America needs a new civil rights paradigm; one that puts the individual first

There is racism in America. America’s institutions were designed to route capital away from various groups based on race. America’s founding was race-based evidenced by a European policy of removal of Native American tribes from ancestral homes in North America where removal was based on a theory of discovery that, on one hand acknowledged the occupancy of America by Native Americans, but on the other hand, chose to abide with what it identified as a global rule where the country discovering the occupied land can declare acquisition by discovery of the occupied land and remove the occupants by force.

Europeans used a similar argument when it entered the African slave trade and removed people from their homes in Africa and transported them to North America. Like the Native American, Africans were given sub-human status justifying their removal as nothing but chattel property for use as unpaid labor.

America’s history is steeped in racism and as part of its redress federal, state, and local governments have embarked on an almost 60-year initiative to guarantee the rights of individuals to receive “equal treatment” by prohibiting discrimination against classes of individuals (race, age, gender, sexual orientation, etc.) who are pursuing certain endeavors, activities, or opportunities including education, employment, housing, borrowing on credit, housing, or voting.

I see two problems with these attempts at redress of wrongs allegedly perpetrated on certain groups. First, there is the total disregard of the individual where civil rights laws attempt to extend the “tyranny of the masses” that is becoming increasingly virulent in democracy. Groups of unknown individuals identified only by the class that they may fall in may now, backed by the force of the State, restrict the ability of the individual or an association of individuals from engaging with who they want or engaging in certain aspects of the market on terms that best serve their individual or group interests.

The second problem, particularly as it involves blacks in America, is that civil rights laws create a reliance on another group’s “safety pin”, a false and dangerous narrative that says that blacks should seek protection from a group whose wealth has been built on a history of systemic and systematic initiatives designed to keep power. There is a fallacy that the group that has kept its boot on the neck of black people is expected to remove the boot solely on the power of morals.  Rather than seek true economic and political empowerment via total independence, the current civil rights framework has the group with the boot creating the framework for redress on its terms while blacks hope and pray that the pressure of the boot is relieved just enough so that they can swallow a couple mouthfuls of fresh air.

Both problems, the attack on the individual’s freedom to disassociate and the lack of empowerment for and among blacks promoted by the civil rights framework, are best addressed by the dismantling of the current framework. Dismantling the framework eradicates the erroneous interpretation of the role of the State as protector of the individual and introduces many blacks to the reality that true empowerment comes from the ability to set your own course toward liberty.

Civil rights is anti-individual and anti-empowerment. The framework must be abandoned. It fosters weakness.

One thought on “America needs a new civil rights paradigm; one that puts the individual first

  1. “Rather than seek true economic and political empowerment via total independence, the current civil rights framework has the group with the boot creating the framework for redress on its terms while blacks hope and pray that the pressure of the boot is relieved just enough so that they can swallow a couple mouthfuls of fresh air.”

    It’s not clear to me what “total independence” means. If it means creating a separate country/state for blacks, that’s an interesting thought, but has lots of practical difficulties, like, where that would be geographically located, and how successful it would be considering that blacks historically do not possess a lot capital of any kind to start such a venture. The last group that tried to secede from the United States lost that battle in a terrible war.

    Of course, there are probably white racists today who would like to be segregated physically, socially, and economically from blacks who might actually like the idea, depending on how it is implemented. I doubt they would be either generous or helpful in creating such a separate state, considering how, after the Civil War, many Southern states tried to reenslave black males by using vague anti-vagrancy laws, and otherwise did everything that could be done to keep blacks down, virtually enslaved, as it were.

    Working within the current system with laws and government enforcement that try to prevent discrimination in education, employment, housing, borrowing on credit, housing, or voting may be a better, although not perfect option, and we have seen some success in making these areas somewhat more equal for blacks. There is still a lot to be done.

    The larger problem is that law alone cannot solve this problem completely. That’s what Hilary Clinton told representatives of Black Lives Matter, who wanted more legislation to deal with racism and discrimination. Clinton pointed out that it is necessary to “win over hearts and minds” in order to advance their cause.

    As for the idea that anti-discrimination laws limit the rights of citizens, we have lots of laws that do that for various purposes—laws requiring the payment of taxes to advance the general welfare and common good, laws to register real property and automobiles for the purpose of formalizing ownership and paying taxes, laws that limit speed on highways, laws that punish crimes, for example. As I understand it, according to some social philosophers, society is different from the state nature where each person acts without any restrictions on his/her behavior, the idea being that living in a society requires some limits on the behavior of its members to create a safe and cooperative environment that helps its members improve their lives.

    Do we really want a society where one group continuously oppresses other groups for its significant advantage, what some have called Social Darwinism?

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