A Crazy Leftist Idea to Change the Constitution
We’ve got to stay sharp. Sharper than we have been.
Sometimes you need to be careful what you’re worried about.
Ibram X. Kendi, professor of history at the University of Florida, has proposed a new constitutional amendment that would create a federal agency to “investigate institutional racism, sexism, and every other type of inequality.”
Meghan Hamilton, writing for The Humanist, thinks it’s a great idea. “Humanists are dedicated to the equal treatment of all people,” she says. “Equality is a vital humanist value, so naturally a constitutional amendment on equality is something we can get behind.”
In Kendi’s own words, writing in a Washington Post op-ed,
The amendment would make group inequity illegal and ban the incitement of bigotry, as the incitement of anti-Semitism is banned in Germany. Claims that inequity is evidence of a group’s dysfunction or inferiority would be outlawed. The amendment would establish equality as a human right and inequality as anti-American and anti-human.
It would be disastrous for such nonsense to find its way into our Constitution, but politically, the idea is dead from the get-go. What’s really worrisome is the level of nonsense it displays. It isn’t just a bad idea. It’s incoherent, even idiotic.
Think about it: Kendi wants to enforce a ban on inequality. Really? What if skinheads claimed its protections? Why not? They’re a group, too!
Kendi’s very notion is self-contradictory. You can’t enforce equal treatment of “every group,” when some groups exist for the purpose of creating unequal treatment. It’s impossible. It’s irrational even to suggest it.
It’s worrisome that a major university professor, whose own website touts him as “one of the nation’s leading scholars of racism,” is proposing such nonsense. And that a major newspaper and an organization — founded, they say, to promote reason — are standing behind it, too.
Is there any conceivable explanation for this? Maybe.
Perhaps some people are trying so hard to solve one problem, social inequity, that it’s the only problem their eyes can see. They’re blind to lesser things (in their minds) like, for example, the impossibility of the solutions they propose.
If we’ve got people like that in positions of high influence, we’re all in trouble.
Or Crazy Power-Hungry?
Or perhaps my friend Dr. Tim McGrew, professor of philosophy at Western Michigan University, has put his finger on it.
The incoherence is deliberate, and in two ways. It sounds expansive enough to persuade many people who view themselves as victims that it is in their interest. And it is malleable enough that it can be used — selectively — to justify anything the people in charge want to do.
His assessment of the technique: “In a twisted sort of way, that’s brilliant.”
In other words, it’s a fogging device. It sounds good. It sounds like the kind of thing that would help bring about justice — at least to those who see themselves as victims. But it would really be a hammer that people in power could use to pound anything they wanted to.
As Kendi says, “The Anti-Bigotry Amendment would permanently establish a federal agency that investigates inequities and punishes institutional and individual discriminators.”
Goodbye, freedom; hello, tyranny.
And hello, arbitrary power. A constitutional amendment that’s too incoherent to mean anything could mean anything for the people in power to wield it.
Our Best Defense
Don’t worry about the amendment. It’ll never pass. Worry instead about professors and influential media who gun for an idea that’s incoherent on the front end, and headed toward tyranny on the back. With people like that in charge, we’re in trouble. They may never pass an amendment like Kendi’s, but they’re positioned to foist all kinds of other craziness on us.
Our best defense, besides prayer, is to think clearly at all times so we can call out these inconsistencies. We’ve got to stay sharp. Sharper than we have been. Or the craziness will keep on coming. Which, in this case, is what we really ought to be worried about.