Several years ago, while still at the Washington Times, I published a column on the occasion of the appearance of The Bell Curve in which I wrote,

What you think the state ought to do about race has little to do with what you think about race. It has everything to do with what you think about the state. Under the properly limited federal government with which this country started out and to which it should return, the state would be unable to do very much at all about race. In the modern leviathan created by liberals, where smoking, sexual beliefs and guns are approved targets of federal meat grinding, there’s no limit to what the state might do about race or those whose IQs it doesn’t approve.

These sentiments, as harmless as they are, probably did me no good, but they are nevertheless a fair and concise summary of what most paleoconservatives believe, or ought to believe, about race and the state. Paleoconservatism, strictly understood, has nothing to say about the natural phenomenon of race or the relationship of race and social environment, any more than it has anything to say about the heliocentric theory of the solar system, the doctrine of transubstantiation, or the authorship of the plays of Shakespeare. Most paleos whom I know tend to believe, insofar as they think about the matter at all, that the hereditarian view of race is scientifically correct, but it is quite possible for paleocons to believe (as I think the late Robert Nisbet, a great paleoconservative, did believe) that race is purely a “social construct” and that behavioral and psychological differences between the races are due to social-environmental causes.

Paleoconservatism does have something to say about what the state—especially the federal government in the American cultural and constitutional setting—should and should not do, and in what we may somewhat laughingly call paleoconservative “doctrine,” there is no reason whatsoever for the federal government to do anything at all about race—any more than it should do anything at all about sex, religion, class, neighborhood, or family. As one of the foremost paleoconservative theorists, Don Vito Corleone, used to say, “Even the King of Italy didn’t dare to meddle with the relationship of husband and wife.”

Throughout American history, race—through the crusades against slavery, lynchings, and segregation or today’s war against “hate”—has provided the occasion for the expansion of the central state and its destructive intrusion into social relationships, and the current endless “war against racial discrimination” by the federal leviathan and its allies—through the civil-rights statutes of the 1960’s, forced busing and school integration, affirmative action, “hate crimes” legislation, the encouragement of virtually unlimited Third World immigration, “teaching tolerance” and multiculturalism, and President Clinton’s ill-advised sermonizing on “racial reconciliation” a few years ago—is actually a central part of the managed destruction of such relationships of civil society as property, patterns of association, education, and employment.

The managerial ruling class, lodged primarily in the state and the other massive bureaucratic structures that dominate the economy and mass culture, must undermine such institutions of traditional social life if its power and interests are to prevail. Disparities between races—rebaptized as “prejudice,” “discrimination,” “white supremacy,” and “hate” to which state and local governments and private institutions arc indifferent or in which they are allegedly complicit—provide constant targets of convenience for managerial attack on local, private, and social relationships. Seen in this perspective, as a means of subverting traditional society and enhancing the dominance of a new elite and its own social forms, the crusade for racial “liberation” is not distinctly different from other phases of the same conthet that involve attacks on the family, community, class, and religion.

The managerial attack on traditional race relations has coincided with an equally world-historical process that Nisbet called the “racial revolution,” the replacement by “color” of “nationality and economic class as the major setting for revolutionary thrust, strategy, tactics, and also philosophy.” The racial consciousness of the nonwhite peoples has been used by the new class as part of its broader war on traditional social structures and relationships. Today, it is increasingly unclear which wing of the revolutionary assault is dominant, the managerial or the racial, or whether the racial consciousness that has so far served managerial purposes will remain subservient to those purposes as the racial composition of the nation, if not of the ruling class itself, continues to darken.

Paleoconservatives may differ among themselves as to the real meaning of race and the ultimate resolution of racial conflicts or even as to whether there is or can be any such resolution, but they should be able to agree, at a minimum, that if the historic character of the American nation is to survive, the exploitation of race as a political weapon by the ruling class must end. Hence, common paleoconservative goals should include (I) a long-term moratorium on all immigration, (2) the withdrawal of the federal government from involvement in all racial issues, and (3) the repeal of all federal laws and court decisions (including the civil-rights laws of the 1960’s and the rulings of the Warren Court) that authorize such involvement. Whatever “discriminations” and racial and ethnic identities that state and local governments and individuals and groups of different races and ethnic categories at the private and social level may wish to practice, the federal government should remain entirely “color-blind” or “race-neutral,” in much the same way as it maintains neutrality among different religions, classes, or communities. What paleoconservatives think about race and the state is that the state has no more proper role in designing relations among the races than it has in designing relations between Calvinists and Catholics, Copernicans and Ptolemaics, or Stratfordians and Oxfordians.