Sunday, March 16, 2008

Licensing regulations are the new Jim Crow laws

I learned how lack of liberty creates poverty while rehabilitating low-income housing. One day, a city official called to ask me to evict two of my tenants. "One woman," they told me, "is sewing curtains for businesses in her apartment. Another is providing day care!" "That's how they make their living," I replied. "It's illegal," the sputtering bureaucrat continued. "Your apartments are zoned residential, not commercial. Even if we were to generously grant a variance, those apartments would have to undergo expensive remodeling. Neither of these women has paid us for a business license, either."

"Look," I countered, "These women are struggling to stay off welfare. They aren't hurting anybody, creating extra traffic, or breaking their lease; I'm not going to evict them. That would be cruel!" The bureaucrat backed off, but not for long. A few weeks later, the women came to me and tearfully explained that they had been threatened with court action, fines, and possibly even imprisonment. Both succumbed to the pressure, went on welfare, and became permanently ensnared in the poverty trap. Where's the compassion in that? Where's the love for those struggling to survive? Establishment politicians and bureaucrats say they are the friends of the poor, but actions speak louder than their words.

Libertarian Steve Mariotti learned a similar lesson when he began teaching inner city high school students how to start their own businesses. Steve had been mugged for the paltry sum of $10. As he recovered from his injuries, he started the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) to teach inner city teens how to become successful businessmen and women instead so that they wouldn't have to steal. As part of NFTE's program, national awards are given each year for the most successful young entrepreneurs. In 1993, one of the awards went to fifteen year old Monique Landers of Kansas who had started her own hair braiding business called "A Touch of Class."

While libertarian Steve Mariotti honored this young black businesswoman, the Kansas state government wanted to put teen age Monique in jail. Why? Monique didn't have a state cosmetology license. The license isn't required to protect the consumer; it's not against the law in Kansas to braid hair. It's only against the law to charge for it.

Throughout our nation, entrepreneurial African-American hair braiders have been threatened with criminal prosecution. The cosmetology license that they supposedly need requires about 1 year of schooling at the cost of several thousand dollars--time and money that many would-be entrepreneurs just don't have. To add insult to injury, very few cosmetology schools even teach students African-American braiding techniques.

The regulations that put minorities and the disadvantaged out of business and on to the dole are too numerous to count. Many locales forbid auto owners to provide taxi or van service to their neighbors unless they pay thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars, for the permit. In some areas, newcomers are routinely denied permits no matter how much they are willing to pay.

In Atlanta, homeless man Ronnie Forston was arrested seven times in eighteen months. His crime: shining shoes without a license. The license itself cost $175. Ronnie also needed a vendors permit, but the city wasn't granting any. Even if they had been, Ronnie wouldn't have qualified because, as a homeless man, he didn't have an address. He probably couldn't have gotten a welfare check either, since a home address is usually required for that as well. That's why you don't see government social workers out helping the homeless. The poorest of the poor have virtually no access to the welfare dollars collected in their name.

Naturally, the homeless turn to the private sector for help-when regulations don't stand in the way. The good sisters from the Missionaries of Charity, the order of nuns that Mother Teresa founded, purchased two abandoned buildings in New York City, to create shelters for the homeless. The city approved their building plans. However, once the renovation began, city inspectors insisted that the nuns spend an additional $100,000 on an elevator. The good sisters didn't want to spend that much money on something that wouldn't really help the poor, but the city stood firm. The Missionaries of Charity had to abandon the project. The street people of New York City, who would have enjoyed the shelter, even without the elevator, were literally left out in the cold. Where's the compassion in that? Where's the love for the homeless? Establishment politicians and bureaucrats say that they want to help the poor, but actions speak louder than words.

Excess regulations hurt the disadvantaged by destroying jobs, channeling welfare away from the needy, and thwarting private sector efforts to give them aid. Since minorities are usually the most disadvantaged among us, these regulations constitute the hidden roots of modern racial discrimination. They are the face of the new Jim Crow, so subtle, so hidden, that only a few of the black leadership, such as libertarians Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell, recognize the wolf in sheep's clothing.

Who will step forward and help the minorities fight the new Jim Crow? Not the Democrats and Republicans; both parties support and enforce such regulations. Establishment politicians and bureaucrats say that they want to help minorities, but actions speak louder than words. Only among libertarians do minorities find champions of their right to make an honest living.

Among the most successful of these champions is the Institute for Justice, the nation's premiere libertarian public interest law firm. For the past decade, the Institute for Justice has racked up an impressive number of landmark victories defending-pro bono-hair braiders, van operators, taxicab drivers, and other victims of excess regulation. Columnist George F. Will described the Institute for Justice as a "merry band of libertarian litigators." Why are the Institute's lawyers having such fun? It's a real high destroying poverty and economic discrimination at their roots! Actions speak louder than words!



Prof. Rubin below wisely confines his discourse to widely-known facts and experiences within his own family but there are other facts that are even more distrurbing. The Nazi salute being given by Hezbollah men in the picture is no coincidence. As Prof. Kuenzel documents at length, the Arabs and Hitler got on famously in Hitler's day and Nazi ideology simply did not die out in Arab lands after Hitler's defeat. The salute comes directly from Hitler. The Arab Jihadists are not neo-Nazis but rather surviving Nazis

By Barry Rubin

"Comparing contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis is increasingly commonplace." --U.S. State Department report on antisemitism, 2007.

Let's talk about the Nazis. There should have already been more than enough discussion about this in the more than half-century since Adolf Hitler's bunker fell in 1945. There have been hundreds and thousands of books, articles, speeches, and so on about what is commonly known as the Holocaust. But apparently it hasn't been enough, or well enough understood.

The Nazis were not just mean people. They had an explicit doctrine of being superior human beings and of the Jews and others (especially Slavs and non-white peoples, except for their ally, Japan,) of being sub-humans who should be wiped out. Homosexuals and Gypsies would all be killed. Germany would rule the world.

This does not resemble Zionism. To put it bluntly, Zionism as an ideology has absolutely no interest in the world as a whole. It focuses only on building a Jewish state in the land of Israel. It has no interest in defining any other group of people, no global perspective. It has never even argued that Jews are better but only that Jews are a people with the same rights as other peoples. The concept is on asserting Jewish equality, not superiority.

There is, however, an ideology which does have a lot in common with Nazism, though there are also of course differences. Radical Islamism claims that other religions are inferior, that the people who hold them are evil, that Jews and Christians are evil, and that Islam should rule the world. The Hamas Charter quotes a source on this point: "You are the best community that has been raised up for mankind..Ignominy shall be their portion" of non-Muslims unless they convert to Islam."

If it doesn't seek the extinction of all Jews in the world, it favors the elimination of at least half (those in Israel) and the large part of the other half that supports Israel. The Hamas Charter says that only by killing all the Jews can the messianic era come and that Jews are the cause of all the world's problems. Oh, yes, and it also calls Israel a "Nazi-like society." Mind you, these are the people controlling the Gaza Strip, firing rockets daily at Israel, teaching their children by television and in the classroom that killing Jews is their highest duty and honor, sending gunmen to murder Jewish students deliberately, and then celebrating that fact.

Let's return, however, to the original and self-described Nazis to get a sense of what it means to have a Nazi policy. My father's family comes from the village of Dolginov which was in Poland, a few miles from the Russian border. Most of the inhabitants were Jews. By 1941, there were nearly 5,000 Jews in Dolginov, about half had lived there for centuries, the other half were refugees from the part of Poland already under German rule. On June 22, 1941, the Germans invaded the USSR and they entered Dolginov six days later. No one in Dohinov had a gun. No one fired a single shot at a German soldier.

What was the Nazi policy? All the Jews were forced into a ghetto. On March 3, 1942, the Germans murdered the rabbi and 22 other men. On March 28, about 800 Jews were killed. Between April 29 and May 1, all the rest of the Jewish inhabitants, except for a few who were kept temporarily as workers, were shot and thrown into a big ditch. The rest were murdered on May 21. Of 5,000 Jews then living into town, 96 percent were killed deliberately and systematically. And if the Nazis had their way it would have been 100 percent.

The only survivors were about 200 people who had fled into the forest, wandered for days, and finally had the luck to meet up with a Red Army patrol. They were taken to safety in Siberia for the rest of the war. Virtually all of them came to Israel, where they rebuilt their lives. Today, these people and their descendants have the privilege of being compared to the Nazis by large parts of the world, including many who enjoy privileged lives in democratic countries.

This is my great aunt's family on my grandfather's side. Haya Doba Rubin, her husband Aharon Perlmutter, and their two sons, Haim who was 12 years old and Jacob who was 10 years old were murdered. No survivors. This is my great uncle's family on my grandmother's side. Samuel Grosbein married Rivka Markman and they had two children, Leah Rivka, 18 years old, and Lev, 23 years old. All of them were murdered on the same day. No survivors. Here is the family of my great aunt on my grandmother's side. Rahel Grosbein married Yirimayahu Dimenshtein and they had two children, Moshe, 21 years old and Tova, 16 years old. The first three were murdered on the same day. Only Tova survived because she had fled into the forest. That is what a Nazi policy is like. Multiply that by six million for the Jews alone and more for the Poles, Gypsies, homosexuals, and others.

Let's compare this with a conventional Western democratic war-fighting policy. The goal here is to defeat the enemy army but it has been permissible to strike against the economy and infrastructure as well. There is no intent to kill civilians but they may be hit by accident. During World War Two, U.S. and British warplanes engaged in carpet bombing of German and Japanese cities as well as factories where civilian workers were employed. Tens of thousands of French civilians were killed in raids on occupied France. To my knowledge, no Allied soldiers were punished for killing civilians by accident or through carelessness. Nobody was court-martialed for shooting prisoners.

Israeli policy is far more careful to avoid injuring civilians. Most airstrikes are against specific buildings or even individual automobiles. Civilian bystanders have been killed yet far fewer proportionately than has been true for, say, the U.S. or French armies. Soldiers have been tried and punished for actions which, at least in the recent past, would have been ignored in Western armies.

There is no instance I know of in which Israeli units opened unlimited fire on a crowd, even when rocks were being thrown or shots fired against them. Individual targets were picked out. Unarmed people were killed but not deliberately and in small numbers. If Israelis were as their enemies picture them to be, there would be hundreds of Palestinians killed in a single day, tens of thousands in a year. Thus, even if Israel has been held to a double standard, its record has been better than that of even Western counterparts. Only by lying about that record-the norm in the Arabic-speaking world and all-to-common in the Western one-can it be made to seem terrible.

We need only remember what the Nazis believed and did, what Israelis believe and do, and what their enemies believe and do. It should not be so hard to understand the distinctions.


"Diversity training" can be counterproductive

Most diversity training efforts at American companies are ineffective and even counterproductive in increasing the number of women and minorities in managerial positions, according to an analysis that turns decades of conventional wisdom, government policy and court rulings on their head.

A comprehensive review of 31 years of data from 830 mid-size to large U.S. workplaces found that the kind of diversity training exercises offered at most firms were followed by a 7.5 percent drop in the number of women in management. The number of black, female managers fell by 10 percent, and the number of black men in top positions fell by 12 percent. Similar effects were seen for Latinos and Asians.

The analysis did not find that all diversity training is useless. Rather, it showed that mandatory programs -- often undertaken mainly with an eye to avoiding liability in discrimination lawsuits -- were the problem. When diversity training is voluntary and undertaken to advance a company's business goals, it was associated with increased diversity in management.

The origins of diversity training trace back to the civil rights movement and the belief that education, sensitivity and awareness are key to reducing discrimination. While many companies have embraced such training as a way to make workplaces more inclusive and to cater to an increasingly diverse customer base, trainers and researchers note that other companies use "sensitivity training" superficially -- as a cosmetic response to complaints from internal and external critics.

Today, U.S. businesses spend from $200 million to $300 million a year on diversity training, but the new study is one of the first attempts to systematically analyze its impact. What it found is that programs work best when they are voluntary and focus on specific organizational skills, such as establishing mentoring relationships and giving women and minorities a chance to prove their worth in high-profile roles.

"When attendance is voluntary, diversity training is followed by an increase in managerial diversity," said Alexandra Kalev, a sociologist at the University of Arizona, who led the research. "Most employers, however, force their managers and workers to go through training, and this is the least effective option in terms of increasing diversity. . . . Forcing people to go through training creates a backlash against diversity."

Kalev said many trainers and executives told her they were not surprised by her findings. What this means, she said, is that many companies are not just pursuing poor policies, but are doing so even though their own experts know the training is ineffective or counterproductive.

Several experts offered two reasons for this: The first is that businesses are responding rationally to the legal environment, since several Supreme Court rulings have held that companies with mandatory diversity training are in a stronger position if they face a discrimination lawsuit. Second, many companies -- with the implicit cooperation of diversity trainers -- find it easier to offer exercises that serve public relations goals, rather than to embrace real change.

"They are more symbolic than substantive," said Lauren Edelman, a University of California professor of law and sociology, who independently reviewed Kalev's study. "It is a response to the general legal environment and the fact organizations copy one another."

Longtime diversity trainer Billy Vaughn said the results match what he has seen in practice. Vaughn is the co-founder of the national firm Diversity Training University International, which has been hired by organizations including wireless phone giant Qualcomm and the Central Intelligence Agency. "If they are doing it for legal protection, they don't care" whether the training works, he said. It was hardly surprising that training could have counterproductive effects, he added, when the attitude often is, "Just do it, and just do it as cheaply as possible."

Kalev's latest research, which is not yet published, is the second comprehensive analysis that she and her colleagues have done. Her initial study, published in 2006 in the American Sociological Review when she was at the University of California at Berkeley, was the first systematic assessment of diversity training. It found that such training had minimal benefits.

Her new work sought to tease apart what works from what does not. Both studies compared reports that companies filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission about the number of women and people of color in management positions with survey data about whether the firms offered diversity training.

All companies with more than 100 workers and federal contractors with more than 50 workers must submit the EEOC reports. To encourage participation in her survey, Kalev promised not to disclose the names of the companies. "Executives must treat diversity like any other business goal and put someone in charge," Kalev said. When companies believe diverse workplaces give them a competitive advantage, they go beyond cosmetic changes. Companies that appointed task forces with the authority and responsibility to increase diversity in top jobs saw the number of female managers increase by 14 percent, the number of black women rise by 30 percent and the number of black men rise by 10 percent.

Clay Osborne, vice president of human resources and diversity at Bausch & Lomb, based in Rochester, N.Y., said the findings matched what his own company has discovered. Programs that work, he said, focus on the business advantages that come with diversity of thought, and that requires having people with diverse backgrounds. "Most successful ventures in companies are tactics that help improve the bottom line," he said. "To the extent you can get diverse programs and initiatives into that model, you can minimize backlash."

Frank Dobbin, an organizational sociologist at Harvard and one of Kalev's co-authors, said narratives about interpersonal conflict that are sometimes featured in "sensitivity training" can be counterproductive. For one thing, he said, they upset many people, who then actively resist change. But more important, he said, they downplay the importance of organizational structure in embracing -- or resisting -- long-term change.

Women and minorities often fail to get ahead, he said, because people tend to form social groups with others who are like themselves -- and many managers are simply unaware of the talent in their own organizations. Policies that require or explicitly encourage managers to meet with subordinates in different departments can alert managers to talented employees with different social and ethnic backgrounds and help younger employees figure out what they need to do to get ahead.

Marc Bendick, an economist who researches diversity at Bendick and Egan Economic Consultants in the District, said his surveys suggest there is a role for conventional sensitivity training. But he agreed that the training is likely to be effective only in the context of an organization genuinely interested in cultural and structural change. "If you ask what is the impact of diversity training today, you have to say 75 percent is junk and will have little impact or no impact or negative impact," Bendick said.


Buffoonery in "The Guardian"

Writing about David Mamet's rejection of "brain-dead liberalism" in the Guardian (commented on yesterday in Media Blog), columnist Michael Billington offers this groaner on Glenngary Glen Ross:

Given his new-found conservatism, I doubt he could ever write a play riddled with such moral ambiguity

For the brain-dead leftist, it is carved in stone that conservatives are immune to moral ambiguity. This is pure jackassery. Is there anybody walking the Earth who is more morally assured of himself than Al Gore? Anybody who suffers from more moral certitude than Mr. Gore's slavish followers, who insist that their program-and that alone-is the necessary condition of human survival? Anybody remember progressive hero Peter Gabriel singing "I get so tired, working so hard for our survival?" Name Hillary Clinton ring a bell? Ever walked across a U.S. college campus? Read the Guardian? Checked out the latest cover of Rolling Stone?

There's no irony on that cover or in the article. Only hagiography.

In my experience, every red-diaper baby socialist patchouli sponge worth his organic tofu dreadlocks acts, talks, and thinks as though he is in a battle against Absolute Evil. Not the least of these is Mr. Billington himself, who begins his column: "I am depressed to read that David Mamet has swung to the right" and ends it with a lament that Mamet's political beliefs are apt to corrupt his literary talent. Which is to say that he is bothered by the fact that a man he does not know does not share his political beliefs, and he regards beliefs contrary to his own as so corrosive that they will untalent a talented writer. He suffers from no moral ambiguity in his assessment of Mamet's politics.

Conservatism assumes that the world is necessarily imperfect, that our institutions are imperfect, and that mankind is inescapably morally compromised. These brain-dead leftists have, apparently, never heard of T.S. Eliot, Russell Kirk, Evelyn Waugh, Burke, Tom Wolfe, Disraeli, or V.S. Naipaul, no doubt having immersed themselves in the finely shaded realism of Marx and Foucault.

Anybody who ever had a single serious thought about U.S. foreign policy under Reagan or George W. Bush ought to appreciate that conservatives are intimately familiar with moral ambiguity. I know, it's the Guardian, and I shouldn't take it seriously. But conservatives shouldn't allow cartoon versions of our ideas to displace our actual ideas.

Source. See Ace for more.


Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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