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I think Paul nails it. And I think there are a lot of really misguided social engineers in these comments.

Treat people well and fairly, all along and throughout life, and let nature take it's course. Are things imbalanced right now? Absolutely. Is it because of unfairness in the past? Absolutely.

Can we speed things to being better by being unfair the other way now? Absolutely not. We create a Frankenstein of a 'better culture'.

I believe it is analogous (pun) to running pure sound through one equalizer that distorts it and then through another that tries to bring the sound back to true by using your ear. It sounds plausible, but it can never work.




> Can we speed things to being better by being unfair the other way now? Absolutely not.

Do you have any evidence for this? Because prima facie, reaching out to women does get some of them into tech fields, and we know that young women who grow up around women in tech are more likely to become such themselves. Are you claiming that we can't actually influence the number of women in tech by discriminating in their favor? Or are you just asserting that we shouldn't?

> I believe it is analogous (pun) to running pure sound through one equalizer that distorts it and then through another that tries to bring the sound back to true by using your ear. It sounds plausible, but it can never work.

OK, interesting metaphor, but you could say with equal gravity that it's like veering to the right and then correcting by turning left. The metaphors are a way to describe the truth we know, not derive it out of nothing.


I think the argument is that a society which is constantly discriminating against people one way or the other for "arbitrary reason X of historical importance to group Y" isn't the right way for society to work.

You might be able to get the ratio of men-to-women for a particular career field more even, or get more blacks through college, or whatever goal you feel is important accomplished. That's absolutely true and I won't argue with that.

But do the ends justify the means? Some people might argue no while I believe you would argue yes. The person you replied to was arguing no, at least as I read it.


I wouldn't say it's about ends justifying means.

More that I don't think you can achieve the harmony you seek. The reason I prefer my metaphor to the left/right driving one is that I intended to allude to the complex nuance involved. Like the sound metaphor: the more you meddle, the more you screw things up.

If I really believed the 'ends' that are sought after could be achieved -- hey sure, whatever means you want, knock yourself out. I guess it's a question of a broader view of 'ends'. I assume the goal is 'harmony and fairness', but if the goal is "X/Y ratio of men to women in A,B,C fields", then sure, I guess you can achieve that.


Are you prepared to argue that because my mother was discriminated against in the past based on her sex it's now moral to discriminate against me (male) because of my sex?

Either I quash your argument by showing you how my grandfather was sexual discriminated against (which would by the logic that made such an argument above make discriminating against my mother justified) or we have to say that it's OK to discriminate against my daughter because of her sex.

That may be a false dichotomy (please add alternatives) but I'm nonetheless not prepared to follow the route that leads to continued discrimination based on irrelevant characteristics.


The justification for affirmative action is not past discrimination itself, but its continued effects. Many groups have been discriminated against but recovered; there is no affirmative action for the Irish. For those that haven't, we use affirmative action. Thus, we wouldn't discriminate against your daughter entering tech unless men had in the meantime become ostracized as unmanly for pursuing tech, which is unlikely.




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