I’m an egalitarian. This means I strongly believe that the well being of every human being is equally important regardless of his or her gender, skin colour, ethnicity or any other feature he is not responsible for.
This conviction of mine leads me to have some ideas many proponents of political correctness and Progressives view as profoundly heretical.
I believe that the current notions of affirmative action and positive discrimination are flawed and unjust and should be redefined with respect to (low) life-standards solely.
In an article written in 2011, the British telegraph stated this on this topic.
It will mean that employers can choose to hire candidates from under-represented groups provided that they are as qualified for the role as other applicants.
A manager will be able lawfully to hire a black man over a white man, a woman over a man, or homosexual man over a heterosexual man, if they have the same skill set.
It is not the same as filling quotas or giving someone a job just because they are a woman, disabled or from an ethnic minority – that would be unlawful.
Positive action is also not the same as positive discrimination, which gives applicants from disadvantaged and under-represented groups preferential treatment in the recruitment process, regardless of their ability to do the job.
An employer cannot offer the job to a woman, or someone from an ethnic background, purely to improve the company’s gender balance.
I want to go into the sentence I emphasised.
Let us consider the following situation.
Lawrence is a straight white man struggling with poverty to such an extent he can no longer afford paying the rent for his cheap flat despite his best efforts.
Laura is a straight white woman coming from a rich family and possessing two houses.
Lawrence and Laura have the same skills with respect to the job they’re applying for.
According to the principle of affirmative action, the employer shall say what follows to Lawrence:
“I’m afraid I cannot give you the job because a woman with the same abilities wants it as well and I’m morally obliged to privilege her. I’m well aware you’re extremely poorer than her. I know that if she doesn’t receive the position, she would still lead a very wealthy life whereas you would plunge into an unspeakable misery. But that doesn’t play any role at all. You must understand that (historically speaking) white males have oppressed females whereas the reverse isn’t true. Therefore, you should accept the fact you have to be discriminated by virtue of having the same gender as the oppressors.”
This is obviously a thought experiment but I think it illustrates very well the problem of current notions of affirmative action.
I must say that in such a situation I can’t help but feel a profound moral indignation. It is hard not to conclude this is collective punishment, the idea that individuals ought to be punished for features they’re not responsible for.
To see how morally problematic this really is, let us just consider what a Hebrew (and brown-skinned) prophet (namely Ezekiel) wrote more than 2500 years ago.
Western liberals and progressives like to pinpoint moral flaws in the Bible (and sometimes quite rightly so).
But in that specific case, their own morality is inferior to that of the ancient Hebrew prophet.
He spoke out for justice and emphasised the fact that children aren’t responsible for the sins of their parents and shouldn’t be punished or disadvantaged by virtue of their being their sons or daughters.
Western fans of political correctness think that someone ought to be disadvantaged by virtue of his or her having the same gender or skin colour as people having systematically committed wicked acts.
This isn’t moral progress, not even moral retardation but moral regression.
Rethinking the foundations of affirmative action
I don’t think, however, that the whole concept of affirmative action needs to be jettisoned. I just believe it ought to be redefined.
Conclusion: more political humility is needed
In many respects, politically correct Liberals can be as callous, self-righteous and arrogant as Conservatives.