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Barack Obama and Eric Holder’s Affirmative Action Justice Department?

Posted on October 1 2010 2:00 pm
Devoted to his lovely wife 30 years, father of two who grew up exceeding his wildest expectations, B.A. Psychology, M. Ed. Counseling, former busboy, journeyman, Church's Chicken cook, purified ice and water salesman, Coca-Cola serviceman, certified public school educator, CCNA, CCNP, Senior Network Admin for a large school district in south Texas

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Barack Obama is the nation’s first-ever Affirmative Action President.  It should come as no surprise that President Obama’s pick for Attorney General, Eric Holder,  would dispense Affirmative Justice.

Affirmative Action, simply put, seeks to correct past negative discrimination with positive discrimination.  Call it “racial preference,”  “employment equity,”  “smiley-face discrimination,” or whatever, but Affirmative Action is basically a form of government-sanctioned discrimination that favors a particular group of people on the basis of some quality other than merit.  This is not necessarily bad.  Private employers do it all the time.  My own father hired me on the basis of some quality other than merit – namely, the fact that I was his son.  But he was not forced to hire me on the basis of some arbitrary federal quota, goal, or “guideline.”  Such coercive measures are inevitably harmful both to people and institutions.  The rule of unintended consequences applies.

Jack Cashill explains in “How Obama got into Harvard” at that both Barack and Michelle Obama benefitted so greatly from Affirmative Action programs that they would never have been admitted to an Ivy League school without such intervention.  Cashill writes

Obama was an ‘unspectacular’ student in his two years at Columbia and at every stop before that going back to grade school.

Michelle’s SAT scores and grades were so low that she was counseled against applying to an Ivy League school.  She applied to Princeton and Harvard anyway and was, of course,  accepted.  Getting accepted into Harvard did not improve Michelle’s writing ability, however.  Christopher Hitchens read her thesis and observed

To describe it as hard to read would be a mistake; the thesis cannot be ‘read’ at all, in the strict sense of the verb.  This is because it wasn’t written in any known language.

There is no doubt that the Obamas would not be where they are today without Affirmative Action.  Barack Obama is without a doubt the first Affirmative Action President.

Central to Affirmative Action is the belief that the best way – perhaps the ONLY way – to address negative discrimination in the workplace, academia, and all other aspects of American life, is through government.  Whether it be through forced busing, federalization of the National Guard, or legislative action, over the past 50 years the idea has taken root that the best way to address negative discrimination is through direct government intervention (i.e., coersion and punishment).  The end result is government picking winners (i.e., those who ultimately get admitted or hired) and losers (i.e., those who do not get admitted or hired).

Once you accept the premise that it is appropriate for government to pick winners and losers, it is not a huge leap to Affirmative Justice. Barack Obama has benefitted from Affirmative Action policies throughout his life, and is obviously very comfortable with the notion of government picking winners and losers.  It would have been extremely awkward for Obama to have picked an Attorney General who did not share the same sentiment.

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