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Posts Tagged ‘Affirmative Action’

Now I know about the Chinese Curse, “May you live in interesting times.”

Japan is having a storm-after-the-storm in the form of a nuclear meltdown.  It is terrible; my brother is serving on the USS Essex dealing with this now.  The radiation and associated exclusion zones create all manner of obstacles to US assitance to this long-term ally.  That said, Japanese are behaving admirably, proof that diversity (particularly imported Third World diversity) is completely unnecessary and in many ways counterproductive to a healthy, functioning, and technologically advanced society.  Indeed, homogenous societies are often more trusting societies, particularly when they have a high level of civilization.  Of course, Iowa and the Gulf Coast of Mississippi had massive flooding in recent years and didn’t have massive crime and looting like New Orleans, but, the last time I checked, they’re not Japanese colonies in the Americas.

Dayton, Ohio police test was thrown out because it “discriminates against” blacks.  Of course, nearly every academic and performance test under the sun discriminates against blacks in the sense that their average performance is worse.   Does a test that measures something useful where the outcome happens to differ between races mean that it is unlawfully discriminatory? Why assume that?  Does whatever test that selects for NFL running backs discriminate against whites? And, indeed, can a test that found its origins in the days of genuine anti-black racism, that is a test designed to distinguish qualified from not-so-well qualified whites be called discriminatory when it is simply imported into a new, race-blind era and has differential outcomes between the races?  Indeed, such a test should be presumptively acceptable.  As a consequence of this and similar rulings, police standards will be lowered in name of diversity, as they have elsewhere, often with disastrous results.

Now the US military announces priority of diversity.  What a friggin’ shame, a harbinger of America’s accelerating decline.  The broad-based war on standards has been in process since the Tail Hook Scandal, but it’s accelerated in recent years.  As in police and fire departments, this stalwart bastion of excellence (in addition to being a realm where blacks and whites work well alongside one another because of uniformly high standards) will find to increasingly common to have the affirmative action promotions that are all-too-familiar to corporate America and municipal government. Over time, and just as bad, the integrity of the entire institution and its leadership will be degraded, because no one is allowed to speak freely about the lower abilities of minorities in a world where equality of outcome is a priority.

Indeed, it’s not as if there’s not plenty of dumb whites to go around.  More testing would eliminate many of them too, but this is not allowed (or only allowed indirectly) because of the law of disparate impact.  Liability concerns are compounded by a liberal status war among whites, where each side accuses the other of racism–as in the “Democrats are the real racists” meme so common among the GOP. Today, unlike the America of only 20 years ago, hardly anyone stands up for fairness, majority rights, excellence, and the condemnation of widespread bad behavior by minorities.  We are becoming a nation of cowards, indeed, but not quite the way Eric Holder thinks.

Finally, Libya’s Kaddafi is winning.  I can’t say I’m losing any sleep over this, other than the impact it has on gas prices.  As in the Sino-Vietnamese War of 1979, I’m not really sure why I’m supposed to root for one side or the other.  For all I know, Qadaffi’s opponents are bastards; there’s no evidence one way or the other. Sen. McCain, meanwhile, wants us to get involved and start bombing, and he also says his long term goal is to be “investing in Libya.”  I’m so glad I didn’t vote for that madman*, even though Obama is a disaster in his own unique way.

*For those who are curious, I voted for Chuck Baldwin.

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A couple of interesting education articles.  One notes how schools are now moving heaven and earth to get minorities to graduate, mostly, by lowering standards and giving out grades.  As a consequence, we’ll have a bunch of highly credentialed but uneducated people, whose failures in business and on later certification exams will likely be blamed on racism, when these failure in fact arise from over-promotion.  Their earnings, life course, and success will depend on continued support at every stage.  Perhaps they still end up better off, after all, affirmative action is ubiquitous.  But they and the broader society are expending resources that might better be spent making money. Everyone would benefit by destigmitizing the lack of a college degree.  It means little to a great many “graduates.”  A related article notes how a great many entry-level jobs for which only a high school diploma is required are now populated by college graduates.  This is a huge waste of these people’s productive years.

In any society, only a smallish percentage of people should go to college.  It takes a minimum 115 IQ to benefit from a real college education, and, by definition, that excludes 85% of the population or more.  While a greater percentage than 15% are attending and graduating now, it’s only because pseudo-degrees from pseudo-universities have become more common, and vocational training masquerading as a college degree (such as “hotel and restaurant management” or “packaging”) has displaced real college education. A college degree is supposed to denote the acquisition of a broad critical thinking capacity, and, at a minimum, people should be learning physics, calculus, reading Shakespeare, learning a foreign language, learning how to write a 50 page paper, etc.  This experience rarely happens, particularly at state schools.

America was more productive when it had fewer college graduates and more factory jobs.  We’re at war with reality because of the liberal belief in equality and the mistaken, tabula rasa world view of Boasian anthropology.  We cannot engineer a more intelligent population (other than by eugenics); intelligence is distributed on a curve.  We can however unleash the productive potential of everyone by removing barriers to business, supporting domestic production (and abandoning the myth of a “knowledge economy”), allowing more IQ testing by employers (to prevent the use of a college degree as an overly expensive sorting mechanism), and, finally, by abandoning the preoccupation with equal outcomes that corrupts business and education.  Finally, we can invest more as a society in preparing energetic young men to work rather than struggling through differential equations.

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Racism is our secular society’s version of the “Hail Mary.”  It wards off evil.  It has magical powers.  It is a word employed in the most dire of circumstances to provide explanation and excuse, from a major crime to a failing presidency.

Shooting sprees are disturbing events, often perpetrated by angry, depressed, suicidal men.  When they occurred a decade ago in public schools, “bullying” or “southern gun culture” were blamed.  When that sicko shot up the LA Fitness in Pennsylvania, it was blamed on the nascent culture of “game” and the suspect’s deep misogyny. Sometimes idiosyncratic mental illness is blamed.  But when the recent Connecticut shooter, Omar Thornton, who was black, blamed racism at his company, all of a sudden a new approach emerges.  It’s considered a major mitigating factor. His white girlfriend has even, uncharacteristically, jumped to his defense. No one dares to ask if this claim was just a pretext, the delusional interpretation of innocent behavior by a sick-minded individual.  And, even if true, his actions are no more justified than if he had murdered his coworkers for being cliqueish or denying him a promotion. Shooting up innocent people is crazy behavior by crazy, self-absorbed, and morally vacant people.

And the media, so notable for its pat explanations in places like Littleton, Colorado or Pearl, Missisippi, all of a sudden wants to defend this messed up person, to make him an “avenging angel” whose actions, if disproportionate, are at least explicable.  And we’ve seen this reaction time and again in the face of horrendous black crimes:  in the LA Riots, in the Huey Newton affair, or even recently among the brutal Jena Six.

“Racism” today has nothing to do with real racism.  It is an incantation to promote black power and inculcate white powerlessness.  It is used by both whites and blacks to shame and disorient individual whites caught up in such charges.  Remember the ridiculous suggestion that Hillary Clinton was racist during the primaries. Yet it threw her off balance.  And this kind of thing happens in great and small ways every single day, on the job, on the street, in educational settings, and in politics. 

Racism is widely perceived as the greatest sin of liberal society, greater even than the historical summum malum of murder. And, worse, it is a charge impossible to defend against, as there is now an alleged scourge of “invidious” racism that hides behind such seemingly anti-white and pro-black measures as affirmative action and the election of a black president.

The only two ways our culture will negotiate this apparent contradiction is the utter subjugation of the white race or the mass rejection by whites of racism as a serious matter.  The former possibility speaks for itself; we will become like the whites of Rhodesia or, increasingly, South Africa, useful at most for our technical expertise.  Alternately, if this growing farce is rejected, “racism” will be relegated to the level of “foul language” or “intemperance” in the pantheon of sins because it would be seen as no longer having any relevance to the lives of either blacks or whites.  It would be recognized chiefly as a means of character assassination agianst whites and excusing the inexcusable among blacks.  Indeed, the increasing frequency of charges of racism and the draconian consequences of being “found guilty” of such a charge, coupled with the near complete undoing of real racism, may be the undoing of liberalism.  After all, anti-racism (or more accurately anti “white racism”) has become central to the meaning of contemporary liberalism, but the injustice of the current state of affairs is more and more obvious to anyone with eyes to see.  And there are 9 dead bodies in Connecticut to prove it.

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Above is an interesting chart. So is this one:

There clearly were many factors in the housing bubble, all of which aligned to create a perfect storm of sorts: higher levels of leverage among investment banks, a trade imbalance, reliance by institutional investors on misleading ratings by ratings agencies, inflationary monetary policy, conversion of housing assets into opaque financial instruments, reduced lending standards, the pressures of the Community Reinvestment Act, the mystique of home ownership, business models that invited fraud, and a pervasive mania of speculation. But one factor that seems increasingly undeniable is the Bush administration’s belief that Hispanics were “natural Republicans” and that the best way to get them into the fold was to give them a stake in the “ownership society” through various housing subsidies. Hispanics’ increasing numbers in the so-called “sand states” had a lot to do with the bubble’s disproportionate influence in those regions, and these subprime borrowers’ low levels of human capital and earnings eventually led to the music stopping as payments were unmade and new borrowers could not materialize to prop up the inflated housing prices. I mean, throughout the boom, no one said, “Does it make sense a sheetrocker from Chiapas making $11/hour can afford a $400K McMansion in Anaheim?”

This is what may be called an “overdetermined” event. In other words, without large levels of Hispanic immigration and Bush’s obsession with cultivating Hispanic political support, the bubble may still have happened. But it seems unlikely that it scale would have been quite so huge and the wave of defaults quite so numerous in the absence of the low-skill Hispanic immigration wave the U.S. has undergone since the 1986 amnesty. A million people per year is a lot of people. As the chart above shows, subprime lending tripled in the boom and the bulk of that expansion was increasing lending to blacks and Hispanics. Even more important, as shown in the second chart, blacks and Hispanics–according to the Boston Fed–have default rates nearly two times higher than white subprime borrowers. Of course, the media, the Democrats, and the Republicans don’t want to discuss such things; it’s not considered polite, and, thus, the greatest demographic and social change of the United States since the Civil Rights movement is thoroughly and deliberately under-analyzed and misunderstood by well-meaning (and not-so-well-meaning) political elites.

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I recently completed Diversity: Invention of a Concept, by Peter Wood. This is the first of several book reviews I’ll be writing of books generously sent to me by my readers.

Diversity has become one of the defining ideals of our age, surpassing in certain respects our earlier commitments to formal equality, liberty, the rule of law, and merit. The diversity concept, unlike more exotic ideas such as multiculturalism, is important because it has spread outside the academy into the world of business and politics. Every mainstream institution from Hollywood and the art world to the education establishment and business trumpets its commitment to diversity. Yet diversity has undergone little criticism. Unlike affirmative action, which was earlier justified as a form of reparations for white injustice to blacks, diversity is a “feel good” idea that purports to benefit everyone, even members of the majority. Minorities advantaged by affirmative action obviously benefit by receiving positions and admissions they would otherwise not receive. But privileged groups also benefit according to diversity’s partisans because they are now exposed beneficially to different perspectives, ideas, and cultures.

Earlier works such as Dinesh D’Souza’s End of Racism (1995) and Alan Bloom’s Closing of the American Mind (1987) dealt with narrower issues: the continuing social problems facing black Americans and the decline of standards in the academy respectively. Both of these works were authored in an age when diversity was less accepted as an aspirational ideal than it is at present. Wood’s contribution is unique. . . .

(more…)

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