December 12, 2013

Fukuyama's "History of the World: Part II"

Awhile back I reviewed for The American Conservative Francis Fukuyama's intended magnum opus The Origins of Political Order, Volume I, a sort of unfunny History of the World: Part I. He now has a new article in The American Interest, presumably introducing volume II, on "The Decay of American Political Institutions." 

He contrasts unfavorably the judge and lawyer dominated American Constitutional system to the British parliamentary system where legislative and executive power are merged. I'm a patriotic American, but American idolization of the U.S. Constitution is overblown: After 225 years it has clearly proven a niche system in the global marketplace, with the British system being far more popular. 

One reason is that the quality of members of the British parliament tends to be considerably higher than the quality of members of the House. Nineteenth Century Continental visitors to London and Washington DC were enthralled by the superb drama of a "crowded house" while their opinion of Congressmen wasn't all that different from that of Americans today.

By American standards, the British system seems, on paper, strikingly authoritarian -- "the smack of firm government" as PM Harold MacMillan promised -- with few checks and balances. To Fukuyama, a national security intellectual in the tradition of his mentor Samuel Huntington, but without Huntington's deep intellectual (and genealogical) devotion to the historic American people, that's a feature not a bug. The parliamentary system designed to Get Things Done is inherently more attractive to Fukuyama than the U.S. system designed to Check and Balance.

For example, the concept of federalism barely exists in England. If you can assemble a majority in parliament, you can tromp all over local government structures. For example, Margaret Thatcher got tired of being criticized by the leftist mayor of London so she abolished the job of mayor of London. In the tradition of Airstrip One, Edward Heath junked many of the ancient counties of England and replaced them with new local units his boys thought more efficient. 

Now, the British have a culture where a lot of things are just not done, so this authoritarian aspect of their unwritten constitution isn't that apparent in practice. But still ...

On the other hand, it's not real clear how important these differences are. Fukuyama endorses the analysis of political economist Mancur Olson:
The late Mancur Olson emphasized the malign effects of interest group politics on economic growth and, ultimately, democracy in his 1982 book The Rise and Decline of Nations. Looking particularly at the long-term economic decline of Britain throughout the 20th century, he argued that democracies in times of peace and stability tend to accumulate ever-increasing numbers of interest groups that, instead of pursuing wealth-creating economic activities, make use of the political system to extract benefits, or rents, for themselves.

But Olson's example of the economic decline of Britain in the 1970s (and its subsequent revival) parallels the American experience at the same time, suggesting that structures perhaps matter less than ideas.

Here's an interesting passage:
One of the great turning points in 20th-century American history was the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision ... 
So familiar is this heroic narrative to Americans that they seldom realize how peculiar it is. The primary mover in the Brown case was the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a private voluntary association. The initiative had to come from private groups, of course, because state governments in the South were controlled by pro-segregation forces. The NAACP pressed the case on appeal all the way to the Supreme Court. What was arguably one of the most important changes in American public policy thus came about not because Congress, as the representative of the American people, voted for it but because private individuals litigated through the court system to change the rules.

(This example is more ambiguous than it sounds. Separate schools systems actually survived largely intact in much of the South for another 15 years, only being ended by the newly elected Nixon Administration, and that partially under the prodding of the courts. A decade and a half of rapid suburbanization between 1954 and 1969 gave many white parents a geographic buffer so desegregation wasn't as much of a shock as it would have been if the Warren Court had ordered instant desegregation in 1954. In 1968 Nixon carried Southern suburban precincts where modern corporate-oriented voters wanted to put all that Jim Crow stuff far behind them -- while Wallace carried white small town voters where distance wasn't an option, and Humphrey carried upland Southern districts with few blacks -- so the 1969 desegregation didn't hit Nixon voters too hard.)
Later developments, like the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, were the result of congressional action, but even in these cases enforcement was carried out by courts at the behest of private parties. 
No other liberal democracy proceeds in this fashion. All European countries have gone through similar changes to the legal status of racial and ethnic minorities, and women and gays in the second half of the 20th century. But in Britain, France or Germany, the same results have been achieved through a national justice ministry acting on behalf of a parliamentary majority. The legislative rule changes might well have been driven by public pressure, but they would have been carried out by the government itself, not by private parties acting in conjunction with the judiciary.

Actually, Fukuyama is overlooking the distinction between disparate treatment discrimination and disparate impact discrimination. Most other countries don't worry all that much about disparate impact, or at least haven't until decades after the Supreme Court's 1972 Griggs decision. Canada, for example, doesn't have affirmative action in college admissions. The last time I checked a couple of years ago, Oxford and Cambridge didn't have quotas and the failures of West Indian and Pakistani applicants were more or less a matter of indifference to them.

Brazil finally started collegiate affirmative action only about a decade ago. European countries seem more likely to have quotas for women (e.g., on Boards of Directors) than for ethnic minorities. This may slowly be starting to change under the sheer weight of demographic change and the American example. After the 2005 Car-Be-Ques outside Paris, Sarkozy talked about starting quotas for Muslims, for instance.

But, in general, Fukuyama's breezy assurance that "the same results have been achieved through a national justice ministry acting on behalf of a parliamentary majority" is quite misleading. He simply has a hard time keeping in his head the disparate treatment v. disparate impact distinction, which is hardly surprising. It's not something you are encouraged to think a lot about in modern America if you want a career as glittering as Fukuyama's.
The origins of the American approach lie in the historical sequence by which its three sets of institutions evolved. In France, Denmark and Germany, law came first, followed by a modern state, and only later by democracy. The pattern of development in the United States, by contrast, was one in which the tradition of English Common Law was embedded early on in the Thirteen Colonies, followed by democracy after independence, and only later by development of a modern state. Indeed, some have argued that the American state is Tudor in its basic structure, that arrangement having been frozen into its institutions at the time of the original American settlement.2 Whatever the reasons, the American state has always been weaker and less capable than its European or Asian counterparts. And note that distrust of government is not a conservative monopoly; many on the Left worry about the capture of national institutions by powerful corporate interests and prefer to achieve their desired policy outcomes by means of grassroots activism via the courts.  
The result in post-civil rights movement America is what the legal scholar Robert A. Kagan labels a system of “adversarial legalism.” While lawyers have always played an outsized role in American public life, their role expanded dramatically during the turbulent years of social change in the 1960s and 1970s. ... 
What makes this system so unwieldy is not the level of regulation as such, but the highly legalistic way in which it is pursued. ... 
For example, Federal courts rewrote Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, “turning a weak law focusing primarily on intentional discrimination into a bold mandate to compensate for past discrimination.” Instead of providing a Federal bureaucracy with adequate enforcement power, “the key move of Republicans in the Senate . . . was to substantially privatize the prosecutorial function. They made private lawsuits the dominant mode of Title VII enforcement, creating an engine that would, in the years to come, produce levels of private enforcement litigation beyond their imagining.”3 Across the board, private enforcement cases grew from fewer than a hundred per year in the late 1960s to more than 22,000 by the late 1990s. Expenditures on lawyers increased six-fold during the same period. Not only did the direct costs of litigation soar; other, more indirect costs mounted due to the increasing slowness of the process and uncertainties as to outcomes.  
Thus, conflicts that in Sweden or Japan would be solved through quiet consultations between interested parties through the bureaucracy are fought out through formal litigation in the American court system.

Well, the Japanese bureaucracy does indeed have a quiet system for solving discrimination: it doesn't let minorities who might be discriminated against into the country.
This has several unfortunate consequences for public administration, among them “uncertainty, procedural complexity, redundancy, lack of finality, [and] high transaction costs.”

For example, nobody has much of a clue how much America's War on Discrimination costs in terms of employee efficiency. There are multiple layers of obfuscation built into the system.
By estranging enforcement from the bureaucracy, the system also becomes far less accountable. In a European parliamentary system, a new rule or regulation promulgated by a bureaucracy is subject to scrutiny and debate, and can be changed through political action at the next election. In the United States, by contrast, policy is made piecemeal in a highly specialized and therefore non-transparent process by judges who are unelected and usually serve with lifetime tenure.

True ... but, let's consider Fukuyama's fundamental example of discrimination law. Enforcement has hardly been wholly privatized. The federal government has large staffs at the EEOC and the Department of Justice suing Americans (e.g., the Fire Department of New York case), often hand-in-glove with private interests or with political allies in local government. The fundamental problem with discrimination law in America is less the structure is suboptimal (although it is), but that a vast intellectual No Fly Zone has been erected over the area, with key facts relevant to policy making -- e.g., racial differences in average performance -- relegated to an epistemic purgatory the contents of which only Bad People know about. 

Here's a good example of this ever-encroaching ignorance right from Fukuyama's article:

Dr. Fukuyama repeatedly emphasizes, with good reason, the importance of the civil service reform of 1883 that ended the federal patronage system. He mentions "civil service examinations" as a basic tool of modern good government. After all, civil service examinations are a backbone of the kind of efficient, effective, and strong government that Dr. Fukuyama prefers. Part of having a competent Executive branch, as Fukuyama wants, is hiring competent Executive branch employees.

Strikingly, Fukuyama doesn't seem to be aware, however, that the Carter Administration junked the new and extensively validated federal civil service examination in early January 1981 in the Luevano discrimination lawsuit on the grounds that it had disparate impact on Hispanics and blacks. The Administration promised a new civil service examination on which non-Asian minorities wouldn't score lower while still accurately predicting who would be good hires. But it's been 32 years and somehow one has not yet been developed. 

Thus, according to the FAQ on Answers.USA.gov:
"Civil Service Exam -- There is no longer a single civil service exam to cover all government jobs. In addition, many jobs with the federal government no longer require written tests."

To middle aged guys like Fukuyama and me, the existence of a federal civil service exam sounds like a given -- I mean, why wouldn't they have one? But the younger generation can't remember it. And almost nobody remembers when or why it disappeared. For example, I'd never heard the story until 2007.

Much evidence suggests that poorer hiring methods of federal bureaucrats have since led to poorer bureaucratic performance. Thus, a fair amount of the ability of the federal bureaucracy to get things done quickly and effectively has been sacrificed on the altar of disparate impact.

I bring this example up to suggest that 21st Century America has more fundamental problems besetting effective governance than just those mentioned by Dr. F.

A simple question is: What would disparate impact law look like in the U.S. under a parliamentary supremacy system favored by Fukuyama? Presumably, it would be simpler, but what would it be? How would it deal with the brute fact of disparate achievement? At this point, pundits usually retreat to "All we have to do is fix the schools" and similar inanities.

So, while I'm sympathetic to Fukuyama's critique of the sacred cow status of the Constitution in American thought, it's seems -- just from his own examples -- that a larger and much faster growing problem is the sacred cow status of the concept of diversity.

52 comments:

IHTG said...

Good post. You're both right.

Anonymous said...

"intellectual no fly zone" - another great coinage.

Anonymous said...

too long

Whiskey said...

The Constitution is basically, dead. It no longer exists. The President can basically decline to enforce any law he likes, modify existing laws by executive order, and make up whole new ones by executive order. He can sign AND RATIFY treaties by executive order. He can get around the Senate Confirmation process by "Czars" ...

We don't have checks and balances. If we did, Congress for all its venality, and stupidity, would cut a bigger figure. It would restrain Presidents from doing things on their own. The Executive could not, for example, systematically punish by siccing the IRS on critics of ObamaCare (which Ace of Spades features today). In fact, the Executive can issue a Bill of Attainder, by deniable Executive Order. The Administrative Process is the punishment. And all answer directly and unaccountably to the President alone.

At any rate, America is too racially, regionally, culturally (even or especially among Whites), and otherwise diverse for a Parliamentary System to function. Otherwise you have states being made suckers and revolting in anger and despair. Indeed you could argue that Scottish, Basque, Corsican, and Wallonian Separatism are a function of the winner take all, no checks and balances, approach of Parliamentary systems.

Anonymous said...

You spelled his name wrong. I'ts "Fukyomama."

Anonymous said...

Much evidence suggests that poorer hiring methods of federal bureaucrats have since led to poorer bureaucratic performance.

I believe many Americans understand this, that's why there is opposition to government in the US performing activities that citizens of other countries take for granted. Many Americans realize their government is incompetent and prefer things be done in the private sector where the customer can choose amongst service providers. Of course, there are the other Americans that don't care about the quality of anything as long as it's free.

Thursday said...

Canada, for example, doesn't have affirmative action in college admissions.

Mostly true. They do have spaces set aside for First Nations (Indians) and Inuit.

Henry Canaday said...

One point in favor of Fukuyama: Diversity, quotas, affirmative action and such-like policies have done much better in invisible and unaccountable decision-making, such as is done by courts, or in settlements of litigation or by regulatory bureaucracies or by tenured civil servants or educators, than they have done in elections, referenda or open legislative votes. It is rather striking and depressing, that we have quota-like policies that have never polled a majority of voters, and for a long time did not poll even a majority of black voters, in any major jurisdiction, let alone the United States as a whole. And yet these policies are by now so firmly entrenched across the entire country that we may never get rid of them.

Like suppressed facts, invisible decisions can be very damaging.





Anonymous said...

While I do find these kind of grand theories of history and government interesting, I just cannot fathom how people like Fukuyama can continue writing these kind of things, pretending that the Western world is still in 1960.

The politics that should be studied are places like South Africa, Brazil and India, because their chaotic politics matches their chaotic ethnic relationships.

John Derbyshire said...

Tony Blair junked many of the ancient counties of England and replaced them with new local units his boys thought more efficient

That was Ted Heath.

David Davenport said...

Wasn't *The End of History and the Last Man* the book that made Mr. Fuku's reputation?

I skimmed that book years ago. Most of the book made the claim that the world had reached the end of history. The fall of the USSR showed that capitalism and liberalism, liberalism in the older, classical sense, were the only viable fortms of political economy left standing. Therefore we had reached the end of history.

But the last parts of Fukuyama's book switched gears into a celebration of Nietsche's Ubermensch, as opposed to the common, two-legged herd of "men without chests" at the end of history. The first and last parts of the book seemed disjoint and incongruent.

Did I fail to understand Fukuyama's book?

2Degrees said...

I have lived in New Zealand, Britain, Japan, Germany and Costa Rica. Everywhere in the Western world, the views of a small clique of internationalists are accepted and the rest of us can go to hell. The British Parliamentary system hasn't stopped the massive erosion of our liberties in the name of diversity. One man tweeted that his computer took so long to shut down that he was thinking of calling it Nelson Mandela. For that he was hauled off to the police station, questioned and had his DNA put on record.

Anonymous said...

""""
One of the great turning points in 20th-century American history was the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision ...
So familiar is this heroic narrative to Americans that they seldom realize how peculiar it is.
""""

Brown v Board of Education is also notable for depending on UNESCO's nonsensical statement on race. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin(friend's with both Dobzhansky and Huxley) and R.A. Fisher were both asked to sign it and refused.


"The last time I checked a couple of years ago, Oxford and Cambridge didn't have quotas and the failures of West Indian and Pakistani applicants were more or less a matter of indifference to them."

David Cameron actually wants(or wanted) to introduce them... I'm not sure what happened with that proposal.

"After the 2005 Car-Be-Ques outside Paris, Sarkozy talked about starting quotas for Muslims, for instance."

A wikileaks cable showed that the US State Department was trying to push France into embracing affirmative action.

http://www.discriminations.us/2011/02/u-s-attempts-to-export-affirmative-action-to-france/

Anonymous said...

You can argue forms of government all you want, but that is not the issue. The issue is the state. We can have government without a state but a state can't exist without government.

The state is proving itself a nuisance - not only for our quality of life, but for our very survival. I suspect that if a collapse occurs, the state will become defunct and a new (old?) form of political organization will come about.

If Streaters theory is correct, whereby we have outgrown our energy footprint, we will see a reversion to smaller, Swiss style cantons,as a template for political organiztion.

panjoomby said...

excellent point about the difference between disparate treatment & disparate impact - the latter is a catalyst to the downfall of this country.

peterike said...

I'd say in the years since WWII that the UK has degenerated significantly more in relation to its historical culture than America has. Despite whatever bankster fiat wealth exists in London, the UK is essentially a walking corpse. Their historically orderly culture is now chaotic; their stiff upper lip replaced with such pathetic emotionalism that Italians would be embarrassed by it; their strong Christian faith all but vanished; their sense of honor and propriety replaced with chavs and drunken sluts collapsing in the streets; and the nation awash in third world riff-raff with whites in terminal decline.

America has certainly done poorly in the same time frame, but I'd say the UK has fared worse, Parliament or not.

elvisd said...

Steve, these kind of reviews are where you really shine.

agnostic said...

"The politics that should be studied are places like South Africa, Brazil and India, because their chaotic politics matches their chaotic ethnic relationships."

Those places are a bit too exotic, when we have earlier stages in our own history to look at. Namely the period of rising inequality and political polarization in the lead-up to the Civil War through the tumultuous 1910s. Particularly in the South.

Whites make up 64% of the country today, and that's better than most of the South during the Gilded Age:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_African-American_population

Take the Reconstruction era, around 1870. North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina all had a higher percent of NAMs than the US does today.

We worry about "majority minority" status -- but that would have been familiar to South Carolina (1820-1930), Mississippi (1840-1940), and Louisiana (1810-1900).

Not until the Great Migrations circa 1910-1970 did blacks spread outside the South.

The Gilded Age and Progressive Era are the most relevant to us today, not really what's going on in South Africa. Unfortunately most Americans don't know anything about that period because there were no huge wars, other than WWI at the very end of the '10s.

In American history class, after the Civil War, it's like "Borrrinnng -- when's the next war?!"

We'd do well to familiarize ourselves with that time and place.

Luke Lea said...

Anyway, you got to dance with the Constitution what brung you.

Kgaard said...

Jeez ... I can't believe you made it through that book and created this (very good) post. I was thrilled with Fukuyama's "End of History" -- but everything he's written since then has just been boring as a bag of rocks. Is it just me or is that the way he does things?

Anonymous said...

At least in the American system, the president can not just declare war. He must ask the congress. In Britain the government does not have to ask parliament anything. It just declares war. The U.K.'s involvement in WW1 was almost entirerly due to just one man - Sir Edward Grey. His machinations secretly tied Britain to France without the knowledge of either parliament or the British people. In fact it was even worse then this. Since there could be no open formal alliance, the workings of Grey didn't even have the benefit of deterrence. An open alliance MIGHT have restrained the Kaiser in 1914.

Anonymous said...

I think the "checks and balances" approach has saved the US from a number of fads. For example, socialism in the early 20th century. Had there been a Parliamentary System in place I suspect Wilson or FDR would have gone even further overboard in setting up a centralized state, and any following administration would have been less successful in rolling it back.

Anonymous said...

"At least in the American system, the president can not just declare war."

Tell that to Gadfly.

dearieme said...

Does it much matter whether a nation fails by ignoring its Constitution (USA) or ignoring restraining conventions(UK)?

By the way, F's history is poor: "All European countries have gone through similar changes to the legal status of racial and ethnic minorities, and women and gays in the second half of the 20th century" certainly doesn't apply to Britain. The last change to the legal status of ethnic minorities that I can think of was Cromwell and the Jews (17th century). The big change for women was in the first half of the 20th century.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_Disqualification_(Removal)_Act_1919

slumber_j said...

The emphasis on inertia in the structure of US government has one especially pernicious effect: the accretion of just about everything. You need to generate an overwhelming will in the populace if you want to reverse any aspect of the State, and therefore you mostly don't get any such reversals. For every Welfare Reform under Clinton (with its Nixon-in-China overtones), we see multiple counterexamples just sitting there unresolvably: the turds-in-the-punchbowl of military budgets, entitlement spending, etc. etc.

If you're thinking critically about Checks and Balances in our Constitution, there's your problem right there.

Eric said...

Whiskey is right. The US Constitution is dead. When they aren't simply ignoring it, the judges change the meaning of plain text to suit their personal whims.

Dave Pinsen said...

Speaking of Denmark, the highest rated comment on Fred Wilson's post on Thursday was from a guy in Denmark who grew up in South Africa. After paying tribute to Mandela, he waxed on about how the Danish economic system was more equitable than America's.

Anonymous said...

BTW, James Q. Wilson pointed a lot of the deficiencies with the US political system back in 1989 with his book " Bureaucracy " which many people considered Wilson's best book. He famously quoted George Schultz's quip about the American politics " It's never over " In other words, the victors are never secure in their electoral victory.

Anonymous said...

Excellent, thought provoking post.

Thanks Steve

Nick - Pretoria

Anonymous said...

Middle-aged? Maybe if you lived to be 112. You're a hair's-breadth away from cutting tennis balls for your walker, old timer.


Anonymous said...

To get back to the original constitution start with ending the 17th amendment, ending direct election of Senators and return to them being appointed by state legislatures.

My other genius idea, move stuff in Washington DC outside Washington DC. For example move the supreme court to another city.

Allow Senators and Representatives to vote from anywhere, so they do not have to live in DC, or even travel there except for ceremonial events.

Anonymous said...

By the way, F's history is poor: "All European countries have gone through similar changes to the legal status of racial and ethnic minorities, and women and gays in the second half of the 20th century" certainly doesn't apply to Britain.

Yeah, I think that's true not only of Britain but the majority of European countries. The status Jews has sometimes been problematic, but it's not really comparable to what blacks went through in America, not least because the economic status of Jews has generally been above average. Also, in most places Jews could solve their problems by converting to Christianity. Religion rather than race or ethnicity has the major problem in Europe. There has generally not been legal segregation of non-whites in Europe.

Maxwell Power said...

The "red line" incident, among others, shows the presidency should be limited to 1 term, not to further mutate into a glorified national mayor, running to the nearest photo op to kiss hands & shake babies. At least a PM routinely justifies himself against ambitious peers

Maxwell Power said...

Peers in the American meaning

Marlowe said...

The firm smack of government was a phrase coined, by a sub-editor at the Daily Telegraph, for the title of an article attacking Harold Macmillan's immediate predecessor in the post of Prime Minister, Sir Anthony Eden:

"Less than a year after Eden had become Prime Minister there were whispers of discontent in the tea rooms of the Commons. A misjudged Cabinet reshuffle, which replaced [Rab] Butler at the Treasury with the feline Macmillan, did not help matters. Eden was perceived as weak, vacillating and insufficiently devoted to the economic concerns of the middle classes. To his critics on the back benches [MPs of his own party not occupying executive posts] and in the Conservative press, the heroic statesman famous for opposing appeasement in the 1930s had become a feeble PM who appeased socialism at home and Arab nationalism [President Nasser of Egypt] abroad. There were whispers that an 'Eden-must-go' movement was gathering strength, and in January 1956 a notorious Daily Telegraph article, entitled 'The Firm Smack of Government', sneered that Eden was capable only of 'smoothing and fixing'. Eden's characteristic speaking gesture, the writer noted, was to clench his right fist, punch it into his left palm for emphasis - only to stop at the last minute: 'the smack is seldom heard'."

-- Dominic Sandbrook, Never had it so good: a history of Britain from Suez to the Beatles, 2005

Marlowe said...

Oh dear, dearieme. No change in the status of minorities and women in British law since just after the Great War? It seems to have slipped his mind that Harold Wilson's Labour government ,1964-1970, legalized homosexuals, abortion and introduced no-fault divorce. After the interregnum of Ted Heath & the Tories, 1970-1974, Wilson returned and his government established the Race Relations Board, tasked with enforcing the new laws his party passed prohibiting racial discrimination and sex discrimination (against women only). Tony Blair & Gordon Brown's Labour government ,1997-2010, gave us extensions and enhancements of this legislation along with the Human Rights Act. No change indeed.

Big Bill said...

The Jews cut deals with the European rulers for hundreds of years that let them rule themselves--or rather let their ruling rabbis rule them. The rabbis entered into contracts with the princes that gave the Klal the right to punish their own people, to have their own legal system with their own laws, to control marriages, inheritance and enforce all contracts, to have a monopoly on certain business industries and even to be excluded from the draft. Their ghettos were not something they were forced into, but were free-standing legally protected commercial/ethnic/racial colonies. The notion of "individual rights" or "equality" as "citizens" of a "country" was as alien to the Jewish colonies as it was to everyone else back then.

And this, ultimately, is what the new China City USA projects and the sharia law movements are all about: creating self-ruled racial/ethnic/national colonies inside another country.

jody said...

canada has free everything for american indians. it's flat out wrong that they have no affirmative action. canada goes almost as far with american indians as australia does with aborigines.

despite these groups literally getting free everything, and i do mean free everything, they accomplish nothing, ever. so whenever i see the yearly episode of "Whites don't give them enough opportunity!" on CNN, i roll my eyes. if i say anything about it around family members, we get into a big fight (which i now cut short and just mostly avoid) about how in reality they get every opportunity in the world and actually you've been brainwashed through 50 years of conditioning to believe otherwise. the reason they have no money, don't own any businesses, have no accomplishments at all, is because they are dumb and lazy, period. in fact, cutting off their life long free ride courtesy of whitey might be the best thing you could do for them.

this makes me think about whether the treaties with the american indians in the US should be ended. mainly these serve to keep them on the reservation, poor, dumb, pathetic, and utterly dependent on either washington DC, or casino money.

jody said...

france does not even collect demographic information, according to what i've read. they'd have to start doing that first, before they could even introduce affirmative action. and that would go against their very deeply ingrained ideas about how "We're all French here."

Anonymous said...

To the liberal clown who thinks he is coming up with a clever response with those women becoming the heads of those sclerotic entities.

The fact that women are put in charge of something purely because they are a woman (because ultimately that is why they got the job) proves Sailors point not yours. The narrative is that women can run any institution as well as men, the evidence in the real world does not match that. Yet these unproductive appointments go ahead and the liberal cheerleaders believe this is a sign of dynamism and success.

Anonymous said...

"Middle-aged? Maybe if you lived to be 112. You're a hair's-breadth away from cutting tennis balls for your walker, old timer."

Middle age is not the age when you have lived half your life (think about it, was someone who lived only to 20 middle aged when he was 10 ?), rather it is the period after young adulthood and before old age. There is not single defined number but it generally is defined as somewhere between 35 to 65. Now that you have been taught some basic facts, I hope you will not make this same mistake again and make yourself look like a total ignoramus.

Geoff Matthews said...

What would disparate impact law look like under a parliamentary system?
In Canada, for most federal jobs, bilingualism is a requirement. There is a civil right to have government services in your own language. Consequently, many of the government positions are held by bilingual francophones. Quebec has a large proportion of voters, and political parties regularly pander to the province in order to 'buy' votes (and buy votes they do. Quebec has a disproportionate amount of federal funds sloshing around).
So, you would see political pandering, based on race, but that already happens. So really, not much difference.

David Davenport said...

If Streaters theory is correct, whereby we have outgrown our energy footprint, we will see a reversion to smaller, Swiss style cantons,as a template for political organiztion

If other theories are correct, the USA will go the way of the former USSR, with southern states playing the role of Ukraine.

Allow Senators and Representatives to vote from anywhere, so they do not have to live in DC, or even travel there except for ceremonial events.

Is it OK if a large block of Senators and Representatives vote from Richmond, VA?

Stilicho said...

Diversity: it's why you can't have nice things.

Anonymous said...

Canada may not have affirmative action, but the boys at CGI sure know what it takes to deal with the US government: lots of mulatto "vice presidents" to deal with the Americans. They may want to look at the disparate impact of their incompetence and hire a few more able white guys to code.

Anonymous said...

I'm beaming in late but I'd note a couple of things.

First, I don't really think Fukuyama has an especially good grasp of history, so I take his conclusions with a grain of salt.

Second, the British parliamentary system dates from 1688, the American congressional system from 1788.

Both are showing their age because both were created by and for a very different people than those who now inhabit Britain and the United States.

No system is eternal.

FYI: the US system of federalism has spread pretty far -- so while I'd acknowledge that the parliamentary system is more widespread, the US has nonetheless had some influence.

Anonymous said...

Re: Canada, for example, doesn't have affirmative action in college admissions.

Mostly true. They do have spaces set aside for First Nations (Indians) and Inuit.

Mostly untrue unless Canada is a completely different nation than the one I lived in the 1990s.

College admissions were influenced by affirmative action (called employment equity) and, because there were no traditionally disadvantage minorities in Canada (First Nations excepted) they were applied to immigrants and women.

McGill, Toronto, Queen's, Western and UBC, to name five good Canadian universities absolutely applied "employment equity" policies to their admissions.

I know -- I worked for the first two.

Anonymous said...

Re: "At least in the American system, the president can not just declare war. He must ask the congress. In Britain the government does not have to ask parliament anything. It just declares war. The U.K.'s involvement in WW1 was almost entirerly [sic] due to just one man - Sir Edward Grey."

Um, no. The cabinet (after two resignations) agreed to declare war and Parliament obliged. Had Parliament voted against the government, there would have been no British declaration of war.

A British Prime Minister cannot just declare war -- look what happened to Cameron over Syria.

When did Congress declare war on Vietnam?

Both systems have been seriously abused.

dcite said...

"Middle-aged? Maybe if you lived to be 112. You're a hair's-breadth away from cutting tennis balls for your walker, old timer.
"

It doesn't quite work in such a cut & dry manner. Age is not strictly chronological. Most people in their 50s-60s are apparently "middle aged" as we think of it conceptually. Old age begins at 70.
In the days when 29 was the average life span, you didn't call 15 yr olds "middle aged." They were young.
That said, a small percentage of people have always lived into their 70s,80s, 90s. Although there's a lot of bruhaha about the changing lifespan, it has only meant a change in the number of people living to the possible end of it, perhaps centarians. When we breach that -- then you can say we've changed the life span

Mr. Anon said...

"I'm a patriotic American, but American idolization of the U.S. Constitution is overblown: After 225 years it has clearly proven a niche system in the global marketplace, with the British system being far more popular."

I would not mind a parliamentary system if it were within the framework of a federal system with a written consitution that is difficult to alter. Having power distributed locally and having a system of government that is difficult to change is the greatest bullwark against the tyranny of a centralized government.

I wouldn't sell the Constitution short, Steve. If it weren't for the first amendment - not just the mere existence of it, but the lengthy tradition of it - you're website would quite likely have been outlawed already.

Mr. Anon said...

Apologies for the typo. That should have been "your website", not "you're website".

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