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50 Years Ago Today: The Detroit Riot and the Decline of Civil Rights Liberalism (II) »

Throughout American history, government at all levels has used race to categorize, enslave, segregate, regulate human behavior, and limit immigration with “nationality” quotas that served as substitutes for race. Categorizing by race was essential to racist agendas.

In response, classical liberal civil rights activists struggled to eliminate government-mandated racial categories. They were anything but naive: racism was real, categories or no categories, but the government stamp of approval made things worse–and caused constant mischief in the ever increasing addition of group categories in the census or in immigration statutes. The only feasible solution was the most radical one: the complete elimination of government racial categories. Individuals might discriminate but would no longer have the support of the State. With time, classical liberals felt, the irrationality of racism and xenophobia would give way to better human relations.

50 Years Ago Today: The Detroit Riot and the Decline of Civil Rights Liberalism (I) »

Fifty years ago today (July 23, 1967), the largest urban riot of the 1960s rocked Detroit for five days (July 23-28). An encounter with the police (shutting down an illegal after-hours bar), sparked looting and arson on a scale far surpassing the riots that had burned in other American cities. While such riots often started with incidents involving law enforcement, the police were ordered—again and again—to stand down and let a small minority of African Americans loot property of small business owners (both black and white).

The Detroit Riot marked a turning point in how American policymakers dealt with race. The classical liberal tradition of civil rights, with its emphasis on rule of law and equal protection (regardless of race) gave way to policies that purposely treated minorities as “protected categories” deserving of treatment not accorded other citizens.

TSA Treatment of Gun-Toting Travelers »

What happens if the TSA catches someone with a firearm at one of their checkpoints? It happens a lot. Last year the TSA found 3,391 guns in carry-ons at checkpoints. This happened to a friend of mine this week. Here’s what he told me. He and his wife were going through the TSA checkpoint...
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Oppose Your Enemies, or Look for Common Ground? »

On a few occasions I’ve used my privilege as a blogger on The Beacon to write in support of viewpoints held by people that some readers of The Beacon view as the opposition. For examples, I supported the Black Lives Matter movement for protesting police brutality, and more recently, the Resist! movement for opposing...
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Another Shooting in a “Gun Free” Zone »

The tragic shooting at the Fort Lauderdale airport on January 6 occurred in a “gun-free” zone. Florida is one of six states that make it illegal for individuals—even those who have concealed carry permits—to carry guns in any part of an airport terminal. The killer’s motive is at this point undetermined, but he did...
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Black Lives Matter »

My initial reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement, like many old white guys, was that All Lives Matter. But recent events have changed my thinking on this. My old thinking: Racial discrimination is a reality, but race is just one of many personal characteristics on which people discriminate. Good-looking people tend to be...
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Apple vs. the FBI: Three Reasons to Side with Apple »

When the story about the FBI wanting Apple to provide it with software to unlock the phone of the San Bernardino killers came out, I considered blogging about it but decided against it. The case was too clearly in Apple’s favor, I thought. Nobody would side with the government. But now I see that...
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Asset Forfeiture and Police Corruption »

Alabama Justice Project recently accused a state police department of systematic corruption. They claim around a dozen members of a police narcotics team planted drugs, weapons, and other evidence against black suspects. Moreover, it’s been alleged that the district attorney covered up these crimes. The documents they published show that, beginning in 1996, the Dothan...
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Police Take More Property from People than Burglars »

Most readers of The Beacon are probably familiar with the rise in civil asset forfeiture, which gives police the power to seize property they claim was used in criminal activity, often without accusing the property owner of a crime. They don’t have to. It’s up to property owners to prove they are innocent to...
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Right Problem; Wrong Solution. Obama’s Push for Reduced Prison Sentences »

President Obama is pushing for reductions in prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders. As this article notes, the federal prison population is more than eight times higher today than in 1980, before the Reagan administration’s War on Drugs. The United States has a larger share of its population behind bars than any other nation...
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