"While the diversity paradigm guarantees racial minorities a vote or voice on every decision-making body, it also ensures that they will be the political losers on any issue on which people divide along racial lines," Gerken writes. "Racial minorities are thus destined to be the junior partner or dissenting gadfly in the democratic process. So much for dignity."
Allowing local majorities to have their way, Gerken continues, "turns the tables. It allows the usual winners to lose and the usual losers to win. It gives racial minorities the chance to shed the role of influencer or gadfly and stand in the shoes of the majority."
She's right, and not just about her favored groups. For instance, Mormons (not a group Gerken highlights) are a national minority. But they are a Utah majority. Hence, Utah takes on Mormon characteristics. It's no theocracy, but it is more representative and distinctive. In areas where Latinos or blacks are the majority, what's so terrible about having institutions that reflect their values?
And, let them all live by their mistakes as well. In San Francisco, which Gerken touts as a haven for "dissenters," they translate their values into law. I think much of what passes for wise policy in San Francisco is idiotic, but it bothers me less than it would if Nancy Pelosi succeeded in making all of America like San Francisco.
I don't see eye to eye with Gerken on everything, and I suspect she would be reluctant to push the welfare state downward. (Public employees in Galveston, Texas, for instance, are not part of the Social Security system.)
Still, I'm delighted her essay has received respectful treatment on the left. A left-right federalist compromise would make America a happier, freer, more prosperous and interesting country. It would also dethrone those in both parties who think they know what's best for more than 300 million Americans.
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