Obama, Race and Affirmative Action: Why the Second Term Will Be Worse (Part II)
The executive branch isn’t the only arena in which the Obama affirmative action crusade will be felt over the next four years. The legislative branch, too, offers manifold opportunities for mischief. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-148), or “Obamacare,” for example, offers a generous supply of tripwire. Section 5301, which defines criteria for federal aid to medical schools, contains a subsection, “Priorities in Making Awards.” It states: “The Secretary [of Health and Human Services] shall give priority to qualified applicants that…have a record of training individuals who are from underrepresented minority groups.” Section 5303, which spells out criteria for aid to schools of dentistry, contains similar language. In neither case does the law specify what constitutes “a record.” One thus can expect medical and dental schools to do everything possible to boost minority enrollment, including lowering admission standards, in order to stay clear of being sued. Lowering the standards among today’s students almost by necessity undermines the quality of tomorrow’s health care professionals.
The Obama-backed Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (P.L. 111-203, or the Dodd-Frank law) also contains a cornucopia of racial favoritism. The law, among other things, gives banks a window of opportunity to escape safety and soundness requirements if they lend heavily to blacks and Hispanics, especially in neighborhoods where they predominate. An orderly liquidation of an insolvent institution, states the law, should “take into account actions to avoid or mitigate potential adverse effects on low-income minority or underserved communities affected by the failure of the covered financial company.” The legislation also created a Financial Stability Oversight Council, to be headed by the Treasury Secretary, which would consider a struggling financial institution’s “importance as a source of credit for low-income, minority or underserved communities” before taking it over. The law also creates an Office of Minority and Women Inclusion within the Treasury Department, the Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and other federal housing-related finance agencies.
One only can envision the opportunities for shakedowns of mortgage lenders not getting aboard the diversity express – and the fearful compliance by lenders. Already, the capitulation has begun. Recently, the American Bankers Association advised its roughly 5,000 member institutions to give rejected minority loan applicants “a second look.” Such reconsideration, noted the ABA, “can result in suggested changes in underwriting standards.” Translation: Banks should be more willing to lose money on bad loans if they make them to blacks and Hispanics.
Disturbing as this expanded role for the legislative branch is, it may have an equally potent rival in the judicial branch. Any number of Obama-friendly (if not Obama-appointed) federal judges are working overtime to force racial-ethnic diversity upon for-profit and educational institutions. The affirmative action juggernaut, for example, got a huge boost last November 15 when the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, invalidated a ban on race-based admissions at the University of Michigan and other public colleges and universities in the state. By a thin 8-to-7 margin, the court ruled that the ban, approved by 58 percent of Michigan voters in a November 2006 referendum, violated the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. With typically convoluted reasoning, Judge R. Guy Cole, writing for the majority, stated that the referendum “targets a program that inures to the benefit of the minority and reorders the political process in Michigan in a way that places special burdens on racial minorities.” The new arrangement, he said, “undermines the equal protection clause’s guarantee that all citizens ought to have equal access to the tools of political change.”
In the view of Judge Cole (who is black), a race-neutral higher education admissions process somehow creates “special burdens” on nonwhites because of the likelihood of lower admissions rates. This sophistry, in large measure, was made possible by the unwillingness of any branch of government to challenge the doctrine of disparate impact. A silver lining: The State of Michigan plans to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, especially in light of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling this April upholding a similar ban (Proposition 209) in California.
Racial favoritism possibly got an even bigger boost in September when the City of St. Paul, Minn. unexpectedly withdrew its appeal of a February 2012 circuit court decision to U.S. Supreme Court. The case, which appeared on the Supreme Court docket as Magner v. Gallagher, grew out of an allegation that St. Paul’s aggressive enforcement of its housing code had a disparate impact against minorities. A group of residential landlords, led by Thomas Gallagher, invoked the Fair Housing Act to invalidate the enforcement procedure, though not the code itself. City officials, led by Vacant Building Manager Steve Magner, moved to have the case dismissed. A district court granted the motion, arguing the code enforcement was not discriminatory. Gallagher appealed, and an Eighth Circuit Court sided with him and denied Magner’s request for a rehearing. Magner and other city officials in turn filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, which granted them certiorari. But the City of St. Paul for some reason pulled out.
Some leading members of Congress believe they know why: The Department of Justice had put the squeeze on the city. A group of ranking Republican lawmakers and oversight committee chairmen sent Attorney General Holder a letter in September which stated in part: “Mr. Perez fretted that a decision in the city’s favor would dry up the massive mortgage lending settlements his division was obtaining by suing banks for housing discrimination based on disparate effects rather than any proof of intent to discriminate.” The letter suggested the department made a quid pro quo deal: In exchange for St. Paul dropping its appeal, the DOJ would refrain from intervening in a separate $180 million suit against the City invoking the False Claims Act. Justice Department officials deny using such intimidation. A DOJ spokesperson said, “The decision was appropriate and made following an examination of the relevant facts, law and policy considerations at issue.”
Even if the Justice Department is truthful in letter, it is dishonest in spirit. The department, which for the next four years will be in the hands of affirmative action fanatics, has proven to be unyielding in its application of the disparate impact standard as broadly as possible. Currently the DOJ has at least five active lending discrimination suits and has opened another 30 investigations. At a Columbia University forum last February, Holder asked about affirmative action: “The question is not when does it end, but when does it begin? When do people of color truly get the benefits to which they are entitled?”
In a nutshell, Holder has summarized the Obama administration’s arrogance and contempt for constitutional liberty. Never mind that diversity enthusiasts regularly use intimidation to extract financial concessions from their targets under the guise of combating discrimination. Never mind as well that there might be good reasons to oppose such an approach to law. Holder insists the process barely has begun and thus must expand radically. As for his notion that people are morally entitled to the fruits of others’ labors by virtue of not being white (“people of color”), it is nothing less than a rationale for legalized theft.
Affirmative action began in earnest more than 40 years ago. And its pace is accelerating. The real question should be: When will it end? One thing is for sure: It’s not going to end, or even begin to end, as long as Eric Holder’s employer, Barack Obama, occupies the White House. Obama’s success as a presidential campaigner in 2008, if one recalls, rested heavily on his self-constructed image as a racial “healer,” someone who by virtue of mixed-race heritage and uplifting rhetoric could bring the nation together. But just underneath the surface was a man whose self-definition was heavily driven by his patrimonial (i.e., East African) ancestry and animosity toward whites. Even a cursory reading of his 1995 book memoir, “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance,” reveals as much.
Obama and allied anti-white shakedown artists, from Eric Holder to Al Sharpton, see government coercion of white-managed institutions as laudable because the goal is full social equality. Unfortunately, it’s a goal that can’t be achieved without chipping away at the foundations of liberty. And in any event, it is unachievable.
A little over 50 years ago, well before affirmative action platoons swung into action, the late Austrian economist-legal philosopher Friedrich Hayek, in his classic book, “The Constitution of Liberty,” foresaw the futility of this project. He wrote:
"From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other; and we can achieve either the one or the other, but not both at the same time…(W)here the state must use coercion for other reasons, it should treat all people alike, the desire of making people more alike in their condition cannot be accepted in a free society as a justification for further and discriminatory coercion."
This, then, is the central problem. The current administration believes that because whites as a whole are better off than nonwhites, their advantageous position necessarily must be due to illegal and immoral “discrimination.” Obama, Holder, Perez and other affirmative action soldiers decry any social arrangements that allow whites, even under an assumption of color-blindness, to come out ahead. They see such an outcome, by its very nature, as unfair.
This view is 180 degrees removed from the principle of rule of law. “Discriminatory coercion,” to use Hayek’s term, is precisely what describes the Obama administration’s approach to law and social policy. And it is whites, not nonwhites, who have much to lose. The mandatory “diversity” of Obama’s first term in the White House may be an omen of a far more onerous set of mandates in the second term.
Zombies among us
Without going much into the lore, literature, and filmography of zombies, there is an appropriate analogy to be drawn between the notion of the "living dead" and the living that deserves to be illustrated. Metaphorical zombies rule our current political culture, as well. At least, that is how I often feel when engaging others in a discussion of politics and even esthetics and contemporary human behavior. Try as one might, such people are proof against reason, beyond redemption or reclamation.
So, what is a zombie? It is a metaphysically impossible creature, dead, but magically reanimated by a virus or a curse or other pseudo-scientific jiggery-pokery, with a functioning motor and autonomous system, a non-causal appetite, a robot oblivious to the weather and its surroundings, conscious but not conscious, volitional but not volitional, teleologically driven or programmed to consume living flesh to survive. But, then, how can the dead "survive"? Survive what? And what for? These are paradoxical questions that needn't be examined, because they are semantic follies. Call a zombie a humanoid plant, or a kind of non-religious Golem.
Americans, too many of them, have an unhealthy fascination with zombies, whatever the antecedents of their favorite walking dead. And too many of them also have functioning motor and autonomous systems, perfect digestive systems, and are selectively conscious. They are eclectically volitional from choice or from habit, and their moral codes make them teleologically driven to consume the living flesh of their fellow men - in the way of social services, government-paid entitlements, surrendering to the state their own lives together with the lives, fortunes and purposes of others. As in "The Walking Dead," they gather in herds and move in herds, chiefly aimlessly, until they find the living.
If, after having seen for themselves what destruction has been wrought by President Barack Obama and his nihilistic policies, and they remain stubbornly blind to that destruction and to the guarantee that he will author even more, and they voted him into a second term, then they are zombies.
If they expect the state to solve every real or imagined crisis, and refuse to grasp that most economic and social crises are caused by government interference or mismanagement or corruption or the systematic expropriation of wealth and effort redirected by force into the bottomless pits of subsidies, welfare, and "social justice," then they are zombies.
If they believe that the state can manage, regulate, or juggle the economy and/or their lives for the public good and for their children and future generations, and guarantee a permanently prosperous, vibrant, and stable society, then they are zombies.
If they believe that incalculable wealth can be stolen from the poor to make others rich, or that a nation's wealth is a static entity that should be divided equally among all, then they are zombies.
If they believe that their mere existence entitles them to economic and spiritual support by their fellows via the state, through taxes, special legislation, and protective privileges, then they are zombies.
If they believe that America was founded as a majority-rule "democracy" and that the principles enunciated by the Founders in the Constitution are inapplicable to the "modern" world, or that the Constitution is a "living" one that can be interpreted any way a court or law professor or bureaucrat or politician wishes to conform with the fiat populism or fallacy of the moment, then they are zombies.
If they believe that principles are merely prejudices or con games designed to manipulate or fool the ignorant and superstitious, then they are zombies. If they believe that the greed of a successful businessman is evil, but that their own greed for the unearned is supremely virtuous, then they are zombies.
If they believe that words have no demonstrable and permanent meaning, that all opinions are merely subjective utterances determined by one's race, gender, class, age, ancestry, or education, then they are zombies. If they further believe that words accrue meaning solely by consensus or fiat law, then they are zombies.
If they believe that the state is the author, dispenser, and steward of all individual rights, and that rights are merely privileges bestowed and granted by the state at the behest and will of a real or fictive majority, and can be withdrawn or obviated at any time, then they are zombies.
If they believe that freedom of speech, guns, and the profit motive are the sole causes of massacres and crime, which they call "tragedies," then they are zombies. If they further believe that speech, guns, and the profit motive should be regulated, and even banned, for the safety and benefit of all, so as to prevent more "tragedies," then they are zombies.
If they believe that unquestioning "faith" in the ability of government to solve all their problems is justifiable, then they are zombies. If they believe that government is imbued with the power of a deity to work wonders and promise paradise and salvation, then they are zombies. "Faith," by the way, is responsible for the partial lobotomy of most men's minds, making them the walking semi-dead. To many of these zombies, Earth and existence are just a way station to the future or some ethereal realm. Why bother with freedom? Why overvalue it?
If they believe that government can create a tolerable economic and social condition which amounts to tyranny, these zombies are insensible to the consequent loss of freedom. They never understood it and would not miss it, even in their own penury. If you are not a zombie, there's no place in their paradise for you, the living.
The poverty and hardships imposed by the government today will make possible the luxuries and ease of living for everyone tomorrow. Anyone who believes that is a zombie.
On a final, esthetic note, if a person doesn't see a difference between Michelangelo's "David" and Giacometti's "Walking Man," he is a zombie.
Doubtless many readers have friends, acquaintances, work colleagues, and even family who fit some or all of the foregoing criteria of zombiehood. To know them is not necessarily to love them, but rather to keep them at arm's length before they take a chunk out of one's arm or neck or wallet or bank account.
But today's zombies needn't get up front and personal to be a slobbering, life-threatening menace. They can elect career zombies to do it for them. Herds of them are busy in Washington and every state capital and municipal town hall, day and night, chomping away at the wealth of individuals and businesses.
For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena . GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a war criminal. Both British and American codebreakers had cracked the Japanese naval code so FDR knew what was coming at Pearl Harbor. But for his own political reasons he warned no-one there. So responsibility for the civilian and military deaths at Pearl Harbor lies with FDR as well as with the Japanese. The huge firepower available at Pearl Harbor, both aboard ship and on land, could have largely neutered the attack. Can you imagine 8 battleships and various lesser craft firing all their AA batteries as the Japanese came in? The Japanese naval airforce would have been annihilated and the war would have been over before it began.