The Corner

We’re All Segregationists Now!


The new Publishers Weekly arrived this morning and it was quite enlightening. In a review of a new biography of James J. Kilpatrick appears the following:

Kilpatrick focused his early career on creating supposedly acceptable public arguments against desegregation by “elevat[ing] the level of debate beyond race” and into the realm of constitutional theory — as a harbinger of FOX News and the conservative talk radio cadre, he is most interesting as an embodiment of how desperately the south fought integration.

You learn something new every day.

Kilpatrick was a good writer who was viciously wrong on a very important issue of his times. To say that today’s right wing is in continuity precisely with that viciously wrong opinion, when no credible conservative espouses that opinion, is to assume the entirety of one’s case without proving it. (And lest anyone suggest that right-wing anti-segregationism has merely gone underground and disguised itself with other arguments, I point out that none of the right-wingers who express a public opposition to, say, affirmative action, express racist, Kilpatrickian views to me in private. Whenever the issue of Kilpatrick and race comes up, they mock him.)

I almost never watch FOX News, and I never listen to talk radio. But I know some of the people who appear in these media, and this is a false characterization of the pedigree of their convictions.


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