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The Modern State as an Occasion of Sin

by Jennifer Roback Morsevia Hoover Digest
Thursday, July 30, 1998

The usual defense of the welfare state? That whatever its economic inefficiencies, it accomplishes a great deal of good. Hoover fellow Jennifer Roback Morse begs to differ. A rigorous essay in economics—and moral theology.

Race, Culture, and Equality

by Thomas Sowellvia Analysis
Friday, July 17, 1998

In his remarks at the Commonwealth Club of California on June 18, 1998, Thomas Sowell discussed the conclusions he reached after spending fifteen years researching the economic and social impacts of cultural differences among peoples and nations around the world. This essay, Race, Culture, and Equality, distills the results found in the trilogy that was published during these years---Race and Culture (1994), Migrations and Cultures (1996), and Conquests and Cultures (1998).

The most obvious and inescapable finding from these years of research is that huge disparities in income and wealth have been the rule, not the exception, in countries around the world and over centuries of human history. Real income consists of outputs and these outputs have been radically different because the inputs have been radically different from peoples with different cultures.

Geography alone creates profound differences among peoples. It is not simply that such natural wealth as oil and gold are very unequally distributed around the world. More fundamentally, people themselves are different because of different levels of access to other peoples and cultures. Isolated peoples have always lagged behind those with greater access to a wider world, whether isolation has been the result of mountains, jungles, widely scattered islands or other geographic barriers.

Cities have been in the vanguard of cultural, technological and economic progress in virtually every civilization. But the geographic settings in which cities flourish are by no means equally distributed around the globe. Urbanization has been correspondingly unequally developed in different geographic regions--most prevalent among the networks of navigable waterways in Western Europe and least prevalent where such waterways are most lacking in tropical Africa.

If geography is not egalitarian, neither is demography. When the median age of Jews in the United States is 20 years older than the median age of Puerto Ricans, then there is no way that these two groups could be equally represented in jobs requiring long years of experience, in retirement homes or in sports. Even if they were identical in every other way, radically different age distributions would prevent their being equal in incomes or occupations.

Discrimination is also one of the many factors operating against equality. But even if all human beings behaved like saints toward one another, the other factors would still make equality of income and wealth virtually impossible to achieve.

Neither geography nor history can be undone but we can at least avoid artificially creating cultural isolation under glittering names like "multiculturalism."

Home Front

by Roger Sidervia Policy Review
Wednesday, July 1, 1998

Grand Rapids, Michigan, erects a large civic tent to strengthen marriage and families

El Millonario Next Door

by Tyce Palmaffyvia Policy Review
Wednesday, July 1, 1998

The untold story of Hispanic entrepreneurship

State of the States

by Steven Haywardvia Policy Review
Wednesday, July 1, 1998

State of the states: taxpayers reject stadium swindles; Boston-based charter school offers a lifetime warranty; spanking in the heartland, spoiling on the coasts

Liberalism’s Mean Streets

by Dan Coats, Spencer Abrahamvia Policy Review
Wednesday, July 1, 1998

How conservatives can reverse urban decline

Affirmative Action in Higher Education: A Dilemma of Conflicting Principles

by John H. Bunzelvia Analysis
Wednesday, July 1, 1998

As a university president in the 1970s (San Jose State) and then as a researcher and writer, Bunzel's long involvement with affirmative action in higher education has led him to conclude that the troubling issues of race and equality cannot be reduced to the easy categories of "right" versus "wrong." He objects to such moral absolutism (also reflected in California's Proposition 209) because it denies legitimacy to the inevitable complexities and nuances inherent in what he regards as a many-sided problem. Affirmative action in college admissions, he argues, must ultimately be viewed in relation to other competing principles and in light of many practical problems.

In trying to balance different claims and interests within a "theory of limits," Bunzel believes a more useful way to think about affirmative action is in terms of a "social contribution theory of universities." Thus he asks (among other questions), "Is some degree of race consciousness never defensible?" He does not think there is only one morally correct answer. Acknowledging that race has too often been considered excessively and sub rosa, he rejects both of the ideologically pure extremes--namely, that anything that overcomes the disadvantages of race is acceptable and that taking race into account is never appropriate under any circumstances.

On Self-Government

by Michael S. Joycevia Policy Review
Wednesday, July 1, 1998

Families, congregations, and civic associations are America’s "schools of liberty." Progressivism threatens them all

The New "Massive Resistance"

by Todd Gazianovia Policy Review
Friday, May 1, 1998

The Clinton administration defies the Constitution to save racial preferences

Beyond Quotas

by Roger Cleggvia Policy Review
Friday, May 1, 1998

A color-blind vision for affirmative action

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