From the Mad House

Here’s a quote from the Mad House called Open Borders:

Imagine how mad you’d be if you even overheard someone with the cojones to actually say this in an interview! Someone claiming that a mere accident of birth that they had no control over – and for that matter places them in a category of substantial relative privilege – should entitle them (and it’s entitlement they’re claiming, make no mistake) to a job over a person that doesn’t have these purely unintentional qualities, but is equally qualified, harder working, and in greater need of the job would rightly make your blood boil. And if you think that would make you mad, imagine how much angrier you’d be at an employer who actually accepted that rationale and gave the job to this horrible person!

Let’s add one more to the list, shall we?

6. “You should give me the job because I was born in this country, and the other person wasn’t.”

Wait. Wait a minute – that one didn’t raise the hackles on the back of your neck, did it? In fact, the part of you that adapts to your society as a whole found that to be downright reasonable-sounding, didn’t it? Something’s definitely wrong here. Some essential wiring has been installed incorrectly. Say any of the first five things on the list in a job interview and not only can I guarantee you that you won’t get the job, but you’re very likely to start a physical fight with someone that overhears you. But say the sixth thing, and not only does it sound perfectly rational, but you sound like a damned patriot. They elect to public office people who say things like that. Of course, being the rational person that you are, you came through this little thought experiment realizing the truth: That if you can’t rationalize desert based on accidents of birth, then that applies to ALL accidents of birth.

My reply:

Let’s take this example: “You should give me the job because I’m more attractive than the other person.”

Imagine that you were hired by company X to interview applicants. One applicant gave the above reply. In contempt, you exclaim: “But what does that have to do with anything?!” The applicant responds: “This is a modeling agency….” If this happened, hopefully you would be chagrined. Why? You would originally have been morally outraged out of disdain for capricious and fickle selection — a disgust at the senseless. When the context was realized, however, the feeling would have dissipated as you recognized that the applicant’s response was perfectly rational given the company’s stated institution goal of making money; attractive models are an asset. You would have felt embarrassment for not considering this possibility. But, of course, if I explained the logic of native discrimination — that it makes sense given the institutional goal of a nation i.e., the well being of nationals — you would not be chagrined at all. Because you feel that the institutional goal itself is bad.


Now let’s back up and imagine that you knew nothing about your two interviewees. So you ask: “Tell me why I should give this job to you instead of the other candidate, given what you know about that person.” The interviewee replies:

0. “You should give me the job because I happened by accident of birth and circumstance to be more talented and so can better accomplish the job.”

And you think: Whoa, sounds pretty bad. We should tar and feather people in our society for saying that sort of thing.

But, in fact, you don’t think this. But why? Why is aptitude discrimination seen as legitimate yet not other forms of discrimination? Of course, the answer is: because this type of discrimination is seen as advancing legitimate goals. Those goals include being e.g., an economically competitive corporation. But the question is begged: why are other institutional goals seen as illegitimate?


But seriously, how many people have you fought over the 4/5th rule? None, I’m would imagine.

As for adverse impact, like affirmative action, I appreciate the logic. For whatever reason, people in the U.S. value diversity. That’s an institutional goal. As such, businesses and academic institutions are backhandedly forced (when they don’t do so willingly) to discriminate on account of race, ethnicity, and sex. If not, we would see far fewer Blacks and Hispanics in the Ivy Leagues, etc. To many people that would be a national tragedy.

Now, I don’t care for the practice myself — mostly because I don’t care for the rationalizations given (e.g., Ginsburg’s), but also because diversity so understood doesn’t ring my bells. However, I don’t pretend to not appreciate the logic. And when I argue against these policies, I do so narrowly — mostly against silly rationalizations, sometimes against this type of diversity as a goal for this particular country. I surely don’t work myself up into lather about what people do in this regards in e.g., the U.K. Compare this sensible approach with your zealous one — which leads, as said, to a reductio ad nil.


This all calls to mind a passage from Mitchell Heisman’s Suicide Note:

“Death is the biological fulfillment of the promise of equality; equality with the non-biological, physical world. Materialism beyond individualism leads to the equality of dirt and humans; consistent treatment between nonhuman and human worlds. The end logic of equality is the overcoming of all life boundaries, all distinctions, and all separations until Singularity or death.”

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10 Responses to From the Mad House

  1. Cheezus H. Christ, you people actually believe the stuff that drips from your mouths don’t you. Take a look at Amerikan history and tell me that it would in anyway be just if we went for the same position.

  2. The fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

    Do you have a link?

    Also, to the bozo from the first response, Jesus was crucified, not hung.

  3. Julian says:

    Christopher Chang has a number of interesting rebuttals to these open borders advocates. e.g.

    “Christopher Chang
    NOVEMBER 24, 2013 AT 12:08 AM
    “mostly natives are the problem”

    If so, I’m pretty darn sure totalitarian override of popular will is a “solution” worse than whatever problem you think is being solved. (And the primary job of country X’s government is to effectively tend to matters concerning country X’s people, not everyone in the world. That’s why it’s just country X’s government instead of an international government.) So, no, you’re wrong: it is sufficient for me to point out a common perception of a problem…

  4. panjoomby says:

    this “mere accident of birth” trope is ridiculous: one cannot be born to anyone other than their genetic parents – one’s distinct genome cannot occur without those specific parents. this trope signals a red flag for magical thinking – anyone beginning an argument with the premise that they could’ve been born to different parents elsewhere is a magical thinker & is not worth arguing with.

    • The fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

      Well, I think they are saying that they shouldn’t be penalized for an accident of birth.

      Of course, the IQ you are born with or grow up with is an accident of birth, the race you are born into, which affects those other two, etc, are all accidents of birth.

      But so what?

  5. A Guest says:

    In the South Puget Sound, two US representatives from the state capitol of Olympia (Sam Hunt and Chris Reykdahl) just issued an “education” newsletter:

    DREAM Act
    We passed the Dream Act! The Dream Act extends the opportunity for success to all students regardless of where they are from. It is our constitutional and moral obligation to educate all children in Washington who, through no fault of their own, are not citizens. …These students now get the opportunity to compete for financial aid.

    The first screaming problem with this is that most illegal immigrants in WA state are Mexican/Latino and do not “compete” for financial aid on equal footing with others, including, say, native-born blacks/whites or legally immigrated Asians. Also, they are not paying taxes into the funding pools as legals and non-Mexicans are, so these groups are doubly penalized.

    The other screaming problem is that my IQ of 150 is an “accident of birth” and I am penalized for it every time a stupider person is given preference in hiring for a competency-requiring job simply because they are brown or black or “native American” rather than white or Asian or Jewish.

    The real issue here is the Democratic party sucking up to new voter demographic. They have decided to elect a new THE PEOPLE in their own (i.e., 1960s) image.

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