A good friend, fearing my ideological compass might be skewed, gifted me with a copy of the National Review as he often does. The lead article, May 17, 2021, was The Inequality of Equity by Christopher Caldwell. Mr. Caldwell wrote a thoughtful and erudite piece, worth reading, which I will attempt to accurately paraphrase. He said that governmental attempts to level the public playing field suffer from over-reach and are, therefore, ultimately mis-guided. Mr. Caldwell takes a fair and balanced approach to his topic, inequality. He says, for instance, “There are many such inequalities in our system, and blacks are on the unenviable side of most of them. They possess the fewest financial assets, fare the worst in school, have the hardest time finding work, live the shortest lives, commit the most violent crime, and spend the most time in jail.” He goes on to say, “…our civil rights laws are being over-stretched to the point where they are growing intolerable to much of the country…” Mr. Caldwell has a point. He may be stretching the matter somewhat when he says civil rights legislation is somehow “intolerable,” but he is certainly correct that many on the right spend an inordinate amount of time complaining about their perception that they are somehow disadvantaged by those same laws.
The complaining and right leaning rioting, call it right wing civil disobedience if you prefer, is essentially a reaction to their perception of Reverse Discrimination.
I first heard of Reverse Discrimination back in 1977. As a reporter for a junior college newspaper, I was asked to write about the Reverse Discrimination suit of Allan Bakke. Mr. Bakke, having served his country in the marines, wanted to enter civilian life in the medical field. Even though his entrance exam scores were good, he was rejected in favor of younger black, female applicants with lower scores. Mr. Bakke won his case in the Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court ruling, obviously in hindsight, did not resolve the issue. The Court tried to paper over the problem by saying that schools cannot use Race as the sole criterion for conferring a special advantage on an applicant, AKA Affirmative Action, but that a whole host of other factors must also be considered, sexual orientation, disability, etc. The core problem was not resolved. It was compounded.
We do not live in an ideal world. That much is true, but government is decidedly ham-fisted at solving our problems.
Proposed: Government must protect the citizenry from discrimination, but government policy must never institutionalize discrimination. Let’s get government out of the business of picking winners and losers.