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December 10, 2005

Comments

Slarti: about affirmative action: I am not up on the Michigan case per se. But a couple of points about university affirmative action more generally:

First, sometimes people (not necessarily you, I don't know) talk as though everyone is admitted to a university based on something called 'merit', and affirmative action consists in deciding to ignore 'merit' in the special case of minorities. This isn't true. Universities are trying to put together a class of undergrads, and they use a whole bunch of factors to determine who to admit to it. the possible exception here is not affirmative action, but athletics.)

This is as it should be, I think. A class made up of people who are selected solely on the basis of SAT scores and grades would not necessarily be the best class to have, at least if you think (as most admissions people I know do) that students learn from one another, not just from their classes. Letting in someone whose SATs/grades are slightly below others, but who has founded a successful company while in high school, or shown exceptional talent as a cellist, makes things a lot more interesting.

(I am personally grateful to whoever decided to admit Yo Yo Ma to Harvard. Those concerts in various house common rooms were absolutely unbelievable.)

Likewise, colleges tend to prefer people who will give their class more geographic diversity. If most of the people who apply to a college are from, say, the LA area, and someone applies from a small town in Vermont, that person will tend to get a slight preference, again on the grounds that the class will be more interesting if it's not made up entirely of people from Southern California, and 'interesting' here benefits the students.

Likewise, race. -- It's important to note here that the preferences given are generally not huge -- selective colleges and universities tend to have a bunch of applicants who are all capable of doing the work, and the question is 'which of these capable students to admit?', not: 'will we admit someone who is just plain unqualified?'

It's also important to note that no one has a right to be admitted to a particular college. -- I have no reason to think that Yo Yo Ma would not have gotten in without the cello, but let's suppose, for the sake of argument, that had Harvard considered only his SATs/grades, he would not have gotten in. (Again, a lot of people who don't get in don't miss by much: the B+ you got because you hated your junior year English teacher can make the difference, at these levels.) Does the fact that he did get in mean that anyone's rights were violated? I can't see how.

Nor can I see how it wasn't absolutely the right decision to admit him, even leaving aside the unbelievable pleasure of seeing the not yet famous Yo Yo Ma perform. A class selected solely on the basis of SATs and grades is a class in which you specifically do not get to think: but wouldn't our students learn more from having a very serious aspiring musician in their midst than from having one more smart and hardworking but otherwise unexceptional kid from Westport, Connecticut?

One more thing: you seem to elide the difference between quotas and letting race play any role. There is a big difference. Setting aside a certain number of slots for blacks (or cellists, or whatever) really does end up with the university letting in people who are not qualified. It's also offensive. Giving some weight to various kinds of diversity (cellists, founders of successful companies, people from Wyoming, etc.) is a different matter altogether.

"I think the course of this thread accurately reflects the national level of interest in New Orleans."

That's a good observation.

But there is something in me that finds satisfaction in dancing to the deliberate fiddling of the entire leadership of the greatest and richest country as one of its cities dies.

The country is being rationalized. As an irrational person being subjected to the rationalization of all of American life, I have time to cackle and little else. Shopping for medical care takes up the rest of the time. So many choices, when conscious, so few resources.

I can find a moment to be convivial with a person like redstaty, who wants to remain at Redstate to discuss sanity with the insane. With people who are evenly divided between accusing liberals of murdering Terry Schiavo and also demanding that Ms. Schiavo get off her butt and get a job if she expects to receive medical care, if the job pays enough. All in one political party.

Levees? They are breached. It's too late.

Would Terry Schiavo have survived New Orleans, I wonder? Probably. But not if she was a walking, talking individual trying to cross a bridge.

Off Topic? It's all the same topic. ;)

Are you having problems with recent US history again?

Someone's having problems understanding what questions are for, that's for sure.

It's important to note here that the preferences given are generally not huge

You had me right up until this point, hilzoy. If the weighting factors are set so that race is much more important than academics, what then? Does "generally not huge" apply to Michigan? I mean, just being black can get you thirteen percent of possible admission scores, while getting a perfect SAT score only gets you eight percent. Is blackness all by itself worth half again as a perfect SAT score, or is this a case of a de facto quota emplaced through twiddling with the weighting factors? I can see that admissions might want to achieve a good mix of students; I have no problem with that at all. And good point about athletics, as that seems to be more important, for some schools, than just about everything else combined. That, and you can't enforce mixing; when I was at school people tended to bunch in like groups; the athletes tended to hang out together, the Chinese exchange students hung out together, and the blacks hung out together. Sure, things may have changed a lot in the last few decades, but I've still never seen a determination of any sort of value related to learning on diversity.

And of course all of this isn't any balm to the Asian kid who gets passed over for admissions, just to get a good mix.

Purely anecdotally, the mix of students at my school had very little to do with learning, as far as I'm concerned. Mostly people were far too busy studying to socialize much, and at least in engineering, study doesn't involve exchange of ideas so much as learning a rather large and diverse (so to speak) set of concepts. Of course, graduate level is a whole different ballgame.

Slarti,

A perfect SAT score <> all academic achievement by an applicant. Race was nowhere near as great a factor as academics (by a factor of around 4:1, IIRC) in admissions under the Michigan plan.

A perfect SAT score <> all academic achievement by an applicant.

But Black <> White? I mean, I can see how some people might think that, but to dictate that by policy?

Slarti,

Please translate your last comment. I have no clue what you are saying.

Slarti: I don't know what < > means, so I'm just going to guess it's 'not equal to'.

Again: no one has a right to be admitted to a given university or college. Colleges and universities have the right to try to construct interesting classes. (This might not matter in engineering; it matters to most students at residential colleges.) -- Think of this as an issue about whether there should be a 'one size fits all' solution to the question 'who goes to college?', or whether individual colleges and universities should be allowed to exercise freedom in setting admissions policies. To my mind, the second is plainly preferable.

I see no reason why colleges and universities should not take race into account in constructing a diverse class, along with all sorts of other stuff. I mean, none at all. The issue with some law schools, imho, is that they ought to have much more individualized admissions processes than they do -- with actual people reading actual applications and weighing all kinds of stuff. For whatever reason (presumably, expense), they are trying to achieve something like the results they'd get by doing things that way with an algorithm.

But, to me, weighing race along with other factors is fine. And deciding to try to save money on one's admissions staff is (imho) the wrong way to go, but surely within a college or university's rights.

hilzoy,

Yes, <> means not equal to.

Slart writes "not equal to" in BASIC, which is WAY more readable than C or C++.

I wish I had a nickel for every time I confused "!=" with "|="

Dave,

I should take credit for introducing BASIC to this conversation, not Slarti. It also dates when I last programmed.

Please translate your last comment. I have no clue what you are saying.

Blacks and Hispanics were given an extra twenty points over Whites and Asians, which was a twenty percent advantage in the total needed for admission. Why? I see two choices (not that there aren't any others, mind you): blacks and hispanics need the extra twenty points to be competetive, or the simple fact that one is black or hispanic holds some value to an institute of learning. Is there some other interpretation that I've missed?

Again: no one has a right to be admitted to a given university or college.

I'd say that's probably true of private institutions, but for publicly-funded universities: no. If you're going to fund institutes of learning through public funding, you've got to disregard race entirely in the process of admissions. After all, isn't the opportunity supposed to be equal? Effectively, you've got (or had) an unequal set of admissions standards, and a good chunk of that inequality is based on race.

or whether individual colleges and universities should be allowed to exercise freedom in setting admissions policies. To my mind, the second is plainly preferable.

Yes, I understand, but does "exercise freedom" come without any limits at all? Isn't the twenty-point racial bonus just as offensive as, say, a twenty-point penalty for being White (for example) would be? How offensive would a twenty-point penalty for being a registered Republican be?

The issue with some law schools, imho, is that they ought to have much more individualized admissions processes than they do -- with actual people reading actual applications and weighing all kinds of stuff. For whatever reason (presumably, expense), they are trying to achieve something like the results they'd get by doing things that way with an algorithm.

I'd recommend an algorithm to do a first-cut screening based on qualifications, followed by manual screening. Screening based on other than quantifiable standards has some pitfalls, though. Who decides what is valuable? Isn't it the mind you want, and not the skin color and features?

Oh, yes, DTM introduced <> as not equal, but I'd thought of it as an Excel foible. Me, I would've said "!=". Or, for those who recall FORTRAN, ".NE."

"Is there some other interpretation that I've missed?"

Yes. It is a reflection of the discriminatory conditions the vast majority of black and Hispanic students live under.

Or do you believe that equal opportunities currently exist for blacks and Hispanics? If so, then that is the discussion we should first have.

Purely anecdotally, the mix of students at my school had very little to do with learning, as far as I'm concerned.

The best diversity experience I had was with the guys I worked with at the Science Library. I worked with some Iranians that were all gung-ho about the Khomeini revolution and others who were freaked out by it and desperately trying to get into grad school in order to avoid going back.

My Ethiopian friend from the library, Samwel, was way cool. He had been a pilot for ships in the area. Also, he was some sort of prince, and while he was wandering around sightseeing in a different part of the country, was kidnapped by a local tribe that rode up on horses and grabbed him.

I asked him how the heck did he get to the Univ of Tennessee, and he told me that he went to Herman College to improve his English. Only later did I realize that he attended Roane State Community College, in Harriman, Tennessee, so I guess he did learn to talk like folks.

Or do you believe that equal opportunities currently exist for blacks and Hispanics? If so, then that is the discussion we should first have.

Equal to each other, or to everyone else? How about Asians? Is it your contention that Asians have had an advantage in this country?

But enough of this discussion of people as part of groups; what about individuals? Should my daughters be disadvantaged in the admission process, simply to right wrongs that they had absolutely nothing to do with? Should I?

Don't you see anything at all wrong with coloring (ok, on reread that was completely inadvertant, but it stays) any process with preference for race?

Or, for those who recall FORTRAN, ".NE."

Hey, I actually still occasionally program in FORTRAN (a DOS program), and 8086 Assembler. This kicks ass for Real-Time data acquisition and analysis compared to Windows CE and C++.

I'd also like to put in a good word for PowerBASIC, EZGUI, and DDOC.

8080 & 8085 assembler, here. And Pascal, too, although back then it bore little resemblance to some of the code I've seen since. I once knew a guy who took the APL class offered at school; there's a dead language for you.

Damn, we're a pair of old farts.

I hate typed variables that are typed as something like PPPOINT. Why the hell do that? Wouldn't it be better just to return the 32 bit integer than a pointer to a pointer to a pointer to a 32 bit integer?

Which brings us right around to my world-class programming booboo: casting a pointer to a float as a double in the function call. If you do it on hardware, it's almost guaranteed to send it out daisy-picking until you reboot. As a FORTRAN programmer, you'd probably know why any old FORTRAN guy might make this mistake. Doesn't work well on C++, though.

8080 & 8085 assembler, here.

The old Heath Zenith Z-100 was an awesome computer. 8085 AND 8086 dual processors.

Although the Z80 was superior to Intel 8 bit CPUs.

No, I did all of my programming via download from the VAX mainframe/cross-assembler or (and this is pretty sick) hex keypad. At least with the VAX, you had an editor, and you didn't have to reenter the entire program if you made a mistake.

10 x=0
20 print "geek threadjack!"
30 x=x+1
40 if x < 100 then goto 20
50 end

Data General kicked DEC's ass for small business, at least for small business purposes. The 1st computer I turned off and on was a Nova 3D running TAC Business BASIC on top of RDOS.

OK, I'm done now, st.

"Equal to each other, or to everyone else?"

Everyone else.

"How about Asians? Is it your contention that Asians have had an advantage in this country?"

The question isn't whether there was ever discrimination, but whether equal opportunities currently exist. My understanding is that they do for Asians.

"But enough of this discussion of people as part of groups; what about individuals? Should my daughters be disadvantaged in the admission process, simply to right wrongs that they had absolutely nothing to do with? Should I?"

Should blacks and Hispanics who have been unquestionably discriminated against in the past have no effective remedy for that discrimination? Should they be condemned to permanent unequal opportunities?

"Don't you see anything at all wrong with coloring (ok, on reread that was completely inadvertant, but it stays) any process with preference for race?"

Of course I do, but I also believe that the harm from that is far less than the harm from growing up with unequal opportunities.

Blacks and Hispanics were given an extra twenty points over Whites and Asians, which was a twenty percent advantage in the total needed for admission.

Was it? "Twenty points" would be a 20% advantage if there was a maximum score of 100 and the objective was to get students who scored as close to 100 as possible. Is that how the admissions system worked? Do you have a link to an article or something explaining how it worked? (I ask this not as a challenge, but quite seriously: this kind of admissions system is one I am wholly unfamiliar with.)

(And what was awarded for other elements of diversity?)

Pfah. We had a network of VAX 11/780s (some of them twinned to look like 785s) hooked to dumb terminals at about 36kbaud, all running BSD (IIRC) Unix, and more high-level language compilers than you'd ever heard of. We might even have had over a gig of hard-drive space.

Business applications. Ptooie.

My understanding is that they do for Asians.

And why do you think that is? Is opportunity still equal if an Asian has to get higher test scores than, say, a Hispanic?

Should blacks and Hispanics who have been unquestionably discriminated against in the past have no effective remedy for that discrimination? Should they be condemned to permanent unequal opportunities?

At the expense of Whites and Asians who haven't done any of the discrimination? Tell me how that's fair. Is it your contention, too, that Asians have had it easy in this country?

Of course I do, but I also believe that the harm from that is far less than the harm from growing up with unequal opportunities.

This is all about unequal opportunities, IMO.

Jesurgislac, there's quite a few references to the 20-point advantage; take your pick. Here's one that gives a great deal more detail than I've seen elsewhere. Hilzoy's note that athletes are given a break here is supported.

And why do you think that is? Is opportunity still equal if an Asian has to get higher test scores than, say, a Hispanic?

All else being equal, I mean.

Hey, APL isn't dead, just pining. I think the financial community may still use it -- I understand a lot of arbitrage software was written in APL.

As for not equal (and speaking of APL, where it was on the typeball back in the day): ≠

Here is a plug for my favorite old language: SNOBOL4.

We now return control of this thread to you.

"And why do you think that is?"

Not sure. I have seen many factors suggested, ranging from level of discrimination faced, wealth at time of immigration (i.e., many Asian who came here had capital left over after immigrating), as well as cultural factors.

"Is opportunity still equal if an Asian has to get higher test scores than, say, a Hispanic?"

Yes, as the higher threshhold reflects the difference in opportunity initially faced.

"At the expense of Whites and Asians who haven't done any of the discrimination? Tell me how that's fair."

Since the ones who did the discrimination are largely dead, are you suggesting there should be no remedy? If not, what remedy do you suggest?

"Is it your contention, too, that Asians have had it easy in this country?"

By comparison to blacks and Hispanics, yes.

"This is all about unequal opportunities, IMO."

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, regardless of how well informed it is.

By comparison to blacks and Hispanics, yes.

Really? Hispanics were brought here in chains? Chinese, for example, weren't used as slave labor in constructing railroads? Vietnamese didn't arrive on our shores with no money and no belongings?

Who knew?

Since the ones who did the discrimination are largely dead, are you suggesting there should be no remedy? If not, what remedy do you suggest?

Well, since you're headed in that direction, I think anyone whose ancestors were here during the slave era ought to pay reparations. That appeals to MY sense of fairness.

No, not really, but it seems about the right level of ridiculous. Plus, I'd like some reparations from the English for repressing my ancestors; Irish Catholics had it tough, I tell you. Someone must PAY!

Ok, I'm still not serious, but I don't see how my unserious suggestions are much different from your serious ones.

"Chinese, for example, weren't used as slave labor in constructing railroads?"

No, slavery had already been abolished. They may not have been paid much, and may have had deplorable working conditions, but they were paid (and of course, most Asians in the US descended from ones who arrived after the majority of railroads were built).

"Vietnamese didn't arrive on our shores with no money and no belongings?"

Some did. Others did not. And all arrived after the Jim Crow era of state supported discrimination ended.

"Plus, I'd like some reparations from the English for repressing my ancestors; Irish Catholics had it tough, I tell you."

Take it up with the House of Commons. I would wager money that there will be a reparations program from Britain to its citizens of Irish descent in our lifetime.

"I don't see how my unserious suggestions are much different from your serious ones."

Because I am willing to do more to remedy what I perceive as injustice (including accepting discrimination against me to cure the inequity) than you are. Of course, it is hard to do much less than mocking injustice.

No, slavery had already been abolished.

Yes, of course; hyperbole and all that. Chinese were treated exactly the same as Caucasians.

Because I am willing to do more to remedy what I perceive as injustice

Really? How much money, for instance, have you personally donated? Or are you more willing to remedy when you don't have quite so much of a stake, directly? And let's get this out: are you in favor of reparations?

I don't mock injustice, I reject the demand that I aid in remedying that which I haven't participated (even through ancestry) in, or that my children be penalized for that which they couldn't possibly have participated in.

"Chinese were treated exactly the same as Caucasians."

That wasn't the question asked. It isn't even close. Nice try at distraction, though.

"How much money, for instance, have you personally donated?"

To whom or what?

"Or are you more willing to remedy when you don't have quite so much of a stake, directly?"

No clue what this means. I strongly doubt I have ever been the recipient of any affirmative action program. I suspect (but do not know) that I was not admitted to a higher ranked law school than the one I attended because of an affirmative action program, and it does not bother me in the least.

"And let's get this out: are you in favor of reparations?"

Not directly. I am in favor of affirmative action in lieu of reparations.

And you? Please give a serious reply to what remedies for past discrimination and continued diminshed opportunity you are in favor of.

My family didn't live in the U.S. during all this history you guys are discussing. If tax dollars are going to be used to make ammends in whatever form that may take can we also discuss the need for an exemption for some of us who may be caucasian, but had nothing to do with the discrimination?

Or are we going to hold everyone responsible whether they committed any wrong or not?

No trial. No jury. We are just all guilty. Sounds un-American, No?


Dantheman,

Because I am willing to do more to remedy what I perceive as injustice (including accepting discrimination against me to cure the inequity) than you are. Of course, it is hard to do much less than mocking injustice.

I feel I didn't get into the college I wanted because of affirmitive action and I think that affected my starting salary when I graduated.

Since I am innocent of this discrimination, would you mind cutting me a check to make up some of the difference?

Feel free to email me for my address.

Thanks a bunch!

credence:

the counterargument is: your family came to a country which had a legacy debt to the descendants of slaves. Your family voluntarily bought into the social contract which provides that the legacy debt must be paid. One way our society is choosing to pay that debt is thru affirmative action programs which (in theory) provide opportunities to those who are (a) sufficiently qualified and (b) a member of a class which suffered historic discrimination. It ain't perfect; but it'll do as rough justice.

don't want to pay that legacy debt? move. It's summer in New Zealand now. or persuade your elected representatives to force public universities to adopt race-blind admissions policies.

Slarti: as I see it, it's not about paying for past injustices. It's about two things:

First, as I said, making sure there's a diverse class of students.

Second, fulfilling a general social goal: the existence of a decent-sized set of members of the middle- and professional- classes of all ethnic backgrounds.

Both of these take affirmative action. Part of the reason is, imho, injustice: not the injustice of slavery etc., but the rather more current injustice of dreadful schools in many majority-minority neighborhoods. This, unlike slavery, is an injustice that it's easy to tie directly into student performance, and to which affirmative action is a pretty clear remedy. (Not nearly as good a remedy as fixing the schools, of course.)

But the primary goals of affirmative action, as expressed by university administrators, are not rectifying the past, but doing something good for the future.

That wasn't the question asked. It isn't even close. Nice try at distraction, though.

You had a question about the Chinese? I must have missed it.

To whom or what?

Remedying the great injustice. What else would I be asking about?

No clue what this means. I strongly doubt I have ever been the recipient of any affirmative action program. I suspect (but do not know) that I was not admitted to a higher ranked law school than the one I attended because of an affirmative action program, and it does not bother me in the least.

No, this was more along the lines of it being easier to remedy what YOU see as social injustice, only using other people's money. The question is more in the line of how much you, personally, are willing to pony up.

And I'm now doing the equivalent of the chickenhawk thing, so maybe this wasn't such a clever approach. I'm going to leave it, though, so maybe embarrassment will keep me from ever doing it again.

Please give a serious reply to what remedies for past discrimination and continued diminshed opportunity you are in favor of.

None at all. I'm in favor of enforced equality of access, which affirmative action pretty much does the opposite of. IMO we screwed the Indians over much more thoroughly than we did the Black people, and we can't ever, ever remedy that. A Midnight Oil song comes to mind just now.

Your family voluntarily bought into the social contract which provides that the legacy debt must be paid.

Which contract was that, and do you have my family's signature on file?

Slarti: as I see it, it's not about paying for past injustices.

Ah, good. Now we have two different reasons for varying standards. Rhetorical question: which is the actual reason being used, currently, I wonders? I'd be inclined to suspect hilzoy has it, but isn't Dantheman a lawyer? Or have I got him mixed up with CharleyCarp?

Both of these take affirmative action. Part of the reason is, imho, injustice: not the injustice of slavery etc., but the rather more current injustice of dreadful schools in many majority-minority neighborhoods. This, unlike slavery, is an injustice that it's easy to tie directly into student performance, and to which affirmative action is a pretty clear remedy. (Not nearly as good a remedy as fixing the schools, of course.)

If you check my link upthread, it seems there's a separate 20 points for having attended a disadvantaged high school. I have no idea if the information in that link is accurate, though, but it appears that there are 20 points for being black or hispanic, and a separate 20 points for attending a disadvantaged school.

But the primary goals of affirmative action, as expressed by university administrators, are not rectifying the past, but doing something good for the future.

That's actually a far less offensive argument (to me) than the reparations one, but doing something good for the future by screwing people in the present seems self-defeating. Plus, I'd be curious if there's any evidence that says this is working.

I've seen some things that suggest that the effect of lowering the entry standards is that the less-qualified entrants wind up flunking out at a rate higher than average, but I always look at such results with some amount of distrust, because they're almost invariably produced by those who are looking for evidence to support their existing POV.

Francis,

legacy debt to the descendants of slaves.

No they didn't. When my family came here there was no legacy debt that existed. That is something that has been created since they came and we shouldn't be held accountable.

If on my parents immigration papers it might have stated that one day their children could be held accountable for actions that they didn't commit you might have a point. But, no one ever said anything to them about that.

I'm surprised how twisted the logic being used here is. It seems so archaic to me to hold the children responsbile for the sins of the parents. It seems so barbarian. Especially coming from the left.

Slarti,

but doing something good for the future by screwing people in the present seems self-defeating.

This is interesting logic to use in the WOT.

If we invade a country like Iraq aren't we screwing people in the present and only creating more terrorists? Who on the left would disagree with that?

But if we screw innocent people in America today that will only help race relations in the future and not create more racism.

Life is full of one way streets in Leftville.

But if we screw innocent people in America today that will only help race relations in the future and not create more racism.

I didn't realize that those who are opposed to affirmative action were going to resort to even more racism to make their point. From the horse's mouth, I guess, unless one of the conservative-er posters on this board would like to take issue with this.

Slarti: on this one, trust me. I am the daughter of a university administrator. It's the future-oriented argument. -- I mean, think about the idea of using affirmative action in universities to rectify, e.g., the injustice of slavery. For starters, it's a terrible way of actually getting rectification to all the people who need it. It targets only a tiny fraction, and the particular tiny fraction most likely to get ahead on their own. You'd be much better off just handing out forty acres and a mule to African-Americans selected at random.

Describing affirmative action as "doing something good for the future by screwing people in the present" presupposes, I think, that the people not admitted actually deserve admission to a particular college. As I already said, I don't think that's true.

About flunking out at a higher rate: there is actual data on this, though (conflict of interest note!) it's in a book co-authored by my Dad. (A very good book, too, if you ask me, but I'm biassed. My Dad and Bill Bowen had the novel idea of getting some pretty serious data on affirmative action and seeing what it showed.)

It turns out that blacks graduate at lower rates than whites across the board, including at non-selective colleges, where affirmative action is not an issue (since they admit everyone.) When you examine blacks and whites within given SAT ranges, separated by the selectivity of the schools they went to (measured by those schools' average SAT scores), it turns out that blacks graduate at lower rates than whites within most (SAT range/selectivity category) combinations, but that within each SAT range, both blacks and whites graduate at higher rates the more selective the school they went to.

So, specifically, for a cohort entering in 1989, the rate of graduation, after 6 years, for black students with a combined SAT score below 1000 was 65% at schools with average SAT scores below 1150, 75% at schools with average SAT scores between 1150 and 1299, and 88% at schools with average SAT scores above 1300. (Oddly, even students -- black and white -- with SATs over 1300 graduate at lower rates from schools with average SATs below 1150 than from schools with average SATs above 1300.)

lj,

You don't have to agree with credence to understand the point.

We may not desire to radicalize and activate some extreme elements in society, but some actions cause that to happen.

I don't think you would argue that Afghanistan and Iraq are examples of this.

Why argue this point now?

By "the people not admitted actually deserve admission to a particular college", I meant: that those people are entitled to a place in a given college.

glow23,
By making his point via a false analogy, and then claiming that this is the way it is in 'Leftville', s/he scuffs at the line that defines troll. For those who espouse a conservative view here, is this the kind of discussion that is wanted? If so, then there should be no surprise that things might get a little heated.

Wow a long thread, but unless I am mistaken not much discussion of they failure of the levees. Or for that matter the failure of the Bush administration.

Slart, Dantheman is a lawyer.

George Costanza, on the other hand, is a fictional character: "You know, we're living in a society!"

Lots of people want to ignore this, and be treated as atoms. I do too on occasion. However, there is such a thing as a social debt, just as there are social assets. I didn't own slaves, but I wasn't at Normandy on D-Day either. "We" had slaves, though, just as "we" liberated France. "We" put a man on the moon, but "we" can't figure out how to undo the lingering effects of "our" particular bit of tribalism gone wild.

Pretending that it didn't happen, that someone else is responsible for fixing it, or that the lingering effects are 'deserved' aren't going to work.

Hilzoy's off to guest at Kevin Drum's place. Hope she doesn't intend to try to read the comments.

Good heavens! Rilkefan's right, hilzoy: scan down maybe twenty or thirty comments, respond to one or two of the more serious points, but, really, if you do any more, you'll shock the regulars there. You'll have more than enough on your hands with the trackbacks. (Here's Drum's link, for the lazy.)

Just a quick request, Slarti, would you restate your points against affirmative action as a post so we could start the thread on a fresh page? I think there is a lot of interesting points floating around, and it would be nice to see them discussed again. Of course, it can wait until Hilzoy finishes.

Slarti,

"You had a question about the Chinese?"

No, you did. As a hint, when a sentence ends in a question mark and includes the word "Chinese", such as "Chinese, for example, weren't used as slave labor in constructing railroads?", it should be your starting point when looking for a question about the Chinese.

"To whom or what?
Remedying the great injustice. What else would I be asking about?"

Since the question was about making donations, asking who takes donations to remedy the injustice is of some importance.

"The question is more in the line of how much you, personally, are willing to pony up."

Ah, so it is the question I answered. To quote myself: "I suspect (but do not know) that I was not admitted to a higher ranked law school than the one I attended because of an affirmative action program, and it does not bother me in the least."

For the understanding-challenged, that means that I believe that I have personally "ponied up" admission to a higher ranked law school.

And yes, I am a lawyer.

hilzoy,

I disagree with you. While diversity is a good in and of itself, without the remedy for past injustice aspect, affirmative action becomes a poor substitute for dealing directly with the problems caused by poor schools. Poor in that it is badly targeted by helping people who do not need the help, poor in that it helps fewer people who need it than improving the schools, and poor in that it creates greater resentment on the part of others.

A very good book, too, if you ask me, but I'm biassed

I'd seen that in my adventures through Google, and wondered if he was any relation. I can't say I'm surprised.

For those who espouse a conservative view here, is this the kind of discussion that is wanted?

No; sometimes it's more effective to ignore this sort of borderline comment than to dignify it with a response. I realize, though, that it could look like I either missed it or approved of it. JFTR: neither.

Just a quick request, Slarti, would you restate your points against affirmative action as a post so we could start the thread on a fresh page?

You mean, make an actual post? That would be a departure, I admit. I'll have to see if I can fit something like that in for this weekend. I haven't got much against affirmative action in the strict sense, but I don't think of what's currently being done as "affirmative", in that the lesson is somthing like: "we officially recognize you as an equal member of society, and to commemorate that, we give you a job". Or a place in this college. I've got absolutely nothing against programs for the economically disadvantaged, and I have nothing against a program of that type if it aids far more black and hispanic and American-Indian people than it does white people, at least initially (and by that, I mean that it might take a couple of generations to get past the "initially" phase). After all, isn't the goal to lift people, regardless of skin color or facial features or culture, out of the cycle of poverty? To me, affirmative action ought to start out with equal treatment for people of all color, and the rest of the uplifting part can be accomplished by programs for the disadvantaged.

And certainly educational programs for the disadvantaged are probably worthy of consideration. There are other problems that go along with that, too, so it's not a cure-all. Unfortunately a great deal of schooling has been passed off into homework, and even I don't have all that much time to help with that, and I'm absolutely committed to my kids having the best shot at college they can.

As for the entitlement bit, I hold that race alone should not give one an edge on admission, but of course the odds that I'm wrong are substantially elevated by the fact that I'm disagreeing with hilzoy AND her father.

"While diversity is a good in and of itself"

I know I have selected this quote out of context, but you do hear this phrase all the time.

Is this really an accurate statement.

I wonder if Japan, Tiawan, Ireland, Egypt or Singapore really aggrees with that statement.

lj,

It's only a false analogy because you are walking down a one-way street.

It's only a false analogy in the sense that it's, you know, false. Or, to put it another way:

If we determine that our country will be stronger and justice will be served by giving minority candidates preferences, we are "screwing innocent people" in the present out of their god-given right to attend university X because they got a certain number on a certain test.

If we determine that our country will be stronger and justice will be served by invading and utterly trashing a country like Iraq on the (wrong) suspicion that they are a threat to us, with no plan to put the place back together again, the civilian dead are merely broken eggs on the way to a glorious omelet of freedom.

Plenty of one-way streets in any zip code, if one is willing to indulge in dishonest sophistry.

Please do not take this post as in any way endorsing the analogy above, or in the earlier post. My point is that they are both abject bulls**t.

If we determine that our country will be stronger and justice will be served by invading and utterly trashing a country like Iraq on the (wrong) suspicion that they are a threat to us, with no plan to put the place back together again, the civilian dead are merely broken eggs on the way to a glorious omelet of freedom.

And if everyone doesn't reach that conclusion does that make the statement false?

Please do not take this post as in any way endorsing the analogy above, or in the earlier post. My point is that they are both abject bulls**t.

And I could agree with that if those on the left didn't often think that by invading Iraq we are only creating more terrorists that wouldn't have existed before.

Which is why I see many of them cruising down one way streets.

My original statement wasn't designed to be a statement of fact, but of possibility. The fact that lj jumped on it so quickly shows that he wasn't really interested in the point I was making, but an attempt to slam someone he thinks is on the right. I was straight forward in criticizing behaviour that I see from the left. LJ however want to put words in my mouth. A typical technique.

Many on the left are so sure that reparations are the way to go and that we have a debt for crimes we didn't commmit. But, they don't also see the negative aspect of their decision.

They can see the negative possiblities created by Bush in Iraq, but often not the ones that they create due to their own actions.

Looks like a one way street from the sidewalk.

credence:

"And I could agree with that if those on the left didn't often think that..."
"I was straight forward in criticizing behaviour that I see from the left. LJ however want to put words in my mouth. A typical technique."
"Many on the left are so sure that reparations are..."

Is insufferable self-righteousness grounds for banning?

Drat, I didn't think so...

credence: And I could agree with that if those on the left didn't often think that by invading Iraq we are only creating more terrorists that wouldn't have existed before.

Remove the "only" (we are, after all, doing other things as well) and the above claim would be indisputable.

Many on the left are so sure that reparations are...

What in Gawd's name could you possibly be talking about?

Is insufferable self-righteousness grounds for banning?

That would me make it too quiet around here.

My favorite part was "from the sidewalk."

Credence:

We try to hold civilized discussions here. We also try to stay on point, even though some of us stray from time to time. When discussing what you consider to be flaws in LJ's comments, if you absolutely are compelled to note how one or more of its characteristics are emblematic of this monolith you think of as "the left", please also be so kind as to mention how such generalizations aid your argument or detract from the argument of your opponent.

Otherwise, it's just pie-throwing. Most folks here have been participating in online discussions for...well, by all appearances, for longer than they ought to, and they at least seem to be able to recognize a logical fallacy from time to time. This one looks a little bit like guilt by association, even if your intended target doesn't accept the premise that the monolithic "left" is wrong, evil, or anything else disparaging.

As for me, I am but an egg.

Oh, and if you're new here, please take the time to peruse the posting rules.

Thanks,

The Management.

So far it's Shakespeare's Sister 3, hilzoy 0...

Ooops, 3-1, and a lead in word count for our team.

Yeah -- that annoying job of mine...

Is it just me, or has everything after midnight on December 10 really disappeared?

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