Spencer Quinn, Counter Currents, September 13, 2017
Steven Farron, The Affirmative Action Hoax: Diversity, the Importance of Character and Other Lies, New Century Books, 2nd ed., 2010
Some books are important to the Right because they make us view life differently. They ‘red-pill’ us, so to speak, and open our eyes to modes of thinking which have become almost completely obscured by cultural Marxism in recent years. Other books however allow us to red-pill others. They provide ingenious arguments or unearth critical, hard-to-find evidence which point inexorably to the conclusion that everyone on the Right has already reached: that the Right is, well, right.
Steven Farron’s excellent Affirmative Action Hoax (New Century Books, 2nd ed., 2010) falls into this latter category and can serve admirably as both sword and shield when red-pilling people on race-realism and anti-egalitarianism, two of the Right’s most fundamental and cherished principles. After internalizing the plethora of data found in this volume, one can become a formidable interlocutor indeed.
Farron, of course, tracks the history of affirmative action to the quota system which was practiced in the American university system after World War I. But since this relied upon hard limits of racial groups (often determined by percentages of overall enrollment) it really was the antecedent of affirmative action rather than an early example of the practice itself. Affirmative action as we know it today, that is, discrimination against whites in favor of non-whites due to an underlying belief in the intellectual equality of all races, the desire for diversity, and a moral compulsion to right historical wrongs, got its first big boost by President John F. Kennedy. After all, it was his executive order of March 8, 1961 which first used the term:
[A]ll government contracting agencies . . . will take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.
According to his adoring biographer, the ultra-liberal Arthur Schlesinger, Kennedy actually made special efforts to recruit blacks for influential positions in the federal government. Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon Johnson, added a historical twist to this practice, famously declaring that
You do not take a person who for years has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say, ‘you are free to compete with all the others.’
Farron proceeds, as would be expected, with the famous Regents of the University of California v. Bakke decision from 1978. Farron describes it as “the first case in which the Supreme Court ruled that anti-white discrimination is legal.” Although the Court forced the UC Davis Medical School to admit Allan Bakke, a well-qualified non-Hispanic white, its tie-breaking opinion, authored by Justice Lewis Powell, stated that racial preferences were justified in “the attainment of a diverse student body.” This was in spite of the well-known fact that universities were lowering their standards to meet non-white quotas. The idea was that affirmative action would only be a temporary measure and would gradually disappear as blacks and Hispanics ‘caught up,’ so to speak, with their white counterparts.
Of course, Farron demonstrates quite convincingly that after over thirty years, nothing of the sort has taken place. Aside from its blatant unfairness towards whites (whites from the poorest, most hardscrabble conditions still have, on average, equal or higher test scores than blacks from the most affluent backgrounds) and its potential for fraud (for example, the Malone brothers, two whites from Boston, fabricated African ancestry in their applications to the Boston Fire Department and were hired as a result), affirmative has effects opposite to what has been advertised. These effects have also proven to be deadly as affirmative action has expanded beyond schools and universities.
Farron discusses the sheer cost of it all. Chapter six delves into the famous debacle that was the Kansas City Missouri School District, which, from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, wasted billions on state of the art schooling in a failed attempt to entice whites to remain scholastically integrated with blacks. During this time, test scores fell and dropout rates increased. Farron writes that “[b]etween 1945 and 2007, the amount of money that the United States spent on pre-university education increased by eight times, adjusted for inflation.” [Emphasis Farron’s] Largely, we have little to show for this, a point Farron hits home numerous times. Furthermore, nations which spend far less on pre-university education than the United States does, such as South Korea and the Czech Republic, tend to produce superior students on the whole.
Chapter nine focuses on the danger affirmative action poses to the overall quality of work produced. All evidence demonstrates that IQ and other standardized tests are the best predictors of success or failure in any cognitively demanding field. All other factors (for example, school quality and financial background) Farron dismisses as largely irrelevant. Given this and the ability to find IQ equivalency for any standardized test, it’s just a matter of number crunching to prove that affirmative action is indeed a hoax, and a harmful one at that. For example:
Linda Gottfredson . . . analyzed these differences from another perspective. She assumed that an IQ of 114 is the minimum needed to be a competent engineer or doctor. The proportion of blacks who have an IQ of 114 or more is only one-twentieth (5 percent) the proportion of whites. But in 1980, the per capita ratio of black to white engineers was 25 percent and of doctors, 30 percent. That means that five times as many blacks were engineers and six times as many were doctors as the proportion of blacks with the minimum IQ necessary for competence in those professions. Gottfredson provided similar statistics for many occupations. In all of them, racial discrepancies are huge.
Farron goes on to show how the IQ equivalent for the average white MCAT score has remained stable at 125 since World War II, with almost no scores below 115. Medical schools however have commonly accepted black applicants with scores as low as 104 (the average IQ of whites with nothing more than a high school diploma, Farron tells us, is between 105 and 106).
Farron quite brazenly titled the final section of chapter nine “How Many People Has Affirmative Graduation Murdered?” Clearly, he has no compunction about lack of subtlety. And good for him! He estimates that inappropriate medication killed between 76,000 and 106,000 people in 1994 alone.
The most potent chapters of The Affirmative Action Hoax, however, deal with how affirmative action helped cause the downfall of policing and an increase in crime since the 1980s. The Washington DC police department met with a startling decline after lowering its standards to accept blacks in 1980. The percentage of solved homicide cases plummeted, allowing more criminals to roam the streets in many of our increasingly inhospitable inner cities. Interestingly, black police officers were often functionally illiterate. As a result, many poorly-written or incomprehensible crime reports caused evidence to be thrown out in court.
The way Farron relates the sheer incompetence of black officers in the wake of affirmative action is almost comic.
When black activist Coleman Young became mayor of Detroit in 1974, He promised to make half of its police force black. The qualifying examination was made easier; and, “Applicants who had difficulty with the qualifying exams were allowed to take them repeatedly until they passed, or were given answers by an instructor.”. . . Even these tricks could get only a handful of blacks promoted to sergeant and lieutenant; so blacks were allotted half the promotions, no matter what their test scores were. The results? “[I]n mid-1978 . . . [f]our inadequately trained young officers shot and killed themselves with their service revolvers. Five others killed or wounded civilians — in several cases because they didn’t like the way someone talked back to them.”
The July 2017 murder of the perfectly innocent Justine Ruszczyk in Minneapolis by an unhinged black Somalian police officer named Mohamed Noor demonstrates the price we are still paying for affirmative action.
Then there is the corruption that black police officers bring with them, which can astonish even the most hardened of race realists. In 1992, Detroit’s black police chief embezzled $2.6 million from his city’s police force. Further, in 1998, over twenty Detroit officers were charged with felonies, and at least 100 were under investigation for underworld ties. In Miami in 1985, nearly ninety percent of the police officers convicted of stashing cocaine in cahoots with drug smugglers were affirmative action hires. And of course, there is more. There is always more.
Another theme in The Affirmative Action Hoax is the media’s willful ignorance of or complicity in the problems caused by affirmative action. Farron dedicates two chapters to the topic and never fails to excoriate the media for not doing its job. When social scientists produce results that make affirmative action look good, such as during the early stages of the Milwaukee Project (which purportedly showed how black children of low-IQ mothers can have startlingly high IQs under the right conditions), the media is quick to praise. However, when they produce the opposite results (such as with the Milwaukee Project’s subsequent and inevitable failures), the media is quick to condemn or ignore. Also ignored is how social scientists jeopardize their careers if they challenge the efficacy or morality of affirmative action.
A great example of blatant media bias can be found in the 1999 shooting of West African immigrant Amadou Diallo. After four New York police officers shot and killed him, “the New York Times ran an average of 3.5 stories on it per day for the next two months, most treating it as an example of rampant racist police violence.” [Emphasis, Farron’s] The fact that the NYPD’s fatal shooting rate of 0.48 per 1,000 policemen fared well against the 3.12 fatal shootings per 1,000 officers by the mostly black Washington DC police force wasn’t mentioned.
Of course, no book condemning affirmative action can do without discussing Patrick Chavis, the dangerous quack who was admitted to the UC Davis Medical School back when Allan Bakke was suing the school for racial discrimination. In chapter eleven, Farron describes how the media and many Democratic politicians such as Ted Kennedy initially gushed over Chavis’ seemingly successful liposuction practice. But in 1997, the California Medical Board suspended Chavis’ license due to his base incompetence and continued endangerment of his clients. Farron then shares a pair of horrific stories which suggest that Chavis may even be criminally responsible for some of his misconduct.
In a nasty bit of irony, Farron concludes chapter eleven by noting that Nicholas Lemann, the author of an influential 1995 article the New York Times Magazine which cited Chavis as an affirmative action success story, is currently the dean of the Columbia School of Journalism, which is the most highly regarded school of its kind in the country.
There are many lessons in The Affirmative Action Hoax, but perhaps the most precious is its staunch defense of psychometrics. The book belongs in the same class and family as some of the important works by Arthur Jensen, Richard Herrnstein, and Charles Murray. Standardized tests have consistently shown real-world predictive power, both for the success of the people who score well and the lack of success for those who score poorly. Steven Farron makes this clear in several chapters and warns that ignoring such results can only lead to disaster. To hardened members of the Right and other radical traditionalists, this may seem old hat. But to those of us who choose to act as walking red-pills, so to speak, The Affirmative Action Hoax is nothing less than indispensable.