Saturday, January 18, 2003

Eugene Volokh nicely dissects Julian Bond's bizarre characterization of "affirmative action" as the "righteous spoils of a just war". He leaves out perhaps the most disturbing irony of Bond's claim, though. From Locke's Second Treatise of Government (Chapter 4: "Of Slavery"):
Indeed, having by his fault forfeited his own life by some act that deserves death, he to whom he has forfeited it may, when he has him in his power, delay to take it, and make use of him to his own service; and he does him no injury by it....This is the perfect condition of slavery, which is nothing else but the state of war continued between a lawful conqueror and a captive.
I've long argued that every justification for "affirmative action" is merely a recapitulation of some argument used in the past to excuse more "traditional" varieties of discrimination. But the Bond argument's antecedent is, I would say, particularly embarrassing. "Just spoils", indeed!

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