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A descendant of people who believed in equality before the law a thousand years ago

The fact that racial prejudice is wrong does not make racial quotas right, says Ward Connerly, an African-American and former University of California regent. He has convinced the people of California, Washington, Michigan and Florida to approve race-neutral government policies in public hiring, contracting and university admissions, and has managed to place this proposition before the citizens of Colorado, Arizona and Nebraska for a vote in November -

The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin, in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting.

That all men are equal before the law and no man is above it or to receive special preferences first saw the light in the Charter of Liberties affirmed by Henry I in 1100. The idea was reaffirmed in Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution and in amendments that recognized that women were equal before the law as well.

To help those whose ability to obtain an education or take a job might be adversely affected by prejudice, governments in Britain and the US passed laws that racial, sexual or class discrimination is against the law and can be prosecuted. That seems right to me. Declaring that positive action (John F Kennedy called it "affirmative action") might have to be taken to prevent discrimination also makes sense. Equating positive action with racially based quotas and preferences is wrong because it undermines the principle of equality before the law.

Equality before the law is precious for reasons you can easily see, but some people think it can be dispensed with.

Philosophically Connerly is a descendant of the people who believed in equality before the law a thousand years ago.

A profound principle essential to freedom.

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