Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

Affirmative Action and Immigration


It is obvious that the immigration debate is splitting the Republican Party and splitting conservatives as well, between those who seem to feel that America represents nothing but openness and pluralism and abstract ideals, and those who think that there is a distinct American culture that must be preserved in order for those ideals to survive. A good case to illustrate the second view is affirmative action. I was aghast to see commentators on the recent riots in France saying, either explicitly or implicitly, that France’s failure to implement affirmative action was part of the problem, and that we don’t have such riots here because we do implement it.

I don’t believe that is the case, in France or here, but if it is, then it has to be said that we have had to COMPROMISE our ideals in order to pacify elements of the population, including newer groups, who need special preferences to come closer to the appearance of group equality. In other words, in order to have the mass immigration that immigration supporters hold as paramount to everything else, that is in many ways their very definition of America, the American ideal of individual equality before the law has had to be bypassed, as it was in Grutter.

Having to pacify groups resentful because they do not have group equality is not what the American ideal was supposed to be about. This idea was rather a recognition of common citizenship based on CIVIC equality, individual equality before the law, not equality of group outcome. But the National Standards on Civics and Government, underwritten by the Bicentennial Commission and the Department of Education, and endorsed both by the Goals 2000 and No Child Left Behind Acts, list “diversity” (which, trust me, means the expectation of group equality) as a fundamental American value, along with equality, justice, and individual rights. So this recent buzzword is now on a par with the concepts of the Founding, and this is what young people are being taught about our country, if they are being taught anything.


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