Thursday, August 23, 2012

Don't Credit Title IX for Women's Olympic Success

In a recent NJ Star-Ledger letter-to-the-editor, a correspondent lauded Title IX:

   In the 40 years since its inception, Title IX has provided concrete assistance to young female athletes; their growing participation in and enthusiasm for sports is ample evidence of this. We are seeing the amazing results in London 2012. 
   Title IX is a wonderful example of what we Americans can do when our national government works for and with all Americans, encouraging them to follow their dreams. 

Title IX is the 1972 amendment to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It reads:

   No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance...
There are two interlocking statist principles here; the outlawing of "discrimination" and federal tax funding of education. Combined, they represent a two-pronged attack on individual rights. Title IX violates the rights of educators to voluntarily contract with whom they choose, and the rights of taxpayers who are forced to finance the violation of those rights along with other people's education.

The purpose of the law is obvious; to forbid a kind of bigoted discrimination that no rational person would engage in or  support. But since the purpose of government is to protect inalienable individual rights--rights possessed equally by all people at all times--the government morally may not discriminate in its rights-protecting function. This means it must protect the most despicable practitioners of rights with impartiality. Just as a Nazi's rights to free speech must be protected, so must a bigot's rights to his First Amendment rights--freedom of association--be protected. Once the government begins selective rights protection based upon which ideas are acceptable to it, all rights cease to be inalienable, making "right" a matter of government permission.

In practice, the attempt to ban discrimination is impossible, since to find discrimination one must become a mind reader. When people think of discrimination, they might envision some overt form like the posting of a sign in a store window announcing "no [fill in the blank] allowed." But that rarely if ever happens, and if it did, the business owner would undoubtedly face boycotts, unrelenting social pressure, and other forms of activism. He likely wouldn't stay in business for long. And if he did, he wouldn't be a threat to anyone else's rights.

So does this fact mean that--despite its being a rights-violating law--Title IX is a benign statute with little practical consequence? Not at all. Title IX activists have resorted to statistics to "prove" discrimination, and to impose numerical quotas that have resulted in injustices against innocent people. For more details on the impact of Title IX in practice, see the links below. Those articles demonstrate the destructive practical effects of Title IX. But those effects alone are not the main justification for getting rid of such laws. The main reason is a moral one; they violate rights.

Government is force, and nothing more. The only proper use of that force is to protect the rights of individuals to "follow their dreams," not "encourage" them to do it. Look at where government efforts to "encourage" home ownership got us.

I left the following comments to the letter quoted above:

I share Flora Higgins’s appreciation for the achievements of the American athletes in London.  
However, while it may appear superficially true, it is simply not the case that Title IX is responsible for opening opportunities for women athletes. Programs for women would have been created without Title IX “financial incentives”—i.e., tax-backed coercion—due to growing demand and social activism. Just as Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby (and their supporters) broke the color barriers in major league baseball without government force, so the same would have happened—and was happening—regarding women in sports. 
Title IX was created by people who preferred to force others into doing what they themselves were too lazy and incompetent to do. If they thought women’s sports programs were needed and desirable, why didn’t they just start them themselves instead of forcing others to do it?  
Cultural progress against irrationality and injustice is built on reason and rational persuasion, not force. The key is the freedom to act. In a free society, who could stop women’s athletics? Title IX is a regressive tool of nihilistic egalitarians that, coupled with the tyranny of government funding, is accruing ever-increasing control over higher education governance, including now interference in math and sciences, to the federal government—a dangerous development. The law is immoral and should be repealed.  

Related Articles:

Beneath the Title IX Controversy analyzes an article by Richard A. Epstein's The Twisted Logic of Gender Equity

Why Obama Administration Shouldn't Use Title IX to Balance Math Classes, by Kyle Smith

As Colleges Cut Athletics, Title IX Creates an Injustice for Men, by H. Clay McEldowney

Title IX at 40: Looking for Another "National Crisis", by Vicki E. Alger


Mike Kevitt said...

I think there's just 1 problem with this posting.

You say, "Cultural progress against irrationality and injustice is built on reason and rational persuasion, not force."

My statement of the following does not deviate from the basics of Objectivism: There are, basically, 2 forms of reason in human relations, A. rational persuasion and, B. responsive (retaliatory) force. Likewise, there are 2 forms of irrationality (unreason) in human relations, A. action not forcing anybody and, B. action forcing somebody, initiatory by definition. Responsive force (reason) is justice. Initiatory force (unreason) is injustice.

So, cultural progress against irrationality is built on reason, meaning, rational persuasion. But, if irrationality takes the form of injustice (initiatory force) respond, if possible, with rational persuasion. If that doesn't work, use force, which will automatically be responsive, not initiatory.

Regarding Title IX and financing of education, the mere harbenger of a threat of public financing had to be headed off before the pass, when rational persuasion would've worked. But, even then, the final argument would've still been reason, meaning guess what, a GUN!

On one side, the 1st. and only argument is force; on the other side, the last argument, if needed, is force. All human relations rests on the issue of force. The specifics determine whether it's initiatory or responsive. If it's responsive, the we can exercise our rights and human relations consisting of mutual free choice of all parties.

Given public financing of education, excluding anybody from sports or from anything, is an irrationality consisting of injustice, because public financing is unjust. After decades of failed persuasion, force was needed, thus, Title IX, another injustice. But anything within the unjust financing would be another injustice. The force needed was, and is, force against public financing only, but nothing short of that.

In higher education, maybe tax credits are needed, as with in grade school. But, the phased program must start with a public statement of the final goal, toward which the 1st. legislation, and everything subsequent, is specifically directed.

But, it's an action taken against injustice, initiatory force, crime, whether it was meant that way or not. The final argument against initiatory force is, if needed, responsive force, where there is no further argument or physical resistence tolerated. Then, women's athletics can come around by rational persuasion, the market, not by force.

Mike Kevitt said...

At the end of my comment, above, I said, "...where there is no further argument or physical resistence tolerated." That SHOULD say, "...where further argument is tolerated but ignored out of hand, and no physical resistence is tolerated

Mike LaFerrara said...


I don’t disagree with you that responsive force is reasonable. But it must be remembered that the drive to legally ban private “discrimination” transcends government funding, even though Title IX is linked to funding. Title II “Outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin in hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters, and all other public accommodations engaged in interstate commerce” with no mention of any government funding. If there were no federal funding of higher education, Title IX undoubtedly would have come into being in some form anyway.

My essential point is that, aside from criminal initiation of force by individuals or government, reason wins over unreason in the long run. All that’s needed is rational, non-rights violating freedom of action, not rights-violating laws like Titles IX and II. Examples abound. There is baseball. Augusta National’s 1990 racial integration and this year’s gender integration is another. Laws banning gay marriage are falling across America, thanks to growing public pressure. And I argue that the civil rights laws of the 1960s were a consequence of social activism, not a driving force against segregation and bigotry. By trying to rush the process of persuasion and social activism through law, we are only doing harm, not good.

It’s true, as you say, that government funding is itself an injustice; it inevitably sets up conflicts that can never be resolved without violating someone’s rights. But I don’t agree that “All human relations rests on the issue of force.” A voluntary agreement involves no force. Force only becomes an issue when someone initiates force, at which time responsive force is necessary or—in the case of government funding—only the removal of the initiatory force, the government funding.

Mike Kevitt said...

Yes, civil rights "laws" do harm, not good. They obliterate persuasion and activism, reason and mkt. forces with initiatory force by gvt.

I drop my contention that force underlies all human relations. Levering individual action and opening possibilities unavailable to a lone individual underlies human relations. Then comes voluntary agreement or force, depending on the choices made.

If force becomes the issue, it is, by definition, initiatory, necessitating responsive force. If it's initiatory force by gvt., "removal" of it, even if done peacefully, rests on the issue of force; if persuasion doesn't work, ya don't just let the injustice go. It must be REMOVED by whatever means needed.