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Can government solve Racism?

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Lark_Truth
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Can government solve Racism?

Post by Lark_Truth » February 18th, 2017, 3:57 pm

By decree of law and having it upheld by law enforcement, can government stop racism in any nation?

My opinion is that racism would be an impossible thing for a government to try and control. It can enforce penalties, lay down laws, but it will not be able to change the hearts and opinions of the people, especially if it tries to force people to do so.
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Togo1
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Re: Can government solve Racism?

Post by Togo1 » March 13th, 2017, 2:51 pm

Depends if you hold to the old definition of racism, which was all about the attitudes you hold, or the new definitions of racism, which is all about the actions you undertake. I don't think the government can change people's attitudes, but they can stop people doing racist things, should they have the will and public support to do so.

GE Morton
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Re: Can government solve Racism?

Post by GE Morton » March 13th, 2017, 3:41 pm

Lark_Truth wrote:By decree of law and having it upheld by law enforcement, can government stop racism in any nation?
The more interesting question is whether it should try to do so. If so, what is the rationale? Is that rationale morally defensible?

Gertie
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Re: Can government solve Racism?

Post by Gertie » March 13th, 2017, 6:08 pm

What Togo1 said.

The history of equal rights legislation is that eventually governments respond to the changing trends in the attitudes of their voters, sparked by activist movements, which gradually become the new social norm. At that stage people are mostly happy for the new norms to be codified in anti-discrimination law, as there will always be bigots.

However the government doesn't legislate against racism, sexism, hatred of people with disabilities, homophobia or whatever - it legislates against discrimination. Which is very important to the people who would otherwise be discriminated against, and most easily remedied through law. This in turn reinforces the normalising the concept of equal rights within the society and further undermines attitudes of racism and other bigotries as outliers. It goes hand in hand, for example if employers can't legally racially discriminate when recruiting then workforces become more mixed, people get to know each other, and attitudes change. But there are many other factors involved in changing attitudes.

Considering how easily our tribal instincts are triggered into othering outgroups it's worked well, if slowly. The success of each group making it easier for the next as we adjust to the concept of equal rights as normal and normative, and bigotry as irrational, obnoxious and wrong.

Alias
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Re: Can government solve Racism?

Post by Alias » March 13th, 2017, 6:31 pm

You don't "start" or "stop" racism through legislature; you create the conditions which promote or defuse racism in the population.

Governments at all levels have done much damage by enacting discriminatory laws, allocating funds and resources unevenly, allowing the privileged to prey on the powerless, entrenching elitism in one ethnicity while denying to others, failing to provide equal opportunity, justice and protection.
Reverse those practices, so that people can freely interact - transact business, pursue knowledge, compete for success, live in mixed neighborhoods, work in integrated environments, participate in civic and leisure activities, socialize and intermarry - racism fades away.
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

GE Morton
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Re: Can government solve Racism?

Post by GE Morton » March 13th, 2017, 10:29 pm

Gertie wrote:However the government doesn't legislate against racism, sexism, hatred of people with disabilities, homophobia or whatever - it legislates against discrimination.
We need to be a bit more specific here. The government doesn't legislate against discrimination per se --- that would be an impossible and absurd undertaking --- it only presumes to dictate upon what grounds one may discriminate. A couple of questions arise:

(1) Does the (US) government have the constitutional power to enact such laws?

The Supreme Court in 1883 ruled, 8-1, that it did not. The Court held then that the 14th Amendment only empowers Congress to outlaw discrimination by governments, particularly State governments. It's aim to is to secure "equal protection of the law," not equal treatment in all walks of life by private citizens. Of course, the Court reversed that decision in 1964, not on the basis of the 14th Amendment, but on the basis of the interstate commerce clause, which the Court had radically re-interpreted following FDR's court-packing threat in the 1930s.

(2) Is it wise or prudent to grant government such a power?

If government has a broad power to dictate the grounds upon which private citizens may discriminate in their decisions regarding with whom to enter into relationships, may it also prohibit, say, women from refusing marriage proposals on the basis of age, appearance, race, income, etc., or from convicted criminals? May it force the Democrat party fill a certain percentage of its staffers with Republicans? May it prohibit businesses from refusing to supply goods or services to people who cannot pay ("discrimination based on economic status")? Arguments could be made that all of these types of discrimination have "an effect on interstate commerce" --- silly arguments, but no sillier than the arguments offered by the government in the Wickard and Gonzales cases.

(3) Is such a power morally justifiable for any government?

An old quote of uncertain origin declares, "Government is not reason, it is not eloquence. It is force, and like fire, it makes a dangerous servant and a fearsome master." So this question turns on one's answer to the question (which I take to be the fundamental question underlying all debates concerning the legitimate powers and role of governments): For what purposes, and in what circumstances, may one moral agent exert or threaten (physical) force against another moral agent?

I also take it as a logical given that whatever restrictions bind individuals in this matter also bind governments, on the premise that governments have no powers not derived from the people governed. Hence if no individual in a given society has a certain power, morally speaking, neither can its government.
Considering how easily our tribal instincts are triggered into othering outgroups it's worked well, if slowly. The success of each group making it easier for the next as we adjust to the concept of equal rights as normal and normative, and bigotry as irrational, obnoxious and wrong.
I'm not sure to what "rights" you are referring here. There is no natural or common right to enter into a relationship, of any kind, with someone who does not wish to enter into it. No one has a "right" to associate with someone who does not wish to associate with him, or to others' services, or to the fruits of others' labor. Other moral agents are not your slaves or chattel. But perhaps you're merely referring to fiat rights ("frights") --- "rights" created from thin air by acts of legislatures. One can, of course, gain "rights" to anything by that method, but such "rights" have no moral basis or significance.

What other powers would you grant to government to prohibit what someone deems "irrational, obnoxious, and wrong"?

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Lark_Truth
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Re: Can government solve Racism?

Post by Lark_Truth » March 20th, 2017, 9:22 am

Thank you guys, that answers my questions. Feel free to continue debating if you want, I'll be reading up. :)
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Papus79
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Re: Can government solve Racism?

Post by Papus79 » March 23rd, 2017, 10:58 pm

Looks like a lot of agreement, and I'll add a little. The roots of racism seem to be in tribalism and tribalism is pretty well ensconced in evolutionary psychology. To an extent it's like trying to legislate how people feel about those over a certain weight or over/under a certain age. You can do everything you can to promote civility, economic prosperity and mild politics go a long ways toward that as well, it'll still often take children a second though to get used to anyone whose different from them - by skin color or really different for any reason at all.

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Re: Can government solve Racism?

Post by Alias » March 24th, 2017, 8:54 pm

Papus79 wrote:Looks like a lot of agreement, and I'll add a little. The roots of racism seem to be in tribalism and tribalism is pretty well ensconced in evolutionary psychology. To an extent it's like trying to legislate how people feel about those over a certain weight or over/under a certain age. You can do everything you can to promote civility, economic prosperity and mild politics go a long ways toward that as well, it'll still often take children a second though to get used to anyone whose different from them - by skin color or really different for any reason at all.
It takes children a second to get used to a different child. Then, their parents yank them into the house and yell at them for an hour about all the [imagined] dangers of mixing with "those people". Repeat several times a month for twelve years, and you've trained up a racist.

But then, read the Bible. Moses and Aaron had to come with a whole, ridiculous set of dietary laws, dress codes - right down to the cutting of hair and beards - rituals, ceremonies and taboos, and even make baby boys have their poor tiny penis mutilated - just to keep the Jews from socializing with their neighbours.
The governments of rebel states did something very similar with Jim Crow laws, for the very same reason.
Neither of those policies worked: people defied the law and interacted anyway. Intermarried, too.

Enact a set of rules that allows people to transact business, work, eat, play, learn and meet other youngsters on an equal footing, and they overlook collective difference in favour of common personal interest. Government doesn't need to act against racism; it just needs to stop pimping for racism.
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

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Papus79
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Re: Can government solve Racism?

Post by Papus79 » March 24th, 2017, 9:12 pm

Alias wrote:It takes children a second to get used to a different child. Then, their parents yank them into the house and yell at them for an hour about all the [imagined] dangers of mixing with "those people". Repeat several times a month for twelve years, and you've trained up a racist.
Sounds quite rustic and parochial. Glad I missed out on that environment.
Alias wrote:But then, read the Bible. Moses and Aaron had to come with a whole, ridiculous set of dietary laws, dress codes - right down to the cutting of hair and beards - rituals, ceremonies and taboos, and even make baby boys have their poor tiny penis mutilated - just to keep the Jews from socializing with their neighbours.
The governments of rebel states did something very similar with Jim Crow laws, for the very same reason.
Neither of those policies worked: people defied the law and interacted anyway. Intermarried, too.
Another fun story from Exodus - some of Moses's leadership were knocking him for having a Nubian wife and something along the lines of short-term/punitive leprosy hit them compliments of YHVH? Seems like it, whether the codes or Joshua's supposed mass-slaughters, it was religion first.
Alias wrote:Enact a set of rules that allows people to transact business, work, eat, play, learn and meet other youngsters on an equal footing, and they overlook collective difference in favour of common personal interest. Government doesn't need to act against racism; it just needs to stop pimping for racism.
I agree with most of that, couldn't comment on the last portion because I'm not aware of what issue or mandate you're referring to. I do think the intersectional politics these days are really backward, that's less governmental and more societal however.

Alias
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Re: Can government solve Racism?

Post by Alias » March 25th, 2017, 2:16 pm

You mean government pimping for racism?
Travel bans, ghettos, miscegenation laws.... whatever allows a power structure to maintain itself by dividing and turning the citizens against one another.

-- Updated March 25th, 2017, 1:24 pm to add the following --
I do think the intersectional politics these days are really backward, that's less governmental and more societal however.
Is it societal, though? Trace the hate-propaganda back to its source and you'll find some tycoon or local big-shot who draws his power from inciting people against one another. Fear and loathing can be spread very effectively among the poor, the uneducated and credulous. You just have to point to an identifiable group and say: There is the cause of your trouble. Buy a few thousand radio stations and hire a few hundred hate-mongers to tell lies.
It isn't government itself that starts the hate campaigns; it's the powerful and rich patrons who make sure only their lackeys are elected to government.
(Hence, pimping.)
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

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Papus79
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Re: Can government solve Racism?

Post by Papus79 » March 25th, 2017, 2:46 pm

That makes me think of the continued slavery of African Americans today - started out with the South importing people for labor much like the rest of the world did up through the 19th century (some countries such as those in north Africa still do today). Once that was ended very sharp de facto and de jure segregation stayed in place until the 1960's. Then, right about the time that the civil rights revolution occurred the Great Society was written in language that necessarily destroyed the families of anyone who had to live on the system by setting up incentives in that direction. Then of course you had the Marxists and race-mongers come in who had either their own profiteering, defeating capitalism, or both really as their primary goals. Intersectional politics seems like it's just the latest game in dividing and conquering people. That AND - all this time they did have to fight draconian social-conservatives of both democrat and republic parties who just couldn't stand 'colored' people mixing in with the general population. That last group seems to have greatly tapered off, unfortunately the Marxists and postmodernists persist in their game and unfortunately it's lost all flavor of seeking a rational outcome, which among other things has helped to create the emergence of the new alt-right.

As of right now my biggest disgust with government is it's where plans and ideas go to die. The ACA is going to blow up, no party will be able to get anything new passed as long as either one of the two major parties proposes it - it's really gotten that irrational and the only thing I can think of that's remotely likely to save the day, if it's even possible, is the Bitcoin equivalent of insurance where the source is too organic to be legislated. Any other way both parties will louse it up too miserably and people in their 20's and 30's will have possibly the largest or second-largest monthly expense on their list, usually above car payment, being their $6,000 high deductible coverage.

Seems like you can give the government custody of the constitution and bill of rights so long as they're untouchable deposits outside of amendment, give them the ability to oversee interstate disputes, infrastructure funding, national security, watching over human rights (that's skiddish already), past that it's the sure way to prevent anything from happening correctly and it seems like the only way to fix it is innovate our way out from beneath Washington DC. I think it was Yuval Harari who said that no one voted for the internet - and he's right, I think a lot of things once we can move from conjecture to solid knowledge of fact need to be taken away from government and just done organically. Government might be able to enforce laws for minimum safety nets but I really think any attempt to get Republicans and Democrats to agree on anything or not vote as absolute partisan blocks is just about dead in the water.

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Re: Can government solve Racism?

Post by Alias » March 25th, 2017, 3:07 pm

You get the government you pay for.... or....
as long as democracy is for sale,
whoever can pay for it gets the government they want.
(PS I don't see any Marxists, but then I'm way up in the cheap seats.)

RuleOnu
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Re: Can government solve Racism?

Post by RuleOnu » April 6th, 2017, 12:19 pm

The government has enacted numerous legislative measures addressing "racism" least of which the 1964 Civil Rights Act, up to today's hate crime legislation. Laws aren't meant to mitigate or negate actions a priori but to address actions either civilly or punitively.
In my view an individual has a right to be racist. What a person, who is racist, doesn't have a right to do is obstruct any individuals constitutional rights or legal status.
I believe, even private businesses, private establishments, clubs or organizations have a right to operate as they fit for their own benefit, which can include conducting their business along racial lines. Consequently, individuals have a right to peacefully and legally object to any situation wherein race is used as a condition of conduct.
-
So no, the government can't stop an individual from being racist, nor should it. The government has a moral and fiduciary obligation to conduct itself equally and make all laws equally applicable to all its citizens regardless of race or racial ideologies.
Citizens, people can, and will, function equitably without government intervention or force.

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Re: Can government solve Racism?

Post by Lark_Truth » April 7th, 2017, 9:27 am

Amen!
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