[This is the addended transcript of my regular KVMR commentary broadcast on 8 June 2016.]
As the double helix is spliced and the twig is bent ...
The political dust devil du jour is Donald Trump’s complaint that an Indiana judge’s ruling on a business case involving the billionaire will be impacted by the magistrate’s Mexican heritage. For that Trump has been accused of being a racist, a bigot, and un-American. But a little digging reveals that millions of people, including in the media, have not given much thought to the newest imbroglio.
Going back about fifty years to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, we remember one of its main tenets was that different voices from different, especially minority, backgrounds would enrich the social fabric of America. Interpretations of the new law mandated that people of different races, ethnicities, and cultures be henceforth purposely included in the leadership and decision making positions in our society. And the reason that they should be included was that they view the world from a variety of diverse perspectives that would affect their actions and decisions to the betterment of us all.
In jurisprudence an early and loud voice was from one of our Supreme Court justices, Sonia Sotomayor. In her earlier days as a judge she argued eloquently that a person’s ethnicity, culture, and gender do indeed impact not only their world view but also their assessments and decisions about what they saw and experienced. The New York Times reported (here) on some of these revealing and uncompromising statements when she was considered for the nation’s highest court.
In a famous speech on the subject at UC Berkeley she questioned whether “a wise old man and a wise old woman would reach the same conclusion when deciding cases.” She concluded unambiguously with the “hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life”.
In another major speech on the topic Judge Sotomayor said “Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, … our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.” And to put a bow on it, she cited several noted law professors who taught that “to judge is an exercise of power” and that “there is no objective stance but only a series of perspectives.”, with the conclusion that, “personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see.” I happen to think that most Americans agree with Justice Sotomayor who should be proud of what she then brought to light in the field of jurisprudence.
So today when we examine Donald Trump’s strong opinion that Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s decisions on his business case would be affected by his Mexican ethnicity, we see a double standard applied. As a Caucasian male who has vowed to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, Trump is not allowed to conclude that the judge’s ancestry, upbringing, and experiences may impact his perspectives and decisions. Today’s delivered wisdom mandates that such conclusions by a white male issue from inbred racism, while identical conclusions when offered by a minority woman represent wisdom of the ages.
While that logic is remarkable, within today’s politically correct society we expect progressives to make such a distinction without a difference. But perhaps even more evident and deplorable is that the current Republican establishment is so whipped into line by the Left that it cannot even muster the courage to point out the history of the obvious that bears on the matter. Such political genuflecting is the main reason why conservatives and libertarians have become disgusted with what is left of the Grand Old Party.
My name is Rebane, and I also expand on this and related themes on Rebane’s Ruminations where the addended transcript of this commentary is posted with relevant links, and where such issues are debated extensively. However my views are not necessarily shared by KVMR. Thank you for listening.
[Addendum] The notion that human beings are homogeneous in attitudes, beliefs, intelligence, motor skills, …, and propensity for ingrown toenails is one of the more ludicrous tenets professed today primarily by the Left. Evolution is a wonderfully complex process and has produced individuals and entire cohorts that have specific areas in which some excel and some have deficits when compared to the aggregate population of H. Sapiens. And uncounted studies in the modern era have discovered and then confirmed that nurture and experience add additional discriminates to people individually and as members of various classes.
A recent essay that summarizes a fairly comprehensive amount of science on this topic is A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History (2015) by Nicholas Wade. From there we read -
Fewer ideas have been more toxic or harmful than the idea of the biological reality of race, and with it the idea that humans of different races are biologically different from one another. For this understandable reason, the idea has been banished from polite academic conversation. Arguing that race is more than just a social construct can get a scholar run out of town, or at least off campus, on a rail. Human evolution, the consensus view insists, ended in prehistory.
Today’s myth that humans who appear and act different from the outside are nevertheless all homogeneous on the inside ranks right up the with the Ptolemaic precept of the cosmos, or put more simply, right up there with the flat Earth theory. Politically correct blindness will not acknowledge the documented measurables that this is not the case. Collectivists from early 20th century progressives (eugenics) to Josif Vissarionovich Stalin (Lysenkoism) have imposed unfounded beliefs on the more rational yet helpless populations within their reach. Today the beat goes on.
[I want to acknowledge Messrs Steele's and Tozer's comments re Justice Sotomayor that prompted me to draft this commentary sooner than later.]