Three Ethical Arguments Against Affirmative Action (2003) – Article by G. Stolyarov II

Three Ethical Arguments Against Affirmative Action (2003) – Article by G. Stolyarov II

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
July 7, 2014
Note from the Author: This essay was originally written in 2003 and published on Associated Content (subsequently, Yahoo! Voices) in 2007. It has been one of my most-read articles, earning over 66,000 page views, and I seek to preserve it as a valuable resource for readers, subsequent to the imminent closure of Yahoo! Voices. Therefore, this essay is being published directly on The Rational Argumentator for the first time. 
~ G. Stolyarov II, July 7, 2014

It is time we cease judging people based on the color of their skin and focus on their true character. For three pivotal considerations – that affirmative action harms its intended beneficiaries, that it punishes the most innocent and industrious of persons, and that it defies an essentially individualistic American work ethic – it is imperative to abolish this truly racist practice.

Affirmative-action policy advocates claim that their target is to aid previously persecuted minorities, yet, in reality, such initiatives harm their intended beneficiaries. Thomas Sowell, an African-American researcher at the Hoover Institute at Stanford, reveals that “today many Americans will refuse to visit a black physician or dentist because of their assumption that he or she was admitted both to medical school and to the position held through ‘special preferences’, set-aside quotas, and relaxed standards. The same is true for many other professionals and for other beneficiaries of ‘affirmative action.'” Even if a minority professional is a qualified, rational practitioner, he or she will be shunned due to the stereotype, created by affirmative action, that he or she is a puppet of special interest wars.

Moreover, affirmative action punishes non-minority workers and students, many of whom are the most innocent and industrious of persons. According to libertarian activist Aaron Biterman of Endicott College, Massachusetts, through affirmative action “people are kept down because of the past actions of their ancestors. The innocent are punished because of what the guilty have done. At the University of California Davis in 2002, every 16 out of 100 openings were automatically given to minority students. What happens to white students who may be smarter than the minority students? The white students are left behind because, if they aren’t left behind, ‘racism’ is screamed.”

At the University of Michigan, according to Pepperdine University Economics Professor Stephen Yates, being black automatically counts 20 points toward admission, while a perfect SAT score earns only 12 points. The sins of some Caucasian people’s fathers, for which current generations bear zero responsibility, are sufficient to deny white males today education and jobs for which they are more than capable, thus ruining their lives.

A third crucial reason for the abolition of this practice is that affirmative action defies an essentially individualistic American work ethic. Let us reflect upon those American Jews and Japanese Americans whom the FDR administration had either locked in concentration camps or denied entry into the United States. Biterman presents the following argument: “Are the Jews and Japanese asking for affirmative action? No. Because the Jews and the Japanese have made it in America through the only way you can make it in America: hard work, smart investing, and personal responsibility. Groups such as African-Americans, Hispanics, and women should learn from the experiences of their oppressed brethren.” Skin color, gender, and ethnicity are inconsequential in a capitalist system; merit is consequential, and is the reason why Jews and Japanese are no longer “oppressed minorities”, but happily thriving members of the “majority,” however defined. On the contrary, affirmative action destroys the ethic of merit. Reporter Steven Plaut elaborates, “If a woman [or any ‘minority member’] happens to be the most qualified person for a position, then she will be automatically hired by anyone whose self-interest [so] dictates…. There is no reason for quotas or double standards in hiring. Such quotas ensure only one thing: that the person hired will not be the most qualified. After all, that is the whole point of reverse discrimination!”

“I have a dream that my four little children shall one day inhabit a world where they will be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Let us at last heed the words of Dr. King, champion of a color-blind culture, and encourage judgment only based on one’s individual merit in matters of education and employment. Because affirmative action harms its intended beneficiaries, punishes the most innocent and industrious of persons, and defies an essentially individualistic American work ethic, it is time to terminate this abominable practice.

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