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On Fungal Matters

Elsewhere (79)

Thomas Sowell on the appetites of unions: 

Many people think of labour unions as organisations to benefit workers, and think of employers who are opposed to unions as just people who don’t want to pay their employees more money. But some employers have made it a point to pay their employees more than the union wages, just to keep them from joining a union. Why would they do that, if it is just a question of not wanting to pay union wages? The Twinkies bankruptcy is a classic example of costs created by labour unions that are not confined to paycheques. The work rules imposed in union contracts required the company that makes Twinkies, which also makes Wonder Bread, to deliver these two products to stores in separate trucks. Moreover, truck drivers were not allowed to load either of these products into their trucks. And the people who did load Twinkies into trucks were not allowed to load Wonder Bread, and vice versa. All of this was obviously intended to create more jobs for the unions’ members. But the needless additional costs that these make-work rules created ended up driving the company into bankruptcy, which can cost 18,500 jobs. The union is killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

Mathieu Deflem on “the politics of exclusion”: 

Universities today have lowered their standards of admission and accepted more students regardless of their level of preparation. For example, at the University of South Carolina, where I am presently employed, the number of undergraduates has gone up from about 18,000 in 2006 to 22,000 in 2011. As a result of the increased number of undergraduates, pressures are placed on teaching faculty to accommodate students regardless of intellectual skills… Students of lesser skill-levels are not only admitted, they are also given degrees, and that is the most worrisome trend. Obtaining a college degree has become a matter of justice. The notion that prevails today is not only that access to education is a right, but so is the successful exit thereof. Under these conditions, the very notion of an earned degree has become a mockery. 

And Victor Davis Hanson on the rise (and dishonesty) of identity politics: 

Since the election, some fatalistic Washington conservative elites have accepted — and Obama operatives have rejoiced in — a supposedly new and non-white-male ethnic electorate: Americans will be categorised, and collectively so, on the basis of largely how they look and, to a lesser extent, how they sound… Only in the hyper-racialist America can we take quite distinct Japanese, Filipino, Korean, and Chinese third-generation citizens and create from them the artificial rubric “Asian” in their shared antithesis to “white,” or take disparate Cubans and Mexicans and likewise reinvent them as identical Latinos, or take Jamaicans, Ethiopians, and American blacks and call them all “African-Americans” on the similar logic of not being something equally artificial like white — which I guess covers Americans who used to be Greeks, Irish, Armenians, Jews, Poles, and Danes… Are Asians “overrepresented” at UC Berkeley — or are the 20% of the student body who are white males the ruling establishment? Are blacks “overrepresented” at the U.S. Postal Service, but “underrepresented” at the DMV? Such are the absurd questions that arise in a tribal society where one’s primary allegiances are not to universal values or collective traditions and customs, but are first pledged to those who look most like oneself.

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