The Young Republicans group at Roger Williams University recently offered a $250 “why you are proud of your white heritage” scholarship contest. Following up on their lead, the Young Conservatives at my own Texas A&M have created a $10,000 “Overcoming Affirmative Action Essay Contest” that open to everyone.
The scholarship follows up on an “Affirmative Action Bake Sale” and other provocative actions by conservative groups across the nation. Such demonstrations rely on a strategy of reductio ad absurdum, “a type of logical argument where we assume a claim for the sake of argument, arrive at an absurd result, and then conclude the original assumption must have been wrong, since it gave us this absurd result.” The assumed claim is that an individual’s identity and personal worth are determined by ethnic/racial membership. The absurd conclusion is that Caucasians are just as entitled to ethnic pride and entitlements as other ethnicities. Therefore, one should conclude that neither whites nor any other group is entitled to racial pride or entitlements based on un-chosen traits.
While reductio ad absurdum can make a powerful emotional impact, it has a major pitfall as a method of persuasion: it requires that one’s opponent rejects the “absurd” conclusion — and that they do so for the same reasons. It is not a logical argument, as much as a means of getting someone to see the inconsistency of his own position. In this case, the shared idea is that racism is wrong. White-only entitlements are meant to make people realize that racism is wrong no matter which group it favors. The problem is that advocates of multiculturalism do not reject the “absurd” conclusion for the same reasons because they do not hold a proper definition of “racism.”
Liberals are incapable of recognizing that one’s mind determines one’s identity and achievements, not his social/racial/ethnic group. Because of this basic premise, they cannot imagine an alternative to class or race-based discrimination. Hence, they reject white-only entitlements not because they are racist, but because they favor the wrong ethnic group. Their concept of “racism” means, “discrimination based on the belief that some groups are superior to others.” This definition fails to recognize the distinction between discrimination based on superior values and discrimination based on inherited traits. In practice, this means that the only “racism” that they recognize is that directed by a dominant group towards a weaker one – whether it is whites against blacks or Israel against the PLO, or successful businessmen “against” bums or the terrorists against America. Decades of public-school indoctrination has embedded such collectivist attitudes in the American public. Conservatives themselves are unable to recognize the root of racism because they accept their own collectivist doctrine of “original sin.”
While the Young Conservative’s protests are effective means of bringing attention to the multiculturalism that dominates our schools, only an explicit recognition of the individual’s mind and a rejection of collectivism can provide the intellectual ammunition necessary to combat it.