Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality?

Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality? William Morrow, New York, 1984.

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive!” wrote Sir Walter Scott. Thomas Sowell recalls this eloquent couplet as he retraces the tortuous path of civil rights legislation from equal opportunity to reverse discrimination. Along the way he overturns many untenable assumptions, exposes contradictions, and lucidly expounds the logic of liberty…

Dr. Sowell does see a possible benefit to be derived from the modern civil rights debacle. “If there is an optimistic aspect of preferential doctrines,” he writes, “it is that they may eventually make so many Americans so sick of hearing group labels and percentages that the idea of judging each individual on his or her own performance may become more attractive than ever.” Thomas Sowell’s carefully documented research contributes mightily to that end.

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