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Commit a Crime, Get a Job

Now you might think that if you're a convicted killer or a child rapist, that could count against you with a potential employer.


As Kent noted in this post, Martin Luther King's dream was that individuals be judged based on the content of their character.  Intentional behavior is, of course, the best indicator of character, which is otherwise inchoate.  Intentional criminal behavior would seem to be among the more telling clues to a person's character, and very serious criminal behavior, all the more so.

The idea that character is unimportant in a job is beyond preposterous.  Honesty, a commitment to non-violence, reliability, trustworthiness, willingness to give a day's work for a day's pay, are all not merely useful but essential characteristics of every employee.

But not to this Administration, which sees judgment on the basis of demonstrated character, not as the fulfillment of MLK's dream, but of a Fascist Plot to Oppress the Helpless.

Don't believe me?  I don't blame you.  Most unfortunately, Paul Mirengoff at Powerline spills the beans here.  This is one more instance in which Racial Whinerism becomes the Petri dish of, and then the spoils system for, crime.


Cultural rot and the war on standards are inextricably related. Progressives' attack on school discipline and criminal background checks for employment because they fall disproportionately on minority groups is symptomatic of a mindset that is adverse to addressing seminal reasons for the problem-obscenely high rates of non-marital births.

Being the propreitor of a small, relatively insignificant 3-attorney operation (including myself), this raises some interesting questions.

I do not have the resources to hire attorneys with fancy law degrees. In fact I don't have the resources to hire someone with my own middle-ticket pedigree. However, we do some fairly complicated work (I tell myself this), so I need smart people.

Therefore, I look for people who have the talent and skill but might have some sort of wart, so to speak. My one associate, her wart was simply failing the bar twice, and well, she eventually passed (3rd time) and she has been with me ever since.

Now would I hire someone with a criminal background for any position? My initial response is probably not, with a caveat as to "it depends on the crime". Some percentage of criminals do their time and learn their lesson. It might be relatively small but it is greater than zero.

I'll toss out a hypothetical - if there was an attorney who had a record for some sort of child sex crime, and this attorney was extraordinarily talented and would otherwise earn X but for his record, but I could pay him 20% of X, the capitalist in me would think about it, especially if it someone who could work remotely i.e. not be in the office.

That being said, there shouldn't be any laws about it, irrational discrimination is inefficient, and probably for most in this case the discrimation is quite rational.

Also, school discipline is overrated to the extent it includes stuff like dress codes, and running a quasi military environment. I did a lot of stupid stuff in high school and occasionally mouthed off, I turned out fine (in my opinion).


A couple of things.

First, it's your decision whom to hire, and that's the whole point. You can't make an informed decision without information. Forbidding the prospective employer to seek information about past behavior he (not the government) deems potentially relevant hampers his access to that information.

If the job applicant doesn't want to reveal it, fine, he can say goodbye and talk to other potential employers. If they are intelligent and broad-minded, they can hire him, and if their decision is wise, they will be at a competitive advantage over the more inquisitive (or rigid) employer. (If it turns out to be unwise, then maybe they should have been more, uh, rigid). But it should be the marketplace, candor and competition that govern, not the dictates of the state. I can't see any good reason the employer should not be able to ask whatever he wants, and the prospective employee to respond with whatever HE wants.

Let the truth out and the chips fall where they may. Irrationally inquisitive employers will lose out, as will applicants with something they want to hide rather than explain. That is as it should be.

As to school discipline, the problem is not teenage mouthing off or minor violations of a dress code. The problem is weapons, intimidation, stealing and fights. And beyond that, the notion that discipline should be meted out based on the actor's appearance (skin color in particular) rather than behavior is worse than perverse.

I really don't care whether blacks are disciplined more than whites, just as I don't care if boys are disciplined more than girls or 15 year old's are disciplined more than 10 year old's. The answer to bad behavior is not for the authorities to blink at it because they're afraid of being called racist. The answer -- the only answer -- is for the student to improve the behavior so it's no longer bad.

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