Aliberal society of the type that existed from the 1870’srnthrough the 1920’s and lingered on, in some ways, to thern1950’s is based on a few simple premises; legal equality for citizens,rnthe protection of private property, the right of people tornmind their own business. There have always been people—rnblack and white—who argued that the solution to the Americanrndilemma lay in the application of liberal principles. Strikerndown the vestiges of black codes and Jim Crow laws and allowrnblacks to make their way, as best they can, in society.rnThere are obvious problems with this argument. First of all,rnit violates certain basic constitutional principles that make itrnperfectly possible and legal for states and localities to practicerndiscrimination. No one who believes in a federal system can acceptrnthe premise of the 14th Amendment, even when it is mostrnharmlessly pursued. On the other hand, it would be naive tornsuppose that simply because some blacks will succeed in a liberalrnstate, all will. In a powerful and coherent Anglo-Americanrnsociety. Southern and Eastern Europeans have some difficultyrnin adapting, and the ethnic and cultural problems are farrnmore serious for Indians, Southeast Asians, and African-rnAmericans. Under any natural circumstances, one would imaginerna slow process of upward circulation among these groupsrnand certainly nothing like an instant realization of the revolutionaryrndemand for social and economic equality we used tornhear from Martin Luther King.rnFor all its demerits, though, the liberal approach may be bestrnsuited to a country that believes (however erroneously) that itsrninstitutions are founded on Lockean premises, and only liberalrnarguments are sufficiently compelling to persuade the whiternruling classes to give up a hegemony based in part on race andrnethnic origin. Although I am not now and never have been anyrnkind of liberal—classical, neo-, social democratic—I am preparedrnto accept the proposals of Walter Williams as the bestrnpossible solution to the racial conflicts that are tearing apart thernnation: destroy all artificial barriers that privilege either blacksrnor whites, enforce the law equally, protect private property. Ifrnpeople wish to discriminate in their business life, then they willrnforfeit any profits they might make by buying from and sellingrnto blacks. If they want to form all-white societies and marchrnaround in sheets, it is nobody’s business so long as they do notrnattack persons or property. Disliking people for irrational reasonsrnshould not be—as it is today—a criminal offense. As SamrnErvin used to say, “The Constitution of the United Statesrngives every man the right to make a damn fool of himself.”rnWalter Williams is, in my view, one of the most sensiblernpolitical commentators in America: he is levelheaded, eventempered,rnand consistent in applying the principles of classicalrnliberalism. When he took over for a week from Rush Limbaugh,rnit brought back memories of how conservative, really,rnsuch liberals and libertarians used to be. But it is precisely thernintelligence and fairness of his positions that may doom themrnto failure. Liberalism is, after all, only an evolutionary transitionrnbetween different forms of authoritarian social structures,rnbut in America and in Britain, liberalism has sunk in deeprnenough to shape institutions and even national conscience, andrnthe race question will be the final test of its durability.rnIf we cannot be liberals in matters of race, what are the otherrnchoices? Leftists of the Democratic Party tell me that it is myrnduty to support and strengthen affirmative action quotas inrnemployment, minority set-asides in business and government,rnand compulsory integration of schools—all on a vaster scalernthan was ever contemplated before. Leftists of the RepublicanrnParty ask me to support affirmative action plans that theyrndeny are quotas, minority set-aside programs that theyrndescribe as “empowerment,” and vast integration schemesrnthat they are selling under the label “school choice.” Why cannotrntruth-in- advertising regulations be applied to politicians?rnMy answer, and the answer of any person whose brain hasrnnot been numbed by reading the platforms of both parties, isrna simple NO. Appeal to my sense of fair play and justice, if yournlike, and I shall agree that for the good of the entire country, itrnis better for me not to claim any special privileges on the basisrnof my race or ancestral nationality. On this kind of level playingrnfield, I can only assume my own children will do well, withrnall the advantages that fond and doting parents can lavishrnupon them. But if you are seriously asking me to give up myrnmoney, my opportunities, and my rights in order to benefitrnsomeone else’s kids, some other people, another race, then yournmust be crazy.rnIf we cannot live in a liberal society, then we are are forcedrnback upon an older set of rules that have nothing to do with fairrnplay or equality under the law. The older rules, prescribed byrngenes and inculcated by human experience, constitute thernlaw of loyalty to family, to kin, and to nation. If some group inrnthis society is to have advantages and privileges, then let it bernmine; if someone’s child is to be given a leg up on the ladder ofrnsuccess, let it be my child; and if some other tribe thinks it canrnmuscle in on my watering hole, my grazing land, my shoppingrnmall, then let them try it—but they had better be prepared torndie. It is as simple as that. Many (if not most) black people alreadyrnsubscribe to this code—they certainly act as if they do,rnand they can only expect that their privileged status will convertrnother groups to the same principle.rnIf black Americans want equality in a free society under liberalrnrules, they can have it with my blessing. If they want mernto offer up my children as a sacrifice on the altar of racialrnguilt, then I must tell them: equality is not God, and neither asrnChristians nor as Jews are we called upon to emulate Abraham,rneither the Old Testament patriarch who would kill his child tornshow his faith or the racist demagogue who would destroy hisrncountry to gratify his ambition. If sane and wise people likernWalter Williams are not heeded, then the only alternative isrnthe ever-spreading race war that has already engulfed the socialistrncities of the United States.rnDo not be fooled by the vast numbers of white Americansrnwho, out of cowardice or mental weakness, are willing to put uprnwith any oppression in the pursuit of peace or “justice.” Revolutionsrnare not made by majorities any more than they can bernunmade by them. The American Revolution was fought andrnwon by the roughly one-third of colonial Americans who hadrnhad enough. That is probably the same proportion of whitesrntoday who have also had enough. If anyone—and here I amrnspeaking to the neoconservatives so eagerly leaping on thernracist bandwagon—is looking forward to such a future, he isrnmaking a terrible mistake, not only because of the carnage andrndevastation that is to come, but because it may not matter, ultimately,rnwho wins such a war. If middle-class whites prove tornbe as weak as they sometimes seem, then they will be carved uprnlike so much meat in the abattoir, and if they win they will joinrnthe ranks of the genocidal nations of history: the Turks, thernBosnian Muslims, the Nazi Germans, the Russian communists,rnand the only legacy we shall be able to pass on to our children—rnother than their lives—will be a burden of shame and lies.rnU/CHRONICLESrnrnrn