Friday, February 14, 2014

Affirmative Action

Ace, in this link, is defending affirmative action, to a point. 

I have to disagree with him, based on my way of looking at this thing. 

See, a lot of times, people look at issues through the lens of “society,” which generally means through the lens of these things happening to other people. 

I don’t do it that way.  The way I look at it, if I wouldn’t want something to happen to me, I wouldn’t be interested in supporting that thing happening to someone else, even if that someone is “theoretical” because, let’s face it, they aren’t theoretical at all. 

For instance, very few people who support the Kelo vs. New London eminent domain decision would support it nearly as much if their house was the one condemned by a rich developer so that he could line his pockets.  They support Kelo in theory – through the lens of “society” and therefore, through the lens of it happening to some nameless, faceless, “somebody else.”  I don’t support Kelo, because I would be heartbroken and angry if some developer forced me out of my home and demolished it so that he could build a strip mall, and so I won’t support that developer doing the same thing to someone else. 

That is how I think of affirmative action.  If I lost my job to a black man based solely upon the fact that I was white, I would be angry about that.  Therefore, I will not support a program that would do that to someone else. 

This has nothing to do with whether minorities deserve this, or whether we need to do something to make things fair, or whether there are valid concerns regarding the fact that minorities have trouble getting jobs.  It has everything to do with the fact that I wouldn’t want it to happen to me, and so I will not support it happening to someone else.  That’s as simple as I can make it.  


  1. Asking "how would I like that" is a fairly decent test. Another useful test that should be applied more often is the Jews in the attic test. Simply stated this is - How would (whatever the government is doing) affect my ability to keep Jews hidden in my attic? Much of what is coming out of DC these days fails this second test in spectacular fashion just as it fails the first.

    1. I am familiar with the “Jews in the attic” test, but I fail to see how that would be applicable to affirmative action?

      Or am I misunderstanding and you aren’t trying to make that connection, but just pointing out another useful acid test to use on the goodness of government actions?

      Because if that second part is the case, I heartily agree. There is no better test, in my opinion, on the goodness of a government action than the “Jews in the attic” test. In fact, so much so that if I were to ever take tangible action against the government (God please forbid it), it would likely be a result of their having passed a law that does not meet that standard.