Thomas Sowell

DESPITE media proclamations of "the public's right to know" and frequent invocations of the First Amendment, there has been a deafening silence from the national media over the storm trooper tactics used on college campuses against student newspapers that carried a paid advertisement by JWR columnist David Horowitz, outlining the case against reparations for slavery.

At the University of California at Berkeley, the editor of the student newspaper, The Daily Californian, abjectly apologized for having run the ad after mobs besieged the paper's office. Fortunately, such storm trooper tactics did not work at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where editor-in-chief Julie Bosman stood her ground when the mob surrounded her office. She refused to recant or apologize. On other campuses around the country, student newspapers refused to run the ad in the first place -- in short, pre-emptive surrender to mob rule.

Charges of "racism" have been flung hither and yon by those protesting the ad, but "racism" has become like ketchup -- something you can put on almost anything. Anyone who actually reads David Horowitz's carefully reasoned and factually-based ad will understand why his critics did not simply reply to him and try to prove him wrong. His logic is too air-tight and it demolishes the idiocy of those who are calling for reparations.

The first thing to understand about the campaign to get reparations for blacks for slavery is that everyone on all sides of this issue knows that it is never going to happen. Those blacks who hope that it will and those whites who fear that it will are both becoming exercised needlessly.

The only gainers from this campaign will be those race hustlers who thrive on publicity, liberal politicians who benefit from keeping as many blacks as possible resentful and dependent on them, and others who are engaged in a never-ending ideological vendetta against American society and all that it stands for.

Nevertheless, David Horowitz's attempt to inject some sanity into the reparations issue is very valuable, not only for this issue but also for exposing the whole mindset of those who are using slavery for ideological or political purposes.

Despite sweeping and fiery rhetoric about "whites" and "blacks" in general -- covering people living in this country over a period of centuries -- most of those people are dead and the only people we can do anything for or with are the small fraction who happen to be alive at this moment.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate