Job discrimination against the bigoted

A diplomat who calls poor countries “the turd world” complains that the State Department discriminates against Republicans. Gee, I wonder why?

Brad DeLong points out that the U.S. is ill-represented by diplomats who think, and say, that poor countries constitute “the turd world” (populated, no doubt, by turds). But in my mind the blog he points to, The Diplomad, raises in addition a different question.

The blog describes it self as “a Blog by career US Foreign Service officers. They are Republican (most of the time) in an institution (State Department) in which being a Republican can be bad for your career — even with a Republican President!” And it urges its readers to Join the State Department Republican Underground.

Well, we’re all familiar with the persecution complex of some segments of the right, aren’t we? Controlling as they do all three branches of the Federal government, a good share of the state houses, the military, law enforcement (including most prosecutors’ offices) and virtually the entire corporate and small-business sector, they regard as intolerable the fact that, in most universities, newsrooms, and not-for-profits, and in some government agencies, drinking their brand of Kool-Aid is not a good career move. David Horowitz is even pushing a bill that would in effect create affirmative action for conservative professors.

While I regard the wingers’ whining as undignified, I can’t really deny that ideological discrimination is a problem, and I don’t like it any more when it hits the right than I do when it hits the left.

But The Diplomad’s self-description makes me wonder: when it talks about the career problems of “Republicans” in the State Department, does it mean anyone who votes Republican, or does it mean the sort of people who talk about “the turd world”?

(You’re entitled to think that the Chief Diplomad, as he calls himself, succeeds in keeping his opinions concealed from the people in whose country he serves, but if you do, please call me to discuss urban infrastructure investments. Call collect.)

[The Master K’ung said, “Since nothing is more obvious than what is secret or more evident than what is hidden, the gentleman keeps watch over his thoughts even when he is alone.”]

If what the Diplomad means is that State Department officials who speak contemptuously of their host countries find promotion difficult “even under a Republican President,” then all I can say is: and a good thing, too.

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: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com