Responses to Venture Chronicles

Jeff Nolan is a blogger who I have followed for some time, with interest and enjoyment. But he has made a couple of comments recently to which I want to respond.

Firstly, he comments about affirmative action, and specifically a South African story, without any background as to why affirmative action (AA) exists. Understand that I am a white, male South African, and therefore one of the members of SA society for whom AA is a painful and thorny issue. Nevertheless, I understand that there is a reason for it, given the particular history that South Africa has been through. When Jeff says the problem with AA is that people get jobs that they “don’t necessarily deserve or earn”, he omits the fact that black South Africans were not permitted to even try to deserve or earn numerous jobs during apartheid. The debate is underway in SA about how and when AA and EE should go, but it is a very sensitive social and political issue, and deserves a rigorous debate, not just a few lines on a blog. 

Jeff’s second comment is about new laws in California to enforce hands-free use of cellphones while driving. While he may believe the laws are unenforceable, what those laws do is make people aware that driving while talking on a phone or texting is dangerous driving. That I think is a good thing.


2 thoughts on “Responses to Venture Chronicles

  1. Of course the issue deserves “rigorous debate” but it’s not very rigorous if the only voices are those on one side, is it? Affirmative action is a long debated issue in the United States and has been nearly universally discarded as a social mechanism. In a great many areas where affirmative action was applied it is not *illegal* to apply a quota system of any kind and despite the best and most creative efforts of AA proponents to apply race-based mechanisms, these efforts have been rebuffed.

    Why when the social goals of a diverse and integrated society are good goals? Because affirmative action as a proactive form of anti-discriminatory laws at best does nothing but devalue the efforts of minorities who through hard work achieve their professional positions, and at worst they do exactly what Desmond Tutu said, promote incompetent people into jobs they don’t deserve.

    Speaking of Tutu, I think it was less than fair of you to not include the context of my post on this issue being in response to Tutu’s comments on the subject.

    Secondly, regarding cellphones and driving, if you want to educate the public there are surely better methods than passing a law that will be universally disobeyed and capriciously enforced? More on point, should we not set a standard that risks are correlated to actual damage before creating a law banning said activity? If the dangers of cellphones and driving are materialized in the form of increased accident rates, and if that were the case would you not expect to see declining accident rates following the implementation of these laws? Yet throughout the world in every country that has implemented these bans we have not seen declining accident rates, what does that tell you?

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