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08/21/2005

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nate


This is off-topic, but I am curious as to your thoughts on bankruptcy: recent U.S. legislation, history of bankruptcy, bankruptcy in other parts of the world vs. U.S., etc.

Palooka

Nate, on the recent legislation, see:

http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/archives/2005/03/the_bankruptcy.html

http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/archives/2005/03/a_suggested_alt.html

nate

Thank you for the URLs. I should have used the "search" box on the internet. Apologies for the question, and for being a little bit off-topic. Thank you Palooka.

I did a speed read on the URLs, and will spend more time in the future. Tentatively:
-it would have been nice to see concepts from world religion(s) incorporated into the discussion. This is partly why I probably brought it up at this time (follows last week blog on 10 commandments).

Here is some delayed input on bankruptcy:
http://tinyurl.com/9fdmf

nate


the previous tiny url was wrong. this one should hopefully take you to some ideas from the same book as the 10 Commandments.

http://tinyurl.com/bycqo

Jane Thirnbough

"Since the 20th-21st century descendants of Africans forcibly brought to America as slaves have higher incomes than the descendants of Africans who remained in Africa"

Frankly, this is just racist. African-Americans are American citizens. They are not African.

Jane Thirbough

"How is the next great nobel winning economist comparable to a diamond?"

Isn't that a higher standard than we set for the average white student? Most white people aren't nearly so intelligent or hard-working.

Jane Thirnbough

"No one has ever satisfactorily explained why it's OK for the University of Michigan admissions committee to give an extra point or two for a farm girl or boy from Idaho, but it is wrong to give an extra point or two to an African American."

Well, now that you've said that, why don't we just amend the Constitution, and repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964! They're totally basless! Discrimination on the basis of race is perfectly rational! This is a winner. Repeat it often.

Often one has choices in life. For instance, to respond to the substance of a good argument, or to attempt -- pathetically -- to lampoon it. When one chooses the latter, he looks like a fool.

Palooka

Jane,

If nobody has ever explained why racial discrimination is particularly harmful to society and the individual (the charge of the poster I was addressing), then it is perfectly rational to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and amend the Constitution to allow for governmental racial discrimination.

Jane Thirnbough

PALOOKA: It is perfectly rational to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and amend the Constitution to allow for governmental racial discrimination.

You are a racist.

WaitingForGoogle

Palooka, you said, "If nobody has ever explained why racial discrimination is particularly harmful to society and the individual (the charge of the poster I was addressing),...."

That is, categorically, a LIE. The poster noted that no one ever explains why racially discriminating in favor of rural whites is OK while simultaneously arguing that racially discriminating in favor of blacks is not OK.

Usually, those who oppose affirmative action ONLY oppose points awarded for race, but not points awarded for living in rural areas in sparsely populated states. Obviously, such points awarded on the basis of geography are quotas for rural whites.

It is hypocritical to support quotas for whites and oppose plus-points for blacks; and the source of the hypocrisy is either irrational(e.g., stupidity) or rational (e.g., racism).

nate


Corey:

Do you ever listen to a band called Diamond Rio?

http://www.diamondrio.com/music/complete/index.html

I found the lyrics to Beautiful Mess to be interesting (you can click on the words "Beautiful Mess" at the site above and read the words).

Is it a coincidence that songs like this get popular when labor force participation rates descend?

WaitingForGoogle

JOHN KELSEY: Any kind of discrimination provides information to people making decisions.

The Nazis garnered much medical information by torturing Jews, whom they believed to be subhuman. Under what conditions is it ethical to use it? Whenever anyone can make a claim of benefit? When should we not use it? Whenever any Jew complains? Answer that, John Kelsey.

JOHN KELSEY: Would you prefer a doctor from group A or group B, assuming no other knowledge?

Let's say it's 1990. Your doctor graduated from Yale in 1960, when Yale did not admit any women. Your doctor also happened to be a legacy, whose father attended Yale when it actively discriminated against black applicants (say, black veterans seeking an education via the G.I. Bill). In other words, your doctor's medical degree was paid for by money gained by unfair advantage (less competition to enter graduate school when blacks were actively discriminated against), and was earned unfairly (less competition to enter graduate school because no women were allowed to apply). One might say that someone shielded from full and fair competition is not necessarily the best candidate. Does the fact that your doctor benefited from racism and sexism impel you to refuse his medical services? or do you not even think about that fact that by paying your medical bills you subsidize racism and sexism after the fact, John?

Palooka

First, I'm not in favor of legacy admission or "quotas" for rural individuals.

Jane, you know I am not in favor of appealing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or amending the Constitution to allow for discrimination. That was precisely my point in addressing the person who was asking why racial discrimination was special--that uniqueness is manifest in our nation's recent history, while discrimination based on geography is, curiously, not. I am not sure what you think you're adding to discussion by deliberately misreading my post and calling me a racist.

Waiting for Google wrote: "That is, categorically, a LIE. The poster noted that no one ever explains why racially discriminating in favor of rural whites is OK while simultaneously arguing that racially discriminating in favor of blacks is not OK."

Well, I could call your error here a lie, but I won't. The poster wrote: "No one has ever satisfactorily explained why it's OK for the University of Michigan admissions committee to give an extra point or two for a farm girl or boy from Idaho, but it is wrong to give an extra point or two to an African American."

Discrimination based on geography--however arbitrary and capricious it may or may not be--is not the same as racial discrimination. Your post (and I'll assume it was not deliberate) tries to conflate the two by saying "rural whites." Yes, I would believe a system which gave preference to rural whites, while excluding rural blacks, to be unconstitutional, just as I believe race-based affirmative action is unconstitutional.

My own preference is that affirmative action, if it exists at all, should be a socio-economic one, open to all students of disadvantaged backgounds.

Erik

Becker's argument assumes that there is an objective standard for past achievement irrespective of past privilege. Surely, standardized tests such as SATs, do not meet that criterion given that advantaged schools explicitly train their students to do well on tests (lots of evidence for that). Is the top X% of high school admittance strategy not a reasonable response to the failure of this measurement instrument?

bill

No standards, ultimately, can be 'irrespective of past privilege' in the way you desire. Perhaps the top X% of the classes in some poor schools did well because their parents were better at disciplining them to be conscientious students. It's not the fault of the lower percent-tiles that their parents were neglectful -- perhaps they should receive AA treatment too.

Although it is true that privileged students have an advantage by being able to afford 'SAT courses' from the Princeton Review or Kaplan, I think that anybody who wants to shell out ludicrous amounts of money and lots of his time to learn bits of common sense such that if one eliminates one or two answer choices he has a better chance of getting the question right, he should be welcome to. This may 'unfairly' raise his score one or two hundred points, but his lack of natural intelligence will show in other parts of his application and likely prevent him from getting into that Ivy his parents so wish him to attend.

Howard

I know it's unlikely anyone is still reading comments to this; but if they are, let me ask proponents of "diversity" and AA to respond to the following argument. Students who attend historically black colleges (e.g. Howard U., Spellman) receive educations in a non-diverse environment. Therefore, their educations are inferior to similar individuals who attend a more diverse college. Therefore, an employer is justified in "discriminating" against Spellman (etc.) grads. More broadly, are you willing to say HBCs provide inferior educations because they are non-diverse?

Corey

HBC's are non-diverse on one axis (race) but could be very diverse in terms of class, politics, and culture.

There is evidence that SOME students do better in HBCs or single-sex institutions. Many people approve of them consistent with a belief in permitting diversity of educational approaches.
(See the Supreme Court VMI opinions.)

I find the concept a bit troubling because at some point, the voluntary segregation by race or gender must end and students must deal in the larger universe. Also, my best educational experience was at a very racially diverse school so I am biased to prefer that. But I would NOT say that HBCs provide inferior educations.

Imagine you are a top student at Howard or Spellman looking for a job. Your competition are top students from Harvard and Stanford. Many employers are going to search for a shortcut to evaluating you relative to them and fall back on the US News college rankings, which are based largely on standardized test scores at admission.

So the test gap rears its ugly head again. Employers will discriminate against even top Spellman grads on those grounds. I do not think they should, or that it is rational to do so. I would say a top Howard student shows as much potential as a top Harvard student.

However, there are companies and law firms out there that act as if the average students at Harvard are more qualified that the Top student at lower ranked schools. They might not take ANY Howard grads were there no diversity or AA pressure. Ask yourself if it makes sense to compare across such diverse institutions using a standardized metric. Or if it makes sense to judge graduates of universities using a ranking that is based most prominately on admissions criteria.

Palooka

Corey, are you really prepared to say anything? Earlier you said that AA admits were just as qualified as their peers, but then sought to explain the benefits of diversity in terms unfavorable to their qualifications (the "top students" could help them). Now you continue to tout the virtue of diversity, but also concede HBC's are not inferior, and in fact may actually be superior because of their lack of diversity. You're all over the map. I can only interpret this incoherence as the result of an ad hoc defense of what you intuitively favor. You're entitled to your beliefs, whatever their basis. But I do think it's compelling evidence that you haven't thought the diversity rationale through.

I can live with the original rationale of affirmative action. That it was (maybe is) necessary to right the wrongs of the past and fully embrace a community which (as Posner suggests) remains largely impoverished and distinct. I do not think raced-based affirmative action does much to further this noble goal, however. But I can sympathesize with the goal per se. Diversity is a different story. Diversity portends racial discrimination without an expiration date and without limit. Diversity reinforces rather than weakens the core belief of racism--that one's identity is determined by one's race.

Bison

HOWARD: "More broadly, are you willing to say HBCs provide inferior educations because they are non-diverse?"

No, I will say that HBCUs provide inferior educations because the schools suck. They suck because the funding isn't there, the professors don't publish and are spouting ideas circa 1970, the curricula are outdated and too remedial (because HBCUs take too many students with abysmally low standardized test scores, and those students know practically nothing), the campuses are too religious (so that learning anything in a philosophy class is an impossibility), and the socio-racial norms there are oppressive, stultifying, and blatantly anti-intellectual, not to mention usually anti-Semitic and, frankly, rooted in Marxism. I would also mention that Howard in particular is rife with corruption and its administration is hilariously poor (try finding a book in the library more recent than 1978), and its campus is open to violence (e.g., street people take potshots at Drew Hall, drug dealers from the surrounding community can drive through the campus to commit drive-bys). Not to mention the women are mostly grossly overweight; unless you're a chubby-chaser, it's not the best place to get laid, pal.

I went to Howard. I know it was crap. Was it crap because it was virtually all-black? No. But it was crap nonetheless.

WaitingForGoogle

Discrimination based on geography--however arbitrary and capricious it may or may not be--is not the same as racial discrimination. Your post (and I'll assume it was not deliberate) tries to conflate the two by saying "rural whites."

I didn't conflate anything. I performed the relevant analysis under the Equal Protection clause, which is to ignore pre-texts and go to the intent and impact of the invidious discrimination. You may call it "geographic discrimination" but what it IS and what it is INTENDED to be is an aid to rural whites. It is a quota for rural whites. You pretend it is not, Palooka, because you think quotas for blacks are bad, but quotas for whites are good. Given that you called for repealing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (and, by implication, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments), one might say that you're a dirty racist just like John Kelsey and R.

WaitingForGoogle

Just to make clear that I was calling PALOOKA racist....

PALOOKA: Discrimination based on geography--however arbitrary and capricious it may or may not be--is not the same as racial discrimination. Your post (and I'll assume it was not deliberate) tries to conflate the two by saying "rural whites."

I didn't conflate anything. I performed the relevant analysis under the Equal Protection clause, which is to ignore pre-texts and go to the intent and impact of the invidious discrimination. You may call it "geographic discrimination" but what it IS and what it is INTENDED to be is an aid to rural whites. It is a quota for rural whites. You pretend it is not, Palooka, because you think quotas for blacks are bad, but quotas for whites are good. Given that you called for repealing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (and, by implication, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments), one might say that you're a dirty racist just like John Kelsey and R.

Jane Thirnbough

PALOOKA: "I can live with the original rationale of affirmative action."

Live with? I suppose you tolerate the 13th Amendment, too, eh? You can live with Condoleeza Rice as Secretary of State, too, I bet.

Palooka

"You may call it "geographic discrimination" but what it IS and what it is INTENDED to be is an aid to rural whites. It is a quota for rural whites. You pretend it is not, Palooka, because you think quotas for blacks are bad, but quotas for whites are good."

I don't think it's intended to be an aid for rural whites. It's intended to be an aid for rural individuals, whatever their race. Do you honestly believe such a practice is designed to help rural whites rather than rural individuals whatever their race? I don't think giving someone points based on geography makes much sense. Though geography may coorelate with socio-economic status, it is better to link affirmative action directly to it if that's the aim. That is what I'd recommend.

Jane, are you suggesting opposing affirmative action is the same as opposing the 13th Amendment? I see how fruitful this debate has become. I see no reason in debating individuals whose idea of debate is screaming racist.

ben

This blog is fundamentally concerned with an examination of the world through the lenses of law and economics using reason and evidence. The objective of this blog, I believe, is to share ideas and to learn.

Corey is openly hostile to such reason and evidence, what he calls "formal analysis". He appears to believe his ends justify any means. An example is his selective quoting of statistics, and his hostility to this being pointed out, two weeks ago. Corey appears to believe there is no objective truth, that people are entitled to their own facts, and that any interpretation of data is possible. He appears incapable of producing a line of reasoning. See, for example, his 12:08am post on Aug 20 at www.becker-posner-blog.com/archives/2005/08/the_ten_command.html

Obfuscation is Corey's main weapon. He produces it in many ways. His preference for diversity in assessment this week is an example. Standardized tests ease comparison, diverse tests permit any conclusion to be drawn. He regularly shifts his argument when his points are rebutted. He regularly misinterprets his opponents' points and rebuts arguments nobody made. He attacks people not arguments.

I believe Corey's postings are contrary to this blog's objectives. In fact I consider he subverts those objectives by presenting his beliefs as if they were supported by reason and evidence when, after long conversations in some cases, it is eventually revealed they are not.

I therefore conclude this blog would be substantially improved if Corey were to not post to it.

ben

And I look forward to a rebuttal that includes examples of all my complaints above.

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