The New Confederates

Liberals never tire of attempting to tie the albatross of Southern racism and Jim Crow around the neck of all contemporary conservatives, a modern version of “waving the bloody shirt” that Republicans engaged in for a generation after the Civil War and that Democrats, seemingly incessantly, do now.

Well, as it happens there are a large number of new Confederates around, and in order to see them all liberals need do is look in mirror. Yes, friends (and any others who may be here), liberals are the New Confederates.

First, as we (and even they) know, liberals have substituted group rights for individual rights.

Second, they have redefined “discrimination” so that it no longer requires any discriminators and “racism” so that it no longer requires any racists.

Third, they have thus redefined “civil rights” to require not the absence of discrimination but the presence of proportional representation.

Fourth, those redefinitions have redirected “civil rights” enforcement from the old goal of rooting out discrimination to the new goal of correcting all “underrepresentation,” whatever its cause, but relying heavily if not exclusively on “disparate impact” prosecutions.

This new definition of and approach to “civil rights” can be found wherever one looks in the Obama administration — from Ricci opposition to promoting whites who pass tests if not enough minorities pass to judicial nominations (Sotomayor, Liu) to Justice Dept. briefs supporting a return to racial preferences in Texas and throughout higher education to the Dept. of Education’s threat to crack down on schools and school districts where minorities are underrepresented in advanced placement courses and/or overrepresented in disciplinary proceedings and to eliminate measures of student interest in determining Title IX compliance, leaving proportional representation as the only sure way to avoid trouble, to … well, to as far as the eye can see.

Nothing new here. These redefinition-induced developments, Obama’s New Anti-Civil Rights Civil Rights Policy, have been often noted, whether praised or lamented. What I don’t think has been well enough appreciated is something I’ve noted before here and here, and repeated here:

An under-appreciated irony in the transformation of “civil rights” from its traditional concern with individual rights to the newer belief in group rights is that the underlying political theory of modern “diversity” politics looks more like a racial and ethnic confederacy based on John C. Calhoun’s notion of “concurrent majorities” than it does a federal union of states populated with rights-bearing individuals.

This new racial and ethnic confederacy, I argued here,

assumes a society built not on and composed of individuals, but instead a sort of confederacy of racial groups. In this world, individual rights are subsumed by group rights, and it is thus legitimate to sacrifice the rights (now, interests) of particular individuals based on nothing more than their race in order to benefit individual members of other groups solely because of their race.

In short, in their reigning view of “civil rights” the New Confederate liberals seek to replace a nation of individuals possessing the right to be treated “without regard” to race with a confederation of racial and ethnic groups united primarily by a right to proportional representation everywhere.

If this ongoing redefinition of “civil rights” is allowed to stand, one of the fundamental, distinctive values of the American experiment — the principle that everyone has a right to be treated without regard to race — will have been destroyed. And that’s not just whistlin’ Dixie.

Say What?