This weekend’s Townhall column is about race. It is long, in part because talking about race is still so tricky that brief discussions can be easily taken out of context.
And there’s so much to say.
I expand on some comments I made on Friday. But I try to spell out the logic at greater length. So it doesn’t get missed. Racism is an affront to justice. Justice tries to mete out what people deserve, individually. It is especially concerned about establishing basic rules of how to behave. It doesn’t answer every problem of society. It answers crime with punishment and restitution, answers torts with redress. But it does so based on individual responsibility.
Racism is wrong because it judges individuals not on their merits, but by their race. It’s stupid as well as ugly and unjust.
Progressives, however, have been trying to overthrow the old idea of justice as personal freedom and individual responsibility since Progressivism first became an Era.
So it’s no wonder they spread a response to racism that is itself racist. They don’t understand what justice is. So they make an unjust response to an injustice.
Anyway, go over to the column and give it a read. Come back here and tell me what you think.
You will probably be brimming with ideas, complaints, responses. Fine. Me too. One idea I couldn’t include in the column was the sources for some of today’s inner-city African-American problems. It sure seems like they’ve been selected, by racists, for some horrible burdens. But I wouldn’t be hasty on this.
It’s certainly true that official policy has played a huge role in destroying a lot of lives in the inner cities (especially but not limited to African-Americans) — the progressive trifecta of minimum wage raises, welfare aid to families without in-home fathers, and the war on drugs, has devastated the culture of many inner city blacks. Some folks call one of more of these policies “racist,” but the intent, usually, has seemed to be color-blind. That these policies have hit African-American communities especially hard may be more of an accident of history than a policy of repression. But I could be wrong.
Writers from my perspective were once called liberal. Self-defined “Progressives” took over that word in the FDR era. But that hasn’t stopped us from continuing to uphold a commonsense view of justice. Important contributions to the study and advocacy of this concept of justice as they relate to racial issues include
- The Economics of the Colour Bar, by W.H. Hutt
- The Other Side of Racism, by Anne Wortham
- Race and Culture, by Thomas Sowell
- Black Rednecks and White Liberals, by Thomas Sowell
- The State Against Blacks, by Walter Williams
These are all books worth looking up. For further reading about the links between laissez-faire individualism and true anti-racism, you couldn’t do better than start your reading here:
- “Selling Laissez Faire Antiracism to the Black Masses: Rose Wilder Lane and the Pittsburgh Courier,” by David T. Beito and Linda Royster Beito
- “The Origin of the Term ‘Dismal Science’ to Describe Economics,” by Robert Dixon
- “Racism,” by Ayn Rand