school have excluded the teaching of English as a practicalrntechnique of expression; literary theories prevent us fromrnenjoying fiction and poetry and from applying them to our ownrnlies. Psychological and sociological theories—rooted inrnnothing more solid than verbal playfulness—may even corruptrnour morals and stunt our sense of responsibility.rnAmong the most dangerous of our theoretical illusions arernthe political fantasies that can be summed up in words likerndemocracy, equality, and natural rights; the principle of onernman, one vote and the American tradition of self-government.rnNo one who lives in the world with his eyes open can actuallyrnbelieve any of this, and I used to think that the American faithrnin democracy was one of those little mass hypocrisies that we allrnagree to promote as a matter of form, although we can barelyrnkeep from laughing, as Cicero says of Roman augurs taking thernomens. That is what I used to think in my days of youthful idealism,rnbut I was wrong. Americans have so little contact withrnreality that they are permitted to go through life like blind menrnwho do not know they are blind.rnEery once in a while, though, the country is rocked by somernscandal or emergency. We call these periods a “crisis.” Now arncrisis is nothing more than an event that challenges our theoreticalrnassumptions, an occasion of doubt, a chink in the darkrnprison of illusion through which a feeble ray of daylight streams.rnWhen the priests of Baal could not persuade their god to startrna fire, that was a crisis; when Louis XVI tried to raise taxes andrnwas told he did not have the power to do so, that was a crisis;rnwhen murderers go free, because they have the money to hirernall the lawyers in the world, that is not a crisis, because everyonernknows that there has always been one law for the rich and anotherrnfor the poor, but when the rich murderer is black, and thernverdict—and therefore his crime—is justified by an overwhelmingrnnumber of black Americans, then some Americansrnbegin to doubt the political illusions on which the regime rests.rnOur fundamental political illusion goes by the name of politicalrnequality. “America is a country where every man canrngrow up to be President,” and if not President, at least dogcatcherrnor juryman. Free elections and trial by jury were the institutionalrnexpressions of our legal and political equality. Thernpredictable black response is: a black man can’t get justice inrnthis country; a black man has never had political equality withrnwhites. This is true, albeit in a trivial sense. When conservatirnes tr to respond that four decades of civil rights legislationrnand welfare programs have eliminated injustice, they are notrnonly overstating their case; they are missing the point. Thernpoor and powerless will never have full access to the political institutionsrnthat are owned by the rich and powerful. When therndisabilities of race and culture are added to the condition ofrnpoverty, the result is an underclass whose members will onlyrnmake their way to the top if they possess both the motivationrnand the skills required by a particular society. Kidnapped by arnrace of athletes. Woody Allen might become court fool butrnnever a chief.rnWhatever trust we are to put in race and IQ correlations,rnblack achievements both in Africa and in North Americarngive little indication that black people, taken statistically enrnmasse, possess the kinds of abilities that are required for successrnin the modern world, and since the 1960’s, the welfare state hasrnconstituted an additional disincentive to black achievement.rnThis is not to say that modern civilization is particularlyrnadmirable or that we should especially esteem the virtues of anrnexecutive or technocrat. In Joyce Gary’s Mr. Johnson, it is madernvery plain that the African hero—however lazy and dishonestrn—is, in human terms, the superior of the English colonialrnofficials. With the temperament of an artist, Johnson couldrnnever succeed in the stultifying colonial bureaucracy. It is therndullest sort of ethnocentrism to imagine that one’s own grouprnis a human benchmark. As Xenophanes observed in the sixthrncentury B.C., the gods of the Thracians are red-haired and blueeyed,rnwhile the Ethiopians’ gods are snub-nosed and woollyhaired.rnThe gods, concluded the poet, were beyond our comprehension.rnToday, we extend this agnosticism to people.rnOf course white “racism” contributes to black failure, but ifrnracism means nothing worse than naive ethnic prejudice, thenrnvirtually everyone in this world is either a racist or a hypocrite.rnIt is normal and healthy to prefer your own group to strangers,rnand the liberal theory that tells us that xenophobia is wrongrnonly poisons us with self-hatred. But even in a color-blindrnmodern society, many blacks would not do as well as, say, Siciliansrnor Palestinians, and the inevitable result would be a politicalrnand legal system that appeared to privilege members of thernMafia and the PLO, when it was really only the age-old story ofrnwealth and power. Even in the most purely republican societies,rnthere is no way of preventing a rich celebrity from buyingrneither a public office or a verdict. If we wish to protest, we shallrnbe told—and quite correctly—that we are simple. “Be angry atrnthe sun for shining,” as Robinson Jeffers admonishes.rnThe acquittal of a wealthy entertainer, in a country thatrnsends athletes into Congress and puts an actor in the WhiternHouse, is hardly an occasion of surprise, though it must be saidrnthat in a better time, even George Washington would havernbeen lynched out of the White House if the evidence againstrnhim were as solid as it is against Mr. Simpson. What is hard forrnso many middle-class Americans to stomach is the realizationrnthat they, despite the burdensome taxes they pay (a majority ofrnour income going, one way or another, to government), constituterna legal and political underclass.rnWe have all known, for some time, that the children of EuropeanrnAmericans would be discriminated against in hiring,rncollege placement, and scholarships; that our culture and ourrnidentity were not protected by a regime that had criminalizedrninsensitivity to race and perversity. Now we have to realize thatrnthe jury system itself—along with other Anglo-American ethnicrnartifacts, such as the prohibition on double jeopardy—rnhas been corrupted by ethnic politics. The mere fact that whiternmen were excluded in principle from the Simpson jury meansrnthat trial by jury—and all the other institutions of democracyrn—are dead letters. When one very distinguished foreignrnscholar told me that you simply could not have juries if “peoplernlike that” were admitted to them, he was not speaking primarilyrnof race but of the caliber of humanity that serve, almost exclusively,rnas jurors. That one or two ordinary people might haverndoubts about the evidence is conceivable (especially in theserndays of public schooling), but 12? If the object was to give Mr.rnSimpson a jury of his peers, then the judge and prosecutorrnsucceeded brilliantly: like Mr. Simpson himself, the 12 jurorsrnrepresent the intellectual and moral nadir of our society; theyrnare certain proof that democracy is not even theoretically possiblernin the United States.rnFor several years, I have been arguing that republican equalityrnwas only a temporary phase between systems based on status.rnIn earlier times, the condition of nobility conferred both privilegesrnand obligations, and if a nobleman was killed, the price forrnJANUARY 1996/9rnrnrn