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.
I guess I’m missing something. In the two cases cited in the article where is the government or bureaucrats involved?
I doubt either suit would have been filed if loser was required to pay court and attorney fees.
Tell us what we do while the Abomination of Desolation is in the White House and his running dog lackeys run the Senate.
Here's a thought for you ~ the Nixon, Ford and Carter regimes spent many millions of dollars fighting just me over three veterans preference issues that affected pretty much just me.
Now they didn't spend it all at once, and in fact there were no more than 3 or 4 lawyers on their side for most of the time, but then one day Marvin Runyon was talked into running an enormous RIF at USPS Headquarters and the Regional offices.
Thousands of people were displaced, and Veterans' Preference wasn't recognized.
Surprise, surprise ~ got together with the ringleaders of the resistance, got their lawyers' names, and sent them copies of my THREE CIVIL SERVICE WINS ~ and bingo, it cost you, the postage payer, and you other guys the taxpayers, well over a hundred million dollars to reinstate those folks properly and do it right.
You wouldn't have had to pay the costs if ONE GUY had given me an honest answer in 1972 ~ but, he didn't. I was just one guy, one veteran, and he thought I shouldn't have any special rights to be reinstated in my job after military service.
Well, just darn, ................
The government bureaucrats may be smart but the lawyers at Sears are clever ~ they snaked their way right out of the conflict, and that is always the cheapest way. Grease those squeaky wheels first.
Quite ironic that we have a republican form of government composed of (supposedly) three separate and independent branches which, as of this date, is run, almost entirely, by officers of the court i.e. lawyers!
” I guess Im missing something. In the two cases cited in the article where is the government or bureaucrats involved? “
[from the original article at the top of this thread]
“Federal Express paid $3 million to settle an employment discrimination case brought by the U.S. Department of Labor. “
You’re correct, I missed it. I still believe it would curtail abusive suits though. Bureaucrats in the Labor and other Depts would be reined in if not from higher ups then by fed judges. It would be worth a try but it won’t happen.
Sometime in the seventies, I believe, the notion of “de facto discrimination” was given life in the Federal Court. I believe it was Judge Jack B. Weinstein that gave birth to this succubus. In essence it says that, if there is a statistical disparity in the races in things like housing or employment then it will be assumed that discrimination is afoot and damages will flow. This has reprehensibly crept into present day life as accepted wisdom. Of course this does not hold true for the NBA, the NFL or The Nation of Islam.
It was in quotes.
Great post. When I went with the family to my S-I-L’s law school graduation, I believe I was the only who felt nervous around over 200 attorney’s and shook my head at the waste of brainpower.
” Quite ironic that we have a republican form of government composed of (supposedly) three separate and independent branches which, as of this date, is run, almost entirely, by officers of the court i.e. lawyers!”
Ironic and disgusting. Notice how they always exempt themselves from laws, and rules that we must abide by : )
Perfect! Thanks for posting!
” (Proper aim of giving is to put the recipient in a state where he no longer needs it. C.S. Lewis) “
NOT a waste of brain power : )
Wow. Sowell 2012!
See now, if we elected a black POtUS that would establish the precedent that discrimination is a thing of the past, and we could get away from all this skin-color malarky.Well, it sounded like a good theory . . .
You left out the CBC NAACP, and LaRaza.
Many liberals cling to the idea of the thoroughly disproved tabula rasa or blank slate theory where people are simply products of the environmnent where they grew up. Therefore, nobody really earned anything by themselves. Society (and big government) allowed these people to gain whatever they’ve gained, so if big government takes it away from them, it’s more than justified.
Bless Dr. Sowell. A modern day Prophet. BTTT.
You may have been kidding here, but I'd seriously love to see someone bring up a lawsuit like that on the basis that congress doesn't represent the diversity of occupations in the country.
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