Do affirmative action programs accomplish anything in the direction of “fairness?” No, these programs are, by their nature, racist and sexist. Such programs do no more than perpetuate the myths that some groups are more equal than others, and that other groups are less equal than some. How very Wilsonian:
segregation is not a humiliation but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you gentlemen.
What are affirmative action programs but a holding apart of some groups from others—segregation? This holding apart is founded on the gravest of bigoted insults: some groups simply are unable to do for themselves, and so they must have special treatment from Big Government. This is baser than the simple, honest hatred of most bigotry: it’s the insidiously velvet-gloved slur of low expectations.
Moreover, these programs deny their victims a fundamental aspect of their Americanism, much less of their humanity: their individuality and their individual responsibility. Those who are the targets of affirmative action are lumped into groups assumed to be so inferior that they must have handouts; such targets are denied their opportunity to succeed or fail on their own merits, they are denied their opportunity to show the best that is in them.
Worse, such targets are denied such capacity in perpetuity: they are made dependent on government as surely and as thoroughly as the administrators of such programs and the politicians who create them are made dependent on these dependencies.
The failures go on. The targets of affirmative action, even in those cases where they’re allowed to leave behind the preferences, are denied the full pleasure of their efforts. Anyone who has ever received a scholarship, or a job, or any other success as a result of affirmative action cannot fully enjoy that success: did he earn it, or was he the right color, the right ethnicity, the right gender; did he merely satisfy the right affirmative action criterion? Our own president is reduced to bragging about having benefitted from affirmative action programs, including possibly having gotten his position on the Harvard Law Review as a result of affirmative action.
In the end, how can we achieve a full integration of all comers into our society, into what it is that is an American, when we continue to hold significant portions of our fellows apart through deliberate special treatment based, not on the content of their character, but on the color of their skin or the chromosomes of their gender? Where is the morality of such segregation, of this denial of another’s right and obligation to see to his own responsibilities and to make his own way in our common world? How is this fair by any stretch of that term?
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