Nothing is really changing politically in Berlin. To begin with, Germany’s socialists are currently in a coalition with the conservatives, forming an immense majority in parliament. The coalition has slowed down public spending cuts and reforms enacted by the previous government. The German Left is at risk of fading into irrelevance as its choices regarding coalitions are limited: it’s either Merkel once again or going down the road of a three-party coalition.
In this post-crisis economy, Berlin shouldn’t be interested in who organizes a government reshuffle in September, but should instead be concerned with how a freer economy can unleash the potential of hard-working Germans.
Germany’s historic free-market champion, former conservative politician Ludwig Erhard, should serve as a role model for the ideological emptiness of contemporary German politics. Erhard is known to be responsible for the most extensive period of economic deregulation in modern times. Instead of following the temptation of slowly moving towards more economically interventionist policies, Berlin should follow Erhard’s example who believed that, instead of central planners, individuals should decide a country’s future.
Continue reading at FEE.
The city of Philadelphia is pushing new rules to fight discrimination. Eleven bars in the Gayborhood, the city’s LGBT hotbed, will be required to participate in fair business practice training and implicit bias training. The bars will also be required to post fliers made by the city’s Human Relations Commission about the city’s fair practice ordinance.
These efforts come as a response to a report released by the city in January, which found that women, minorities and transgender people have been discriminated against in the Gayborhood for decades. The city’s heavy-handed approach, while well-meaning, adds yet another expense and burden to local businesses. Mandating these implicit bias trainings will take workers away from their actual productive duties and force the bars to pay employees to attend diversity training sessions that have largely been found to be ineffective.
Meanwhile, residents of Philadelphia are doing a better job of preventing discrimination than the city’s government. Individuals and the market have already acted to scale back the level of discrimination in the Gayborhood, before the government ever could.
Continue reading at Watchdog.
In the wake of the questionable shootings of Keith Lamont Scott in North Carolina and Terence Crutcher in Oklahoma, activists are renewing calls for police reform. Some writers (including a contributor to the Nation) are calling for the complete abolition of police forces in the United States.
Calls for abolition may seem extreme to the outside listener. This makes sense, given the word’s use to denote the complete and total elimination of the institution in question, and the worry of having a lack of protection. But the call for this radical form of justice makes sense as a way to dismantle an inherently unjust system and replace it with a new set of institutions designed to serve communities fairly and in a way that allows liberty to thrive: decentralized, community-controlled police departments. This is an area where Black Lives Matter activists and libertarians can work together toward a common goal.
Recent scholarship and popular research-based books like Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow have explored the ways that arbitrary and unchecked use of police force, criminal legal structures, and the prison system work to disproportionately affect the freedom and prosperity of black communities. With the influx of scathing reports on institutionalized racism such as the 2015 Ferguson report by the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and other research confirming the institutional nature of these problems, there is no doubt that a threat to freedom exists.
Moreover, crime levels and poverty are correlated in clear patterns, revealing the dark end of the often-cited causal link between freedom and prosperity within libertarian circles. If a primary goal of a free society is to leave people uninhibited to make choices which will lead to their prosperity, a system with high rates of recidivism produces citizens who cannot prosper and therefore are more likely to reoffend. They are neither free in the literal sense nor free in the market sense, a sham of justice for those who believe in a meaningfully free society.
Continue reading at The Libertarian Institute.
Hollywood is having a hissy fit over next week’s Oscars
The latest faux-scandal to raise the ire of Hollywood’s overactive social conscience comes from the lack of black nominees in this year’s Academy Awards. A number of stars including Jada Pinkett Smith, Spike Lee, Mark Ruffalo and Snoop Dogg have decided to thumb their nose at this year’s ceremony for it’s lack of diversity by very publicly confirming their non-attendance. And predictably enough, they have been joined by thousands of likeminded grievance mongers eager to stand in social-media solidarity with their benighted A-list brothers and sisters.
Calling the 6,000 strong Academy responsible for awarding Oscars prejudiced is no small charge. Yet the logic used by the #OscarsSoWhite rabble-rousers to reach this conclusion is actually very simple. The assumption is that the absence of African Americans in the acting categories can only be explained by racial bias on the part of the award’s selectors.
For those who regard ‘diversity’ (along with concern for climate change and gay marriage) as the supreme virtues of any self-respecting modern society, this seems perfectly plausible.
But a charge this hefty deserves scrutiny more serious than navel-gazing over whether Will Smith’s skin colour is the reason he wasn’t nominated for his performance in Concussion.
Read the full article at The Spectator, here.
The national headquarters of Sigma Alpha Epsilon is requiring all of its members to undergo diversity training in response to a recent controversy in which the fraternity’s Oklahoma University chapter was filmed reciting a racist chant on a bus to a social function. This reaction is all-too-typical in higher education. Jamal Watson notes in Diverse Issues in Higher Education that such programs are “often implemented in response to a polarizing incident on campus, like the discovery of a noose, a swastika or anti-gay epithets scribbled across a bathroom stall.”
But, is diversity training remotely effective in combating racism? Or is it merely a band-aid attempting to heal a much deeper wound of socioeconomic disparity?
Evidence from the workplace suggests the latter. A 2007 Harvard University studyreviewing 829 companies’ diversity training over 31 years found the programs had “no positive effects in the average workplace.” In fact, the study even found negative effects on management diversity in firms “where training is mandatory or emphasizes the threat of lawsuits.”
How could training aimed at combating racism do the exact opposite of its intended aim? Peter Bregman, CEO of Bregman strategy, provides an answer in the Harvard Business Review. Recalling an investigation he conducted for a major media company about their workplace diversity, he explains how the firm’s sensitivity training went awry:
The scenarios quickly became the butt of participant jokes. And, while the information was sound, it gave people a false sense of confidence since it couldn’t possibly cover every single situation.
The second training — the one that categorized people — was worse. Just like the first training, it was ridiculed, ironically in ways that clearly violated the recommendations from the first training. And rather than changing attitudes of prejudice and bias, it solidified them.
“Diversity training doesn’t extinguish prejudice,” Bregman is left to conclude. “It promotes it.”
Read the rest at Rare…