[This review was published as a book review article in the Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies, Fall 1995, pp. 355-371.]
Race Relations in America: Forty Years After the 'Civil Rights Revolution'
Dwight D. Murphey
Wichita State University
Paved With Good Intentions: The Failure of Race Relations in Contemporary America
by Jared Taylor
Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1992
After many years of struggling together against the major trends of twentieth century welfare statism, the varying points of view that make up the American Right are experiencing splits over several issues, but one in particular will be of fundamental significance in the long term. This split is perhaps best illustrated by the article Dinesh D'Souza, the John M. Olin fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of the recent book The End of Racism which repeats many of the points made in the book by Jared Taylor that is being reviewed here, wrote for the Opinion section of the Washington Post on September 24, 1995. In it, D'Souza attacks Taylor and others (such as Lawrence Auster, author of The Path to National Suicide, and columnist Samuel Francis) as embracing "a new spirit of white bigotry." Why? Because they have concluded that if American civilization is to continue in anything like its past form, it is imperative that white Americans regain a consciousness of and loyalty to their own racial identity not unlike that held by people of all other ethnicities. In contrast, D'Souza calls on Americans "to unite [instead] behind a race-neutral banner."
The division between these points of view is of immense importance and should become the subject of open and reasoned debate. By participating in this debate, D'Souza renders a valuable service, from which he detracts greatly by his characterization of those who disagree with him. For thinkers of the quality of Taylor, Auster and Francis, bigotry has nothing to do with it.
The issue has many facets, but the central question is one of the heart, and will unavoidably be answered, either directly or by default, by all Americans (of any race or background): Do Americans value the civilization they have had, and want to see its main contours continue into the future? Or do they place little value on it and feel themselves willing instead to see it supplanted by a civilization bearing the stamp primarily of cultures and heritages from Latin America, Asia and Africa?
To say that only the latter is a respectable opinion, and that loyalty to the civilization Americans have known is "bigotry," are assertions that in themselves demonstrate how far America has come toward the dissolution of its former identity. As recently as thirty years ago, it would have been unthinkable. America's mainstream and heritage were established facts, and hardly seemed threatened. If anyone had suggested that a multiethnic cauldron from all the nations of the world should take its place, consigning it to a reviled memory, and that anything else represents "bigotry," the suggestion would have struck most Americans as as ludicrous as it is vicious.
Along the same lines, when we refer to the "American mainstream and heritage," we again speak of something about which perceptions have undergone change. Until recently, few would have had occasion to describe the mainstream of American society in racial terms as "white" or as predominantly European in origin. People valued the United States and its heritage for its own sake without thinking in those terms. Accepting the continued existence of the United States as an unspoken premise, the aspiration was indeed for a society that would treat all individuals as individuals according to their particular merit. What has caused the focus to change has not been that culturally-concerned classical liberals have adopted a "racist" outlook, but that the mainstream civilization has come to be challenged by massive immigration from the Third World and by a multiculturalist ideology, occupying all the citadels of "political correctness," that exalts other ethnicities and that has launched a virulently racial attack on the whiteness of the mainstream. It is this that has forced supporters of the fast-disappearing mainstream to make articulate what was previously assumed as a given. Under these new circumstances, thoughtful people have come to think that American culture will soon be swamped out unless those who constitute the current mainstream wake up to what is happening and resolve not to let it continue by default. The "white consciousness" is forced on those who hope to preserve the culture, and they have been forced to realize -- as they never had occasion to before -- both that that culture has indeed been European in origin and overwhelmingly white and that a profound change from those features will inevitably alter the society beyond recognition.
This division within the Right between those who welcome, or at least are willing to accept passively, vast demographic change in the United States (and, we might add, in Europe) and those who do not marks a crisis about the very nature of classical liberalism. American "conservatism" is an amalgam of several philosophies, but major parts of it center on "classical liberalism" and favor the market economy, limited government, federalism, constitutionalism, property rights, the Rule of Law (with its equality before the law), and other hallmarks of the classical liberal tradition. These hallmarks have historically included the attributes of an "open society" on the international level as well as in the domestic society, and have included a strong commitment to free trade and open borders.
It is important to note that for thinkers who have gone into things deeply enough, the hallmarks also include a vitally significant cultural substratum: the family, internally disciplined personal responsibility, civic virtue, the work ethic, respect for property and for the rights of others, basic morality and honesty and good faith in both public and private matters, a shared myth relating to the society's history and ideals; and, for many but not all, strong (Christian) religious belief.
The crisis turns on whether classical liberalism is best understood as an ideology centering almost entirely on premises relating to government and the free market, or is best understood as presupposing, in addition, an advanced civilization based on the cultural factors just mentioned. In previous writings, this reviewer (who very much sees himself as a classical liberal) has argued for the latter, asserting that a free society needs an entire philosophy encompassing all of its aspects and not just a few premises stressing, to the exclusion of others, parts of the whole. It is with this in mind that I can say that when D'Souza attacks the likes of Taylor, Lawrence Auster and Samuel Francis because they seek to preserve America in some semblance of what it has been, D'Souza's classical liberalism consists of embracing certain parts of its tenets without looking to its overall health. It is like attending to a few symptoms while the patient dies. Unfortunately, a fixation on certain premises to the exclusion of the whole has become typical of many libertarian or free market enthusiasts, with the result that their philosophy falls far short of being sufficient for a free society. They have made classical liberalism into one or more narrow, fractionated ideologies, not into an overall expression of what is needed for an advanced civilization based on ordered liberty.
It is reasonable to ask which view is most consistent with the outlook of the great classical liberals of the past. If we consider Richard Cobden and John Bright, say, who led the fight for free trade in the Britain of the 1820s and '30s, we know that they enunciated a philosophy of free trade and democratic participativeness (found then in the issue of universal male suffrage) that was, by implication, highly cosmopolitan and internationalist. But their writings reflect, too, a passionate commitment to the moral and cultural foundations of society (as did Adam Smith in his Theory of Moral Sentiments). In his diaries, John Bright tells how scandalized he was in 1835 when he took a trip to Portugal and found that "the people seem to have no spirit nor industry. They lie about in the roads asleep in the daytime, and travelling is by no means safe in the evening." After visiting Turkey, he wrote: "No inducement is held out to the people to march on the road of civilization. There exists no spirit of emulation amongst them, and they drag on their existence as nearly as possible in the same listless and apathetic manner in which their fathers have done before them."1 Are we to imagine, then, that Bright was indifferent to cultural and moral factors? An unspoken premise of his cosmopolitanism was that progressive, advanced civilization would prevail, then and in the future, at least in his own country. The idea, say, that the inner cities at the core of Britain and America's great metropolises would rot into copies of Lagos, Nigeria, would have shocked him into articulating aspects of his philosophy that, as it was, he found no occasion even to think about, much less make explicit.
D'Souza's charge of "white bigotry" raises still another issue. Are we to assume that any desire to maintain the Caucasian race and to preserve Euro-American civilization implies a malevolent intent toward other peoples? Are Taylor, Auster and Francis anti-black, anti-Asian, anti-Hispanic, or anti-anything else because they are pro-white? In today's climate, this imputation comes almost automatically, as though there were a necessary connection. It is the assumed premise behind D'Souza's attack on them, and it is exceedingly unfortunate. For the Left to assert it is predictable; for a proponent of classical liberal values to do so, tragic. As the debate goes forward, the proponents of a multicultural swamping-out of the United States and of Europe will no doubt assert (as they already do) that any policies, such as restrictions on immigration or on the welfare state, that seek to preserve the existing culture will represent "hatred" and "bigotry." Such assertions should not go unchallenged. They deny the right of a given people and a given society to exist, and are in effect genocidal. We have come so far that cultural genocide against European and American society has been elevated to the moral high ground -- now voiced even by erstwhile conservatives. In fact, we are told that it is a moral crime, a despised bigotry, to voice opposition. In today's context, it takes brave men to stand out against such an ethos, especially since most people within the mainstream are quite content to be oblivious to the threat to their own way of life and, out of a habit of being smugly "correct," repeat inanely the shibboleths they hear from the liberal media. Taylor, Auster and Francis (and psychometric researcher Michael Levin, whom D'Souza also mentions) are brave men. Whether their voices are cries in the wilderness remains to the seen.
None of this is to say that there is no danger that a growing white self-consciousness might become destructive. This danger will mainly exist if the predominant white population is caused to become angry and militant. There is a vital need for that population to wake up and take a stand against the assault upon it, but care will have to be taken that this be an awakening fully consistent with the respect for individuality that is inherent in America's classical liberal heritage. The best preventative against an angry awakening lies, however, not in exhortation but in containing (and hopefully eliminating) the decay in, and attacks upon, American civilization. During the Simpson murder trial, Fred Goldman, the father of the murdered Ronald Goldman, expressed intense anger and frustration, as any father must necessarily feel when his son has been butchered. If white consciousness is to be constructive, white Americans must not be allowed to become a nation of Fred Goldmans.
On another point, it would be easy to observe that D'Souza's orientation arises naturally out of the fact that his origins are from Asia, not from Europe. But that isn't, or at least should not be, nearly so clear. Those who have in the recent past come from other cultures presumably did so because they value the civilization the United States offers. Why, then, precisely from their own point of view, will it be in their and their descendants' interest not to be "conservative" toward that society? If they see their interests this way, they will realize that they share the concerns of cultural conservatives; and this implies, if it means anything but a chimera, maintaining a heavy preponderance of European heritage in the United States.
In light of D'Souza's Washington Post attack, these thoughts have been a necessary preliminary to a review of Jared Taylor's 1992 book Paved With Good Intentions: The Failure of Race Relations in Contemporary America, even though that book does not take up the larger issue of preserving mainstream (white) culture. Instead, the book voluminously documents the fix America has gotten itself into regarding its black minority, both in objective fact and by adopting warped ideological perspectives. This is a more limited function, but one that gives the detail on a major aspect of the crisis. As such, it provides a necessary underpinning to the debate over the more ultimate questions. (It is odd that D'Souza, a mere three years later, has authored a book that reiterates virtually all of Taylor's points, despite disagreeing with him on the ultimate question.)
Such finite issues, relating to the quality of our lives in a civilized setting, are almost as important as the "matter of the heart" mentioned above. The threat that multiculturalism poses to American society is not only a threat to national identity; it is also one that has a thousand practical facets, which ought to be evaluated for their individual and cumulative effect: such matters as personal safety, the quality of education, economic productivity, the grace of life, and many others.
The Book: Paved With Good Intentions
As most of us read the newspaper, we become aware of a certain bit of news, only to lose track of it as the days go by and new events come tumbling upon us. To keep track of everything and eventually to see it as a whole requires clipping most of the stories and maintaining a large filing system. Few people have the time or inclination to do that.
Here, Taylor has done it for us. He has followed contemporary American race relations by collecting over a thousand recent articles and reports (as evidenced in his 1339 footnotes). The result is a living history directly from the news pages.
There is no substitute for reading the book as a whole, since one of its contributions is to provide that documentation. In what follows, we must be content to summarize some of his main points.
The Rise of a Black Underclass
Since the beginning of the post-World War II civil rights movement, there has been a twin development within America's black minority: a large increase in the numbers of black professionals, of which half work for government;2 and the rise of a black "underclass" in which the standards of civilization have deteriorated badly. The collapse is manifest in many ways:
The rates of criminal involvement, including rates of homicide and serious crime. "One in four black men in their twenties is either in jail, on parole, or on probation," Taylor says. "This is approximately ten times the rate for whites of the same age. Though they are only 12 percent of the population, blacks commit more than half of all rapes and robberies and 60 percent of the murders in America."3
The criminal victimization of whites. "When whites commit violence, they do it to blacks 2.4 percent of the time. Blacks, on the other hand, choose white victims more than half the time...The proportion of black-on-white rapes has soared. In a 1974 study in Denver, 40 percent of all rapes were of whites by blacks, and not one case of white-on-black rape was found."4
The illegitimacy rate. "In 1950, only 9 percent of black families were headed by one parent...By 1970 it was 33 percent. Now fully half of all black families with children are headed by a single parent. In 1959, only 15 percent of black births were illegitimate...By 1992, the figure was approaching 70 percent."5
The syphillis rate. "From 1985 to 1990, while syphillis rates for whites continued their long-running decline, they rose 126 percent for black men and 231 percent for black women."6
Rates of heroin, cocaine and crack addiction. The details Taylor gives about this are so extensive that they can't be summarized in a single quotation. Suffice it to say that an estimated 50,000 babies were born as addicts in the United States in 1989, and that "in 1989 the going rate for oral sex in one Harlem crack house had reportedly dropped to 25 cents" because of women's desperation for the drug.7
Receipt of public assistance. "Blacks are more than four and a half times more likely than whites to be on public assistance...welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, and subsidized housing."8
Record of failure. "At some urban high schools, nearly 70 percent fail to graduate." In school, "failure and bitterness cascades down to all levels." In business, blacks are quickly passed by other minorities: "In Miami, repeated waves of immigrants have worked hard, gotten ahead, and leap-frogged blacks."9
The Changed Direction of the Civil Rights Revolution
Whereas the "civil rights revolution" was originally accepted by Americans as a movement toward color-blindedness in which people would be judged according to their individual merit, Taylor says it wasn't long before it evolved into a movement for special group rights and became officially race-conscious. Rising black consciousness, with an increasing radicalism and paranoia, has been accompanied by waning white self-awareness. Africanism has become a cultural assertion, with bogus claims about black history; and there has even been a black-sponsored move toward resegregation. "Every morning, the students of Shule Mandela Academy in East Palo Alto, California, pledge to 'think black, act black, speak black, buy black, pray black, love black, and live black.'"10
Dependence on government is a way of life. And with the rise of the underclass, the drive for "tolerance" has evolved into an insistence upon accepting intolerable behavior. All of this leads to rising white resentment, although most middle class whites go about their lives in protected compartments that don't bring them into touch with many of the problems.
When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was under consideration, Senator Hubert Humphrey assured the Senate that it "does not require an employer to achieve any sort of racial balance in his work force by giving preferential treatment to any individual or group." To make this clear, the assurance was written explicitly into the Act. Taylor says Humphrey "even promised on the floor of the Senate that he would physically eat the paper the bill was written on if it were ever used to require corrective hiring preferences."11
Everyone knows, of course, what soon happened; but the value of Taylor's account is that he spells out the detail of the law's rapid evolution into quotas, preferences and set-asides in every nook and cranny of American life:
Minority set-asides. "In 1989, thirty-six states and nearly two hundred local governments had minority 'set-aside' programs, which awarded a fixed percentage of all contracts to companies owned by nonwhites or women." Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act requires "noncompetitive, sole-source contracting for companies owned by 'economically disadvantaged' minorities"--with "disadvantaged" being defined as any contractor with "a personal net worth of under $750,000"!12
Special programs of many kinds. One of these, we find, has been the effort by the Big Three automakers to create black car dealerships. "They offer minorities intensive, one- or two-year programs that include classroom training...Once minorities have finished the program, the automakers finance up to 85 percent of the cost of the dealership...If it goes broke, the investment can be returned to the dealer. Whites who start a dealership lose their investment if the business fails." In such a thing as broadcast licensing, "affirmative action laws [were] passed in 1978 to encourage minority ownership of broadcasting stations ...minorities get extra points when they apply...Recently The New York Times got a $50 million tax break because it sold a $420-million cable TV subsidiary to a group with 20 percent minority ownership."13
Preferential treatment on tests. This widespread phenomenon is illustrated by the fact that on the exam the FBI gives to prospective agents, "blacks get 5 extra points because of race." "Race-norming" involves giving "blacks or Hispanics higher marks than whites for the same number of correct answers;" it is done by comparing the scores made by members of one race only to scores made by other members of the same race. Taylor says many employers welcome race-norming because it provides them an easy way to meet the racial quotas that are demanded of them.14
Relaxation of standards. The unremitting drive to recruit more blacks into everything has lowered standards drastically. A striking example is that the State Department stopped expecting prospective diplomats to know a foreign language when it was found that "few blacks speak foreign languages. Now the U.S. diplomatic service may be the only one in the world that does not even consider foreign-language ability when it makes hiring decisions."15
"Enterprise zones" mostly in black neighborhoods. We discover that "the neighborhoods that benefit from this kind of taxpayer largess are almost invariably black."16
Even quotas for the number of blacks in advertising photos. "In 1991, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that The New York Times could be sued because it accepted real-estate ads that did not depict enough nonwhites."17
Lawsuits forcing special treatment. In 1991, even though Northwest Airlines "admitted no discrimination," it settled a case that was brought against it based on allegedly having too-few black employees. The settlement committed the airline to spend $3.5 million to "accelerate the hiring and promotion of blacks. It also agreed to finance scholarships for black trainees and to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to blacks who claimed discrimination."18 In countless places of employment, grievances and lawsuits make life unbearable, lower productivity, raise the cost of doing business, and lessen the competitiveness of American business in international trade.
Racial extortion. Taylor tells how violence and activist intimidation, including even a threat of bloodshed by a black militia (for which "six hundred blacks crowded into a grade school auditorium to sign up") and "urban guerrilla warfare," have been used to extort money.19
All of this reflects the idea that preferences for blacks don't count as discrimination. Taylor refers, as an example, to IRS publication 557, which says that "a policy of a school that favors racial minority groups...does not constitute discrimination."20
The effects are by no means entirely favorable to blacks, even if their self-destructive fall into dependency isn't considered. Because of the threat of lawsuits and the many other encumbrances that hiring minorities now entails, "employers may have bid up the wages for smart, hardworking, sure-bet blacks, but they may be more hesitant than ever to risk hiring the marginal cases...."21 In addition, blacks are led to doubt their own abilities; and everyone, black and white alike, is forced to wonder whether a given black's rise to a position of responsibility is due to racial preference rather than to ability, thus placing a heavy mortgage on black achievement.
A surprising feature pointed out by Taylor is that affirmative action has even been extended to recent immigrants -- provided they aren't white (which 90 percent of them now are not). He cites the astounding fact that the California Highway Department "has advertised job vacancies in Mexico in the hope of meeting affirmative action goals for Hispanics."22
Discussion of Specific Episodes and Issues
Taylor's documentation provides a handy reference source about episodes and issues that have captured public attention. These include the cases of Tawana Brawley, the Central Park jogger, Rodney King, Reginald Denny, and the incidents at Howard Beach, Bensonhurst and Crown Heights. Specifics are given about issues such as school busing, alleged anti-black "test bias," and the gerrymandering of Congressional districts through a distortion of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Discussion of Court Decisions
It would have been useful for Taylor to have included an appendix giving a chronology of legislation, court decisions and agency regulations, but he instead wove these into his narrative. Of particular value is his discussion of the concept of "disparate impact," which places under scrutiny even an impartial standard, as used, say, by an employer, if the standard affects races differently. Taylor quotes a legal manual used by fire departments which says that, according to the EEOC, veterans applying for jobs can't be asked whether they have an honorable discharge. "The reason is," the manual states, "that twice as many blacks receive dishonorable discharges as whites." After the U. S. Supreme Court shifted the burden of proof to call upon someone who has challenged a standard to show it was unfair, Congress attempted to override the Court with its Civil Rights Act of 1990, which was at first vetoed by President Bush but was signed by him in the next year's version.23
The Ideological Aspect: Fantasies, Shibboleths, Taboos and Double Standards
The many acts of racial preference arise out of, are justified by, and in turn reenforce a complex system of ideology and myth. Anyone who seeks to understand the fix the United States is in must come to grips with this miasma of ideology. Taylor's book is again an excellent source.
The beginning premise is that there exists a ubiquitous white racism. Every actual expression of racism, together with every straw that would appear to support this thesis, is seized upon; and often the wildest charges are made about it, as in the Tawana Brawley case.
From this, it is an easy step to asserting that whites are responsible for all the problems blacks face, which Taylor says becomes the central premise behind the system of compensatory preferences.
This premise is replete with implications and consequences. It tells blacks that they can't help themselves and that they must accordingly look to whites for help in all aspects of their lives; it becomes the basis for excusing failure and for special treatment; it directs attention away from root-cause moral deficiencies; and it even goes so far as to argue that to hold people responsible for their behavior is to "blame the victim." With this as context, we are reminded of Herrnstein and Murray's thesis in The Bell Curve: Taylor says that "if whites are not holding blacks down, it might mean that they have risen as far as their inherent limitations permit. The possibility of black inferiority is the unacknowledged goblin that lurks in the background of every attempt to explain black failure."24
The more society's experience suggests that possibility, the more hysterical becomes the ideology of blaming whites. The premise is trumpeted with authoritarian righteousness. For the most part, whites cower in the face of it, becoming ever more intimidated and acquiescent. At the same time, they become steeped in cynicism, hypocrisy, and privately voiced opinions. Those who speak up publicly, telling what everyone knows, are severely punished so that others will know better than to do the same.
There are a number of subordinate myths. One is that blacks simply commit one type of crime while whites commit just as much crime, but of a white-collar variety. Taylor pierces this with a few facts: "Blacks commit a disproportionate number of white-collar offenses as well. In 1990, blacks were nearly three times as likely as whites to be arrested for forgery, counterfeiting, and embezzlement, and were 3.4 times more likely to be arrested for receiving stolen property."25
Another is that blacks don't receive their share of kidney transplants. Again, facts shed light: "First of all, organ transplants work best between people of the same race; one fifth of blacks have antigens that make them reject kidneys donated by whites. At the same time, blacks are only half as likely as whites to donate organs after they die...."26
Yet another is that white cab drivers refuse to pick up blacks as passengers. Taylor reports, though, that "One white New York City driver...points out that in his city as many as seventeen drivers have been murdered by riders in a single year, that hundreds are beaten and wounded, and thousands are robbed or defrauded...Half of New York's cab drivers are themselves black and act no differently from white drivers."27
One of Taylor's more valuable contributions is that he unmasks the vast array of double-standards. Ideology has cast Americans' public discourse into a form of Orwellian "double-speak"; and just as there is a twin-track system of legal rights and obligations, there is a twin-track system of thought. Here briefly are some of the double-standards Taylor documents:
"It has become virtually impossible to criticize a black...without provoking cries of racism." When, for example, black mayors in Atlantic City and Birmingham were charged with corruption, they were cloaked in "the trappings of civil rights martyrdom."28
"Diversity" is demanded of predominantly white institutions, but not of black ones.
"Testers" who look for discrimination by acting as though they want to buy or rent housing are used just to test whites, not to check, as well, for biased conduct on the part of minorities.
Sensitivity in the use of language is demanded of whites, but blacks are unrestrained in the use of racial slurs. (We are reminded of how the media a few years ago went out of its way to coin the acronym "WASP" for "white anglo-saxon protestant.")
The news is slanted to put minorities in the best possible light. "The eighty-eight daily newspapers of the Gannett chain are under strict orders to look for articles and photographs that show minorities in a favorable light...Every day, [USA Today] runs four photographs on the top half of page one. At least one photograph must be of an ethnic minority."29
Drama, television and movies are similarly skewed. "Blacks are almost never chosen as bad guys. Instead, it is white businessmen...." In supposedly non-fiction accounts, such as the film "Glory," facts are distorted, omitted, made up, or falsified.30
Even though Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, plagiarism of his doctoral dissertation has been extensively documented, this is universally ignored. The life of Malcolm X is also distorted to make it more palatable.
Black caucuses and special groups are permitted, whereas they would be taboo for whites. There is a Miss Black America beauty pageant, and universities recognize black fraternities and sororities while coming down hard on any racial criterion for admission within the traditional Greek system. There are black student newspapers. And "most black giving goes to explicitly racial organizations," whereas "a specifically white charity could probably not get tax-exempt status."31
Blacks engage in overwhelming bloc voting for Democrats and for black candidates. If whites did the same thing, it would be condemned as deeply racist.
The argument is made that "only whites can be racist."
A number of places have outlawed "hate crimes," but this concept is applied with a double standard. A crime by a white against a black is presumed to be racially motivated; no such presumption is made about the extensive crime committed by blacks against whites.
"One of the most spectacular examples of our racial double standards is the way we treat Africa." American public opinion condemned the white regimes of Rhodesia and South Africa, but "we hardly notice the far worse abuses of black governments." Sixty-nine people were killed by physically threatened South African police in the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre, and the world has made it an unforgettable incident; but Taylor points out that when in 1972 the Tutsi army in Rwanda killed 100,000 Hutu, western opinion ignored it (as, we might add, it very largely has with the much larger Rwandan slaughter of 1994).32
These double standards are fed by an on-going bias in the media and in academia, and are pressed upon Americans by activist foundations. One example given by Taylor: "In 1989 the Atlanta Journal and Constitution published a major, multipage story on criminal sentencing in the state of Georgia...Blacks were twice as likely as whites to go to jail for the same crimes...Only forty-six inches into the story did it become clear that the newspaper's data ignored prior convictions."33
Taylor's Proposed Solutions
Needless to say, an important part of the solution for Taylor is to clear up the intellectual, moral fog so that Americans can look at racial matters truthfully. "There can be no cure without a correct diagnosis." This means piercing the generalization that white racism is rampant in today's society and the premise that whites are responsible for all of blacks' problems. It means placing responsibility on those who commit anti-social acts; and it means abolishing the double standards.
In a final chapter entitled "What Is to be Done?," Taylor is surprisingly brief about policy prescriptions, since he thinks that most current policy can only be changed after a hard-won change in attitudes. This realism causes him to focus almost entirely on a specific and relatively simple solution to the problem that is central to the plight of the underclass, which is that of "reproductive responsibility." He says that "reckless procreation lies at the heart of the rot." Since "in our current moral climate, telling them not to have sex will not work" and Americans will not accept something as "extreme" as the mandatory sterilization of welfare recipients, he sees potential in the Norplant contraceptive. "Late in 1990, the FDA approved a five-year, implantable contraceptive known as Norplant...Welfare recipients could be required to use Norplant...and to continue using it for as long as they were on the dole," he says. "A Norplant program will seem obvious to many, radical to some. Those who would find it radical should bear in mind that it would be a return to one of the simplest and most obvious rules by which healthy societies have always lived: People should not have children they cannot support. There is scarcely a social problem that would not recede dramatically if Americans once more began to live by this rule."34
A Few Criticisms
The book is valuable on all of the matters we have covered. There are other matters that it might have gotten into, however, and did not. Taylor mentions the welfare-civil rights apparatus, which of course has become a major pressure group. A chapter on its size, structure, funding, and activities would have added an important dimension. We notice, too, that he did not get into any of the detail about black IQ, other than a brief mention on page 106. Were he writing today, after the appearance of more than one book on that subject, including Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray's The Bell Curve, it would be a serious omission. And it would be helpful to have the results of an empirical study calculating the costs to the American economy of the lowering of standards. Since Paved With Good Intentions is based on news reports and studies done by others, Taylor wasn't doing such research himself. Such a cost study remains to be done by, say, an econometrician.
A more important criticism is that Taylor, despite his courage and independence of mind, allows himself to accept, uncritically I would assume, some ideas from the American Left. One of these appears when he refers back a generation to "the McCarthy era" and "reckless charges of Communism." In another place, he speaks of Japanese-Americans having been sent to "concentration camps" during World War II. This means he accepts at face value the anti-white mythology that has been spun about the evacuation of Japanese-Americans from the west coast during that war. It is likely that if Taylor made as exhaustive a study of these issues as he has of today's shibboleths on racial matters, he would throw aside these notions just as readily as he does the myths and double-standards we reviewed above. The tendency of contemporary conservative authors to accept earlier views of the Left is unfortunate, but is all-too-common today.
Paved With Good Intentions: The Failure of Race Relations in Contemporary America deserves to be on every thoughtful American's desk. As events unfold, its important becomes even more obvious important than it was when the book was first published in 1992.
1. R. A. J. Walling, ed., The Diaries of John Bright (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1931), pp. 21, 41.
2. Taylor, Paved With Good Intentions (the book under review), p. 163.
3. Ibid, p. 11.
4. Ibid, pp. 92-93.
5. Ibid, p. 82.
6. Ibid, p. 11.
7. Ibid, pp. 311-312.
8. Ibid, p. 11.
9. Ibid, pp. 11, 178, 197-198.
10. Ibid, p. 257.
11. Ibid, p. 126.
12. Ibid, pp. 139, 151.
13. Ibid, pp. 161, 185-186.
14. Ibid, pp. 152, 158-159.
15. Ibid, p. 152.
16. Ibid, p. 187.
17. Ibid, p. 190.
18. Ibid, p. 151.
19. Ibid, p. 201.
20. Ibid, p. 172.
21. Ibid, p. 211.
22. Ibid, p. 197.
23. Ibid, pp. 142-147.
24. Ibid, p. 106.
25. Ibid, p. 37.
26. Ibid, p. 59.
27. Ibid, p. 58.
28. Ibid, pp. 66, 67.
29. Ibid, p. 223.
30. Ibid, pp. 229-231.
31. Ibid, p. 251.
32. Ibid, pp. 275-276.
33. Ibid, p. 41.
34. Ibid, pp. 348-352.