With the Supreme Court striking down affirmative action, I’m going to be talking about the main reason why I’ve always felt very uncomfortable with the concept of affirmative action. For those people who haven’t stayed up to date with American politics, affirmative action was an idea born out of the civil rights movement, where certain minority groups, in the case of America, African Americans, were given a priority, eg a certain privilege to get to jobs, to get to universities etc, so that overtime, via inequality they would be able to reach equity.
With that idea of affirmative action in mind, I would like to talk about the biggest reason for why I am very happy that affirmative action is gone. The reason why I dislike affirmative action is that it reduces equality and inequality to a mere form of teleology. If we’re thinking back about what affirmative action is, it’s about using a state of inequality to reach a certain end, which is a teleological framework. So why is that problematic? The problem with all teleological forms of arguments is that it makes the end a justification for the actions which are required, which means that instead of the action being good, it makes the end what determines the action. Now, you might be thinking, well, that is a very common way of thinking, my speaker is only good in so much as it makes sound.
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What’s so wrong about teleological thinking? I argue that teleological thinking is applicable for inanimate things. But it cannot be applied to broader ethical principles like equality, inequality, justice, and all these concepts. The reason for this is because for the most part, we believe equality should be something which is good intrinsically, regardless of what situations that it causes. Affirming affirmative action creates a very dangerous precedent, where you move what is intrinsically good away from equality, but rather to the end. Someone could come up with a completely different one and say, well, all right, inequality or equality can be justified via the end of economic development and prosperity. And that is clearly not a line that one wants to go down.
This is why I find affirmative action problematic!
For a full analysis of this topic, go check out our recent YouTube video which can be found here: https://youtu.be/Ck_zOn8OQzs
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