While some 74% of Americans believe race and ethnicity should not be considered in college admissions, others are lamenting the Supreme Court decision to end affirmative action as an inevitable catastrophe. In the words of one headline in The Atlantic, “Elite Multiculturalism Is Over.”
However, the question so rarely asked is, “Did affirmative action even work in the first place?” Back in 2004, renowned economist Thomas Sowell—a 1958 Harvard grad—set out to answer that question, surveying educational systems around the world. Sowell not only concluded that affirmative action was ineffective, he likened it to a wrong medical diagnosis and prescription:
False beliefs are not small things, because they lead to false solutions. In the field of medicine, it has long been recognized that even a false cure that is wholly harmless in itself can be catastrophic in its consequences if it substitutes for a real cure for a deadly disease.
In other words, good intentions aren’t enough.
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