The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in favor of white firemen who claim to be victims of discrimination gives us an opportunity to attempt a little political casuistry, even before we have finished outlining a set of essential principles. It is not the details of the case that matter—what do I care about what happens in New Haven—but the rationale for making moral and political decisions.
The easiest way to begin is by ruling out false principles. One of the white firemen, a dyslexic, declared the ruling a victory for the principle that people should be judged as individuals and not as members of a group. This is utter nonsense, as he would acknowledge if the shoe were on the other foot. I can only imagine what he would say if people with learning disabilities were not accorded special privileges and resources in school! We are the creatures of the social groups in which our characters are formed, and it is only natural for me to support my group, even if this means discrimination against yours. Obviously, there are moral limits and there ought to be political and legal limits on such discrimination, but it is false to say that there is something wrong in giving my son or friend’s son a job in preference to a stranger’s son. To the extent I acknowledge membership in a community, say, as a Catholic Sicilian American or a Black Muslim, I will favor my own people and would be wrong not to favor them.
A related principle is of the historic responsibilities—guilt or merit—of communities. The fatuous theory of individualism, in denying group privileges, would also eliminate inherited guilt. Most of us think we are opposed to inherited guilt and we act as if we were with the one exception of the group that defines the identity that provides us with privileges. Where would Jews be without the Holocaust or complaints against Christian anti-Semitism? Where would the Irish be without the Potato Famine and the everlasting whining about signs reading, “Men Wanted: No Irish Need Apply”? Or Blacks without slavery? We are who we are not so much through our own merits or failings—though they play a significant part—as through inheritance from our parents and ancestors. For good and ill, America was at is best the creation of British and Northern Europeans who established the rule of law and the habits of diligence and thrift that have enabled later immigrants to thrive. Hardworking and intelligent parents are more likely to turn out children who become successful than lazy and stupid parents. It is simply not normal to respect a wealthy man who has inherited money from a father who was a gangster or crook. In a wholesome society, the sons of Joe Kennedy would not be allowed into a decent person’s home, much less elected to high office.
So, if blacks and Mexicans owned and operated New Haven, we should expect them to act on their own behalf. But, in fact, they transparently do not own and operate New Haven, which is actually controlled by a white elite, some of whose power is based on the ability to manipulate minorities and thus to suppress the upwardly mobile European ethnics. Some of the elite is a residue of the old Yankee WASP elite; some are Jews, and some are converts from the European ethnics, children of parents stupid enough to send them to Ivy League schools that destroyed their minds and characters. Like other members of the American Elite, the people who run Connecticut are anti-Christian leftists who despise all our country’s traditions. Instinctively, they aim at power through the shortest route possible—today, that is minority politicking and Marxism—but most of them appear genuine in their leftism. They really do think that black firemen fail intelligence tests because of the history of racism and discrimination.
No matter. The point is that New Haven is no more a “community” than New York City or the United States. It is a conglomeration of competing ethnic groups and social classes. When WASPS and Jews discriminate against Micks and Polacks, they are not failing in allegiance to their ethnic group, because they do not share ethnicity with Catholic ethnics. There is no moral community in which people are obliged to treat each other fairly. And, where there is no moral community, there is no social or political community. Since it is every group for itself, it often turns out to be every man for himself. That is the way American society works or rather does not work, because there is no American society.
From the perspective of natural politics, then, it hardly matters what happens in a hell hole like New Haven, unless, of course, you happen to live in New Haven. As a resident, you will want to have the most effective leadership in the fire department that the town can afford. The security of your house and the survival of family and friends depends upon the quality—mental, moral, and physical—of the firemen in the field. A dull-witted captain might mean the death of your children. Any a sick man, a moral lunatic, would not want to have the highest possible intelligence standards for promotion. (What sort of people would elect the current city government whose only concern, as expressed in interviews yesterday, was racial progress?)
But fitness standards grow out of a wider concern, that in all competitive activities—whether in sports or business or the professions—excellence of performance is a major criterion for employment or preferment. The more important the activity—say, playing quarterback as opposed to grounds keeping—the more tend to elevate excellence as a first principle, even at the expense of our loyalty to family, friends, and ethnicity. One can only hope that, the next time New Haven’s mayor has a health emergency, he is attended on by a minority physician who got through school because of Affirmative Action.
As I said in the beginning, what happens in New Haven is of small concern to us outsiders. If Connecticut had a decent constitution, it would be of no significance to the people of Hartford, and if the Constitution of the United States were still in force, the case would never have reached the Federal courts. If the people of New Haven wish to commit suicide, they are welcome to do it—at least it would eliminate the Yale faculty.
But, under the current misrepresentation of the Constitution, the federal courts do have a say in a strictly local matter. No one on the Court denies it, even Justice Ginsburg, whose intellectual and moral confusion reached undreamed of heights of folly and stupidity in her dissent. On the one hand, it is a local matter of concern to New Haven. On the other, the white firefighters have no right to the promotion that they worked for and deserve according to the rules by which they were hired, and on her third hand—the Justice is manifestly a freak of nature—it is the duty of the courts to promote a manifestly incompetent group at the expense of the more competent and of the entire city.
The best that can be said of the majority’s decision is that it affirms a long-standing Western and American commitment to standards of excellence. Unfortunately, in taking up the case, the Court has inevitably confirmed the activist tendencies of the past 50 years and once again overridden the federal principle. In conceding that the justices had no choice in the matter, I am only admitting that a) the Constitution is a dead issue, and b) federalism is extinct. The response of New Haven’s government, the national press, an the Democratic Party is also a sign of something, which is that America is simply New Haven writ large, a congeries of hostile ethnic groups ruled by an autocratic elite whose minds have been poisoned by the liberal education that is simply the education of liberals.
Sonia Sotomayor’s cavalier dismissal of the white fireman’s protest could only have been justified, if a virtually unanimous Supreme Court had upheld her. In treating a serious case as a simple question of ethnic preference—she does not like white people—she should have eliminated herself from consideration for the Supreme Court. As a bigot, she can be confirmed, if the better Democrats are willing to spit in the face of the American people in order to flatter their equally bigoted President. The comedy continues.