Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My Rights vs Your Rights.

If a single person has the right to do anything they want, it's called Dictatorship.

If everybody has the right to do anything they want, it's called Anarchy.  And while in theory you have the rights, in actuality you don't, as right to do anything includes the right to take other people's rights.

The reason is simple.  The right to "do anything they want" includes the right to murder, rape, etc.

When people talk about rights, they are really talking about limits on what OTHER people's rights are.  I have the right to free speech means other people do NOT have the right to kill, imprison, banish, or punish me for saying something.  My right to privacy means other people don't have the right to find out anything they want to know about me.  My right to an attorney means other people don't have the right to try me in a court without someone that knows what to do.  My right to marry means other people don't have the right to stop me from marrying.

Once you understand this basic fact about rights, it creates a simple tests to see if someone is trying to get a reasonable right, or an unreasonable right - the test of reversal.  If the situation is reversed, would you  think it's a bad idea, or would you think it's EVIL (capitals intended.)

Once Southern racists use an 'intelligence' test, designed by whites, to prevent black voting.  It tested knowledge that most white people had but most black people did not.   If you reversed that and let black people design a test for whites, the racists would have screamed "HELL NO".

Similarly, people that don't think gays should have the right marry people of the same gender - if you asked them if marriage could be restricted to ONLY people of the same gender they would say "HELL NO".  That "HELL NO" is proof of the discrimination.  It's not "Well, we could do that, but it's a bad idea."

At heart it indicates the people demanding unfair limits on other people rights and the people demanding reasonable limits on other people's rights.

Which brings us to the elephant in the room.   Affirmative action clearly fails the test.   People should not base admission on race.  Yes, it's an easy way to identify a ton of problems.  Yes, it's a good way to fix long standing discrimination, but it philosophically no better than any other form of racism.    Be honest, liberals - do you think Herman Cain's children, or Malia Obama or Sasha Obama need or deserve any help getting into college?

We have not fixed racism, but the problem is a lot weaker than it used to be.   Few places actively reject applicants based on color.   Instead they reject them because they don't measure up to an artificial, culturally biased test.  We've can't fix the test, but we can acknowledge the problem.

The problem is not the race, it is long standing poverty - but monetary and cultural.  By cultural poverty I mean an absence of opportunities that are more commonly found in better neighborhoods.   It's not just the money.   This poverty takes perfectly capable of people and leaves them unprepared for the kinds of tests we use to bureaucratically categorize people.   We can adjust those metrics based on poverty.

I think we need to replace affirmative action with "Poverty Uplift."  That is, give people benefits not based on their race, but instead based on poverty.  Switch out 'race' for tax brackets.   If your custodial parents are in the 10% tax rate (making $17,400/year  if married, or $8,700 if single) then you get the benefit.  Give partial credit for 15% tax bracket.   If your parents are in the 25% or higher tax bracket, then you don't get the extra credit.

Be sure to look at the past five years, as opposed to the current one, to prevent inappropriate benefits.

Among other advantages, the children of black millionaires, will not get a bonus for being black.  Similarly the children of dirt poor white folk will get the same advantage.

Next question - will my idea actively counter racial bias?  Well, that's a bit hard to analyze, because the IRS does not ask for your race.

But, as 19999, the middle fifth of mean income for whites was $50,350, as compared with $14,650.    (source).

That looks to me like most of the people that benefit will be black, with a few poor, deserving white folk as well.  Yes, a bunch of middle class black people will cease to benefit - but they really don't need it as much as the few poor white folk do.

Oh, just to add some extra diversity, you could throw in a location based benefit as well.  Something along the lines of "first person from this county/country" gets a benefit as well.

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