dants. Africans arrived with Europeans at the beginning of ourrnhistory. Everything was done to separate them from their reHgions,rnlanguages, and general culture. Worse, unlike Europeanrnimmigrants, they were repeatedly driven backwards and preventedrnfrom consolidating political and economic gains. Yes,rnthey were offered the Christian religion, the English language,rnand the Anglo-Saxon political tradition, but they were simultaneouslyrnbarred from full participation as equals and told tornaccept their place as menials and as, at best, second-classrncitizens.rnIn the event, by forging a distinct Afro-American culture,rnwhich should not be confused with the manifestations ofrnmoral decadence now celebrated by a cynical academia andrnmass media, blacks survived the ordeal of slavery and segregationrnspiritually as well as physically. We need to understand thernblack experience as that of a people at once American andrnyet a people apart. Historically, it has been an experiencernthat offers rational grounds for both integrationist and blacknationalistrnideologies. For black people have constituted arnnation-within-a-nation and have emerged as a people with—rnto borrow an expression from General de Gaulle—a “nationalrnpersonality” of their own.rnI am suggesting that black people have good grounds forrnclaiming a measure of autonomy to accommodate their simultaneousrnexistence as Americans and as other. Emphatically,rnI am not suggesting that any other people can legitimatelyrnmake such claims. To the contrary, nothing is more appallingrnthan the current demagogy that proclaims the right of variousrnethnic groups to establish their own people’s republic, withrntheir own language and political principles.rnAll I ask is that whites of every political and ideologicalrnstripe consider the argument for a wide measure of blackrnautonomy on its own merits. I do not much like self-quotation,rnbut I shall ask your indulgence since I explored the political implicationsrnof this argument in my contribution to the debate inrnthe left-wing Boston Review and do not wish to risk a shift inrntone or content here. Thus I wrote:rnA government—any government—that cringes in thernface of massive looting, rioting, and defiance of socialrnorder does not deserve to survive and probably will notrnlong survive. If the American people are forced tornchoose between urban terrorism and authoritarian repression,rnit would be surprising if they did not choosernthe latter. And they would have every moral as well asrnpolitical sanction for doing so. For if any “right” is wellrngrounded in human nature, historical experience, andrncommon sense, it is the right of self-preservation.rnThe imposition of the law and order necessary for thernsurvival of the black community cannot be effectedrnfrom without. In a racist society such an impositionrnwould take predictable forms with predictable resultsrnand would be bitterly and properly resisted. But preciselyrnfor this reason, black communities have good reasonrnto demand considerable political autonomy and thernpower to deal with their antisocials in their own way.rnCommunity survival and healthy development requirernconsiderable discipline and, necessarily, considerable repression.rnThe essential demand ought to be that thesernspecific communities solve their own version of what isrnnow a general problem for America in accordance withrntheir own experience, traditions, and collective sense ofrnimperatives. Must, for example, black communities, tornsay nothing of white, exclude the churches from theirrnschools and affairs if they conclude that their inclusionrnand close cooperation with the polity are essentialrnfor the reestablishment of moral order? And if thernchurches, following scriptural and historical authority,rndeclare homosexuality sinful and a threat to communityrnreproduction, discipline, and good order, are they to berntold that their autonomy stops there? On whatrngrounds? What, exactly, is the “self-evident truth” atrnissue here? To whom is it self-evident?rnLet me elaborate on those remarks here tonight, as I expectrnto do in further discussions in left-wing circles. Any effort byrnthe black community to combat spiritual and social decayrnmust depend upon its ability to impose considerable social disciplinernand to rein in antisocial elements. As Mr. Rivers hasrnsuggested, the struggle to restore a stable family life may wellrnprove sine qua non, and, if so, the necessary measures may notrncomport well with the endless demands for individual rightsrnand the arrogant pretensions to such newly invented constitutionalrnprotections as envisaged, for example, in the programrnof the gay and lesbian movement. Whites have no businessrntelling black communities how to resolve these problems andrnwould do well to keep their own preferences and prejudices tornthemselves. But to speak of “community” at all means to recognizernas unavoidable the existence of prejudices, whetherrngrounded in religion and historically developed sensibility orrnin response to an immediate threat to survival. Whites have arnresponsibility to support the efforts of black communitiesrnto solve all such problems in accordance with their ownrnpreferences and prejudices, so long as standards of commonrndecency prevail.rnWhen Lani Guinier tried to raise urgent questions about therndistribution of political power, she in effect raised the veryrnquestions forcefully posed by the political theory of John C.rnCalhoun and his proslavery peers—most notably, the doctrinernof concurrent majority. For in truth, racists or no, thernSouthern conservatives were the first to raise most of the burningrnquestions in the early days of the Republic, and we havernmuch to learn from their efforts. The question remains: Is itrnpossible to separate the healthy core of that thought from thernindefensible framework in which it was originally presented? Irnhave no idea how Ms. Guinier would have responded to thisrnchallenge if she had been given her day in court. I do note, asrnno few others have, that the liberals who control the WhiternHouse and Congress went to extraordinary lengths to suppressrnthe issues.rnWe are indeed engaged in a cultural war today. To win thatrnwar will require a new and hitherto unimaginable coalitionrnacross political and racial lines. Richard Weaver’s contributionsrnto that effort, notwithstanding the political partisanship appropriaternto his own day, remain indispensable. No less indispensablernare the voices of a rising generation of blacks who havernlearned from the tragic history of their people the lessons thatrnSouthern whites have learned from theirs. The outcome of therncultural war will decide everything else of importance, and thatrnoutcome will depend upon our common willingness to overcomernancient hostilities and hear each other’s voices. It wouldrnbe astonishing if white and black voices rose together, acrossrnlong-standing ideological divides, to show the way to victory.rnMay we live to be astonished.