Michael Kinsley’s got a few things to say about George W Bush and affirmative action this week in Time. Nobody wants to lose out on an opportunity because they belong to the wrong demographic, but I agree with Kinsley when he argues that the only difference between affirmative action programs and the sort of preferential treatment various people get on a day to day basis is how obvious they are. If selections were made exclusively on the basis of merit, that would be great, but we live in a world where we can’t even agree on what merit is. Is the rock star programmer who won’t fix their bug on time and collaborate with their coworkers better than the average programmer who cheerfully does their job and prioritizes their tasks well? Who’s to say? I think it’s easy to look at affirmitive action and say, “That’s not fair,” but is it less fair than the status quo?