When All Else Fails

Affirmative Action: Yea or Nay?

by Il Professore, Anthroconservative Beacon

Americans have been fairly consistent in their views of “affirmative action” – they oppose it. In the most recent Rasmussen Reports survey on the issue, by 46-32%, Americans express opposition to, rather than support for, affirmative action programs. When the question is refined to include “special treatment” in hiring for racial minorities and women, opposition hits 55%. No wonder that a landmark proposition attempting to ban affirmative action was passed in the liberal state of California in 1996. Nevertheless, despite this public outcry, leftists persist in supporting affirmative action programs, and there is even some evidence that President Obama and Congressional Democrats wish to expand on them.

Of course, the fact that most Americans are against affirmative action does not mean that it is wrong. “Majority rules” is not a perfect recipe for sound public policy. As Anthroconservatives, we recognize that historical circumstances are ever changing, and thus, in some contexts, preferences in hiring may be appropriate, even necessary. Nor can any group be chided simply for preferring the interests of fellow group members over the public at large – that is just natural human selfishness, writ large. America in the 21st Century, however, would appear to be a context in which such affirmative action policies are unnecessary, and downright dangerous. For this reason, any efforts made by Obama and his Congressional allies to extend affirmative action should be resolutely opposed, and maximum political advantage should be wrung out of any such initiative by Republicans, who should not hesitate to tackle the issue head on.

Why is modern day America a poor candidate for the use of affirmative action? It is above all because ours is a nation founded on the principle of equality under the law. No matter what the motivation (and undoubtedly the intentions of proponents of affirmative action are often good), for the government to promote the success of any group – necessarily at the expense of another – is to risk dividing a democratic society into factions of “favored” and less favored constituencies. Inevitably, the categorization of groups, and the determination of who is “worthy” of special treatment and who is not, will become politicized, especially when large rewards are at stake, such as government contracts, civil service jobs, and political clout. Our Founding Fathers understood that FACTIONALISM is the great enemy of democratic politics – and no policy could be more perfectly designed to ENCOURAGE factionalism than affirmative action. For this reason alone, affirmative action policies should be abandoned in the United States.

Of course, there are plenty of other indications that existing affirmative action policies have been a miserable failure in accomplishing their aims, but that is an argument for another day…