One of the most pernicious, unfair and dishonest policies that we have pursued for the last 40 years is affirmative action, which is basically an enormous euphemism for a policy of institutionalized discrimination that favors one race or ethnic city at the expense of another race or ethnicity.
Essentially it is the mirror face of the old racial discrimination against ethnic minorities, except that now instead of whites discriminating against blacks, blacks are discriminating against whites. According to political correctness the former is an unspeakable oppression, while the latter is something that we should support and applaud. In fact even to dare to point out the hypocrisy and injustice of it all is simply considered unacceptable.
Affirmative action began 40 years ago relatively benignly with the promise that such discriminatory policies would only be instituted within institutions with a demonstrable recent history of discrimination against blacks, and affirmative action was intended to only be instrumented for a short time (for probably a maximum of 10 years at most). From that relatively modest beginning, affirmative action has metastasized into an policy of open ended preferences not just for blacks, but for any group that can manage to get on the list, and furthermore that the policy should go on presumably forever, and that if anyone dares to talk about ending affirmative action, he is automatically branded a racist social outlaw.
affirmative action has led to many unfair and unfortunate situations. We have wealthy black students being admitted to Harvard with dramatically lower qualifications, while poor whites, who are more qualified ,are denied admittance. The government’s policy of so often trying to provide employment to the underclass, combined with affirmative action and other racial preference policies, has led to massive numbers of mostly black government employees who are incompetent, and cannot be fired for their incompetence, because everyone is so afraid of being accused of being racist. This is just one of many reasons why our government wastes and manages our tax dollars. No organization that values its efficiency and to see goes out of its way to provide unaccountable and I’m fireable employment for the unemployable.
The whole naïve assumption among supporters of policies like affirmative action, is that a wrong, in the form of giving preference to one group over another can provide an adequate moral redress to the previous wrong. In other words two wrongs are supposed to make a right. While this may to some degree in theory be possible, in reality it becomes impossible to fairly and justly implement such a policy. Once injustice has been implemented to try to compensate for a previous injustice, we are just opening the door to more injustice. It is almost impossible, knowing human nature and the nature of politics, that we would be able to fairly and justly and judiciously apply such a policy of racial and ethnic preference without people taking advantage of it, abusing it and demagoging in the whole issue. And, that is exactly what has happened.
It is completely unfair for whites to be discriminated against, just because decades or centuries ago some whites acted in justly. According to that logic the Democratic Party should be permanently discriminated against, since it was the party that worked to preserve slavery, and to set up the old Jim Crow South. Apparently the Democratic Party should not be punished for what it’s predecessors did all long time ago, but whites are supposed to be punished presumably forever, based on what happened long ago in the past. The reality is that humanity has spent its entire history exploiting, abusing and taking advantage of one group over another. If we really want to go back hundreds, and even thousands of years and figure out whose great great great great grand parents mistreated whose great great great great grand parents, and then try to settle the score today by punishing the descendants of one group, and favoring the descendants of another group, prisoners clearly absurd and just. Affirmative action today, is like saying that the descendents of the Russian aristocracy today should be discriminated against in favor the descendants of the surfs, because of injustices suffered by the peasants in the 19th century. I do not believe in the punishing of people for what their parents, grandparents, or even earlier descendants may have done. We are all responsible for our own lives. It is not just to expect us to suffer under an official policy that says that we must pay because of something that was done by another person in the past.
Slavery in America was officially abolished by 1862, which is 150 years ago. There is no one alive today who lived during that period as an adult. Yes, slavery was clearly wrong, but we have to keep in mind that it was only legal in about a third of the United States in the 19th century. Even in the bad old South, many many whites never even owned slaves, and many whites were dirt poor. The same is true of Jim Crow. Most of White America didn’t have anything to do with the discrimination of the old South. Huge masses of immigrants from Europe arrived in America well after the abolition of slavery, and lived in states in the north, Midwest and West, where they had nothing to do with black oppression. We are expected to engage in racial discrimination, because of what a small minority of whites did over a century ago? And it does not sound remotely reasonable, or just.
What affirmative action has become is a racial spoils system, in which blacks have found it convenient to not have to compete on the same level, and to get special favors and privileges because of the color of their skin. Far to many whites, especially in elite institutions are perfectly happy to keep on paying these open-ended reparations to blacks so as to assuage their guilt ridden consciences. The irony is that the vast majority of these politically correct types have done absolutely nothing to hurt blacks. If anything they have generally gone out of their way to give blacks the benefit of the doubt, to treat them with kid gloves, and to generally do what they can to favor and facilitate blacks. Nonetheless the white elitists have deeply internalized a neurotic sense of racial guilt and self-hatred, and a subliminal desire punished, and for all whites he punished. If not that, then they have learned that if they want to protect their careers, they had better not challenge the politically correct status quo. In fact, from a cynical career perspective it is much better to agree with every politically correct statement and initiative, no matter how ridiculous and absurd and unjust.
In the end the only way that we can ride this tiger successfully is to come up with the universal principle of judging people on the basis of merit, not on their race, or ethnicity, or gender. It is impossible to correctly compensate for presumed injustices of the past with yet more injustice. It is simply an idea that inevitably will lead to abuse and corruption. So far, every instance of affirmative action that I know of has gotten out of hand and has become very difficult if not impossible to correct and reform. The universal principle of meritocracy, will not only ensure greater competency, but ultimately much greater fairness. It outlaws favoring people based on anything other than their competency to get the job done.
Of course leftists and politically correct types hate meritocracy, because inevitably meritocracy leads to unequal outcomes. If we are all judged according to our merits, then some people will inevitably do better than others, and some groups will also do better. It is this inequality that drives the left crazy. They would much rather have the most competent people being dragged down to the lowest level, so as to create their society of universal equality and sameness, all based on the quality of poverty, and the lowest common denominator. Better for everyone to be poor, than for some people to be rich and some people to not be. Better for everyone to be stupid, then for some people to be smart and some people to be stupid. I saw this mentality completely at work during my education classes at University, where the overwhelming pedagogical focus was on dumbing down the curriculum, and inflating grades to meaningless levels, all in the desire to make everyone “equal”.