The Democrat War on the Poor 3

Affirmative action destroys those it claims to help.

We've all heard the saying, "If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for life."  Unfortunately, the modern Democratic Party holds to a perverse variant: "If you give a man a fish every day, he'll vote for you for life and never work at all."

If certain classes of human beings were really animals, as the evil racist slaveholders of the Old South believed, this would work fine.  After all, dogs and horses don't find it demeaning to depend on the hands of man for their sustenance; they return love and affection.

Human beings aren't like this; they work on a different principle.  Yes, some people are just born lazy, but for most people, knowing that they themselves are worthless and that everything they have is the gift of another destroys the soul.

As we've seen in the first two articles in this series, the modern Democratic Party, with some help from the Stupid Party, has co-opted the humanitarian impulses of American voters into creating a vile system of captivity for America's poor, both white and black.

Yet a certain number of poor people and minorities, despite the odds, manage to succeed at the very highest levels.  For these people, who should be exemplars of all that is good and true about American opportunity, the Democrats have laid a trap to demean and handicap them too.  This evil plan, of course, is called by the Orwellian misname of Affirmative Action.

Affirmative Action

Dr. Thomas Sowell's book Affirmative Action Around the World: An Empirical Study showed conclusively that affirmative action programs always hurt the "favored" groups they're supposed to help. By way of illustration, the New York Times explained race norming.

At great expense, the US Department of Labor prepared the General Aptitude Test Battery to refer job applicants to public and private employers. The test measures skills from reading comprehension to manual dexterity and does a pretty good job of predicting success in many jobs. Unfortunately, blacks didn't do as well on the test as whites no matter how hard the test was tweaked to help them. Starting in 1991, the government started adjusting scores by race without telling employers they were doing so. A black who was rated 100 on the test might have scored as well as a white who got 80.

Suppose an employer hired two employees, one black and the other white, both of whom had scores of 100.  He'd probably find that his black employee wasn't as good as the white one, since in reality his score was only 4/5 as high. Not knowing how the scores had been rigged, though, the boss would likely conclude, based on the hard evidence in front of his nose, that blacks are inferior to whites.  Is that what liberals wanted?

Affirmative action - the unearned preferment of an individual or group based merely on their membership of that group and not on any personal accomplishments - creates hostility between groups of any sort, even close family.  Any grandmother will tell you that the best way to get your children hating each other is to treat one of them better than the others.  This was documented 5,000 years ago in the Book of Genesis: Jacob treated his son Joseph so much better than he treated his other sons that Joseph put on airs. This make his brothers conspire to murder him, then they merely sold him into slavery. The pernicious evil of favoritism is the explicit goal of affirmative action all over the world.  How evil is that?

Affirmative action teaches favored groups that they're so downtrodden, so picked on, so completely helpless, that they can't possibly succeed without government help and coercion. This is a government-sponsored message of inferiority which greatly damages blacks in particular, but also Hispanics and women who "benefit" from programs of unearned preferment.

In his book Mismatch: How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It’s Intended to Help, and Why Universities Won’t Admit It, Prof. Richard H. Sander explains how affirmative action in law school admissions has resulted in there being fewer practicing black lawyers than there would be without it. To be specific, Prof. Sander calculated that there are fewer black attorneys today than there would have been if law schools had practiced color-blind admissions -- about 7.9% fewer by his reckoning.

He identified the culprit as the practice of admitting minority students to schools for which they are inadequately prepared.  In essence, they've been "matched" to the wrong school.

High-end law schools focus on legal theory.  They don't spend much time preparing students to pass the bar exam because they assume that their students are bright enough to figure it out for themselves. Blacks who don't really belong at Harvard Law will have a much harder time getting a license to practice law than if they'd gone to a lower-level school which spent more time teaching the basics they'd need to pass the bar.

Affirmative action doesn't just mean that favored groups get jobs for which they aren't qualified, it also puts them into opportunities for which they are unprepared to take advantage.  Colleagues, teachers, mentors, and customers quickly learn that these people can't do the job they're supposed to do and avoid them.  Not only does this subconsciously teach everyone else that black people are inferior, it rubs the same message into the psyche of the blacks themselves.  How evil is that?  

Consider how her inferiority was driven home to Michelle Obama while she was in college:  The article "Michelle Obama thesis was on racial divide" quotes her:

"My experiences at Princeton have made me far more aware of my 'blackness' than ever before," the future Mrs. Obama wrote in her thesis introduction. "I have found that at Princeton, no matter how liberal and open-minded some of my white professors and classmates try to be toward me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus; as if I really don't belong. Regardless of the circumstances under which I interact with whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, I will always be black first and a student second." [emphasis added]

Everyone knew that she didn't belong at Princeton and that her blackness was the only reason she was there.  This made her and everyone else at Princeton more race-conscious than before.  How evil is that?

In a free country, not everybody will succeed.  In a free country, not everybody has the same advantages and benefits that can help achieve success.

But in a free country, whoever does succeed can have the confidence of knowing that it was mostly through their own efforts.  Even if they started with some help from Mom and Dad, they still had to be somewhat energetic to improve on where they started.  Consider Donald Trump: his father was a multimillionaire.  But Trump created his own celebrity and, if not perhaps a billionaire, is certainly far richer than his father was.  Nobody can doubt that Donald Trump earned the greater part of his success.

In a world of affirmative action, there will still be people like Dr. Ben Carson and Colin Powell who rise to great heights by their own merits - but nobody can know whether that's true.  Democrats love to tear down successful black conservatives by claiming they became successful only thanks to affirmative action.  What could be more racist than proclaiming that no black can succeed without affirmative action?  Liberals claim that blacks are utterly without ability to succeed on their own.  How evil is that?


This series has discussed a number of government policies which may have been put in place with good intent, but which destroy the people they're supposed to help.  This has nothing to do with race - our government policies destroy white people as surely as they destroy black or brown people.  We cited a British story of a woman who'd had 7 children by 5 different men, but it also happens in the US.  The Wall Street Journal reports:

... when we look at a slice of white America that was showered with the same Great Society good intentions-Appalachia-we find the same dysfunctions: greater dependency, more single-parent families and the absence of the good, private-sector jobs that only a growing economy can create.

... John Cheves noted that the war on poverty sent $2.1 billion to Martin County alone (pop. 12,537) [that's nearly $170,000 per person - ed] through programs including "welfare, food stamps, jobless benefits, disability compensation, school subsidies, affordable housing, worker training, economic development incentives, Head Start for poor children and expanded Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid."

Poverty rates in white Appalachia are the same as in black Baltimore. All that spending moved the needle not one jot.  The New York Times had a similar story which described poverty in Muskogee, Oklahoma.  The Times sought to spread the blame from liberals to conservatives, saying, "The current state of affairs in Muskogee suggests that the left does not deserve exclusive credit for social disorder."

They're blowing smoke.  Welfare standards and policies are set by the federal government.  If states want to do something different, they have to get permission from the feds.  Such permission isn't easy to get, particularly for programs that would reduce the Democrat welfare vote, and it's even harder in a Republican state.

Despite politically-correct acceptance of single motherhood, almost all of the left has had to admit that Dan Quayle was right: kids do far, far better with two natural parents than in any other form of family.  Barack Obama himself, in his book The Audacity of Hope, writes:

[C]hildren living with single mothers are five times more likely to be poor than children in two-parent households. Children in single-parent homes are also more likely to drop out of school and become teen parents, even when income is factored out. And the evidence suggests that on average, children who live with their biological mother and father do better than those who live in stepfamilies or with cohabiting partners.... In light of these facts, policies that strengthen marriage for those who choose it and that discourage unintended births outside of marriage are sensible goals to pursue. [emphasis added]

Mr. Obama says we have to do some national "soul searching," but his asking for yet more spending isn't the soul-searching he's calling for.  He understands the damage done to our society by government programs that pay women to make careers of single motherhood.  He's denying the obvious fact that his party's vote-buying programs destroy people instead of helping.

Affirmative action teaches black people that they're inferior by putting them in situations where they can't succeed.  Minimum wages mean they can't get that all important "starter job."  This keeps them locked into welfare or into crime.  Increased crime has the additional benefit of helping prison guards' unions who often support Democrats, and always drive up government budgets and taxes.

Our drug laws give police license to harass anyone and confiscate any money they find.  The higher crime rates make it easier to increase police budgets.  This helps the police unions who often support Democrats, and always drive up government budgets and taxes.

Democratic politicians accept bribes from teachers' unions to let them run schools that don't teach much of anything.  Freddie Gray was four grade levels behind in reading and he was arrested more than a dozen times.  How would he ever get any job at all?

Continuing with programs which are known to destroy so many souls and lives is evil, pure and simple.  This is what Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, author of The Gulag Archipelago, meant when he warned Harvard graduates of:

"an atmosphere of moral mediocrity, paralyzing man's noblest impulses" and a "tilt of freedom in the direction of evil ... evidently born primarily out of a humanistic and benevolent concept according to which there is no evil inherent in human nature."

He also said, "In order for men to commit great evil, they must first be convinced that they are doing good."

So what to do?

  • End all affirmative action programs so that people will feel that anyone who's placed in a job has the actual ability to do it.  Make college admission and employment entirely race-blind, as the 14th Amendment laid the groundwork for and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed.
  • Eliminate the minimum wage for people under 25, maybe 30.  Teens and young adults will be able to get starter jobs, and they'll have every opportunity to learn enough to climb the ladder.
  • Annoy the teachers' unions by adopting the policies of successful charter schools.  We wouldn't mind doubling spending on education that actually imparted knowledge, but there's no reason to continue wasting money on failed educational methodologies.
  • Require that a woman implant an IUD as a condition of receiving welfare.  A woman can have as many kids as she can pay for, but there's no reason to write open-ended blank checks from the treasury.
  • End the failed war on drugs, while openly recognizing that this does mean the occasional junkie overdosing.

Liberals know that helping people actually get jobs and escape dependency will reduce their votes so they'll fight to the death to keep these programs.

Of course, they don't see it that way - they have convinced themselves that their social welfare programs are doing good.  They are unwilling to acknowledge their responsibility for the results, so they end up doing great evil just as Solzhenitsyn said.  Shouldn't we point out the evil that they're doing, as often and as loudly as we can, until "justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream"?

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments

I worked 10 years as a permanent career Federal employee from 1980-1990. My first career job in the Federal Government was with the White River National Forest in Western Colorado ( Rifle, Colorado). I learned through experience and observation that Affirmative Action was a primary selection criteria for most entry level positions in the region- and agency. While other agencies also practiced Affirmative Action hiring policies, they did not appear to do so to the same extent as the U.S. Forest Service has.

Interestingly, Affirmative Action or ( Co-operative Education if still in College) hires did not seem to attract very many ethnic minorities. Perhaps living in isolated rural communities with few amenities and for relatively low pay proved to be unattractive to most minorities looking for an easy (cushy) Federal government job.

Most Affirmative Actions candidates in the 1980's for open vacancies in the U.S. Forest Service were women, some of which might also be ethnic minorities ("twofer's"). However, to this day, very few agency employees are Blacks.

It was particularly surprising that the late President Ronald Reagan did not apparently do anything to amend or revoke existing Federal Affirmative Action Policies. He could have easily ended the practice in the early eighties with just one Executive Order (EXO), but for some reason still unknown, chose not to end Affirmative Action.

President Bill Clinton also declined to make any changes to this existing hiring policy. Clearly, the elites in BOTH political parties wanted to continue Affirmative Action policies, with all its worts. So, at least in the government sector, most politicians then and now support Affirmative Action. The fact it has hurt minority workers is really not a consideration at all. Its just a side-affect. Very little changes in practice in government.

December 25, 2015 5:35 PM
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