So Much For Post-Racial Society

Blogger Ann Althouse shot this video at a debate over affirmative action at UW Madison (and Instapundit has an interesting take). I guess I should be pleased that there is a debate, however rough the reaction, and that is the line I am going to try to take with myself in order not to sink into a Dark Mood.

Althouse's commenters take various personal digs at the young lady in the video, and point out flaws in her logic. Try to put that aside for the moment, though. Althouse is right, the anti-affirmative action side is in the awkward position of suggesting to some students' faces that they don't belong there, and that's not a pill that's going to go down easily....there's no telling what effect it has in consciences over time, however. And few people are perfectly eloquent in the spur of the moment when they're angry, so let that slide.

Here's what depresses me. The young lady's "stinging rebuttal" -- and the assumption of most of the room shouting agreement with her, embodied by the young man who cries out, "Think of your children!" is that when whites are the minority, we'll need affirmative action for whites. This is never going to end.

They don't think racial equality and fairness is a possibility or even a moral standard for which to strive. These students are not looking for a just society, they are assuming perpetual race warfare and a coming turn of the tables. The assumption is whites will never give them a fair shake, and they've no sense of obligation to give whites a fair shake. There is no equality, only power games. They laughed at the very idea of judging people for the content of their character!

That's enlightening for me. I thought we were all agreed that we should strive for a colorblind society, that affirmative action was on the course of ultimate extinction, and the real debate was over when: when will we agree that the playing field is leveled?

It has not occurred to any of these people that there will ever be a level playing field, nor do they care to strive for one. They have abandoned all hope for and commitment to justice, and they are not attached in any way to the fundamental moral sentiment of the republic: All men are created equal and endowed by their creator with inalienable rights, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Not to be dire, but we know what Lincoln said, quoting his Master, about the house divided. We cannot remain free if our citizens no longer believe in the ideal of freedom.