The Corner

‘Degrading the Dream’

My Politico column today on the civil-rights movement 50 years later:

Every mass movement in America, the philosopher Eric Hoffer once wrote, becomes a racket in the end.

And he hadn’t even witnessed the full course of the civil rights movement. If the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington is a time for taking stock, the score is clear. The Dream was a glorious triumph, changing America forever and making it more just. The contemporary civil rights movement, partly as a consequence, is an intellectually exhausted disgrace.

It is the victim of its own success. No longer confronted by a system of American apartheid and incapable of simply saying, “We won,” it subsists largely on imagined slights and manufactured controversies unrelated to the welfare of real people.

Somewhere along the line, the movement took on all the moral majesty of an effort to extort contributions from corporations, a favorite tactic of Jesse Jackson.

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