America is a divine as well as a merelyrnhuman experiment (no matter whatrncrooks or nonentities are President andrnVice-President of the United States, Godrnis always its copilot). American idealism,rnto the extent that it is more than an aspectrnof liberalism itself, has always functionedrnas liberalism’s Useful Fool andrnTrojan Horse in the nation’s history—inrnparticular its intellectual history. It mayrnbe that a country’s fate is sealed, that degeneracyrnsets in and decline becomesrninevitable, at the historical momentrnwhen its political and material circumstancesrnare perfectly aligned with itsrnmental ones.rnNo component of the deposit of PublicrnTruth is more zealously guarded thanrnthat which has to do with race, andrncruel and unusual punishments are commonlyrnheld in reserve for those whorntransgress it. Thomas Sowell, ShelbyrnSteele, Robert L. Woodson, and GlennrnC. Loury are courageous men, and I dornnot discount their bravery by suggestingrnthat, were it not for the racial preferencernallowed even black “traitors” to the officialrnblack sodality, they would haverngained far less attention and prominencernthan they presently enjoy. In the absurdistrnsociety that America has become,rntheir status as victims continues to bernhonored and protected even while theyrndeny the validity of victimology as arnmeans of understanding and improvingrnthe realities of American life, and deplorernwhat Professors Conti and Stetsonrncall “the twisted state of racial discoursernin America today.”rnThe importance of what the authorsrnof Challenging the Civil Rights Establishmentrncall the “New Black Vanguard”rnis the persistence of these men in attackingrn”the consolidation of liberal ideologyrnas the ideology of black progress.”rnThomas Sowell is well enough knownrnto need no introduction; Shelby Steele, arnprofessor of English at San Jose StaternUniversity, is the author of The Contentrnof Our Character (1990), a book of essaysrnoffering an “existential” solution for therncondition of blacks in America; RobertrnWoodson is the founder of the NationalrnCenter for Neighborhood Enterprise andrnan advocate of “interior activism”; GlennrnLoury is a conservative political economistrnat Boston University who distinguishesrnbetween what he calls “the enemyrnwithout,” or racism, and “the enemyrnwithin,” meaning the perverse and destructivernself, while these four men differrnin certain aspects of their social andrnpolitical criticism, they arc agreed inrntheir condemnation of the power-hungry,rngreedy, dishonest, selfish, and manipulativerncivil rights establishment,rnwhich has always insisted that everyrnproblem suffered by American blacks isrndirectly attributable to the racist feelingsrnof white Americans and the institutionalizedrnracism that reflects personalrnprejudice and hatred. Civil rights “leaders”rnlike Jesse Jackson and BenjaminrnHooks (of the NAACP) have a professionalrninterest in maintaining the illusionrnthat politically liberal policies, executedrnat the federal level of government,rnare necessary to alleviate the sufferingsrnand improve the prospects of their people,rnas they have in downplaying or evenrndenying altogether the personal and behavioralrnshortcomings of many blacks inrnAmerica. As Booker T. W’ashington observedrnpresciently many decades ago.rnThere is another class of coloredrnpeople who make a business ofrnkeeping the troubles, the wrongs,rnthe hardships of the Negro racernbefore the public. Having learnedrnthat thev are able to make a livingrnout of their troubles, thev haverngrown into the settled habit ofrnadertising their wrongs—partlyrnbecause they want sympathy, andrnpartly because it pays.rnSome of these people do notrnwant the Negro to lose hisrngrievances, because they do notrnwant to lose their jobs.rnThe more the findings of the “objective”rnsocial “sciences” are relied upon asrna basis for social policy, the more subjectivernthe view of social realit’—as wellrnas the policies themscKes—becomes.rn”To in’oke such terms as ‘alucs,’ ‘character,’rnor ‘social pathology,'” ProfessorrnLoury has observed,rnin speaking about the poor (blackrnor otherwise) is still today to inviternthe charge of blaming the victimrnor, if the speaker is black, of beingrnan Uncle Tom. Remarkably, onernstill encounters the same line thatrnwas used to dismiss Moynihan 20rnyears ago—namely, that acknowledgingrna behavioral basis to economicrndeprivation feeds stereotypesrnabout blacks and providesrngrist for the racists’ mill. It is as ifrnthe facts about inner-cit)’ life,rnstaggeringh’ evident to amoncrnwith eyes to see, could be bluntedrnby simply banning any discussionrnof them from polite society.rnThis conspiracy of omission is abetted byrnthe media, as well as by the policy wonksrnwho have reasons of their own for pressingrnupon the country what Sowell sarcasticallyrndismisses as “the wonderfulrnworld of solutions.” “The one thing arnwhite liberal can never do with a black,”rnProfessor Steele says,rnis to be honest and tell him whatrnhe tells his own children.. ..rnWhich is that you have to workrnhard and your life in many waysrnwill reflect the amount of effortrnyou put in. Thev teach that evervrnday to their own children, butrnthey come out in public and talkrnabout blacks just as victims whornneed redress. This is racialrnexploitation by white liberals,rnwho transform this into their ownrnform of power. We’re being hadrnby them, and we really need tornknow it.rnSoyvell, Steele, Woodson, and Louryrnemphasize the importance of personalrndignity, communal self-help, andrnindividual initiative and deplore thernmessage of the civil rights “leaders” andrn”raptivists,” which is that the Americanrndream does not exist for blacks—orrnthat, if it does, it is realizable only byrnthe transformation of America throughrnrevolutionary means. In Thomas Sowell’srnopinion, such a message, in additionrnto being a cruel discouragement of blackrninitiative and hope, wrongly emphasizesrnpolitical solutions at the expense of economicrnones. As he argued almost 10rn’ears ago in Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality?,rnan inverse relationship exists historicallyrnbetween the political power ofrnethnic groups in America and their economicrnprogress. (At the turn of the lastrncentury the Irish, who were the most efficientlyrnorganized politically of any minorityrnin the United States, were alsornamong the poorest.) While the numberrnof elected black officials in 1989 wasrnncady four times that in 1970, nobody—rnlet alone the black officials themselves—rnargues that blacks are four times betterrnoff today than they were a quarter-centuryrnago, or anything like it. In one respect,rnthe Black Caucus and its equivalentsrnat the state and local levels ofrngovernment have been very successful:rnOCTOBER 1993/31rnrnrn