Thomas Sowell

 It did not. The first two decades after 1940 saw a more rapid rise of blacks out of poverty and into higher paying jobs than the decades following the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the affirmative action policies that began in the 1970s. Check out the facts.

 The key fallacy underlying the civil rights vision was that all black economic lags were due to racial discrimination. That assumption has survived to this day, in the courts, in the media, in academia, and above all in politics.

 No amount of factual evidence can make a dent in that assumption. This means that a now largely futile crusade against discrimination distracts attention from the urgent need to upgrade educational standards and job skills among blacks.

 Where has Brown v. Board of Education been positively harmful?

 The flimsy and cavalier reasoning used by the Supreme Court, which based its decision on grounds that would hardly sustain a conviction for jay-walking, set a pattern of judicial activism that has put American law in disarray on all sorts of issues that extend far beyond racial cases. The pretense that the Court was interpreting the Constitution of the United States added insult to injury.

 The Court got away with this, despite some calls for impeachment, because it was outlawing a set of racial practices that the country as a whole found abhorrent. If the Justices took a few liberties with the law and the facts, who cared?

 After half a century of unbridled judicial activism on many fronts, we now know that victims of frivolous lawsuits and violent crime care, among others. And restoring law to our courts may take another 50 years -- if it can be done at all.


Thomas Sowell

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

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