". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


How the Words of a Doomed Submersible’s CEO Reflect the Infiltration of DEI in Key U.S. Institutions

July 1, 2023

Recently this country watched, with sadness and prayers, the saga of an exploratory submersible as it led to the death of five individuals. The Titan, designed by OceanGate, went down into the depths of the ocean to explore the wreckage of the Titanic.

Much of the media has been full of coverage about the journey of this sea vessel. What started as an innocent mission to see the wreckage of the historic Titanic quickly turned into a search and rescue mission as the vessel lost contact with the mothership shortly into the trip. While the search for the missing vessel was still ongoing, clips of OceanGate CEO Rush Stockton began to appear, mainly in conservative media outlets.

In these clips, Stockton speaks to how he and his company chose not to hire “50-year-old white guys” because he wanted OceanGate, and submarine work, to be “inspirational” for diverse groups of people. And while much has and will be said about this CEO and company specifically, there is a broader issue in America that is reflected in the mentality of Stockton.

The story that needs to be told is one of the increasingly generalized losses of confidence many Americans are feeling toward important systems and institutions that are crucial to the functioning of American society. It is a story of how the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts of Stockton is the same dangerous mentality that pervades so much of the upper strata of American leadership — business, military, government included.

While it may be impossible to prove Stockton’s worldview is what directly led to the tragedy of the Titan, it leaves open the very wide door for many Americans to believe that this mentality was, at the very least, a contributing factor. This type of ideological left-wing lens, seemingly at the heart Stockton’s business, exists officially in many of America’s most important institutions. Many examples of ideology that mirror’s Stockton’s exist within core American institutions.

The United States Navy is responsible for ensuring the protection of the U.S. and the global shipping lanes through which America depends for many of its essential items. In recent years, the Navy has dealt with several catastrophic incidents — human as well as financial.

In 2017, two different Navy destroyers were involved in very preventable collisions with civilian ships. In total, 17 American sailors were killed. In 2020, the USS Bonhomme Richard caught on fire, and the $1.2 billion dollar warship was damaged beyond repair. The Navy investigation into the disaster found that the fire could and should have been contained and the ship saved, but was not on account of “repeated failures” in training and preparedness.

With these recent incidents in mind, it is interesting that in recent years the Navy has placed additional focus on non-warfighting essential tasks. The Navy itself has made explicit its desire to create a service with demographics that are similar to the demographics of America at large. This type of mentality may lead the Navy to make promotion and assignment decisions that are based on things other than merit. This is a dangerous proposition for the Navy when it is supposed to ensure this country receives critically necessary items such as medical equipment via the shipping lanes.

Even in the business sector, this pattern repeats. An excellent example of such a pattern is American Airlines.

As with the U.S. Navy, American Airlines has had several major issues in recent years. In 2021, the airline was forced to cancel over 1,700 flights during Halloween weekend. This is indicative of a broader issue of labor shortages the airline continues to struggle to manage.

In a situation where American Airlines expects customer demand to continue to increase throughout the decade, it would seem reasonable that the airline should be more focused on maximizing the number of qualified pilots regardless of race, religion, or sex.

However, as American Airlines stated, “Our flight deck should reflect the diverse group of people onboard our planes every day. That’s why we plan for 50% of the 5,000 pilots we train in the next decade to be women or people of color.” How limiting the type of applicants that can join is supposed to remedy a growing pilot shortage remains a mystery. Moreover, it is worthy to say that this type of thinking is unlikely to strengthen travelers’ confidence when flying American Airlines.

An investigation of the Titan mishap will hopefully determine the direct cause of the disaster. No judgement shall be made here regarding the five deaths. However, the “inspirational” attitude of Richard Stockton in lieu of meritocratic hiring cannot help but be in the minds of people when considering the Titan fiasco. This same mindset can and will pervade Americans’ thoughts when looking at disasters in other institutions.

It is therefore imperative that those men and women who lead the organizations that protect and serve America quit reflecting the diversity approach of Stockton. Without such a change, the people of America have every right to question the competence and authority of institutions and businesses like the U.S. Navy and American Airlines. The unapologetic embrace of DEI means that any failure can and will be attributed, by people, to an institution’s betrayal of meritocracy. Such a conclusion will occur regardless of whether DEI is a causal factor in a disaster, because for many people perception is reality.

The words of a doomed CEO are reflected in the worldview of leaders in key U.S. institutions. Thus, when considering meritocratic vs. equitable directional pathways, those leaders would do well to remember 1 Corinthians 9:24 which says, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.”

Unfortunately, five lost souls on the Titan are perhaps solid examples of a far-left mindset that explicitly puts groups ahead of individuals. One must ponder where else harm and death may arise from this ideology.

Daniel Walker serves as an intern at Family Research Council.