Written by ‘Classical Liberal’
Critics of affirmative action offer a variety of arguments as to why it is counter-productive or should be discontinued. Some argue that affirmative action hinders reconciliation, because it replaces old wrongs with new wrongs, and may increase racial tension.
Other opponents of affirmative action argue that it is a form of reverse discrimination. Any effort to cure discrimination through affirmative action is wrong because it, in turn, is another form of discrimination. Some critics claim that court cases such as Fisher versus University of Texas, which held that universities have some discretion to consider race when making admissions decisions, demonstrate how discrimination occurs in the name of affirmative action.
Other critics of affirmative action argue that affirmative action devalues the actual accomplishments of people who are chosen based on the social group to which they belong rather than their qualifications, thus rendering affirmative action counter-productive.
Some argue that affirmative action policies create an opportunity for fraud, by encouraging members of non-preferred groups to designate themselves as members of preferred groups in order to take advantage of group preference policies.
Critics of affirmative action suggest that programs may benefit members of the targeted groups that least need the benefit, namely those who have the greatest social, economic, and educational advantages within the targeted group. Other beneficiaries may be described as wholly unqualified for the opportunity made available through affirmative action. They also argue that at the same time the people who lose the most to affirmative action are the least favoured members of non-preferred groups.
Another criticism of affirmative action is that it may reduce the incentives of both the preferred and non-preferred to perform at their best. Beneficiaries of affirmative action may conclude that it is unnecessary to work as hard, and those who do not benefit may conclude hard work is futile.
In most cases, it is hard to accurately judge the effects of affirmative action on performance. Does increased diversity really improve an organisation’s performance? Whether members of preferred groups do as good a job as members of non-preferred groups, for example, is hard to gauge. The most obvious exception to this is the ability to accurately measure the performance of preferred groups at universities.
‘Mismatching’ is the term given to the supposed negative effect that affirmative action has when it places a student into a university that is too difficult for them. For example, in the absence of affirmative action a student will be admitted to a university that matches his or her academic ability and have a good chance of graduating. However, according to the mismatching hypothesis, affirmative action often places a student into a university that is too difficult for them, and this increases the student’s chances of dropping out of the university.
Thus, affirmative action hurts its intended beneficiaries, because it increases their dropout rates. Mismatching has also been cited as a contributing factor in lowered pursuit and completion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) degrees among certain populations.
Evidence in support of the mismatching theory was presented by Gail Heriot, a professor of law at the University of San Diego and a member of the US Commission on Civil Rights, in a 24 August 2007 article published in The Wall Street Journal.
Richard Sander concluded that there were 7.9% fewer black lawyers than there would have been if there had been no affirmative action. He states that because of mismatching, blacks are more likely to drop out of law school and fail bar exams.
Sander’s paper on mismatching has been criticised by several professors, including Ian Ayres and Richard Brooks from Yale who argue that eliminating affirmative action would actually reduce the number of black lawyers by 12.7%.
A 2008 study by Jesse Rothstein and Albert H. Yoon confirmed Sander’s mismatch findings, but also found that eliminating affirmative action ‘would lead to a 63 percent decline in black matriculants at all law schools and a 90 percent decline at elite law schools’.
These high number predictions were doubted in a review of previous studies by Peter Arcidiacono and Michael Lovenheim. Their 2016 article found a strong indication that affirmative action results in a mismatch effect.
A 2011 study proposed that mismatches can only occur when a selective school possesses private information that, had this information been disclosed, would have changed the student’s choice of school. The study found that this is in fact the case for the elite Duke University, and that this information predicts the student’s academic performance after beginning university.
A 2016 study on affirmative action in India finds evidence for the mismatching hypothesis. In India, 90% of IIT-Roorkee dropouts are backward caste.
In summary, it is clear that affirmative action is so wrong, on so many levels. Four points in particular are worth stressing.
First, taken to its logical conclusion, a full program of affirmative action would bankrupt even the richest country. For example, as the most radical BLM supporters in the USA have demanded, paying every black person $80,000 in compensation because they have suffered from the legacy of slavery and/or oppression by the white patriarchy. And, who would pay for all of this nonsense: decent, hard-working, white taxpayers; who succeeded on their own merits and never pestered the state for preferential treatment.
Second, affirmative action and the whole climate of political correctness is poisoning political discourse in the UK and causing large numbers of white British people to feel alienated in their own country. Indeed, right-wing extremism (XRW) is the fastest growing terrorist threat facing the UK.
Third, affirmative action is based upon the tenets of intersectionality. Yet, intersectionality is utterly demented. How can we work out who deserves affirmative action and who doesn’t? How can we work out how much affirmative action each individual deserves? Who is more deserving of affirmative action, a gay white man, or a straight black woman, for example?
Fourth, there is obvious inequality in the UK. And, it certainly needs to be addressed if we want people to keep faith in liberal democracy. But, surely, a support program that supports all of those who need help regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, etc, is better than the nonsense that BLM is peddling. After all, some white people do need help, and some black people don’t. However, we are not all born with equal talents, and the idea that we can create a truly equal society is a dangerous fallacy. We can provide people in need with a safety net until they get back on their feet; unemployment benefit for people until they can get back into work, for example. We must provide people with equal opportunities to succeed on their own merits, most obviously through equal access to education for all.
But, we cannot go too far. In the name of equality, society has a duty to help those in need. Equally, in the name of equity, people have a right to keep what they have earned and not to have to give too much of it away in taxes to subsidise other members of society. After all, if we all had to pay 80% of our incomes in taxes in order to fund affirmative action for lazier members of society, we would either emigrate to escape such a system, or lose any incentive to do any more work than the bare minimum, as happened in the Soviet Union under Communism.
If the silent majority does not find its voice and loudly reject affirmative action, they will be the ones who end up paying for this cultural Marxist dystopia. Find your voice, and shout as loudly as BLM does, or prepare to be robbed!
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