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With tongue in cheek, I might mumble that a similar case could have been made against majority rule in South Africa... where are the Blacks qualified to be ministers...
But I will refrain. Instead, perhaps we could examine the downsides to enforced parity in places where it has been applied for a while... For example, Scandinavia?
It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue
- Queen Elizabeth II
SA under Mandela was a near miraculous transformation achieved almost without major violence and prospered under his wise and competent leadership. He appointed ministers of all races, largely on the basis of competence, but also with an eye to racial balance and regional representation. Positive discrimination was introduced for blacks but generally only competent and honest people were appointed.
Since then it has been a case of a slow and steady decline, with corruption and crime rampant, and violence endemic. SA is now the most unequal society in the world, an inequality largely overseen by a rising black middle class within an overall long term declining economic growth trend.
As a result many blacks, particularly those in townships and rural areas are poorer in relative and absolute terms than ever, and many even hanker after the relative competence of some economic management in the Apartheid era if not its political repression and racial segregation.
Don't get me wrong, the defeat of Apartheid was one of the greatest political and moral victories of the last century, and much of what has happened since was predicted by me and was probably in large measure unavoidable. A person of the moral and political stature of a Mandela doesn't come along very often.
But basic competence and integrity is still a requirement of any functioning democracy, and we ignore it at our peril. The issues confronted by feminism in Ireland pale into insignificance compared to the repression under Apartheid, and women now, while grossly under-represent in the Dail (thanks to voter choices) are comparatively over represented at Ministerial level compared to the numbers elected.
There is the beginnings of an alt-right backlash at all things feminist in Ireland and I don't want to give it any more oxygen than absolutely unavoidable. Women are becoming more dominant in many professions and are often more qualified for the senior jobs now on offer. There is little need for any further positive discrimination in many sectors as women are getting there on their own merits.
If we want more women in high political office we have to persuade the best qualified to stand for election and for voters to vote for them. Claiming they are "token" women or the beneficiaries of positive discrimination only undermines and demeans them. They are well able to take it from here.
Index of Frank's Diaries
Instead, perhaps we could examine the downsides to enforced parity in places where it has been applied for a while... For example, Scandinavia?
Positive discrimination is allowed when it's based on age or income so kids, students, unemployed and elderly people can get cheaper tickets. And war veterans get free swimming and other activities.
In general the legal framework leans more towards making sure members of minorities (subjective to conditions) have a way to become a qualified applicant rather than forcing the selection. As long as the most qualified is selected.
Not a perfect system, but there hasn't been many complaints.
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