Skip to comments.The Invincible Dogma (Thomas Sowell)
Posted on 04/02/2012 10:17:01 AM PDT by jazusamo
A long-standing legal charade was played out again recently, when Federal Express paid $3 million to settle an employment discrimination case brought by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Federal Express was accused of both racial discrimination and sex discrimination. FedEx denied it.
Why then did they pay the $3 million? Because it can cost a lot more than $3 million to fight a discrimination case. Years ago, the Sears department store chain spent $20 million fighting a sex discrimination charge that took 15 years to make its way through the legal labyrinth. In the end, Sears won if spending $20 million and getting nothing in return can be called winning.
Federal Express was apparently not prepared to spend that kind of money and that kind of time fighting a discrimination case. The net result is that the government and much of the media can now claim that race, sex and other discrimination are rampant, considering how many anti-discrimination cases have been "won."
At the heart of these legal charades is the prevailing dogma that statistical disparities in employment or mortgage lending, or anything else show discrimination. In both the Federal Express case and the earlier Sears case, statistical differences between the mix of the workforce and the population mix were the key evidence presented to show discrimination.
In the Sears case, there was not even one woman who worked in any of the company's 900 stores who claimed to have been discriminated against. It was all a matter of statistics and of the arbitrary dogma that statistical disparities show discrimination.
Once statistical disparities have been demonstrated, the burden of proof shifts to the employer to prove his innocence, contrary to centuries of legal tradition that the burden of proof in on the accuser.
No burden of proof whatever is put on those who argue as if there would be a random distribution of racial and other groups in the absence of discrimination.
Happenstances may be random but performances seldom are. Most people are right-handed but, among major league hitters with lifetime batting averages of .330 and up, there have been 15 left-handed batters and only 5 right-handed batters since the beginning of the 20th century. All the best-selling beers in the United States were created by people of German ancestry. Anyone who follows professional basketball knows that most of the leading stars are black.
Some years ago, a study of National Merit Scholarship finalists found that more than half were first-born children, even in five-child families. Jews are less than one percent of the world's population but they won 14 percent of the Nobel Prizes in literature and the sciences during the first half of the 20th century, and 29 percent during the second half.
It would be no problem at all to fill this whole column or this entire page with examples from around the world of gross statistical disparities in outcomes, in situations where discrimination was not involved. But those who take the opposite view that numbers show discrimination do not have to produce one speck of evidence to back up that sweeping conclusion.
Human beings are not random events. Individuals and groups have different histories, cultures, skills and attitudes. Why would anyone expect them to be distributed anywhere in a pattern based on statistical theories of random events? Much less make the absence of such a pattern become a basis for multimillion dollar lawsuits?
However little evidence or logic there may be behind the belief that an absence of random distribution shows discrimination, there are nevertheless strong incentives for some people to cling to that belief anyway. Those who lag behind whether educationally, economically or otherwise have every incentive to think of themselves as victims of those who are more successful.
Those who want their votes have every incentive to go along, or even to actively promote that idea. So do those who want to see issues as moral melodramas, starring themselves on the side of the angels against the forces of evil. The net result is an invincible dogma and a polarized country.
And from the “conservative” House we hear...nothing. Again.
Thanks for the ping to another great article by Dr. Sowell jaz.
Dr. Sowell bump.
It’s always a pleasure to read his clear and
I usually give Tom an A......once in a while an A+
Amen...Everyone is aware of this fiasco, some changes have to be made.
Dr. Sowell's clarity cuts right through all the "stuff," doesn't it?
Absolutely. I don’t know the number of lawyers on The Hill but between elected people and their staffs it’s a bunch.
And anyone who thinks that the government does not do EXACTLY the same thing is delusional!
Get out there and make some REAL political noise and see how long it is before the IRS comes down on you! Witness current events and the TEA party!
loser pays will help. Of course there are too many politicians that are lawyers to get it instituted
H.L. Mencken (1880-1956), "Breathing Space", The Baltimore Evening Sun, 1924
Mr. Mencken was EXACTLY right and nothing has changed!
Sadly, you’re right on. This IRS/Tea Party thing is criminal but the IRS will not be held accountable with the Obama/Holder conspiracy running things.
Yep, loser pays would put a screeching halt to most of the abuse but like you say, it won’t happen.
The House is controled by the pubbies. That doesn’t mean by conservatives. Sorry to break that to you ...
” loser pays would put a screeching halt “
You are aware, aren’t you, that “loser” in this context will be you and me and every other taxpayer??
Bureaucrats who do the deeds have no skin in the game...
“ All the extravagance and incompetence of our present Government is due, in the main, to lawyers, and, in part at least, to good ones. They are responsible for nine-tenths of the useless and vicious laws that now clutter the statute-books, and for all the evils that go with the vain attempt to enforce them. Every Federal judge is a lawyer. So are most Congressmen. Every invasion of the plain rights of the citizens has a lawyer behind it. If all lawyers were hanged tomorrow, and their bones sold to a mah jong factory, wed be freer and safer, and our taxes would be reduced by almost a half.
H.L. Mencken (1880-1956), Breathing Space, The Baltimore Evening Sun, 1924-08-04. Reprinted in A Carnival of Buncombe. -
If H.L. were to come back alive today, he would die of a heart attack very quickly.
144 posted on Monday, April 02, 2012 11:01:44 AM by stephenjohnbanker
On a different thread at almost the same time.....amazing : )