Jim Harper comments that the Cato Institute will do whatever it can to prevent ‘racists’ from attaining political power to enact legislation that favors some ethnic groups at the expense of others.
Murray Rothbard, one of the co-founders of Cato, wrote capably about the racial discrimination inherent in the raft of civil rights legal programs. This legacy particular to Rothbard hasn’t been forgotten, institutionally, at Cato, but it has been critiqued and buried while waving away the substance of what he had to say.
If the hope was to ‘prevent’ policies that favor some races over others from coming into being, then the time for that has passed us by –by decades.
Writing in 1963, Rothbard described the dual nature of Civil Rights protests which has been maintained through today — one public-friendly face of ‘nonviolent protest,’ which nonetheless involves the ritualistic violation of private property, followed by the public-unfriendly-but-tolerated-by-the-authorities violent counterstrike by the worst elements in the Black community:
For the Birmingham struggle took place in two phases: the first phase, of the non-violent children, was on behalf of desegregation, and also compulsory integration of restaurants and forced hiring of Negroes in various jobs. This phase ended with the negotiated agreement of May 10. In retaliation for the Negroes’ success, white gangs resorted to violence: to the bombing of a leading Negro motel and the house of the Rev. King’s brother. It was this act that provoked an entirely different set of Negroes to action: to committing retaliatory violence on the night of May 11-12. These were not the sober, church-going, lower middle-class Negroes committed to the Rev. King and non-violence. These were the poorest strata of the Negro workers, the economically submerged who help to form that group which suffers from unemployment at a depression-rate, a rate twice the average for American workers as a whole. Interestingly and significantly enough, their aim was not compulsory integration, nor was their particular target the white employer or restaurant-owner. No, it was the police.
The pattern of destabilization continues today, because it’s a pattern that works for seizing power in a democracy at the expense of civil society.
If the Cato Institute wants to decrease rather than increase racial strife, it’d be wise to consider the roots of that modern strife — which lies in the broad affirmation of postwar intellectuals of a false creed of genetic egalitarianism which has not been borne out by the evidence. When the scientist who discovered DNA becomes an un-person for challenging this new dogma, a thinking person must seriously consider whether the man might have something relevant to say about cognitive and other biological differences rooted in genetics between individuals and groups of humans.
Civil Rights laws, in effect, violate property and rights of free association on behalf of some racial groups at the expense of others.
Cato is happy to publish essays critical of Civil Rights law in a roundabout way, which nonetheless praise the raft of laws as well-intentioned, while being terribly concerned about the “progressive libel” that libertarian principals are ‘racist.’ Which, by progressive definitions, they are. That’s why progressives use the slur — because it anathematizes any blocks to their political program.
This approach is one of the reasons why the rationalistic modes of most libertarian discourse can be so frustrating — libertarians are simultaneously happy to argue against Civil Rights law from first principles, but then are unwilling to align themselves with a culture that might be able to sustain those first principles. They can make a good legal argument against the legislation, and good philosophical arguments, but then they undermine anyone who might actually advance those arguments in the culture.