Eugene Volokh on Bigotry

For the life of me, I cannot figure out what the hell Eugene Volokh is talking about in this post, which is a roundabout defense of Mary Daly’s position about men that I’ve outlined here. Volokh writes,

If one is drawing analogies, while draw the analogy between sex and race, and not, say, sex and religion? We might think it’s wrong for people to refuse to hire non-Christians because of their religion; but if someone expresses a desire for a future world in which fewer people are non-Christian, I don’t think we’d see that as immoral or even bigoted (though we might disagree with the desire for other reasons).

Huh? Lets paraphrase Mary Daly substituting religion for sex,

There could be many alternative futures, but some of the elements are constant: that it would be Christian only; that much of the contamination, both physical and mental, has been dealt with. I think this will be accompanied by an evolutionary process that will result in a drastic reduction of the population of Jews. People are afraid to say that kind of stuff anymore.

I’m not sure how Volokh is spinning that sort of statement to claim that this would be non-bigoted. Even Daly herself with the line about people being afraid to say that kind of stuff seems to recognize that she is advocating something likely to be perceived as bigoted.


Just to expand a little bit on this, I think arguing this issue by analogy is fraught with problems.

I don’t think it is bigoted, for example, to say that the world would be a better place without so many Muslim extremists (a la Nigeria). I do find it bigoted, however, to say that the world would be a better place without any Muslims at all.

The analogy below is similarly flawed,

Likewise, how about an analogy between sex and certain physical handicaps? For instance, we might think it’s unkind, unfair, or even bigoted to refuse to admit people to college because they have various handicaps or genetic diseases, or to refuse to hire them for most jobs (setting aside those where we think the absence of the disease is strongly related to the person’s ability to do the job). But I think the desire for a future world in which fewer people have those problems is downright laudable.

But we can wish for an end to genetic diseases without wishing that the people who have genetic diseases disappear. The ideal solution to Huntington’s Disease, for example, would be a genetically engineered cure that would simply deactivate the faulty gene that causes the disease, without requiring the gradual elimination of anyone.

I also think Volokh grants far too much to the sexually-determined behavior crowd. Yes there are likely broad sex-based behavior differences, but we also know that many of those are a) a lot less significant than once thought, and b) are of a degree rather than kind.

Women, in general, tend to be less violent than men, in general. But the difference is far less than was once thought (especially when it comes to something like domestic violence), and seems highly correlated to how the sexes are socialized rather than predetermined by genetics.

The one thing I agree with liberal feminists about is that there aren’t any morally relevant differences between men and women that justify treating members of either sex differently (most of the biological differences only are relevant at the extremes of human performance where size and musculature difference is important, such as in professional sports and other physically demanding tasks).

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