Thursday, April 3, 2014

Women Have Their Own Agendas, and If These Agendas Do Not Usually Include Computer Engineering, What Is to Be Done?

By Thomas Sowell

It seems as if, everywhere you turn these days, there are studies claiming to show that America has lost its upward mobility for people born in the lower socioeconomic levels. But there is
a sharp difference between upward "mobility," defined as an opportunity to rise, and mobility defined as actually having risen.

That distinction is seldom even mentioned in most of the studies. It is as if everybody is chomping at the bit to get ahead, and the ones that don't rise have been stopped by "barriers" created by "society."

When statistics show that sons of high school dropouts don't become doctors or scientists nearly as often as the sons of Ph.D.s, that is taken as a sign that American society is not "fair."

If equal probabilities of achieving some goal is your definition of fairness, then we should all get together — people of every race, color, creed, national origin, political ideology and sexual preference — and stipulate that life has never been fair, anywhere or any time in all the millennia of recorded history.

Then we can begin at last to talk sense.

I know that I never had an equal chance to become a great ballet dancer like Rudolph Nureyev. The thought of becoming a ballet dancer never once crossed my mind in all the years when I was growing up in Harlem. I suspect that the same thought never crossed the minds of most of the guys growing up on New York's lower east side.

Does that mean that there were unfair barriers keeping us from following in the footsteps of Rudolph Nureyev?

A very distinguished scholar once mentioned at a social gathering that, as a young man, he was not thinking of going to college until someone else, who recognized his ability, urged him to do so.

Another very distinguished scholar told me that, although his parents were anti-Semitic, it was the fact that he went to a school with many Jewish children that got him interested in intellectual matters and led him into an academic career.

All groups, families and cultures are not even trying to do the same things, so the fact that they do not all end up equally represented everywhere can hardly be automatically attributed to "barriers" created by "society."

Barriers are external obstacles, as distinguished from internal values and aspirations — unless you are going to play the kind of word games that redefine achievements as "privileges" and treat an absence of evidence of discrimination as only proof of how diabolically clever and covert the discrimination is.

The front page of a local newspaper in northern California featured the headline "The Promise Denied," lamenting the under-representation of women in computer engineering. The continuation of this long article on an inside page had the headline, "Who is to blame for this?"

In other words, the fact that reality does not match the preconceptions of the intelligentsia shows that there is something wrong with reality, for which somebody must be blamed. Apparently their preconceptions cannot be wrong.

Women, like so many other groups, seem not to be dedicated to fulfilling the prevailing fetish among the intelligentsia that every demographic group should be equally represented in all sorts of places.

Women have their own agendas, and if these agendas do not usually include computer engineering, what is to be done? Draft women into engineering schools to satisfy the preconceptions of our self-anointed saviors? Or will a propaganda campaign be sufficient to satisfy those who think that they should be making other people's choices for them?

That kind of thinking is how we got ObamaCare.

At least one of the recent celebrated statistical studies of social mobility leaves out Asian Americans. Immigrants from Asia are among a number of groups, including American-born Mormons, whose achievements totally undermine the notion that upward mobility can seldom be realized in America.

Those who preach this counterproductive message will probably never think that the envy, resentment and hopelessness they preach, and the welfare state they promote, are among the factors keeping people down.

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is author of Intellectuals and Race


  1. Great that you accept that life is not fair. Why all the whining about rich people getting picked on? Life is not fair. The mob voted in politicians who will take their money and redistribute it. Get over it already. Life is not fair. Practice what you preach.

    1. Jerry, you are a troll and probably fat with a neckbeard.

      But that aside, there is a moral difference between unfairness that is driven or supported by violence and aggression, and "unfairness" that is driven by random chance as it applies to biological characteristics, where you were born, etc...

    2. Of course life is not fair. You have to get paid by the Obama administration to troll. You can't do anything else. So not fair.

    3. Cry some more

    4. Jerry,
      You are equivocating "life is not fair," a statement about nature (such as that two people are not born with the same innate abilities ), with a statement about the fairness of using violence to take money away for a certain subset of the population. The two types of fairness are not the same and cannot be compared. One is a statement about nature's fairness. The other about the fairness of using violence. You've committed an equivocation fallacy.

  2. The quality of Jerry's posts is deteriorating. This one makes no sense at all. Since there's obviously no denying Sowell's point, he is reduced to incoherent nothingness, totally irrelevant to the article.

    1. lol, that's not very PC of you Tom.

      The correct terminology should be "communication challenged". Don't be a brutalist about it.

      We all knew he was "logically deficient", but as you pointed out, his coherence seems to be breaking down as well. Perhaps it's due to the daily mental strain involved with cognitive dissonance.

    2. He's a member of the intelligentsia, and the moon is still just a waxing crescent. Give him a week or so to recover more of his usual energy.

      It's by the what that there will be a total lunar eclipse this month, on the night of the 14th - 15th, in fact. I don't know what Wolfgang's location is, but I'm guessing N. America. So, he's due for severe trauma just as his powers should be reaching their peak.

    3. Nick, you show that all it takes is one intellectual to take libertarianism down. Thanks for your high quality comments full of arguments and supporting logic and evidence.

    4. I've flattered by your comment and appreciate it greatly. Thank you ghst6149.

    5. Tom, you terrible, wicked Brutalist. Comrade Jerry can't be on his "A game" all the time. After all, it takes an immense amount of brainpower to come up with justifications for our overlords takeover... er.... for Social Justice to move forward. He'll be back to form in due course, I'm sure.

    6. "I don't know what Wolfgang's location is, but I'm guessing N. America."

      More like Trollville.

    7. Tom, in all seriousness, how is it possible that Jerry's posts are deteriorating? Your statement implies that his posts had some level of mental acumen to begin with and I must disagree.

  3. Ahh, the articles of sort Thomas Sowell mentions spur my favorite rant. I will do the very very short version:

    Problem: There aren't enough (whatever) americans going into engineering, whatever shall we do?
    Unmentioned solution: Better working conditions, better pay, more vacation, all the things that attract people to a profession.

    While the job may be rocket science, it's not rocket science how to attract people to it.

  4. It's funny these people who say there aren't enough women/gays/blacks/etc. in some chosen profession/ location/ etc. don't say anything about the opposite side. For example I've never once heard someone say there aren't enough male kindergarten teachers and someone must do something about it (I think I read it's 97% women kindergarten teachers), but if the ratio of men to women in high level physics isn't 50-50, something must be done!!

    In Boston now the big news with the new mayor is that he hasn't hired enough blacks/latinos/gays/women, etc. to meet some magical ratio approved by the lefty do-gooders.

  5. Did you ask for Sowell's permission to publish this whole piece or did you steal it like a hypocrite?

    1. Whenever I run anyone's full column, I either have permission to publish it or I pay a syndication fee. For Pat Buchanan, Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams and Larry Kudlow, I pay syndication fees for the right to publish their columns at EPJ.

    2. AnonymousApril 3, 2014 at 7:38 PM I hope you apologize to Robert for insinuating he is a thief or a hypocrite. I won't hold my breath.

  6. @Anonymous at 7.38
    He credited the man, so where does the "theft" occur?
    The theft in IP is the theft of the credit. His reproducing the item is in common usage and if the author didn't want it, he would have mentioned it. If he objected, he would have written Wenzel and objected.

    2. Blogs that aren't commercialized can in fact quote whole sections, as needed, if their main reason for existence is educational. It's permitted.

    The inability to make valid distinctions is quite characteristic of IP socialists.