and free to profit in any way they please.

The woke/DEI project is enticing thousands of shysters, careerists and mediocrities, all keen to enrich themselves on the premise that they are noble fighters for social justice who deserve immunity from any scrutiny.

How odd it is that America is wasting billions of dollars hiring DEI czars and electing woke politicians who so often accuse others of a multitude of sins, largely as a way of enriching themselves, hiding their own culpability and making a mockery of the law.

Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness. He is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author of “The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won,” from Basic Books. You can reach him by e-mailing authorvdh@gmail.com.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.