Tuesday, Aug 24, 2010 07:01 ET
Why Sen. James Webb is right to advocate colorblind public policy
Some time ago I attended an event in Washington, D.C., in which Virginia Sen. James Webb startled the audience by declaring: "The greatest threat that this country faces is the class system."
Recently Webb shook up the complacent establishment once again with a critique in the Wall Street Journal of race-based preferences in higher education, small business lending and other areas of public policy:
Our government should be in the business of enabling opportunity for all, not in picking winners. It can do so by ensuring that artificial distinctions such as race do not determine outcomes.
Webb's intervention is a reminder that, from the 1970s until the mid-1990s, there was a lively debate over race-based affirmative action between integrationist or "colorblind" liberals and liberals of the "identity politics" school. Most of the liberal critics of race-based policy were pro-labor liberals and social democrats, while many of its defenders were found among neoliberals, who favored inexpensive symbols of racial progress even as they sought to deregulate the economy, slash welfare and shrink the government.
Full Story: http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2010/08/24/affirmative_action/index.html
See SJW's Letter in Response: http://letters.salon.com/29f5cc2be007d9bfd81495330c65b35e/author/