ing gay-rights mo’ement would latch onto the rhetoric first popularizedrnby Martiu Luther King, Jr., and the black civil-rightsrnmovement. For opposing this extension of the civil-rights principle,rnconservatives are smeared as bigots, just as Goldwater wasrnfor voting “nay” on the first federal Civil Rights Act. Goldwaterrnstood on principle, but todav’s conservafives do not have a leg tornstand on: Having long ago conceded the validity of the “anti-discrimination”rnprinciple, they are helpless to limit its applicationrn—especially as social trends go against them.rnThe official establishment-conservative line is that the civilrightsrnmovement v’as a good thing gone bad. Back in thernold days, when St. Martin walked the earth, the civil-rightsrnmovement was supposedly a fight against state power. It was onlyrnlater, after it was corrupted by the poverty pimps —the JessernJacksons, Al Sharptons, and other race-hustiers in league withrnurban Democratic party bosses —that the movement took thernwrong road. This is unmitigated hogwash. The movement ledrnbv King and other more radical figures was the rallying point forrnthe left in the 1960’s precisely because it implied the overthrowrnof capitalism by elevating “civil rights” above propertv’ rights. Itrnwas only natural for the concept to be extended continually untilrnit now seems almost infinitely elastic. The latest developmentrnis that the ga’ lobby, having long ago won the battle to securernits “ciil rights” in the state of California, is now seeking tornemidatc San Francisco and other “progressive” cifies by outlawingrndiscrimination against “transsexuals” — castrati who,rnthrough the miracle of plasHc surgery and regular hormonerntreatments, have managed to convince themselves and a growingrnnumber of legislators that they have made the transitionrnfrom male to female. In San Francisco, these self-mutilatedrncreatures are accorded all the “civil rights” granted to officiallyrnstate-sanctioned ‘ictim groups—protection from “discriminafion”rnin housing, employment, and public accommodations —rnand there is a move afoot to enact a similar law on the state level.rnBack in the 1970’s, San Francisco passed its own comprehensirne gav-rights legislation; then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein’srndoubts were ocrcome by gay lobb’ists who assured her that itrnwordd not mean that companies would have to hire men whorncame to a job interview in drag. Today, it means precisely that,rnand the city’s Civil Rights Commission is fidly empowered torninifiate legal action against the offending “homophobe.” Wcrnarc near the bottom of the slippery slope; is there anv wa’ tornavoid falling into the pit?rnIf wc are looking to what passes for the conservafive movementrnfor any leadership on this issue, wc are bound to be disappointed.rnWlien I made this argimicnt during a panel on therngay-rights question at National Review’s 1993 “ConservafivernSummit,” I ran into the voluble opposition of my fellow panelist,rnDavid Horowitz, head of the C^enter for Popular Crdturernand a well-known ncoconservative. Horowitz was outraged byrnmy reference to “St. Marfin Luther King” and the suggesfionrntiiat, instead of praising this secular saint, we ought to be callingrnthe whole civil-rights paradigm into qucsfion. “I can’t let passrnthe remarks of Justin Raimondo, which were appalling to me,rnwithout a comment here,” he thundered. “This countr)’ committedrna great crime, not only against black people but againstrnitself, in the insfihition of slavery, which is fidly jusfificd by thernproperty rights that Justin Raimondo thinks will cover everyrifing.”rnHorowitz attacked as “garbage” die idea that “there’s norndifference between [King] and Louis Farrakhan or the contemporar-rnradicals w lio liave hijacked the civil rights and turned itrnfor their radical agenda.”rnThis is a tv’pical argument from far-out leftists: The fact ofrnslavery entails some kind of debt on those who had nothing torndo with it. This, I thought at the time, was an odd appeal tornmake to conservatives —invoking the concept of collectivernguilt, similar to that visited on Germans born long after Hitierrnand the Third Reich went down in flames. The idea that Kingrnwas a self-conscious radical who was surrounded by close advisorsrnwith links to radical organizations is acknowledged by hisrnmost sympathefic biographers. But Horowitz’s guilt-trippingrndid not end there; he was just getting warmed up. He launchedrninto a long firade about how he thought it was a “disgrace” thatrn”I go from conservative meeting to conservative meeting andrnsee hvo or three black people in the audience and maybe a couplernof Hispanics.” It is all because of Pat Buchanan—his voicernhad by this time reached such a high pitch of righteous angerrnthat it threatened to crack—and, if the GOP goes Buchanan’srnway, “then there’s no future at all for the conservative movementrnin the Republican party.”rnThe GOP, of course, did not go Buchanan’s way, and therernis still no future for the conservative movement in the Republicanrnparty. But, setting diat aside, how will conservatives preventrnthe redistribution of wealth in the name of race, sex, and allaroundrn”equality” if their alleged leaders insist we all worship atrnthe altar of IVILK? As long as conservatives pander to the politicalrncorrectness that animates their worst enemies, the politicsrnand culture of this country will inevitably be dragged to the left.rn(Someday soon, a “centrisf’ will be someone who wants to forgerna legislative compromise on the issue of “transsexual rights.”)rnThe 1964 Civil Rights Adrnsounded the death knellrnof property rights in America andrninaugurated the police state.rnThe civil-rights revolution effected a sea change not only inrnthe realm of law but in the political culture; unless that changernis reversed or ameliorated, the displacement of property rightsrnby ciil rights will become permanent and all-encompassing.rnInstead of talking about “empowering” minorities, the men andrnwomen of the right must challenge and roll back the advancesrnthat egalitarian ideology has made in their own ranks. Yes, BarryrnGoldwater was right about the 1964 Civil Rights Act, andrnconservatives desperately need to rediscover and reclaim thernlibertarian spirit that animated his principled dissent. The staterncannot legislate the preferences and prejudices of its subjectsrnwithout ultimately establishing a dictatorship. The right officernassociation, the right to enter into contracts, and the right torncontrol and dispose of one’s own private property—the very basisrnof all rights —are bedrock principles that must be defendedrnby anv conservative movement worthy of the name. If this bernbigotrv’-and it is not, at least not in a sane wodd—then so be it.rnUnder these circumstances, it is far better to be a “bigoted” freemanrnthan a tolerant slave.rnAPRIL 2001/19rnrnrn