An Open Letter to Jesse Jackson

Nelson Hultberg

September 4, 2016

Mr. Jackson, you have been involved in “civil rights” since the early 1960s and have convinced many Americans that you stand for freedom and justice. This article will challenge such a view. Unfortunately your way of thinking has been forged by the radical collectivist agenda for America, which has a totally different idea of freedom and justice than that which created America. Your view of these concepts is Marxist, and incompatible with our basic ideals. The following will explain why.

To get at the real essence of “freedom and justice” that you and the Civil Rights movement profess to stand for, let’s first ask some important questions. Do you believe government should be able to tell the editors of Cosmopolitan that they must give equal attention to homely girls when determining who will grace the cover of their magazine? Do Caucasian basketball players have a right to be equally represented on NBA teams? Do women have the right to be equally considered for employment as lumberjacks?

Rather ridiculous questions, you say? Not really; they are the outgrowth of a major dilemma that confronts our society today: Does the Federal Government have the right to force Americans to choose an equal balance of men and women race-wise, sex-wise, age-wise and beauty-wise for all jobs, schools, scholarships, teams, associations, memberships, sales, leases, loans, etc?

Our dilemma is that a “yes” answer to the above is the only way our present interpretation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 can be implemented consistently. If racial minorities are to receive special quotas and legislation from the government to aid their advancement and social acceptance because of their uniqueness as a group, why not women because of their femininity? Why not the disabled because of their disabilities? The elderly because of their age? Homely people because of their unsightliness? Overweight people because of their obesity?

Once government assumes the power to intervene into the millions and millions of inevitable, private discriminations that take place continuously between normal human beings in all the daily interactions of living, there is no end to the absurdities that will be perpetrated in the name of “equality.”

For example, observe that the Civil Rights movement has now mushroomed to include women, homosexuals, old people, handicapped people, alcoholics, drug addicts, obese people, and even a recent attempt by ugly people – all claiming their “right” to receive special government legislation mandating their unconditional acceptance in all the socio-economic interactions of life.

But, of course, this was inevitable, for once racial minorities are granted the “right” to mandate their acceptance through government coercion because of their uniqueness as a group, Pandora’s Box is opened. Every human group imaginable will then leap into the arena to claim its “right” to also use government coercion in gaining more acceptance.

This is the nature of humans, Mr. Jackson. They are always looking for a means to circumvent the vicissitudes of freedom in an imperfect world. If they are informed by society’s authorities that they now have a right to legislate their acceptance in the marketplace because they belong to a specific group, they will quite readily form into protest factions to demand such legislation. The fact that such special legislation requires the violation of other people’s rights is conveniently overlooked.

Granting Privileges vs. Protecting Rights

The crime involved here is that once the Jim Crow laws were struck down in the southern states, the Civil Rights movement did not stop. It went beyond its legitimate objective, which is the equal protection of man’s fundamental rights. A man’s fundamental rights are to life, liberty and property; to freedom of thought, association and trade; and to equality before the law. Yet the Civil Rights movement is now implementing policies that violate our rights to the usage of our property, to freedom of association, and to equality before the law. This is because the movement is now concerned with the granting of privileges to special interest groups by means of quotas and regulations that mandate “unconditional acceptance” of everyone for everything.

Liberals spearheading the Civil Rights movement have succumbed to an all consuming guilt that now drives them to atone for past sins of plantation owners rather than implement the true meaning of man’s rights. They are gradually creating a society where individuals no longer matter. What now matters is what interest group one belongs to, and whether or not that group can grow large enough and powerful enough to attract the attention of Supreme Court justices and federal bureaucrats so as to gain special legislation to help them circumvent the vicissitudes of freedom in an imperfect world.

The primary issue being ignored by today’s establishment is that no man or woman has a right to coercively mandate their acceptance among others in any human association – be it for employment, housing, trade, recreation, romance, or religion. In a free society, individuals have only the right to offer their services and to request their acceptance.

By refusing to associate with another person, a man is not violating that other person’s rights. No man has a right to automatic acceptance in life. You can’t just put a gun to a person’s head and say, “Like me!” and expect it to be done any more than a wife could expect the courts to force a disenchanted husband to stay married to her if he wished to move on. The judge may plead with the couple to stay together, but that is all he may do – verbally plead. And that is all any judge may legitimately do in instances of racial discrimination.

Racial discrimination is certainly a deplorable doctrine to practice, but the government’s job is not to legislate against doctrines. It’s job is to equally protect the basic rights of its citizens, and as repugnant as it might be, this means for the racist also.

As Ayn Rand pointed out, both communism and racism are evil contemptible “doctrines,” but just as we must protect a communist’s right to free speech, we must also protect a racist’s right to property and to freedom of association.

Under our system, a man may be irrational and prejudiced on his own property and choose to associate or not to associate with whomever he pleases. This is what is meant by the “right to free association.” The discriminatee’s only rights in the matter are to use persuasion and education to change the discriminator’s way of thinking. Taking away the discriminator’s rights is not an option in a free country.

The False Definition of Public Property

Observe, though, how collectivists have circumvented this. The Civil Rights establishment has declared that since one’s business property is open to the public, this makes it subject to the same rules that apply to public transportation, public buildings, public restrooms, etc. Therefore, all “privately owned businesses” are subject (as well as government run institutions) to the clause of the Constitution that bans discrimination.

But this is a totally fallacious definition of public property. What determines public property is not whether it is “open to the public” as the Civil Rights establishment has tried to maintain. Its determining factor is: who has created the property? If public funds are used to build the property, then it is public. If private funds are used to build the property, then it is private. Government created properties (bus lines, roads, schools, museums, rest rooms, libraries, etc.) come under the anti-discrimination clause of the Constitution.

This is why Rosa Parks was justified in refusing to give up her seat to a white man on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955, which catapulted the Civil rights movement to its explosive conclusion in the early 1960s. The bus was public property, i.e., government created, and thus prohibited by the Constitution from racial discrimination. But this is also why the Civil Rights legislation after the demise of Jim Crow laws is unconstitutional and unjust. It is geared toward dictating to owners of private property who they may or may not associate, trade and deal with. This is unconstitutional – totally and irrefutably.

In other words, our Constitution is a limiting and defining document for government actions, not individual actions. Its provision of equality is a prohibition against “government officials” exercising discrimination against any race, sex or creed in the laws that they pass. It is not a prohibition against “individual citizens” exercising discrimination in the private interactions that make up the living of their lives. As evidence, observe the reasoning of Chief Judge John Parker in the 1955 decision in Briggs vs. Elliott:

The Constitution in other words does not require integration….It does not forbid such segregation as occurs as the result of voluntary action. It merely forbids the use of governmental power to enforce segregation. The Fourteenth Amendment is a limitation upon the exercise of power by the state or state agencies, not a limitation upon the freedom of individuals. [1]

This is why it is so important to challenge the above fallacious definition of public property asserted by the Civil Rights establishment and adopted by the Supreme Court. The Constitution forbids government officials and their institutions from discriminating in the laws they pass and on the property they create. But on property that has been paid for with private funds, the owner is free to choose whoever he wishes to associate, trade, or deal with. And the government has no say in the matter whatsoever.

Using Criminality to Fight for Justice

It should be stated here that none of this is an attempt to justify the evil of racism. No rational man would dispute that the black people of America have suffered from legally mandated injustices in the past in this country through the institution of slavery and through the Jim Crow laws. To judge a man by the color of his skin rather than the content of his character is a shameful way to interact with one’s fellow humans. But the fact that there was legally enforced slavery in the South prior to the Civil War and legally enforced Jim Crow laws until the 1960’s, and still a degree of private racism prevalent in the interactions of Americans today does not justify government’s violation of man’s basic right to “freedom of association.”

You and your Civil Rights comrades, Mr. Jackson, are using the very criminality that you profess to be fighting. You are collaborating with government to violate our fundamental rights. This is what the Bull Connors and segregationists did to blacks throughout the south from the 1880s to the 1960s. They used government coercion to violate their fundamental rights. And now you are doing likewise to your fellowman.

This violation is one of the great outrages of our history, and a horrifying testament to how blind and servile Americans have become today in response to the ideological agenda of the ruling collectivist establishment. To allow intrusive bureaucrats and oligarchic judges from Washington to dictate who one’s associates in life must be is not behavior acceptable for Americans. It is behavior we expect from sheep.

What liberals do not understand is that under our Constitutional system there is no such thing as a legal right to be treated with equal concern in “privately financed” endeavors. There is, however, a moral duty that each of us has to treat our fellows respectfully and with dignity. But when we start using the coercive arm of the state to enforce man’s moral duties, we are slipping into the same evil morass that the State-Church inquisitors of the Middle Ages fell into with their stretching racks as they bludgeoned the sinners of their day into virtue. We may not be resorting to the same barbaric techniques as the Medievalists, but we have adopted their same principle – that moral correctness can be implemented through the coercive arm of the state. We desperately need clarity here. Racial bigotry is a moral issue; it must be handled in the educational realm through persuasion, not in the political realm through coercion.

Have we forgotten from whence we came and why? Our nation was formed in order to end the state’s granting of special privileges to select factions of men. The Constitution was written to stop such arbitrary power from accruing in government, and to prohibit the merging of bureaucrats and moral guardians into a police state. Yet, here we are instituting such a state of affairs again in the name of the Constitution and its principles no less. The liberal establishment and its myriad Civil Rights activists (from Blacks, to Hispanics, to feminists, to homosexuals) are stifling the American people’s exercise of free association in the interactions of their lives. They are bringing back the stretching rack mentality of the Middle Ages (via the EEOC) for all those guilty of moral obtuseness. This is a giant step down the path to the institution of an authoritarian society.

Forced Homogenization

As long as the Civil Rights movement was concerned with the eradication of Jim Crow laws and government enforced segregation, it had justice on its side. But sadly this was not enough for liberals. It soon became obvious that just eliminating government enforced segregation would not bring about the egalitarian utopia on earth that they envisioned. The reason why is that black minorities would still have to voluntarily rise in society as all other ethnic groups have (from Jews to Poles to Irish Catholics). This would take time, and those with lower IQs, talent and class were going to have trouble integrating into white culture.

Given these realities and schooled as they were in Marxist ideology, the leaders of the left quickly grasped that their society of “equal results” was never going to be realized if men and women had to voluntarily earn their status in life. The disparities in human talent, brains, energy, and ambition are just too great. Thus if an egalitarian society was to be brought about, the power of the government had to be enlisted to force homogenize all Americans – to force the automatic acceptance of everyone by everyone else for every venture and interaction, no matter what the culture, class, abilities, and sexual orientation were of those demanding to be accepted.

Such a forced homogenization, therefore, necessitated the adoption of affirmative action quotas, busing policies, special laws, and vast regulatory bureaucracies for “victimized groups” – all enforced by the police power of the state. As a result, the Civil Rights movement is now caught in the quagmire of awarding special privileges to ever more vociferous factions of voters. It has descended into an ugly, convoluted favoritism and the very violation of rights that southern rednecks were so guilty of for so many years. Just as Robespierre and the Jacobins of the 18th century descended into the maelstrom of tyranny in their fight against the French monarchial system, so also have our modern day Civil Rights activists succumbed to the very injustice they set out to purge from America.

Harmony Among the Races

There can never be racial harmony in this land until true “equality of rights under the law” is restored to our political system. This means that no special privileges can be conveyed by government to any American citizen because of their race, sex, or creed. This means that no one’s individual rights can be violated in order to favor, subsidize, or advance any specific group – racial, ethnic, sexual, or whatever.

Harmony among the races can only come when blacks and whites develop mutual respect for each other as humans who are fighting the battles of life under the same rules. But such respect can never grow among whites as long as blacks try to advance their lives through the coercive arm of the state and its conveyance of legal privilege. What possible kind of respect is won by a black man when he resorts to a police order to force his neighbor to trade, fraternize, and associate with him? What has the black man won with the coercive awarding of privilege by the courts and its police power over the past 50 years? He has won a patronizing pseudo-tolerance, but he has not won respect. This he can win only if he is willing to live his life under the same law that all ethnic groups have lived their lives under in America. He must be willing to climb in society on the strengths of his own merits in face of adversity, and yes, even bigotry. This responsibility is what it means to be a free man.

Free men do not mob together in coalitions to coercively mandate respect, Mr. Jackson. They work industriously and independently, to create beneficial goods and services for their fellowman so as to earn respect. They know that if they are to earn respect in life, they must acquire what all successful men and women acquire – the attributes of class, dignity, affability, manners, culture, wit, sophistication, loyalty, rationality, courage, perseverance, strength of will, and independence of thought.

The Ditchdigger’s Daughters

There is a scene in a wonderful contemporary movie, The Ditchdigger’s Daughters, that demonstrates the needed attitude here better than any socio-political dissertation ever can. The movie is the true story of Donald Thornton, an African-American who raised six daughters during the 1940s and 1950s to be highly successful lawyers, doctors, nurses, and schoolteachers. He did it without affirmative action, without quotas, without privileges. He did it with grit, with courage, and with simple, old fashioned, persevering personality.

One morning when he and his family are all gathered together in their station wagon on the way to school, a couple of his girls are griping in the back about what they are going to do when they graduate. Their outlook is glum, because they want something better than just the menial jobs of servants, gardeners, and handymen, etc. that appear to be their fate in the white dominated society of that time. They complain over and over that white people will never accept them, that their lives are over before they even start. Their father becomes furious with their attitude, and tells them sternly that they are the molders of their own destiny, that if they want white people to accept them, then they must go out and become high class. He then points to two rather seedy looking sluggards loitering on the nearby street corner. “Look at those two bums,” he lectures, “shuckin and jiving and waiting for someone to come along and give them a job! If you want to get somewhere in this world,” he tells his daughters, “you have to go out and become high class. If you do that, there are very few people who will not accept you.”

This from a black man raising his brood in the 1940s and 1950s. And the wonderful, uplifting moral of the story is that all of his six girls went on to become very successful in professional fields of their choosing (doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc.) because they became high class. They developed the attributes of all successful people mentioned above – sophistication, rationality, perseverance, etc. They stopped thinking of themselves as victims with no chance, and began thinking of themselves as Americans with unbounded opportunities. They poured themselves into education and self-improvement, emulating the relentless determination of their father before them. Just as the seed of the rose is the source of its bloom, their thoughts became the fount of their success.

This is what you and your victimology crowd today cannot see, Mr. Jackson. You are planting the seeds of guaranteed failure into the black youth with your negative message of victimization, with your rage and protest and mobocracy. Success in life comes from right thoughts, right ideals, right values inculcated into young minds from the time they start crawling around a sandbox. Donald Thornton gave the right thoughts to his six daughters. He instilled the right values and ideals. He knew, as Mr. Pocket, the tutor in Great Expectations informed Pip, “A true gentleman in manner must first be one in heart. No varnish can hide the grain of the wood.” Thornton set out early to cultivate the right heart in his girls, to develop a high class grain in the wood of their characters, and they paid him back splendidly.

Equality of Results

To sum all this up, the Civil Rights movement is now bankrupt because it has chosen to enlist government as a bludgeon to enforce “equality of results” rather than “equality of rights” among Americans. Naturally, bankruptcy is not the way the Civil Rights movement is portrayed in our schools and by our pundit class. Our academics and pundits still cling to the utopian ideology of it all. They still see only what they want to see – an homogenized future in which all races, ages, ethnic groups, class levels, and sexual orientations can be forced to work, cohabit, recreate, live, love, and marry among each other (happily ever after), and that from such a government-forced homogenization will come a blissful “equality of results.”

This is the horrific fallacy of liberal egalitarianism – that humans can somehow be regimented by law into an obliteration of distinctions, that the natural biases and preferences for those of one’s own culture, class, race, and sexual orientation can be made to disappear through the magic of legislative decree. Since the American people get their view of the world from academics and pundits, this is the way that the Civil Rights movement is viewed by most Americans. They don’t see the bankruptcy either. But it’s there nevertheless.

Ayn Rand pointed out years ago that there is no such thing as a right to violate rights, whether by criminals, government officials, private individuals, or majority wills. Authorities who do so are no longer valid public servants under the Constitution, and their decrees cannot be considered as valid law. Thomas Aquinas expressed this fundamental truth as, “Lex malla, lex nulla.” (Evil law is no law.)

Because such government authorities are now violating our basic rights, they have become the very criminals they are supposed to be protecting us from. All public goals that require such violation of rights are dictatorial, and those individuals and groups who support such goals cannot claim the mantle of justice. This is the state of modern day liberalism and its odious race hustlers like you, Mr. Jackson, who wield the sword of EEOC mandates in order to gain privilege and power. You and your comrades, like Charles Rangel and Al Sharpton, are no different than vermin like Bull Connor. The tyranny of statism, not the freedom of constitutionalism, is what drives you.

Society of Sameness

Here lies the crux of our problem: Liberals believe Americans must be molded into a great homogenized “society of sameness” where natural class distinctions and disparities are obliterated. If the people won’t do so voluntarily, then those in Washington must enlist the courts and the police to do it for them. What are inalienable rights in the face of such an important goal? The Constitution? It’s a “living document” to be altered according to majority wishes, or in whatever manner the Supreme Court feels is best for us poor unenlightened schmucks in the workaday world. Americans must damn well be homogenized. If this nation is to progress into the 21st century, we must “modify” man’s right to free association and any other right that stands in the way of the coercive collectivization of our society.

The fact that such “modification” is euphemism for herding men and women around like cattle is never publicly stated or even consciously grasped. It is suppressed in the liberal mind. The fact that this kind of approach is merely the opposite side of the same evil coin of “arbitrary law” that Bull Conner and his ilk utilized is suppressed in the liberal mind also.

Such is the liberal disease, which has settled politically over our lives like acid rain. Liberal Civil Rights activists now possess abundant government power in this country, but they do not possess appropriate moral rectitude. Power and rectitude must dovetail in a cause if it is to succeed in promoting a just society. The Civil Rights movement has relinquished its claim to rectitude and justice. Such a relinquishment does not bode well for personal freedom in America.

 

Notes

Briggs v. Elliott, 132 F. Supp. 776, 777 (E.D.S.C. 1955), cited in Tinsley E. Yarbrough, The Rehnquist Court and the Constitution, Oxford University Press, 2001, p. 252.

 

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