Thomas Jackson, American Renaissance, April, 1996
The New Color Line: How Quotas and Privilege Destroy Democracy, by Paul Craig Roberts and Lawrence Stratton, Regnery Publishing, 1995, 247 pp.
If this book is any indication, mainstream conservatives are beginning to wake from their trance of the last 30 years and notice the horrors that have been perpetrated in the name of “civil rights.” In this welcome volume, Paul Craig Roberts and Lawrence Stratton offer both a theory and a history of how laws passed to prevent discrimination against blacks have been stood on their heads and now require discrimination against whites. The theory is constrained by the illusion that with enough effort multi-racialism can be made to work; the history, on the other hand, is excellent.
The authors take the view that the rot began with Gunnar Myrdal’s An American Dilemma. Myrdal was convinced that whites were so benighted they would never vote democratically to abolish segregation. He urged Supreme Court action to force liberalism onto the backward masses. This, as it turned out, is exactly what happened, and Messrs. Roberts and Stratton trace all our current racial foolishness to this flouting of the democratic process.
The New Color Line draws heavily on an illuminating 1987 Harvard Law Review article (Vol. 100, pp. 817-852) to show how one of the Supreme Court’s most important decisions, Brown v. Board of Education, resulted from a mixture of arrogance, collusion, and utter disregard for the law. The decision was, in large measure, a conspiracy between Justice Felix Frankfurter and his former law clerk, Philip Elman, who was working in the Solicitor General’s office.
Both men knew that school segregation was not illegal under the Constitution, but were determined to end it anyway. A combination of luck and underhanded tactics — Elman, who was preparing the Justice Department’s arguments in the case, was in constant, improper contact with Frankfurter — produced a decision that had no basis in law. As the authors point out, even the New York Times recognized this in its headline of May 18, 1954: “A Sociological Decision: Court Founded Its Segregation Ruling on Hearts and Minds Rather Than Laws.”
Messrs. Roberts and Stratton think that ending school segregation was a good thing; the harm was in the non-democratic, extra-legal manner in which it was done. They see Brown as the first, fateful step towards the tyranny of the bench so ably described by William Quirk and Randall Bridwell in Judicial Dictatorship.
As The New Color Line points out, democracy requires faith in the nation’s citizens. Once unelected judges decide to toss aside the Constitution and tell the country how to run its schools, prisons, hospitals, and virtually everything else, democracy has been supplanted by oligarchy.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited racial discrimination in public accommodation and private employment, was duly passed by Congress, and Messrs. Roberts and Stratton think this was a good thing. Of course, the law was promptly transformed by bureaucrats and judges into hiring quotas and racial preferences. The New Color Line’s account of how this happened is one of the best in print. The story of how Alfred Blumrosen, compliance chief of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), almost single-handedly banned employment testing and turned workforce imbalances into proof of discrimination is particularly good. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr. was chairman of the EEOC and ostensibly in charge. He spent most of his time away on his yacht, leaving Mr. Blumrosen free to work his mischief.
Succeeding sections of the book describe the metastasis of quotas into college admissions, mortgage lending, promotions in the military, disciplinary action at the FBI, etc., etc. We have now reached the Alice-in-Wonderland stage in which the U.S. Forest Service posts employment notices that say “only applicants who do not meet standards will be considered.” The purpose of this announcement was to exclude men from consideration, and out of 184 people hired during the period, 179 were women. The Federal Aviation Administration explains to its supervisory staff that “the merit promotion process is but one means of filling vacancies, which need not be utilized if it will not promote your diversity goals.” The city of Los Angeles recently turned away white applicants who wanted to take the test for fireman because the city was under court order to hire non-whites.
As Messrs. Roberts and Stratton point out, from a legal point of view, whites are worse off than blacks were under a regime of “separate but equal.” Whites face blatant, legal discrimination by both public and private sectors with no recourse to their own “equal” domain. In many cases, discrimination is required by law.
The New Color Line also describes how the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was passed only to ensure that blacks could vote, has now been used to ensure that blacks are elected to office in numbers proportionate to their voting strength. Gerrymandered districts are only the best-known examples of how this works. The city council of Mobile, Alabama, for example, cannot pass ordinances that are not approved by at least one black council member. If there are three blacks on the seven-man council, ordinances require a majority of five. If there are only two blacks, they require a majority of six. In Jackson, Tennessee, and Calhoun County, Alabama, chairmanships on local councils must alternate racially without regard to election results.
One of the book’s interesting insights is that by basing legal status on group membership, the United States is returning to a kind of feudalism. Just as nobles and serfs were born into classes with different privileges and obligations, race and sex (and, to some degree, disability or homosexuality) are today’s congenital markers of privilege and obligation.
The authors have no illusions about what this means. Because blacks now take quotas for granted, they “could not be terminated without conflict.” At the same time, as quotas are justified by increasingly hysterical anti-white hatred, whites may lose status in even more dangerous ways: “Although an outbreak of violence in the United States comparable to the extermination of class and race enemies seems farfetched, the systematic delegitimization of the white male targets this group for mistreatment.” Eventually, they note, whites will decide to throw off second-class status: “Separation is one possible outcome. Violence is another.”
It is gratifying when authors (and publishers) begin to realize that current racial policies have serious, potentially deadly consequences. However, Messrs. Roberts and Stratton fail to understand that separation and violence are inherent to multi-racialism and were not created artificially by Brown and race-based preferences.
The authors think that school segregation could have been ended by legislation rather than judicial ukase, but even if it had been, whites would still be fleeing integration just as they do today. They think that if the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had not been perverted beyond its original purpose of prohibiting discrimination, it “might have led to improved race relations and a more open society.” They do not understand that because numerical parity is the only proof of non-discrimination, quotas were an inevitable consequence of “equal opportunity.”
Their greatest error, however, is to think that a happy multi-racial society could have been democratically created, if only judges had not tampered with the Constitution and bureaucrats had not tampered with the law. They believe that the common man has sufficient goodwill to work out, through the democratic process, the contradictions of multi-racialism.
Goodwill is certainly necessary for democracy. In a majority-rule system, no one always gets his way, so compromise, loyal opposition, and goodwill are essential. “Jefferson’s trust in the common man and Madison’s trust in majority rule are illusions if goodwill is an illusion,” they write.
The irony in this passage is that neither Jefferson nor Madison thought democracy could survive without racial homogeneity. Jefferson wrote: “Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people [the Negroes] shall be free: nor is it less certain that the two races, equally free, cannot live under the same government.” He wanted to send all blacks to Africa — Central and South America were not far enough.
Madison even tried to put such a plan into action. After eight years as President of the United States, he served as president of the American Colonization Society. He thought that Negro colonization was too important to be left to private initiative: “It is the nation which is to reap the benefit. The nation, therefore, ought to bear the burden.” He estimated that colonization would require liquidation of one third of the national assets, but thought the money would be well spent.
Paul Craig Roberts and Lawrence Stratton are right, therefore, to warn of the dire consequences that may follow from the reestablishment of feudalism. They are wrong, however, to think that racial conflict is the accidental result of some kind of temporary or technical failure of democracy. It is also disingenuous to quote Jefferson and Madison in support of their views. What the authors see and decry are only the latest symptoms of the disease from which America has always suffered: multi-racialism.