Stockman, among the best of Washington's freshmen Congressmen, holds
a daily prayer session that staff members attend voluntarily. Last
year, nobody could have stopped it. But thanks to the "Contract
With America," Congress now has to comply with the 1964 Civil Rights
ACLU says Stockman may be discriminating on the basis of religion.
Now it's up to the executive branch's Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission to decide. Like the rest of the country, Stockman's office
will probably choose the path of least resistance: comply with the
planners' wishes. The Left wins another one.
incident points to the shortsightedness of forcing such laws on
Congress. Bad law should be repealed, not extended, especially not
to the only branch of government the people can directly influence.
The executive branch can now effectively control the internal life
of every Congressional office, just as it controls the internal
life of most every business, bank, and educational institution.
Already, the law is being used selectively against trouble making
Stockman and staff can invoke First Amendment protections of religious
freedom. And the Fourth Amendment was supposed to protect privacy
rights in homes, schools, and businesses. The Constitution has never
stood in the way of civil rights enforcement. In the name of stamping
out illegal discrimination, fundamental rights like freedom of association
are denied daily.
ethical gloss of civil rights has long since vanished, leaving only
the brute power of statism to enforce an egalitarian agenda. White
males, for example, are no longer fooled by the euphemisms. Whether
its "set asides," "affirmative action," or "timetables," they know
it means denying economic opportunity to them in order to benefit
are promising to do something about it, but they have missed the
larger point. Our troubles don't stem from "quotas," "set asides,"
and the like; they stem from the presumption that government should
be monitoring "discrimination" in the first place. Pass all the
anti-quota laws you want. Until anti-discrimination law is repealed,
nothing can block the march of big government.
about the term "discrimination." It means choosing among several
options. Our every thought, word, and deed are choices among options.
We stop discriminating only when we become slaves or when we die.
the government got into the business of regulating our choices through
anti-discrimination law, it was attempting to regulate our thoughts.
It first forbid certain kinds of choices when made "on grounds of"
race, sex, religion, and national origin. That was expanded to disability,
which includes "mental" disability. Nowadays, our whole society
and economy are burden by the anti-discrimination police.
was the inevitable result of a 30-year old legal trick. The Civil
Rights Act of 1964 didn't forbid any particular racial or sexual
configuration in school or the workplace. An employer or admissions
officer is free to choose, so long as he doesn't choose for the
wrong reason. Single-race or single-sex workplaces freedom of association's
acid test were still allowed. But, according to law, they could
not be consciously created. You can hire only white males, but you
cannot intend to hire only white males.
can we prove intent? This is where the trouble begins. Every decision
is made from a mixture of motivations. Not even the actor himself
can fully know what went into a decision. Certainly the government
cannot. But by forbidding certain kinds of discrimination, the government
gives itself power to define what constitutes evidence for malintent.
it's hardly surprising, took the easiest path. To prove discrimination,
look for circumstantial evidence. They discover "disproportionate
effects" and "disparate impact." This translates to: you're guilty
because you have not hired enough women and minorities. To avoid
that fate, you must adopt affirmative action, quotas, goals, timetables,
and set asides: the spoils system now poisoning American life.
say Congress wanted to stop shotgun weddings. So it passed a law
saying: "Marriages entered into by parties at or under the age of
25 must be based on love, not convenience; Neither should this law
discourage early married as such." This is enforced with $100,000
fines. After an explosion of litigation and government investigations,
who'd be surprised when couples would wait until age 26 to get married?
it is with the civil rights movement. Its members may protest that
they didn't intend quotas and the like. In fact, the civil rights
movement gave us exactly what it was supposed to give us: legal
preferences for its constituents and institutionalized disadvantages
for everyone else.
a recent application. When the merchants of Union Point, Georgia,
drew up a list of known shoplifters, the Justice Department intervened
to stop them. Everyone on the list was black. In order to comply
with the Civil Rights Act, some on the list would have to be white.
If there are no white shoplifters and black police chief said there
were none there can be no list and thus no property rights enforcement.
Union Point is a microcosm of America under civil rights.
the case of religious discrimination, you're guilty by choosing
religion over secularism. By holding a prayer session in his office,
is Representative Stockman culpable under the Act? Well, he's holding
a prayer session, not a Black Mass. This might discourage Devil
worshipers from applying for a job, a situation which the Civil
Rights Act is supposed to prevent.
hysteria about same-race adoptions is another case in point. Most
adoption agencies allow couples to choose the race of their child.
It's hardly surprising that when adopting a child, the vast majority
of people choose their own race. The National Association of Black
Social Workers, for example, encourages blacks to adopt blacks.
the Institute for Justice in D.C. and the Wall Street Journal
are pushing a federal law to forbid discrimination in adoption.
As with businessmen in hiring, colleges in admissions, and hotels
with customers, adoption agencies would not be allowed to take race
into consideration when placing children. That is, a black family
could not request to adopt a black child. An Asian couple with special
affection for Vietnamese orphans can forget it. A white family could
not request a white baby.
a fair assumption that no one wants to gamble when it comes to intimate
matters like the race of your children. That's why, if passed, this
law would destroy the market for adoption rearing rights as we know
it. It would be just another of the thousands of enterprises destroyed
by Washington's egalitarian planners.
conservatives, not liberals, who are naive about the real meaning
of anti-discrimination law. They say they love the Civil Rights
Act, "Dr." King, and the "ideal" of the color-blind society. They
want to protect "individuals" from discrimination, but not "groups."
They like "equality of opportunity" but don't like "equality of
Steele, an author whose status as a black man allows him to pronounce
against quotas, says he would gladly get rid of affirmative action.
But in that case, he writes, there would have to be "criminal penalties,"
not just civil ones, for discriminating against blacks. William
Kristol, the Republican leadership's excuse for an intellectual,
is foolish and dangerous. You cannot abolish affirmative action
and quotas and still enforce the Civil Rights Act. Racial preferences
are bound up with anti-discrimination law logically, politically,
historically, and jurisprudentially.
Steele-Kristol proposal would actually be totalitarian. It would
criminalize thoughts and intents that are already forbidden under
civil law. If people feel pressure to conform to egalitarian dictates
now, imagine how much worse it would be if jail were a possibility?
is the California Civil Rights initiative much of a solution. This
referendum says that neither discrimination nor preferences will
be allowed in the conduct of state business. But such a law invites
more questions than it answers. Depending on how it's enforced,
it may not be an improvement.
authors hope to dethrone race and sex as criteria for state contracts
and college admissions, and enshrine "merit" as its replacement.
But "merit" is a subjective and nebulous concept. Isolating the
abstraction of "merit" from race and sex will be difficult or impossible;
the attempt will invite even more litigation.
if not discriminating (as interpreted by courts) requires giving
preferences (as interpreted by courts)? What if not giving preferences
appears to be discrimination? What if the word "preference" is interpreted
(by courts) not as quota but as a *de facto* lack of minority representation?
As in: you have too many white males on the payroll; you must be
giving special preference to them. There's no way to win this game,
because, even with this referendum, the government still holds all
and racial preferences are already banned under the 1964 and 1991
Civil Rights Acts. These preferences persist because the only foundation
they need is anti-discrimination itself. What good will banning
quotas do so long as government has the ability to veto the results
of private decision making?
wasn't quotas that led to the class-action looting of Denny's, which
ended in owners giving away 47 restaurants to the officially privileged.
End every set aside, and you still have whole housing complexes
harassed for keeping out criminals. Abolish all affirmative action,
and colleges will still have to recruit the intellectually challenged
in order to avoid the appearance of discrimination.
only way to end the terror of quotas, and to establish a free market
in talent, is to repeal the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The government
needs to be stripped of its power to determine if anyone is discriminating
or giving preferences (or even determining on what constitutes either).
The government of a free society cannot have the power to declare
holding subjective intentions, whether good or bad, to be illegal.
a college or university wants a racial quota, fine. Another can
have an exclusivist admission policy. The same goes for business:
the government should never again tell anyone they have too many
or not enough of this or that group. We also need to give up the
notion of a "color-blind society" a goal as absurdly utopian as
socialism itself and settle for real fairness: a neutral legal
environment of contract enforcement.
a world without anti-discrimination law. Every employee would be
planned and wanted. Business would be free to advertise for job
openings without fearing lawsuits. There would be no more quota
loans from banks. The credit rating would mean something again.
The university could get back to being a place of learning instead
of a victimological remediation center.
count on Washington to end affirmative action any time soon. Neither
party intends the overhaul of civil rights. The quota culture is
so huge in academia, business, and in the official philosophy governing
public policy in this country that it requires political root canal.