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The Affirmative Action Hoax, a Review

1,878 words

Steven Farron
The Affirmative Action Hoax: Diversity, the Importance of Character and Other Lies
2nd ed., Oakton, Va.: New Century Books, 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 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.


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  1. Ironsides
    Posted September 13, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Good review. Sounds like an important book for the bookshelf. Thank you.

    • Spencer Quinn
      Posted September 14, 2017 at 5:09 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Ironsides. Yes, I find myself coming back to it a lot. A very useful book.

  2. Pietas
    Posted September 13, 2017 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    Great article. Gosh, I could write a book on my personal experiences in the medical community. I’ll just hold my peace.

    • Spencer Quinn
      Posted September 14, 2017 at 5:07 am | Permalink

      Pietas, I would love to hear what you have to say about this. Perhaps you can write your observations down and convince someone on the Right to publish it pseudonymously. These kinds of testimonials are invaluable and I believe really help the movement.

      Have you ever read ‘Face to Face with Race’ which is edited by Jared Taylor at Amren? This is the kind of thing I’m talking about.

      Thanks for the kind words.

      • Pietas
        Posted September 14, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        yeah, stuff along the lines of face to face. My experiences echo those down to details.

  3. R_Moreland
    Posted September 14, 2017 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    … and a moral compulsion to right historical wrongs…

    The phrase “historical wrongs” is an interesting one. Effectively, it justifies ex post facto law in violation of the US Constitution (Article I, Section 9). Consider that until the mid-20th century segregation was:
    1) generally enacted by a democratic majority of voters (admittedly, White)
    2) upheld by various court decisions (e.g., Plessy vs Ferguson, 1986)
    3) supported by the scientific opinion of the day

    In comparison, many of the decisions which ended segregation, such as Brown vs Board of Education (1954), were supported by point “2” above but not “1” and “3.” By the standards of its era, segregation had far more going for it legally than integration in the 1950s.

    The use of the term “wrong” is also peculiar from the standpoint of liberalism, at least as it existed in much of the 20th century. Liberalism generally advocated a cultural relativism in which there were no universal standards of “right” or “wrong.” (“Only a Sith deals in absolutes,” pace a certain famous film maker.) So how can one talk of “historic wrongs?” Was Prohibition (18th Amendment) “wrong?” Prohibition is generally considered to be a disastrous policy (and it came out of the same Progressive era that enacted de jure segregation). Should those who were adversely affected by Prohibition receive some form of affirmative action?

    Similarly, the court ordered busing of the post-Civil Rights era was a disastrous social experiment, and possibly unconstitutional (judges usurping the legislative function as well as levying taxes to support the program). If enough people who were victimized by busing were to claim it to be a “wrong,” would they deserve affirmative action for the loss of education plus the violence suffered in racial brawls as the courts played musical schools?

    Well, we know how that works. In the liberal worldview, the only people who have a right to claim a “wrong” are members of liberal client groups (blacks, etc.). We might also note that conservatives do not bestir themselves much to support their own (working White) client base with quotas, set-asides and such. Even with Republicans dominating both houses of Congress, there never has been a national effort to repeal affirmative action, though this would (a) reduce the size of government; and (b) undermine the Democrats power base.

    Of course, for liberal (black, etc.) client groups, affirmative action has little to do with high falutin’ notions of “righting wrongs.” It’s about rent seeking and shifting the power equation. The Civil Rights revolution can be seen in Machiavellian terms as a shift in power relationships. Segregation was an ideological justification for White ascendancy. Affirmative action is an ideological justification for black ascendancy. It’s not about what’s “fair” or “just” or “right.” As in a one party African kleptocracy, blacks in America have the power and are not about to surrender it (a rational decision, by the way; it is Whites who give away the store and get nothing in return who have the problem with reality).

    Affirmative action has to be seen in the bigger picture of expanding liberal client group infrastructure – race based advocacy groups (subsidized by taxpayers and corporations); minority “studies” programs on campuses; the promotion of “diversity” indoctrination; and the flooding of first world countries with third worlders.

    If, as liberals claim, Whites got affirmative action under segregation, then we need to look at the relative outcomes. Compare America in the segregation era (1877-1954 at its extremes) to America in the post-Civil Rights Era (1965+). The former era saw the building of great industrial infrastructure, the creation of a viable working class, the rise of incredible scientific-technological achievements (atomic power, aerospace, the beginnings of cybernetics), and a standard of living which was the proverbial envy of the world.

    As for the latter, compare photos of Detroit in, say, 1940 with Detroit in 2017, then ponder which era was “right.”

    • Spencer Quinn
      Posted September 14, 2017 at 5:03 am | Permalink

      Thanks for commenting. I agree with your take. When I wrote that line, I should have put scare quotes around ‘historical wrongs’ since only our enemies use that term when attempting to shake us down. For example, no one is attempting to right ‘historical wrongs’ committed by the Chinese, Muslims, or blacks. Only with whites.

      • R_Moreland
        Posted September 17, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

        Affirmative action is an issue around which White Nationalists could organize “normies.” AA has caused considerable alienation among Whites, and the mainstream of the GOP has done little to fight it. Once people have been red pilled via this issue, they could be brought (with skillful propaganda) to see the bigger picture of White dispossession…and hopefully take action.

        Also, I mistyped the date of Plessy vs Ferguson: it was 1896, not 1986 (obviously!).

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