The Social Justice Warriors — the first warriors to faint at the sight of a penknife — have a new weapon to show off their unearned moral superiority: CULTURAL APPROPRIATION, where mainstream culture steals from minorities without being “authentic.” Surprisingly Bill Whittle agrees with this, and has a list of grievances all his own.
Left/right, Progressive/Conservative, Democrat/Republican… The names change and evolve but the core difference remains constant: The Collectivists vs. The Individualists. In his latest FIREWALL, but shows how violence, disruption and intimidation have always been the tools of the Collectivists. This is not about Donald Trump, no matter how much they want you to believe it.
Among all the tricks and treats, cultural appropriation is an undeniable problem this time of year.
By “undeniable problem” she means “irresistible opportunity for moralistic preening by social leftists.” In this case, she recommends cornering those whose costumes are deemed “offensive” and delivering a stern lecture on the sin of “cultural appropriation.”
“Cultural Appropriation” is a term created by sanctimonious social leftists to attack white people who enjoy partaking of non-white, non-European culture. White entertainers that incorporate elements of African, Caribbean, or Asian influences into their art and music: jazz, for example or Kabuki-inspired costumes, are guilty of cultural appropriation. Note that “Cultural Appropriation” only goes one way; to suggest that Africans should not attempt “white European art” such as ballet or classical music would be racism. “Cultural appropriation” has been extended by the sanctimonious social left to condemn colleges that serve tacos on campus and people who dress up as ninjas or bandidos for Halloween.
In reality, “cultural appropriation” is something privileged leftists made up to lord over other people because they have no real problems and no real morality. There’s also an element of the Baby Boom Left — for whom race sensitivity rivals only hyper-environmentalism as their religion of choice — that needs to keep their pieties from dying out in the Next Generation; even as racism becomes culturally and socially irrelevant.
The Gutfeld video is unrelated to the article… but not unrelated to Identity Politics:
A great Breitbart posting of a progressive professor “terrified” of his progressive students:
A progressive professor says his students have become enamored of a simplistic social justice politics that makes every discussion personal and therefore a potential “threat” to their identity.
At the heart of theVoxarticle is the claim that something has changed on campus. In the past a student complaint about political bias would have been handled perfunctorily. The complaint would be acknowledged and then it would be ignored. But times are changing. With an increasing focus on social justice and identity politics, students now take every disagreement personally and professors feel pressure to avoid giving any offense,intended or not:
This new understanding of social justice politics resembles what University of Pennsylvania political science professor Adolph Reed Jr. calls a politics of personal testimony, in which the feelings of individuals are the primary or even exclusive means through which social issues are understood and discussed. Reedderides this sort of political approachas essentially being a non-politics, a discourse that “is focused much more on taxonomy than politics [which] emphasizes the names by which we should call some strains of inequality [ … ] over specifying the mechanisms that produce them or even the steps that can be taken to combat them.” Under such a conception, people become more concerned with signaling goodness, usually through semantics and empty gestures, than with actually working to effect change.
Herein lies the folly of oversimplified identity politics: while identity concerns obviously warrant analysis, focusing on them too exclusively draws our attention so far inward that none of our analyses can lead to action. Rebecca Reilly Cooper, a political philosopher at the University of Warwick, worries about the effectiveness of a politics in which “particular experiences can never legitimately speak for any one other than ourselves, and personal narrative and testimony are elevated to such a degree that there can be no objective standpoint from which to examine their veracity.” Personal experience and feelings aren’t just a salient touchstone of contemporary identity politics; they are theentiretyof these politics. In such an environment, it’s no wonder that students are so prone to elevate minor slights to protestable offenses….
While Breitbart’s excerpt was good, reading the article myself, I will add to it. Here is more from the VOX article:
…Ina New York Magazinepiece, Jonathan Chait described the chilling effect this type of discourse has upon classrooms. Chait’s piece generatedseismic backlash, and while I disagree with much of his diagnosis, I have to admit he does a decent job of describing the symptoms. He cites an anonymous professor who says that “she and her fellow faculty members are terrified of facing accusations of triggering trauma.” Internet liberals pooh-poohed this comment, likening the professor to one of Tom Friedman’s imaginary cab drivers. But I’ve seen what’s being described here. I’ve lived it. It’s real, and it affects liberal, socially conscious teachers much more than conservative ones….
This critic is intelligent. Her voice is important. She realizes, correctly, that evolutionary psychology is flawed, and that science has often been misused to legitimize racist and sexist beliefs. But why draw that out to questioning most “scientific thought”? Can’t we see how distancing that is to people who don’t already agree with us? And tactically, can’t we see how shortsighted it is to be skeptical of a respected manner of inquiryjust because it’s associated with white males?
This sort of perspective is not confined to Twitter and the comments sections of liberal blogs. It was born in the more nihilistic corners of academic theory, and its manifestations on social media have severe real-world implications. In another instance,two female professors of library sciencepublicly outed and shamed a male colleague they accused of being creepy at conferences, going so far as to openly celebrate the prospect of ruining his career. I don’t doubt that some men are creepy at conferences — they are. And for all I know, this guy might be an A-level creep. But part of the female professors’ shtick was the strong insistencethat harassment victims should never be asked for proof, that an enunciation of an accusation is all it should ever take to secure a guilty verdict. The identity of the victims overrides the identity of the harasser, and that’s all the proof they need.
This is terrifying. No one will ever accept that. And if that becomes a salient part of liberal politics, liberals are going to suffer tremendous electoral defeat.
…If “electoral defeat” for progressives is the worst outcome you can foresee from making emotive identity politics the core of education, perhaps you’ve missed the point… (Breitbart)
Debate and discussion would ideally temper this identity-based discourse, make it more usable and less scary to outsiders. Teachers and academics are the best candidates to foster this discussion, but most of us are too scared and economically disempowered to say anything. Right now, there’s nothing much to do other than sit on our hands and wait for the ascension of conservative political backlash — hop into the echo chamber, pile invective upon the next person or company who says something vaguely insensitive, insulate ourselves further and further from any concerns that might resonate outside of our own little corner of Twitter.
A liberal professor interviewed in Indoctrinate U explains that protecting and teaching from one ideological viewpoint insulates students who are liberal to properly defend and coherently explain their views in the real world — outside the classroom. This excerpt is taken from two parts, Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here.
I wish to post some ideas and thoughts by others here that will allow a framework to reply to such a challenge. Many professors will infect young minds with this idea, which is, “you cannot criticize Marxism, socialism, or the like because its ‘pure form[s]’ have never been implemented on earth.” To which I would reply to said professor that he then would not be able to criticize Christianity, Republicans, Capitalism, etc…. because the ideal they hold has never been purely implemented on earth. [In Christianity I would note that the faith was modeled perfectly in the man of Christ Jesus.]
So if you have a professor who is harping on Capitalism, Bush, Republicans, Reagan, Newt, Ted Cruz, whomever…, you just need to point out that since FDR’s “New Deal” and Johnson’s “Great Society” all they are really criticizing is regulation and redistribution. Because we are far from a truly free-market.
So, what are some good resources to build a cumulative case or allow deeper — non-sophomoric thinking as the author of The Politically incorrect Guide would say — on this subject? While I responded to the person where I work with the quick answer of, “that is essentially copping out of dealing with what is produced by such beliefs,” my thinking on the matter goes beyond how I could or can express it in the work environment. This frustration of quick interactions has led me partly to blog on various topics so not only myself, but others can access this “nugget” if-you-will for both personal edification and learning or linking to friends, co-workers, and family that you discuss this issue with. Especially young people at university.
I do wish to note that just because I am posting items by others below, it does not imply I fully agree with their position stated or worldview. For instance I use Student of Objectivism’s (SO) video (spliced with a quick “baked in the cake” precursor), while I enjoy and agree with Ayn Rand on many points… on many others I disagree. I CAN recommend wholeheartedly — for the lover of theology that really wishes to understand the political divide — a book by Thomas Sowell entitled, A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles. While this is a must read for any political junkie, it is all the more powerful for one who believes in The Fall of mankind, objective grounding of ethics, man’s spark of life/creativity as well as mankind’s depravity. So to all the pastors and apologists that read this… add that book into your reading hopper.
Okay, I wanted to begin with this chapter, at least the opening pages of it, the chapter can be seen below or on Google Books here.
In it the author notes that “baked into” socialism is serfdom… by violence if necessary. Scott Huber of Brightlight Books comments well on this idea and the book:
Williamson ended Chapter 1 (see that summary here) with the observation (from Hayek) that socialist planners always lead an economy on the “road to serfdom”. This is because socialist economic planning cannot work because the planners cannot have enough information or knowledge to make the proper economic decisions. So, in lieu of having enough knowledge to properly make economic decisions, they opt for varying and escalating levels of coercion to enforce their Plan.
In Chapter 2, he begins by refuting what he calls the high school debater’s trick of claiming that socialism in “theory” is great (and true and just and compassionate, etc.) but it just gets screwed up in practice.
Not so, he says:
In truth, the theory behind socialism is deeply flawed: it is intellectually narrow, inhumane, and deeply irrational in that it fails to account for the ways in which knowledge works in a society. Socialism in theory is every bit as bad as socialism in practice, once you understand the theory and stop mistaking it for the common and humane charitable impulse.
Here is a key question? How is economic value determined? Next, we can ask a slightly different set of questions: How should economic value be determined and, perhaps more importantly, by whom?
Williamson argues that on the issue of determining economic value Marx (and every socialist) is a moralist. How so?
Because for Marx, and every other socialist, the value of economic activity, which is to say the value of any product or service, is (or more precisely should) be objectively related to the labor of the worker who produces it. This contrasts with the subjective approach of the capitalist marketplace which basically says that the value of a product or a service is related to how people in the marketplace subjectively value it.
In other words, let’s say you spend a lot of time, human labor, and other resources to produce something. The socialist approach to value says that your product is, at least roughly, worth the sum of the costs required to produce it especially the labor costs. To price it higher or lower is an injustice.
Marx’s analysis is morally normative [i.e. what should be] in that he insists that, since labor is the measure of value, wages must equal the price of the product. The mere existence of profits – squeezing economic value out of a product beyond what workers are paid – for Marx was proof of capitalist’s exploitation of workers. It was indistinguishable from outright theft.
And, according to Williamson, it’s this moral (and moralizing) context that fuels Marxists’ and other socialists’ revolutionary fervor. Note Marx’s most famous quote: The point of philosophy is not merely to understand the world, but to change it. And at the point of a gun if necessary, which it usually is since free people do not readily cooperate with the revolution.
You see, even on paper, if really looked at, the ideal is corrupted. repression and violence surely follow any implementation of socialism or its satellite Marxian or communist outgrowths. Even prior to Marx socialism was tried in the earliest years of our country, and FAILED:
And one should note that ALL of the above have a current application to what we are seeing the Democrats implementing. Socialized Medicine. And who better to explain this to us that the Gipper himself:
Walter Williams makes this real for us in a way that should perk the interest of those who love and cherish freedom:
…Mao Zedong has been long admired by academics and leftists across our country, as they often marched around singing the praises of Mao and waving his little red book, “Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-tung.” President Barack Obama’s communications director, Anita Dunn, in her June 2009 commencement address to St. Andrews Episcopal High School at Washington National Cathedral, said Mao was one of her heroes.
Whether it’s the academic community, the media elite, stalwarts of the Democratic Party or organizations such as the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, Green for All, the Sierra Club and the Children’s Defense Fund, there is a great tolerance for the ideas of socialism — a system that has caused more deaths and human misery than all other systems combined.
Today’s leftists, socialists and progressives would bristle at the suggestion that their agenda differs little from those of Nazi, Soviet and Maoist mass murderers. One does not have to be in favor of death camps or wars of conquest to be a tyrant. The only requirement is that one has to believe in the primacy of the state over individual rights.
The unspeakable horrors of Nazism didn’t happen overnight. They were simply the end result of a long evolution of ideas leading to consolidation of power in central government in the quest for “social justice.”…
Social Justice. This social justice always leads to repression, from the NAACP asking the rodeo clown who wore an Obama mask to be investigated, to, Dr. Benjamin Carson being audited after his prayer breakfast speech by the IRS. These are murmurings of the greater end that always ends in violent repression. From pro-lifers being threatened on university campuses, to suppression of free speech, to… eventualy, the outgrowth — naturally — to violent repression. The difference between Marxism, Socialism, Communism, and Fascism, is a matter of degrees, only:
✯ A Marxist will scream at you, argue and fist-fight you down the road to his dream, as he carries your belongings and says, “They belong to the collective”.
✯ A Socialist will grab you by the hand or the hair, and beat you on the head with a stick and drag you along, as they make you carry your own belongings and tell you they, “Belong to the collective”.
✯ A Communist will get behind you and make you carry your own belongings to his dream, as he points a gun to the back of your head, and kicks you in the back and screams at you, “They belong to the State”… as in the collective.
✯ A Fascist will will have your neighbor carry your belongings, and shoot you if you do not agree with his dream of “Centralized Authority, and it all belongs to the State”,… the collective”.
…a matter of degrees.
Question is, which is our temperature to stop this from going further in our country?
And any person should acknowledge why someone should “fear” government more than business. In fact, I made this point on my FB outgrowth of this blog in talking to my liberal friend:
…the point was to show how the Obama admin is stacking the books with GM. You see, when the government chooses winners-and-losers instead of getting contracts with private companies (like Ford, GM, etc.), they are invested to [i.e., forced to] only choose a government run business and stock their fish (so-to-speak) with GM fleets… leaving the non-government company to flounder.
This next audio deals with the differences of the Koch brothers, in comparison to the Left’s version of them, Soros. There are many areas that one can discuss about the two… but let us focus in on the main/foundational difference. One wants a large government that is able to legislate more than just what kind of light-bulbs one can use in the privacy of their own home. Soros wants large government able to control a large portion of the economy (see link to chart below), and he has been very vocal on this goal. The other party always mentioned are the Koch brothers. These rich conservatives want a weak government. A government that cannot effect our daily lives nearly as much (personal, business, etc) as the Soros enterprise wants. And really, if you think about it, what business can really “harm” you, when people come to my door with pistols on their hip… are they a) more likely to be from GM, or, b) from the IRS?
The possibility of them being from the IRS is even more possible with the passing of Obama-Care [i.e., larger government]. So the “fear” (audio in next comment) I think the Left has of “Big-Business” is unfounded, and the problem comes when big-business gets in bed with big-government. Here I am thinking of (like with the penalties that were found to be Constitutional in the recent SCOTUS decision) a government that can penalize you if you do not buy a Chevy Volt, or some other green car in order to save the planet. When this happens, guys coming to my door because of unpaid (hypothetical… but historical examples abound of the tax history of our nation) “fines” are likely to be IRS agents because of a personal choice made in the “free-market.”
Appendix: If the above example didn’t inspire any liberal fear (forced to go green or be penalized), maybe this one will?
…First, the government needs to issue a mandate that all households must own at least one firearm. We will need a federal agency to ensure that people aren’t just buying cheap BB guns or .22 pistols, even though that may be all they need or want. It has to be 9mm or above, with .44 magnums getting a one-time tax credit on their own. Let’s pick an agency known for its aptitude on firearms and home protection to issue required annual certifications each year, without which the government will have to levy hefty fines. Which agency would do the best job? Hmmmm … I know! How about TSA? With their track record of excellence, we should have no problems implementing this mandate.
Don’t want to own a gun? Hey, no worries. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts says citizens have the right to refuse to comply with mandates. The government will just seize some of your cash in fines, that’s all. Isn’t choice great? Those fines will go toward federal credits that will fund firearm purchases for the less well off, so that they can protect their homes as adequately as those who can afford guns on their own. Since they generally live in neighborhoods where police response is appreciably worse than their higher-earning fellow Americans, they need them more anyway. Besides — gun ownership is actually mentioned in the Constitution, unlike health care, which isn’t. Obviously, that means that the federal government should be funding gun ownership….
The Pilgrims could have benefited from sound theology which would have dissuaded their (and should ours) experiment with “communal” activities:
A. PRIVATE PROPERTY
According to the teachings of the Bible, government should both document and protect the ownership of private property in a nation.
The Bible regularly assumes and reinforces a system in which property belongs to individuals, not to the government or to society as a whole.
We see this implied in the Ten Commandments, for example, because the eighth commandment, “You shall not steal” (Exod. 20:15), assumes that human beings will own property that belongs to them individually and not to other people. I should not steal my neighbor’s ox or donkey because it belongs to my neighbor, not to me and not to anyone else.
The tenth commandment makes this more explicit when it prohibits not just stealing but also desiring to steal what belongs to my neighbor:
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exod. 20:17).
The reason I should not “covet” my neighbor’s house or anything else is that these things belong to my neighbor, not to me and not to the community or the nation.
This assumption of private ownership of property, found in this fundamental moral code of the Bible, puts the Bible in direct opposition to the communist system advocated by Karl Marx. Marx said:
The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: abolition of private property.
One reason why communism is so incredibly dehumanizing is that when private property is abolished, government controls all economic activity. And when government controls all economic activity, it controls what you can buy, where you will live, and what job you will have (and therefore what job you are allowed to train for, and where you go to school), and how much you will earn. It essentially controls all of life, and human liberty is destroyed. Communism enslaves people and destroys human freedom of choice. The entire nation becomes one huge prison. For this reason, it seems to me that communism is the most dehumanizing economic system ever invented by man.
Other passages of Scripture also support the idea that property should belong to individuals, not to “society” or to the government (except for certain property required for proper government purposes, such as government offices, military bases, and streets and highways). The Bible contains many laws concerning punishments for stealing and appropriate restitution for damage of another person’s farm animals or agricultural fields (for example, see Exod. 21:28-36; 22:1-15; Deut. 22:1-4; 23:24-25). Another commandment guaranteed that property boundaries would be protected: “You shall not move your neighbor’s landmark, which the men of old have set, in the inheritance that you will hold in the land that the LORD your God is giving you to possess” (Deut. 19:14). To move the landmark was to move the boundaries of the land and thus to steal land that belonged to one’s neighbor (compare Prov. 22:28; 23:10).
Another guarantee of the ownership of private property was the fact that, even if property was sold to someone else, in the Year of Jubilee it had to return to the family that originally owned it:
It shall be a Jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan (Lev. 25:10).
This is why the land could not be sold forever: “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine. For you are strangers and sojourners with me” (Lev. 25:23).
This last verse emphasizes the fact that private property is never viewed in the Bible as an absolute right, because all that people have is ultimately given to them by God, and people are viewed as God’s “stewards” to manage what he has entrusted to their care.
The earth is the LORD’S and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein (Ps. 24:1; compare Ps. 50:10-12; Hag. 2:8).
Yet the fact remains that, under the overall sovereign lordship of God himself, property is regularly said to belong to individuals, not to the government and not to “society” or the nation as a whole.
When Samuel warned the people about the evils that would be imposed upon them by a king, he emphasized the fact that the monarch, with so much government power, would “take” and “take” and “take” from the people and confiscate things for his own use:
So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking for a king from him. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day” (1 Sam. 8:10-18).
This prediction was tragically fulfilled in the story of the theft of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite by Ahab the wicked king and Jezebel, his even more wicked queen (see 1 Kings 21:1-29). The regular tendency of human governments is to seek to take control of more and more of the property of a nation that God intends to be owned and controlled by private individuals.
A young man [A childhood friend of one of my sons] who does not agree with my viewpoints on some issues (many issues in fact) still is open minded enough to ask a serious question expecting some serious input to continue his thinking on the matter. Learning should not become stagnant, but should be a lifelong adventure. This person is doing just that, in the least trying to understand the opposing viewpoint. For this I laud him.
Here is the question:
✌“Out of curiosity, what are your thoughts on affirmative action?”
Here is my response:
Not a big fan at all. It is interesting, I just finished a book entitled, “Wrong on Race: The Democrat Party’s Buried Past,” and at the end of the book he gave some ideas that the Republicans could spearhead some ideas to end racial preferences altogether. One is (and I don’t know how much I like his ideas… but at least he is being innovative) that blacks would not have to pay Federal Income Tax for a generation or two, and then all race based programs could be ended… and we could truly be a color blind society. At least as the government is concerned. (You will never be able to change human nature and its depravity.)
I look at it like this. Let’s say you have a law firm and many of your cases are with Hollywood moguls and you have even had a couple of your lawyers argue before the Supreme Court. You need lawyers that know their law and have a record of academic achievement. You go to Harvard, Yale, Cambridge, etc. to pull from the pool new Lawyers. Walking around are future graduates with signs around their necks that say:
★ I got into ______________ because I competed and scored higher than most on my SATS and was near the top of my undergraduate classes;
★ I got into ______________ because my parents or grandparents gave millions of dollars to their alma mater;
★ I got into ______________ because I am black.
(By-the-by, I used the example of a rich privileged “white” student because I know this person views much of the world through the lenses of the liberal trinity, that is: race, class, gender. I used an example he would agree with, so if “a” is true [rich privileged kid], why isn’t “b” true [poor privileged kid].) I would be just as skeptical of the uber-rich kid who has parents building wings in the university as I would about a person getting in due to affirmative action. And if you ran a business that by nature [all] are competitive, you are looking for people who can be the best.
Not only does this hurt the workforce, but it hurts the educational system as well. To wit, I just uploaded a 5-minute blurb from Thomas Sowell. It is worth listening to:
Here is likewise a short audio with Larry Elder making some key points in a 6-minute audio. What this shows is that like with many “feelings based” policy, the people harmed are the intended target of help.
I finished off my thinking with David Mamet, an ex-progressive, explaining the idea of feelings based laws:
There is a Liberal sentiment that it should also punish those who take more than their “fair share.” But what is their fair share? (Shakespeare suggests that each should be treated not according to his deserts, but according to God’s mercy, or none of us would escape whipping.)
The concept of Fairness, for all its attractiveness to sentiment, is a dangerous one (cf. quota hiring and enrollment, and talk of “reparations”). Deviations from the Law, which is to say the Constitution, to accommodate specifically alleged identity-group injustices will all inevitably be expanded, universalized, and exploited until there remains no law, but only constant petition of Government.
We cannot live in peace without Law. And though law cannot be perfect, it may be just if it is written in ignorance of the identity of the claimants and applied equally to all. Then it is a possession not only of the claimants but of the society, which may now base its actions upon a reasonable assumption of the law’s treatment.
But “fairness” is not only a nonlegal but an antilegal process, for it deals not with universally applicable principles and strictures, but with specific cases, responding to the perceived or proclaimed needs of individual claimants, and their desire for extralegal preference. And it could be said to substitute fairness (a determination which must always be subjective) for justice (the application of the legislated will of the electorate), is to enshrine greed—the greed, in this case, not for wealth, but for preference. The socialistic spirit of the Left indicts ambition and the pursuit of wealth as Greed, and appeals, supposedly on behalf of “the people,” to the State for “fairness.”….
….But such fairness can only be the non-Constitutional intervention of the State in the legal, Constitutional process—awarding, as it sees fit, money (reparations), preferment (affirmative action), or entertainment (confiscation)….
….”Don’t you care?” is the admonition implicit in the very visage of the Liberals of my acquaintance on their understanding that I have embraced Conservatism. But the Talmud understood of old that good intentions can lead to evil—vide Busing, Urban Renewal, Affirmative Action, Welfare, et cetera, to name the more immediately apparent, and not to mention the, literally, tens of thousands of Federal and State statutes limiting freedom of trade, which is to say, of the right of the individual to make a living, and, so earn that wealth which would, in its necessary expenditure, allow him to provide a living to others….
…. I recognized that though, as a lifelong Liberal, I endorsed and paid lip service to “social justice,” which is to say, to equality of result, I actually based the important decisions of my life—those in which I was personally going to be affected by the outcome—upon the principle of equality of opportunity; and, further, that so did everyone I knew. Many, I saw, were prepared to pay more taxes, as a form of Charity, which is to say, to hand off to the Government the choice of programs and recipients of their hard-earned money, but no one was prepared to be on the short end of the failed Government programs, however well-intentioned. (For example—one might endorse a program giving to minorities preference in award of government contracts; but, as a business owner, one would fight to get the best possible job under the best possible terms regardless of such a program, and would, in fact, work by all legal and, perhaps by semi- or illegal means to subvert any program that enforced upon the proprietor a bad business decision.)*
Further, one, in paying the government to relieve him of a feeling of social responsibility, might not be bothered to question what in fact constituted a minority, and whether, in fact, such minority contracts were actually benefiting the minority so enshrined, or were being subverted to shell corporations and straw men. †
*No one would say of a firefighter, hired under rules reducing the height requirement, and thus unable to carry one’s child to safety, “Nonetheless, I am glad I voted for that ‘more fair’ law.”
† As, indeed, they are, or, in the best case, to those among the applicants claiming eligibility most capable of framing, supporting, or bribing their claims to the front of the line. All claims cannot be met. The politicians and bureaucrats discriminating between claims will necessarily favor those redounding to their individual or party benefit—so the eternal problem of “Fairness,” supposedly solved by Government distribution of funds, becomes, yet again and inevitably, a question of graft.
David Mamet, The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture (New York, NY: Sentinel Publishing, 2011), 116-117, 122, 151, 154.