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Rants, Raves, Interesting Science & Awful Puns
February 5, 2010

Vive La Difference!

When Intelligence Becomes Illegal

To "discriminate" means to distinguish; to exhibit the ability to recognize a difference. Possession of such ability is an essential prerequisite for intelligent behavior. In recent times, in an endeavor to redress the injustice of rights and opportunities being denied to some people because of prejudice against the groups to which they belong, many countries have enacted laws making it illegal to discriminate in hiring for employment, or in the supply of goods and services on the basis of race, religion, sex, or ethnic grouping--which in the general spirit of acknowledging equality of rights that prevails today, most people would agree with. In terms of what the law says, that's as far as it goes. But it wasn't long, of course, before the word was being thrown around in all kinds stupid ways--dare one say, indiscriminately?-- as if the very act of reacting to any difference for any reason were now impermissible. (But what else can you expect if you outlaw the essence of intelligence?)

I remember reading about a case years ago when I lived in New England, where retired couple from Scotland were hauled into court somewhere when they advertised for a Scottish cook. They just wanted someone who was familiar with preparing the kind of food they were used to. We used to tell jokes back then along the lines of, "Mark my words, one day it will be illegal for orchestras to discrimiate against tone-deaf violinists," or "Gymnastics teams will have to include paralytics and the uncoordinated."

Don't laugh.

A recent article in the UK's Daily Mail reports how a recruitment agent tried to post an ad at a job center at Thetford in Norfolk for a domestic cleaner, and ended the offer with the words, "must be very reliable and hard-working." The ad was rejected on the grounds that it discriminated against unreliable workers, and the job center could be sued.

Full article posted here. I'm waiting now to hear that banks aren't allowed to discriminate against dishonest tellers.

It gets better.

The U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division is currently seeking "up to 10 experienced attorneys for the position of Trial Attorney in the Voting Section in Washington, D.C." The invitation encourages applications from qualified applicants with "targeted disabilities," which are listed as: "deafness, blindness, missing extremities, partial or complete paralysis, convulsive disorder, mental retardation, mental illness, severe distortion of limbs and/or spine." Would you really want a retarded lawyer on your case? Full document viewable here

I can only surmise that the reason polticians, bureaucrats, and political activists want mentally retarded lawyers around Washington is because regular ones make them feel inadequate. And mark my words, it won't be much longer before we'll find that it's illegal not to engage one.

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