Freedom, No Peace
Bill Clinton called on nine opponents of affirmative action during
his manipulative "national dialogue on race," and asked a reasonable
question. "What do you think we should do?"
right answer is nothing. Do nothing at all.
achieve that ideal, government must get out and stay out of the
race business. Allow complete freedom of association. That means
we should call off the bureaucratic armies that pretend to read
the minds of capitalists, admissions counselors, loan officers,
and housing managers. Stop the terror campaign against businesses.
Defang the lawyers looting companies through class-action lawsuits.
the lies, smears, and attacks against average people for their supposed
intractable racism. Stop the federal occupation local school districts
in the name of racial balance. Dethrone the federal judges who impose
de facto quotas in every public institution and mandatory preferences
in every private one. Come clean on the real purpose of racial politics,
which is not justice power and political spoils.
short, stop the race racket. Don't attempt to centrally plan every
institution in society on a racial basis. Allow people to associate
as they wish. Permit all-white schools, all-black schools, and all-Asian
schools, and any mixtures. Free business from its worries about
federal race cops who can bankrupt them. Let people hire and fire,
rent and serve, as they please, and take race discrimination off
the court docket.
"enforce" or "impose" diversity, or forbid it, but let people make
their own choices. Free them from the civil-rights CHEKA once and
for all. Trash all federal laws that imply they can know our motivations
for why we do things. If we want it to have a role, let government
judge us not by the "content of our character" much less
by the "color of our skin" but by whether we commit crimes
against person or property.
everything else, repeal the civil rights acts starting with 1964,
scrapping its ambiguous and implicitly tyrannical language, whereby
the great god government decides why we act the way we do and has
veto power over our acts on that basis. Reintroduce that glorious
old institution, freedom of association. Race relations were never
more peaceful than when association and non-association were guaranteed
as a matter of right.
solution-the only one compatible with a free society and free economy-is
also the only way out, however unhappy it will make those who benefit
from the present tyranny. The source of racial conflict is not some
vague "misunderstanding" between people that can be rectified through
"dialogue." Its source is the coercive power of the state, which
rewards some at the expense of others.
Clinton's hand-picked political dissidents had no coherent answer
to his question. These supposed critics of affirmative action had
their chance to speak their mind and they blew it. For example,
Linda Chavez, pundit and head of the New American Community, revealed
her solution to the race problem. "Every person in this room is
adamantly in favor of vigorous enforcement of the civil rights law.
" Plus, "there are employers out there, including public employers,
who discriminate. We have to root out that kind of discrimination."
yes, music to the EEOC's ears. Meanwhile, author Abigail Thernstrom
of the Manhattan Institute assured Clinton "you've said some wonderful
things on education." And Elaine Chao of the Heritage Foundation
chimed in that Asians and Hispanics need to be recognized as part
of our "diversified nation."
Kemp was invited but refused to go on grounds that the meeting wasn't
public. Asked later what he would have said, he answered he would
insist we need to "fully enforce the civil rights laws of America."
how happy Clinton must have felt after Ward Connerly, head of California's
effort to end racial quotas in government, told the press: the president
"understands race like no other President, living or dead." Yes,
and Mussolini understood industrial economics like no one else (as
the New York Times claimed in 1933), Lenin understood the
needs of the workers of the world, Hitler knew the needs of the
German workers, and FDR knew the needs of the U.S. unemployed.
it about time we dispensed with the myth of the omniscient politician?
What Clinton knows, and knows all too well, is how to use race to
his political advantage.
careful note: Chavez, Chao, Thernstrom, Kemp, and Connerly are conservatives.
None of them mentioned the multitude of white victims of preferential
politics. Neither did anyone suggest the possibility that there
can be no "national" plan to bring about racial harmony. Not a word
was breathed about the iron hand of civil-rights police on business.
In the White House, as with the media in general, these remain unthinkable
these talking heads engage in "frank dialogue" with this "open-minded
president," an army of bureaucratic thugs, dictators in black robes,
and hate-filled shysters are waging war on the fundamental freedom
of Americans to associate. They are wrecking small and large companies,
and schools and colleges, every day. We're just not supposed to
to account for this sad spectacle of affirmative action critics
turning into cheerleaders for Clinton, the most egregious racial-political
manipulator since Lyndon Johnson? There's the president's charm.
For anyone susceptible to con-men, Clinton is reportedly impossible
to resist. Add to that the tendency of public intellectuals and
pundits to worship the office of the presidency and we have a recipe
for embarrassing displays of sycophancy.
given Clinton's political instincts, it's a wonder that he hasn't
used this technique to buy off his critics for years. One invitation
to a White House dinner can purchase years of silence from political
opponents. It worked like a charm for Reagan, who understood that
Washington conservatives are more interested in appearing to be
players than advancing any sort of principles.
there's an even deeper, ideological basis for conservative complicity.
None if these people is in fundamental disagreement with the idea
that the federal government should be managing the nation's racial
affairs. They simply have different ideas about how we should go
Jack Kemp's comment about the need to "fully enforce" the civil
rights laws. What he really means is that a law against "discrimination"
should bar quotas in all directions, neither benefitting whites
a glib remark that profoundly misses the point. The civil rights
laws since 1964 empower the feds to discern our motives for what
we do. It's not technically illegal to hire only Chinese waiters
for a Chinese restaurant, so long as the person doing the hiring
didn't assemble the staff with discriminatory intent.
how can discriminatory intent be shown? Short of mind reading, there
is no way other than to look at the results and compare them with
a central plan concocted by the feds themselves. The present means
of enforcing civil rights doesn't depart from the intent of 1964;
it fulfills it in every respect. Freedom of association in
business or academia no longer exists. It was abolished in
1964, and the rest was just a mopping-up operation.
the conservatives (or, more appropriately, the neoconservatives)
want is their sort of civil rights laws. Then, as advocated
by Clint Bolick of the Institute fro Justice, they want to replace
current quotas with another sort of affirmative action, one that
is not race based but class based. Thus Harvard should be forced
to admit people from low-income groups; this will result in de facto
diversity without raising the hackles that race-based admissions
policies invariably do.
people are right that race-based policies have failed, but so too
have class-based policies. The reductio of both the race and class
approaches to politics (Nazism and Marxism) produced unmitigated
evil and bloodshed. Anyone who thinks class warfare is a good substitute
for race warfare needs to revisit the history of the 20th century.
kinds of admissions policies should Harvard have? Let that be up
to Harvard. Let the admissions officers face no reprisals from federal
courts for their decisions. The same goes for every university and
every business in the country. Let them exercise the right to self-determination.
Let everyone freely associate or not associate. Down with the attempt
to generate diversity through lawsuits and hectoring.
university in Alabama that has historically served blacks recently
came under court order to introduce "diversity" into its ranks.
So it created a special category of scholarships for whites only.
The Center for Individual Rights in California has sued on grounds
that this is preferential. So who's right? Not the federal judge.
But not California lawyers either. The alumni and the administration
the people who actually have an interest in the school's
well-being should be the decision makers as a matter of right.
central authority can know how many blacks, Latinos, or Asians should
be at Harvard, how waitresses at Shoney's ought to treat customers,
how much female cashiers at Home Depot should be paid, or what human
traits are and are not relevant for the working out of the division
of labor. So long as government is charged with managing racial
matters, it will continue to make trouble.
READING: Richard Epstein, Forbidden
Grounds: The Case Against Employment Discrimination Laws
(Cambridge, Mass.:Harvard University Press, 1992); Walter Olson,
Excuse Factory (New York: The Free Press, 1997); Ludwig
von Mises, Omnipotent
Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War (New
Rochelle, N.Y.: Arlington House,  1969).