Department of “huh?”

Eugene Volokh can’t see the difference between affirmative action, which seeks to increase the number of minorities in places where they are under-represented, and military recruitment selectively aimed at African-Americans, who are currently over-represented in the enlisted ranks.

Affirmative action is an attempt by an employer to increase the number of workers it draws from groups currently under-represented among its workforce. African-Americans are currently grossly over-represented in the armed services, especially in the enlisted ranks. So I find it utterly baffling that Eugene Volokh sees an inconsistency between (1) supporting affirmative action; (2) celebrating the success of the military in moving African-Americans up its career ladder; and (3) opposing efforts to further increase the over-representation of African-Americans by selectively recruiting them.

Eugene has pointed out that Jacob Weisberg, who wants it to be the case that GWB is inarticulate and incoherent, sometimes stretches to find incoherence where none exists. In this case it seems to me that Eugene, who would love it to be true that the ACLU is inconsistent, seems to have imagined inconsistency in a perfectly consistent set of positions.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: