Monday, January 17

Affirmative Action Revisited (part 1)

In the light of my recent reading of an essay on Clarence Thomas, who as a black conservative opposes affirmative action, and considering my recent attempts at understanding the left I might revisit this issue. I some time ago, penned an essay about affirmative action in which I opined that those who support affirmative action must be stupid or evil. That is, stupid if they think that either its been working or that the effects it achieves be balanced by the negative impressions it engenders. Evil if they realize that it is counterproductive but support it for short term political ends or that they truly believe it is necessary because of "real" racial deficiencies.

But it is counterproductive for me to assume that my counterparts on "the left" are either stupid and/or evil. What I should be doing, on the other hand, is working to understand how they come upon their beliefs, how and why they support these policies. Only then, can we (on the right) formulate effective arguments to confront them. For if I tell you, that you are either stupid or evil ... pick one. This may make for a provocative essay title, but it won't persuade.

I'm going to break the rest of this "project" into two parts. The rest of this essay will focus on my attempts to understand in the leftist worldview how they come to understand affirmative action as a worthwhile endeavor. In the second, I will try to apply that insight and formulate an argument consistent with that worldview on why taking that position is misguided.

What is the story told by the left to explain their fervent support for affirmative action. How does it fit with the other stories they tell. Since this support is quite fervent, the story should not be very well hidden, i.e., constructing the line of thought should not be complex. Equality amongst people is a very dominant meme in all American thought (right and left). Those on the left, feel differences in economic "equality" more keenly than those on the right and they feel that our government is the correct place to look for solutions to problems. When they look at our society it is clear that many minorities are disadvantaged economically relative to the European Caucasian majority. Looking toward a governmental solution is the key. How can the government "fix" this problem. Affirmative action is the answer. In summary:
  • Equality is important.
  • Economic equality is lacking for many minorities
  • A main purpose of government is to fix social problems and maintain a "fair" playing field.
  • One of the methods the government might fix racial inequality is affirmative action.
  • Therefore it is obligated to do so.