I have read two books of great interest this week. One was Thomas Sowell’s Affirmative Action Around the World, and the other was Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution, by Woody Holton. From these two books, I come to the following conclusions:
1. Affirmative action is meant to address the universal plight of all the oppressed, regardless of whether their oppression is self-inflicted or has come about because of intentional of unintentional opposing circumstances.
2. Affirmative action always fails, because, instead of leveling the playing field, it merely angles it in new, often grotesque and almost always unforeseen ways.
3. The United States Constitution was as a direct result of affirmative actions taken by state legislatures and to prevent more such moves from causing escalating revolts and the demise of the United States of America.
It is important to understand that Affirmative Action, as we have come to know it in America, is not the affirmative action in general of which I speak, although it is one recent and local permutation. And does not always involve a redress of minority slights. It has often sided with the majority, as was the case in the majority of actions in America in the 1780’s. And it most often comes about with new-found self-determination — democracy as it is known.
The founding fathers already worked under the Articles of Confederation, by which the united States of America were functioning. But each state was left pretty much to it’s own devices, not only for administering its own affairs, but also for raising its share of federal revenue, since Congress had no method of creating its own revenue — taxation. Under this system, the states found themselves unable to enforce revenue collection, which, in turn, led to money shortages and a choked economy. Also they could raise no armies to facilitate the safe and orderly conduct of state business among the people who tended to use heated rallies and court closures to champion their affirmative action issues. The Constitution enabled a fix, in effect killing all such actions while at the same time giving the federal government the control of currency and the ability, through excise and import taxes, to raise enough revenue to preserve the peace.
If you want to know more about how I came to my conclusions or which to debate them further, you must first read the above-mentioned books. As I have read more and more over the past few years, I have come to the conclusion that I am an unruly American. I have not always been a good citizen, even at times when I have thought I was standing for the Constitution but my understanding of its reach was flawed. There is a fine line between upholding the Constitution and subverting it for one’s own ends. The income tax of 1913 is one such subversion of the constitution clause granting the Congress the power to lay taxes. Nevertheless, it is the law at present and must be obeyed, although it is doing the opposite of what the framers intended. It upholds the tremendous weight and burden of our present affirmative actions that the Constitution sought to abolish. The Constitution also headed off the creation of fiat money and preserved hard money that could not depreciate and that would discourage speculation. We have also parted ways with intentions in this regard. In these ways and many others, the framers would not recognize nor approve of what we have done with their carefully crafted document.