There have been some Public Service Announcements on TV here in Michigan recently campaigning against the Afirmative Action Initiative on the Nov. ballot. The Initiative would ban the use of racial and gender discrimination in the hiring and selection processes. These PSAs show people who have ostensibly benefited from afirmative action laws. They testify that now that they have these laws, "We are not going back."
What these people are really saying is "In a free society where people deal with each other on a voluntary basis, I did not have access to some things I wanted access to, but I did have access to governmental force through the afirmative action laws. These laws enabled the government to force other people to give me access to the things I wanted. Now that I have this power, I'm not giving it up." (The real meaning of "We are not going back.") Nice people.
Unable--or unwilling--to think in terms of principles, these people fail to realize that if discrimination is wrong, it is wrong not only when practiced against certain people, but when practiced for certain people as well. To practice discrimination for certain people is to practice it against all others.
Actually, discrimination is a normal cognitive function and should not be outlawed as such. We discriminate every time we go to the store to buy goods like food or clothing. The process of evaluation requires discrimination. When buying tomatos we may discriminate in favor of the ripest ones and against those not yet ripe or for the cheapest ones against the more expensive ones.
This process of discrimination is always done according to some standard of value. What then was the standard of value being used to determine justice during the civil rights movement? Our Constitution gave us that standard when it recognized that each person has an unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, i.e. individual rights.
But that was not the standard being applied to black people back in the 60s. I witnessed that era and I knew the issue wasn't being framed in the proper context to achieve justice. Few were talking about protecting black peoples' constitutional rights.
White racists had been telling blacks that as an individual they had little or no value because of their race. White civil rights activists were telling blacks they did have value but only because of their race, and that the solution to discriminating against blacks and other minorities lies in passing laws that discriminate for those minorities. In other words, the standard of value was still the collective (race) and not the individual. This allowed the white liberals to remain loyal to their core philosophy--collectivism--of which racism is a form.
Staying loyal to collectivism was absolutely essential. It laid the groundwork for getting blacks, and whites for that matter, to accept the next twist on collectivism--diversity--the New Segregation.
Diversity teaches people not to focus on their individual traits, but on their collective differences. Thus it becomes virtuous for schools to have seperate cafeterias, seperate dorms, seperate graduating ceremonies and who knows what else is coming? White southern racists might very well be rolling over in their graves today saying "Damn, why didn't we think of that"?
Americans have been betrayed by their intellectual leaders who have abondoned individualism in favor of collectivism. Adolf Hitler once said "Du bist nichts, dein volk ist alles", "You are nothing, your race is everything"--from Mein Kampf. A lot of real, living, breathing individuals died in his ovens because they did not belong to the right collective.
Dr. Martin Luther King said in his "I have a dream" speech that he wanted his children to be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. While Dr. King did not come right out and say "individualism" he nevertheless was focused on its manifestation: respect for the individual on his own merits and not those of his collective.
If racism is to be ended, it is it's source--collectivism--that must be rejected. But this will require the American people to demand our universities purge themselves of the multicultural and diversity dogmas. I think that alumni refusing to donate until universities abandon their collectivist curriculum and begin to study individualism anew, would be a good start.