Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Pat Buchanan: Civil Rights Laws Have Served Their Purpose

Wow.  I've known that Buchanan had long since fallen off the rhetorical cliff of the far right, but today's column is a real prize winner.
A radical idea: Suppose we repealed the civil rights laws and fired all the bureaucrats enforcing these laws. 
Does anyone think hotels, motels and restaurants across Dixie, from D.C. to Texas, would stop serving black customers? Does anyone think there would again be signs sprouting up reading "whites" and "colored" on drinking foundations and restrooms? 
Does anyone think restrictive covenants against Jews would be rewritten into contracts on houses? Does anything think that bars and hotels would stop serving blacks and Hispanics?
Having travelled in parts of the US, and long since learned that although the Civil Rights movement successfully broke down the legal barriers which stood between blacks and legal equality, the wounds of racial segregation still run deep in the national psyche on both sides.

Buchanan might think that civil rights laws have "run their course", but he is profoundly mistaken in his thinking.  I would suggest that the demonstrably uneven application of the so-called "stand your ground" laws and the laws being proposed in Arizona which create a hierarchy of rights with religion at the top are clear indications that the need for civil rights laws continues to exist.
And, indeed, some bigots might revert to type. But so what? 
Cannot a free people deal with social misconduct with social sanctions? 
And isn't this what freedom is all about? The freedom of others to say things we disagree with, to publish ideas we disbelieve in, even to engage in behavior we dislike?
As for the Christians of Arizona and same-sex unions in Arizona, if they don't like each other, can they not just avoid each other? After all, it's a big state. 
Funny.  I would imagine that more than a few people who have been on the receiving end of bigotry might just see it a little differently.  The couple that a baker refused to make a cake for comes to mind as an example, and yes, I can imagine the reappearance of signs in restaurants saying "No Service for ...".

The point is not that someone might publish something objectionable, or that a restaurant might decide to deny service to others.  Rather, it is that too often those tools have been used to marginalize and demonize other human beings.  If Buchanan truly understands the concepts of liberty, justice and equality, he will understand that there are those who will always try to limit the ability of others to access rights.

One wonders how long it will be until we start hearing this same argument from so-called "Free Speech Warrior" Ezra Levant?

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