Scratch Pad

Friday, January 26, 2007

Race in America

Shelby Steele wrote a fabulous piece at about racial politics in America.
Racial identity is simply forbidden to whites in America and across the entire Western world. Black children today are hammered with the idea of racial identity and pride, yet racial pride in whites constitutes a grave evil. Say "I'm white and I'm proud" and you are a Nazi.

The underlying irony here is that white guilt has given America a liberalism that revives as virtue the precise moral formula at the core of fascism: power justified by race alone. Today a wealthy black will be preferred over the son of a white mailman at all of America's best universities. This of course is illiberalism of the same sort that segregation was.

Classic liberalism (today's conservatism) sees atavistic power as illegitimate because it always steps on individual freedom. The mailman's son is not free if his race is held against him. But the problem with classic liberalism is that there is no room in it for white redemption.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Fewer People Should Go To College

That is the conclusion of Charles Murray in this piece for the Wall Street Journal. The following sums up the most persuasive part of the article for me.
For a few occupations, a college degree still certifies a qualification. For example, employers appropriately treat a bachelor's degree in engineering as a requirement for hiring engineers. But a bachelor's degree in a field such as sociology, psychology, economics, history or literature certifies nothing. It is a screening device for employers. The college you got into says a lot about your ability, and that you stuck it out for four years says something about your perseverance. But the degree itself does not qualify the graduate for anything. There are better, faster and more efficient ways for young people to acquire credentials to provide to employers.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Single payer vs health insurance

An interesting article in the Economist discusses why Canadians and Britons love their system of health insurance, and why Americans love ours.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Avenging Prosecutors: The Duke Rape Case and Charges of Child Molestation Compared

Dorothy Rabinowitz has written a smashing piece comparing the Duke rape case to the now-discredit child molestation cases of the 80's and 90's.
For all the public shock and fury over his behavior, there is little that is new or strange about Mr. Nifong. We have seen the likes of this district attorney, uninterested in proofs of innocence, willing to suppress any he found, many times in the busy army of prosecutors claiming to have found evidence of rampant child abuse in nursery schools and other child-care centers around the country in the 1980s and throughout most of the '90s. They built case after headline-making case charging the mass molestation of small children, and managed to convict scores of innocent Americans on the basis of testimony no rational mind could credit. Law officers who regularly violated requirements of due process in their effort to obtain a conviction, they grasped the special advantage that was theirs: that for a prosecutor dealing with molestation, and wearing the mantle of avenger, there was no such thing as excess, no limits to what could be said of the accused. In court, rules could be bent, any charges presented, and nonexistent medical evidence proclaimed as proof positive of the accusation.

I guess her warning is against turning prosecutors into avengers. It is a point very well taken.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

War Crimes Trials

Mario Loyola makes an excellent point in the Corner about how war crimes trials should not be about due process, but about publicity and memorialization.

Monday, January 01, 2007

We Don't Compare Our Trials

M&M just gave me a great reminder in a post she wrote a few months ago about a friend of hers that passed away from cancer. It is so easy to to think we should feel guilty for having a hard time with our trials when we know that others are having a harder time.
So who was the one who came to comfort me and to listen? You guessed it. Here she was, facing the possibility that her cancer would not go away this time around, and she was listening to me sob and vent my concerns and doubts and fears. Of course, it's because she understood. As I apologized for complaining about my life, given what her life entailed, I realized that the severity of her trials didn't change what my trials were to me. (We can't compare suffering.) She never made me feel that she "won" because her health problems were worse. She just cared.