Martin Luther King Jr. Day
January 18, 2008
Irvine, CA--“Martin Luther King Jr. Day offers Americans an opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to eradicating racism in all its forms,” said Thomas Bowden, an analyst at the Ayn Rand Institute.
Ayn Rand once wrote: “Racism is a doctrine of, by and for brutes. It is a barnyard or stock-farm version of collectivism, appropriate to a mentality that differentiates between various breeds of animals, but not between animals and men.” The essence of racism, she explained, is “the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced by his internal body chemistry, which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.”
“Achievement of a truly color-blind society will require not only that private individuals reject racism but that government policies and programs cease to favor some citizens over others on the basis of skin color,” Bowden said. “The solution to racism in government does not lie in further race-conscious, affirmative action programs that generate de facto quotas, nor in multicultural education that locates personal identity in one’s ethnic group. Because such policies are themselves racist, they are part of the problem.
“A model of good government policy is President Truman’s executive order ending segregation in America’s military services. Issued 60 years ago, Executive Order 9981 declared ‘that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.’
“This official policy exemplifies a government’s proper attitude toward its citizens,” Bowden said. “Every law-abiding adult has an equal right to serve in government, provided he or she can satisfy the position’s objective requirements. In setting standards, government agencies must be forbidden by law from making irrational distinctions among citizens, as by favoring some soldiers over others on the irrelevant basis of skin color.
“In a famous speech, Martin Luther King Jr. eloquently envisioned a world without racism: ‘I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.’ Americans should be proud of their nation’s historical achievements in ending slavery, Jim Crow laws, segregated schools, and many other forms of institutionalized racism. On this holiday, we should embrace the challenge contained in King’s eloquent remarks and recommit ourselves to the task of fully eradicating racism from this nation’s public policies.”
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Thomas A. Bowden is an analyst at the Ayn Rand Institute, focusing on legal issues. A former lawyer and law school instructor who practiced for twenty years in Baltimore, Maryland, his Op-Eds have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Philadelphia Inquirer, Miami Herald, Los Angeles Daily News, and many other newspapers. Mr. Bowden has given dozens of radio interviews and has appeared on the Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes.
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