Thomas Sowell

MOST people seem to have responded to the demands for reparations for slavery in one of two ways. Either they have supported the demands or they have maintained a discreet silence. One of the few people to treat these demands as a serious subject requiring a serious answer has been David Horowitz, former radical and author of a number of books on social issues.

His fate may help explain why so many others have kept quiet or even pretended to go along with the demands. Horowitz's recently published book "Uncivil Wars" recounts the storm trooper tactics and character assassination used against him and against student newspapers that carried his ad replying to reparations demands. The significance of this book goes far beyond this particular issue, because it provides a chilling glimpse of an ideological intolerance, a blatant dishonesty and ruthless threats and actions not seen since the days of the Nazi storm troopers. And it has happened on American campuses from coast to coast.

With all the pious talk about "tolerance" in the media and in academia, there is virtually none for those who challenge the dogmas of political correctness in most of our colleges and universities. "Diversity" in ideas is as taboo as diversity of physical appearances is sanctified.

One of the most touching scenes in Horowitz's book is that of masses of black students conducting a silent protest vigil against him at Duke University, with many of these students being in tears. Why tears? In his book, David Horowitz asks: "Is it because they fear that the umbilical link to victimhood will be cut and they will be forced into the moral complexity of full citizenship -- a status that their mentors have purposefully withheld from them?"

Perhaps. But there is something else that may go deeper. Because black students are admitted to colleges and universities with lower requirements than their white classmates, they are often visibly less able to cope with the academic work, as reflected in such things as lower grades and higher dropout rates.

Thomas Sowell

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

Creators Syndicate