Gender Discrimination is sometimes good!

Things like racism, agism and sexism all hinge on the axiom that it is wrong to discriminate. However, Anthony Browne has written an interesting little book about political correctness in which he argues that discrimination is sometimes not only necessary but positively good. The book is titled The Retreat of Reason and is reviewed by me here.

Browne showed that gender discrimination is not only accepted in many instances, but many times is necessary, laudable and defensible. Gender discrimination simply means treating a person differently than you would if that person were a different sex. For example, when a man dates a woman he is, in a sense, ‘discriminating’ since he would not offer the same treatment to members of his own gender category, assuming he is a heterosexual. In short, there are many cases where men and women are unequal, and these are diversities to be celebrated rather than inequalities to be lamented. The real question, therefore, is not whether something is a case of sex discrimination, but whether it is a case of justifiable sex discrimination. Browne writes:

“Young men pay higher rates for car insurance than young women and older men, because young men are, on average, more dangerous drivers than young women and older men. A young man who is a safe driver is thus discriminated against because of the characteristics of other people in his age and sex group….Anti-discrimination campaigners may publicly declare that all discrimination on the grounds of sex should be outlawed, but they are unlikely to agree that all men should have the right to use women’s toilets, that men should be allowed to go to women’s gyms, or to demand overturning the right of women’s clothes shops to refuse to employ men….Men pay smaller pension contributions than women for a given level of private pension, for the simple reason that, on average, they have shorter lives and so on average claim less….The various forms of rational discrimination that are widely accepted are not often called discrimination – although that is clearly what they are – because accepting that some discrimination is actually essential to the working of a society would undermine the public acceptance of a ‘zero tolerance of all forms of discrimination’. The war on discrimination would become meaningless if there were general public awareness that actually some forms of discrimination are needed.”


22 thoughts on “Gender Discrimination is sometimes good!

  1. While I see many ‘women’s’ groups decrying the so-called discrimination against women by health insurers, I have seen no such rush to rectify the additional premium that young men pay.

    In both cases the additional premium is not discrimination at all, it is simply acutarially necessary due to the risk profile such people present.

    The Federal governement long ago outlawed the ability of pension plans to give different benefits to men and women for the same amount of money. Women’s benefits were smaller because they lived longer on average. The way the pension plans rectified the difference was to pay everyone the lower amount.

    There is no such thing as a free lunch when it comes to acutary science and the law of large numbers. Something Obamacare blythely and intentionally ignores as part of its effort to break private insurerers and make everyone even more dependent on the Federal government.

  2. Women who violate the law also get far more lenient sentences than those imposed on men. The victims of womens crimes suffer no less than they do when men victimize them. For example, if a woman shot you, the bullet she uses will impact you no better or no worse than if the bullet came from a man’s gun. But the woman who shot you will spend 1/3 of the amount of time in prison than a man spends. We don’t see anyone trying to change that.

    Discrimination is wrong at all times.

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