Although this decision [Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard]was split along current conservative-liberal lines, with the court’s three liberals dissenting, it actually reflects traditional liberalism.
Alan Dershowitz, June 30, 2023
When the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action (a system of explicit racial preferences) in college education many “liberals” condemned the decision to restore equal protection under the law to Asian students in the strongest possible terms. Squad member Alexandra Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) condemned the decision for its “ludicrous colour blindness claims or else it would have abolished ‘legacy admissions’ [policies that favour alumni children],” what she calls “affirmative action for the privileged”.
In fact, the Court could only consider the case brought before them, not a different case (legacy admissions) that had not been submitted. In Medieval terms, the Court could only consider the racial preferences issue brought before them per se (the essential issue), not something externally related to that racial issue per accidens (by the accidental circumstance that at present more whites benefit from legacy admissions than blacks). If AOC is concerned about “legacy admissions” she should find someone to bring that case and the Court might well curtail them. Got it AOC?
Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) tweets: “Diversity is our strength …. This decision is terrible and a huge step backward. Period.” Unfortunately, such expressions (“diversity is our strength”) do not mean anything determinate without clear accounts of what constitutes diversity. Would putting vampires on campus would make it more diverse and better? Jayapal’s “argument” is the fallacy of reductionism or sloganeering (reducing a complex issue to a slogan). Further, her mere assertion that this decision is “a huge step backward” is begging the question (assuming what it purports to prove). Conservatives claim the decision is a huge step forward, towards equality under the law. Since what is progress and what is regress depends on where, politically, one is standing Jayapal needs a real argument against the conservative position. Finally, when, as many of the Left do these days, she concludes her assertion of meaningless abstractions with the expression “Period!” she is indicating that she will not, and perhaps cannot,deal with any challenges to her dogmatic assertions.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) tweets that “A diversity of lived experiences benefits all students, but generations of policy violence & institutionalized racism have led to deep disparities in educational access. Affirmative action is a critical tool to safeguard against discrimination & realize true educational equity.” Pressley too begins with a meaningless slogan about diversity. Does she, therefore, support a program of affirmative action to place more conservative students in college? Further, affirmative action institutionalizes discrimination. She also makes a “false cause” fallacy when she makes claims about the causes of the “disparities in educational access.” She might have been right in the past when Democrat Party Jim Crow laws passed after the Civil War officially made black people second-class citizens. However, considerable progress have been made since Republicans, against Democrat opposition, helped pass civil rights laws and since Republicans also support a plethora of programs to help black students obtain higher education,
[B]oth conservative Republicans and progressive Democrats … support historic investments in [Black Colleges and Universities]. In the House, [this bill] has 18 Republican co-sponsors. In the Senate, it has an even number of Republican and Democratic co-sponsors.
Perhaps Democrats haven’t noticed because they were too busy yelling and cashing checks, but conservatives agree on the goal of achieving a society in which all races have equal opportunities but they believe that there are better ways to do this. One would think, with the collapse of public education in entirely Democrat run cities like Baltimore in which 93% of the black students cannot do math at grade level and 23% of the schools have zero students proficient in math (Zero not much, even for a liberal), that Democrats would have begun to inquire into the real causes of black underperformance in US education. This would, however, require them to look in the mirror which they decidedly do not want to do.
Ilhan Omar repeats many of the fallacies listed above. She claims that “Centuries of legal and de facto discrimination against people of colour have led to white families holding 10 times the amount of wealth as Black families and being 28 times more likely to become millionaires. America’s schools remain highly segregated.” Unfortunately, the Court was not asked to give a history lesson. It was asked to address the legal question whether the existing affirmative action laws are in conformity with the US Constitution “equal protection clause”. If Omar wants to eliminate the wealth gap between black and other racial groups there are better ways to do it. Even Karl Marx realized that capitalism splendidly does precisely that.
Squad member Cori Bush states that “The Supreme Court’s decision to end affirmative action in higher education is racist. Just like the Court has always been. Just like it was designed to be.” This is another textbook example of the fallacy ad hominem abuse (in popular terms, name-calling). She also commits the “genetic fallacy” (roughly, something is X because its origins were X). Much easier than dealing with the issues themselves.
The NAACP claimed that the SCOTUS ruling on affirmative action is an extremist position. That is factually false: The ruling is in harmony with the majority of Americans including black and minority Americans. The New York Times reports that a majority of Americans do not support race based admissions. A recent PEW poll shows that for all races 50% disapprove of race based admissions while only 33% approve and there is not even a majority of blacks that approve of race based admissions. The same poll shows that many blacks feel they have been disadvantaged by diversity policies.
Jake Tapper tweets that the recent two “6-3 rulings [by the Supreme Court] tilt the country further to the right”. Wrong! As Alan Dershowitz points out, these rulings “actually reflect traditional liberalism”, that “equal protection clause” of the constitution that guarantees that there shall be no discrimination on the basis of race, colour, national origin, etc. Perhaps Tapper can take some time out from his well-paid job of virtue-signalling at CNN to explain to Asian students who study 60 hours a week how guaranteeing them equal protection under the constitution is “tilting the country further to the right.”
WNBA champion Natasha Cloud tweeted that “Our country is trash in so many ways and instead of using our resources to make it better we continue to oppress marginalized groups that we have targeted since the beginning of times”. Cloud here also commits the fallacy of begging the question by assuming, in opposition to most Americans and many minorities, that affirmative action makes the country better.
MSNBC’s Joy Reid admits that affirmative action got her into Harvard. That explains a lot about her show. However, unfortunately for Joy, it’s not all about her.
In fact, ending affirmative action may actually help blacks achieve equality in US society. For affirmative action, by mechanically trying to make the racial numbers look good by putting people from favoured groups in certain positions irrespective of merit, is a bandage that enables Democrats to avoid facing the destructive effects of their own policies on the black community.
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