Civil Rights or Property Rights?rnby Justin RaimondornThe interplay of race and economics in America has producedrna new variant of political economy that we mightrncall “miilticnltnral capitalism,” a system in which propert)’ is,rnfor the most part, privately owned, bnt its ownership is condi-rnHonal on the race, sex, and —in some cases—the sexual orientationrnof the owner, hi the pursuit of the chimera of racial andrnsexual “equality,” the old system that regarded private property^rnas an inviolable right has been replaced by one in which certainrnclasses are granted power by the state to override propert}’ rightsrnand, in effect, to appropriate private propert}- for themselves.rn”Oppressed minorities” in America arc accorded all sorts ofrn”rights” not enjoyed by ordinary folk. ^Affirmative action in educationrnand employment, special protections via “hate crimes”rnlegislation, the sympatheHc attenhon of political and culturalrnelites: These are just the most luxuriously obvious perks of oppression,rnbut they are merely fringe benefits for the aristocrats ofrnthe new victimological order. The foundation of their power isrna virtual stranglehold over all economic activity under our civilrightsrnlaws.rnThe passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act marked the beginningrnof the end of private propertv’ in America. As one of thernfew senators who voted against it, Barr}’ Goldwatcr, remarkedrnduring the debate on the bill: “I am unalterably opposed to discriminationrnof any sort, and I believe that though the problemrnis fundamentally one of the heart, some law can help, but notrnlaw that embodies features like these, provisions which fly in thernface of the Constitution, and which require for their effectivernexecution the creation of a police state.”rnThose words have a prophetic ring to them, especially inrnlight of the victimological assault on the Denny’s chain ofrnrestaurants. Beginning in 1993, Denny’s management camernJustin Raimondo is the author, most recently, of An Enemy ofrnthe State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard.rnunder a concerted and relentless attack by private interestrngroups in league with the federal government, which initiated arnseries of lawsuits that eventually brought the company to itsrnknees. In San Jose, California, several black teenagers were refusedrnservice unless they agreed to pay in advance. The nextrnyear, six Asian-Americans at Syracuse University visited a Denny’srnand claimed that tiiey had to wait over 50 minutes for service,rnunlike white patrons. The Asian-Americans complained,rnleading to a ruckus in the restaurant, which eventually spilledrnout into the street. These incidents spawned lawsuits, whichrnDenny’s eventually settled, but that was not the end of it. OnrnApril Fool’s Da’, 1993 (the same day that the first suit was putrnto rest), six black Secret Service agents walked into a Denny’s inrnAnnapolis, Maryland, and claimed to have been subjected tornblatant discrimination: The problem, it seems, was that theyrnhad to wait an hour for their orders to arrive. According to anrnaccount in the Washington Post, the delay was so prolongedrnthat they were “in effect denied service”—on account of theirrnrace, of course. The Post cited Robin D. Thompson, one of thernblack agents, as claiming he “felt humiliated” by the incident.rnWliat happened that day in Annapolis, when 21 Secret Servicernagents were en route to an appearance by President Clintonrnat the Naval Acadenry, is indicative of what Goldwater meantrnwhen he predicted that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 could notrnbe enforced without establishing a police state. Every small actionrncounted as evidence in this ease. The black supervisor andrna group of white agents sat together, while the six black agentsrnsat at a separate table. The supervisor and the white guys werernserved, while the black agents looked on. They summoned arnwaitress to the table; she assured them that their food was on thernway. The Post reported with a straight face that “White agentsrnhave told the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights,rnwhich is handling the agents’ lawsuit, that the waitress rolledrnher eyes after hirning to leave the black agents’ table.”rnAPRIL 2001/1 7rnrnrn