Contemporary Liberalism is a philosophy that is espoused by many, many sincere people (and a whole bunch of insincere ones; see “Democrat Presidential Contenders” or “Ted Kennedy” for a good start) who really believe that their ideas help people, because deep down, they want to help people. Problem is that the “solutions” offered by contemporary liberals almost never work when put into actual practice in the actual world where people actually live. Affirmative action is one such “solution”, aiming to help members of historically-disadvantaged races gain access to the mainstream of academia, employment, or society as a whole, as the case may be. No one on either side of the coin denies the fact that injustices have been perpetrated upon different ethnic groups in America, but the question is, what do we do about it? Affirmative action takes race, ethnicity, etc. into account in issues such as acceptance at colleges and universities, etc., in many cases allowing a less-qualified applicant to leapfrog a more qualified one.

But the problem is that affirmative action supporters act as if the story ends there, and it doesn’t: those accepted students then have to actually matriculate, and therein lies the problem: it doesn’t work to place any student, for whatever reason, at a higher academic level than that for which he/she is prepared. The evidence is neither surprising nor sparse, but below is a classic story of the perpetuators of Affirmative Action/liberal orthodoxy once again (this happens regularly) adopting an “I’ve made up my mind, so don’t confuse me with the truth” attitude:

State Bar of California, Civil Rights Group Spar Over Affirmative Action

So Affirmative Action creates failures for minority students, needless failures. Who’s looking out for the actual, real-life interests of these minority students? It sure isn’t the race-hustlers like Jesse and Rev. Al. And though their hearts may be in the right place over at the California State Bar, their heads aren’t thinking well.

It’s a quote you’ve probably read before, but it applies both here and to the Mrs. Bill Clinton-types of this world, and it’s by C.S. Lewis: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

4 responses »

  1. Hello

    In your article on affirmative action you said:
    No one on either side of the coin denies the fact that injustices have been perpetrated upon different ethnic groups in America, but the question is, what do we do about it?

    I am a self-described liberal who is interested in exploring this question, and have come upon your blog purely by accident. I am not here to instigate an argument but to explore the conservative point of view. One impression that I have in the affirmative action debate is that conservatives tend to be critical of affirmative action saying it doesn’t really do what it sets out to do — which is alleviate inequality. Fair enough. But more often than not, I observe that for conservatives the discussion ends there. The question of what do we do about inequality and injustice still hangs in the air. It is as if conservatives are merely interested in refuting affirmative action but are not really interested in the issue of inequality and what to do about it.

    My question to you — what do conservatives believe about how to address inequality? Is social and economic inequality for poor and working class people something that interests conservatives at all? Is this an issue where you see a potential exists for conservatives and liberals to agree and work together?

  2. Aaron S says:

    I’m also exploring these issues. I’m not sure how I would quantify whether I was a liberal or a conservative (my answer to this question goes back hundreds of years anyhow, I think?) but more important than that, are my two cents (well.. maybe just one Canadian cent, but whatever).

    – How to address inequality?

    What makes one man greater than the next? Nothing but his own imagination. It is a symptom of self-centered behaviour, leading to neglect of one’s fellows, and callous treatment of others. It is the definition of a human-rights abuse. Address it, by having the one who is guilty of human-rights abuse realize the wrongs he has personally caused, and instill in him the desire and will to restore his victims 100% to the state they would have been in, had it not been for his abuse. The victim is then restored, and the abuser has exhausted himself in the effort. Address inequality on a global scale? Act locally. The only way to do it is one on one.

    – Does it interest conservatives?

    idk. Whoever (conservative, otherwise) doesn’t take care against negative effects he may have on others, though, and doesn’t take care to clean his own messes, lets himself feed directly into the abuse.

    – Can conservatives and liberals agree and work together on at least this issue?

    An admirable plea.

  3. Byron says:

    LAD, (and Aaron)

    First, thanks for posting. A nice discussion is profitable, or can be, and I’ll try to help out with that best I can. I’ve got a few minutes before my daughter finishes soccer practice, and then I’ve gotta go (literally), so if I can only get part of an answer going, I’ll try to add more later.

    Do conservatives care about equality? Absolutely (at least this one does!). The subject, though, is vast, so let me bite it off a bit at a time. First, I believe that before God, and before the law, every person is/should be equal. We are created, I believe, in the imago Dei, and that gives each person, irrespective of race/ethnic background/what have you, an inherent dignity and worth (something I believe cannot be derived from any other source than a Creator). Laws should treat each person as equal (and therefore, Affirmative Action is a bad idea). Justice should be color-blind and impervious to wealth as well. Personally, I believe we ought to institute a system of justice where some people have full-time jobs as jurors, instead of the silliness of our current system which produces travesties of justice galore (from the ignorance of the OJ verdict to the everyday ignorance whereby slick lawyers handpick juries to get the stupidest people around serving on them). But I’m digressing…

    Let me approach education, where we see so much AA taking place. I believe that a quality education, from the outset, is paramount. I further believe that despite the existence of many qualified and caring teachers, public education is a failed proposition (for reasons too numerous/detailed to get into here). For that reason, every parent should have real, honest choice, so that parents could send their kids to the schools that they believed would best serve their kids, be those schools public, private, military, religious, whatever. It’s ironic/funny/extremely sad that liberal politicians, who have the money, almost invariably send their kids to private schools (conservative pols do too), but then argue against extending this freedom to poor parents. The reason is very simple: the liberal politicians are in the hip pocket of the NEA, and that cash cow will abandon them if they argue for realistic school choice (preferably tuition tax credits, but vouchers would do).

    This would provide for the poorest of the poor the opportunity to educate their kids in schools that, in the free market of competition, would offer a great education. This is what conservatives want, I have no doubt whatever, for people to be really, honestly free to educate their kids well. Kids, then, with a good education will be more prepared for whatever school they might apply to, and what would happen, without AA, is that kids would get into whatever schools their abilities would dictate.

    Let’s mess with the economic issues in another post (wherein I’ll argue that minimum wage hurts the very people that it purports to help), but that’s one illustration of how “conservative” principles would result in the lifting of the disadvantaged.

  4. Hello

    Many thanks for your response. While I don’t necessarily agree 100% with you it is good to hear your perspective and to think about it. Please visit my blog [http://folkpolitics.wordpress.com/] to see a book review on a recently published work on AA.

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