When Huffington's right, she is right
By TIBOR R. MACHAN
Freedom News Service
I am a supporter of California's Proposition 54, which aims to eliminate racial classifications from public affairs. Specifically, the measure "seeks to prevent California state and local governments from classifying persons by race, ethnicity, color, or national origin."
Recently I attended a debate at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., between Arianna Huffington, the Cambridge graduate, formerly avid conservative and recently populist pundit and California gubernatorial candidate, and professor John Eastman, professor of law at Chapman, on the topic of Prop. 54. During this debate, one that had a pretty good dosage of substance but also a good deal of ad hominem content – such as, "You are white, so how would you know and why would you care" debater’s moves – Huffington made a very nice point, even if it was slightly off target. She noted that those, mostly Republicans (according to her reading), who support Prop. 54 really do not like government very much and that their support of Prop. 54 was merely symptomatic of their general, ideological opposition to government.
I only wish she were generally right, although it is certainly true in my case. (Republicans can be as "big government" as Democrats; simply look at Washington now.) I completely distrust governmental powers when they meddle in anything other than securing our rights (as per the U.S. Declaration’s charge). Since government has no legitimate business doing anything else, when it embarks upon other tasks it is not to be trusted. And gathering information about the race, color, ethnicity or national origin of the citizenry can only be a means for government to try to perpetrate yet another activity that’s none of its business. That is my reason for supporting Prop. 54.
Now Huffington mentioned during the debate that those who support this measure are people who are like the ostrich with its head in the sand, wishing to avoid reality. She also said "we would be prevented from gathering information" if this measure became law. There was more, but let me just comment on these two charges.
While there may very well be some who don’t wish to admit to any racial problems in California or elsewhere, there are many who disagree that doing it by means of government favoritism, affirmative action, and related policies is a good idea. They disagree with Huffington’s political ideology and programs and do not, contrary to what Huffington would like voters to believe, wish to avoid the issue. Charging them with preferring ignorance is to evade the question, which is, "What approach will best solve racial and related problems?"
On the second claim, that we will no longer be able to gather information about how various racial, ethnic or other groups are doing and what their needs may be, Huffington shows her clear bias in favor of political solutions to social and economic problems. Prop. 54 aims to prohibit the government from gathering such data but doesn’t impede this by various private organizations – research centers, think tanks, universities, the media and so forth. The idea is that since government is supposed to be color blind in its policies, it has no business focusing on race and similar irrelevant matters as it forges its policies. But non-governmental organizations are not officially committed to serve all citizens equally (color blind), so they need not be prevented from such data gathering.
Huffington’s recently found ideology – which, she claims, came from her having recently considered the evidence and arguments (which apparently she has failed to do as a student and longtime pundit) – is out-and-out statist: She is now a firm believer that government is the solution to all our problems, including the problems of race that came about, of course, through the direct power of governments. (Slavery could not have existed if government hadn’t enforced it; nor cou" target="_blank">Link #3