Affirmative Action

CalPundit has a post that largely echoes a conversation I had last night on the subject of whether Affirmative Action leads to promotion and hiring of less qualified people. I said, “sure, you can find instances of it, but you can find instances of hirings of unqualified people for a variety of reasons”. The variety of reasons I had in mind is reflected in the aphorism, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, and in the phrase “old boys network”, and in the practice of legacy admissions and so forth. Because of slavery and Jim Crow, Black Americans have only had a bit less than 40 years to develop legacies and old boys networks and connections, which is a bit less than the 400 or so years white Americans have had. So I said that, on balance, affirmative action is a reasonable counter-balance. If you looked closely enough, I am sure that for every Jayson Blair out there, you could find an instance where affirmative action lead to a minority being hired instead of the boss’s imbecilic nephew.

And for the love of God, somebody please tell me what color Doris Kearns, Steven Ambrose, John Lott, Stephen Glass, Jan Hendrik Schon, and Michael Bellesiles are? I don’t know Bellisiles’ race, but I’m pretty sure the answer on the others is…[pause for some suspense]…white.

And finally, if you are going to argue against affirmative action on the basis of a meritocratic argument, then be consistent and argue against repealing the estate tax (and then using the funds to improve public schools, or for inner city vouchers, or something that levels the playing field).