Rebirth of Reason


Affirmative Action and Blood Guilt
by G. Stolyarov II

This article was originally published on GrasstopsUSA.com.

           The heinous idea of blood guilt is alive and well today in the United States. Yes, the same kind of fundamental mindset that characterized the policies of the governments of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union is today advocated by proponents of affirmative action.

            The idea of  blood guilt is not new; it has recurred time and again in societies from the ancient times to the present day. Those who believe in blood guilt think that an individual may be held liable for the transgressions of his kin – however broadly defined. In the Soviet Union, this idea translated into denying the children and grandchildren of the expropriated bourgeoisie admission to universities or imprisoning them. During the Stalin years, millions of people were deported to hard labor camps and even executed for no other crime than being related to “enemies of the people.” Sometimes entire nationalities – including Chechens and Ukrainians – were hunted, deported, and decimated because some among them opposed the Soviet regime’s policies.

            In Nazi Germany, the legal concept of “Sippenhaft” or kin liability led the government to arrest, imprison, and often execute the family members of political dissidents. This is not to mention that anybody not belonging to the “pure Aryan race” was considered automatically evil and an enemy of the German people for no reason other than his blood and ancestry.

            Although the penalties under it are less grievous, affirmative action today works on the same basic premise. A “white” American today may be denied admission to a university or a job for which he is qualified if his great-great-grandfather happened to be a slaveholder – as if the possible transgressions of a man he never knew might have at all stained his moral character. But he need not even be a descendant of a slaveholder to be subject to this punishment. His ancestors might have lived in the Northern states and might even have fought to abolish slavery during the Civil War. Or they might have immigrated to the United States long after the Emancipation and thus have had no direct contact with slavery at all. Under the premise of blood guilt, this man – who has not done one thing to infringe on the rights of any African-American individual – will still be punished, because there exists an extremely indirect genetic connection between him and white slaveholders in the American South during the Antebellum period.         

            On the other hand, under the premise of blood guilt, an African-American man alive today, who has never been a slave, is entitled to preferential treatment just because his ancestors might have suffered under slavery. It is also possible that his ancestors have never been slaves and were among the free blacks living in the North, or immigrated to the U. S. from Africa after the Emancipation. This does not matter to those who believe in blood guilt; this man’s loose genetic affiliation with former slaves renders him entitled to being compensated as a “victim”– unless, of course, he challenges the entire premise of blood guilt and insists on being treated as an individual person, in which case he is denounced as an “Uncle Tom” and a “race traitor.”

            It is quite curious that people who like to think of themselves as “progressive” and free of superstitions would fall prey to this most backward and most absurd superstition of all – the one that has spilled the blood of the most innocents throughout history. Every rigid caste system, every tribal war, every genocide throughout history was made possible by the attitude that people can be punished simply because of their race, ethnicity, class, or family. Those who today call themselves “liberal” might be rightly appalled at a social structure where everyone is assigned a fixed “place” on the basis of birth – but many of them oddly fail to recognize that affirmative action is founded on the exact same principle.

            The alternative to blood guilt has been well known ever since the American founding. It is individual self-responsibility – the idea that each person has rights as an individual and is bound as an individual to respect the rights of others. If he violates the rights of others, it is he and he alone who must be punished. If his rights have been infringed, it is he and he alone who is entitled to compensation. A father’s transgressions do not render his children any more legally or morally culpable than they otherwise would have been. If one person of a certain racial or ethnic group commits murder or genocide, this has no bearing on the other members. This idea has largely freed America from the racially and ethnically motivated atrocities that have plagued virtually all of the world prior to the American founding and continue to persist in parts of the world today.

            It is imperative for all civilized, sane, and rational people to reject the barbaric idea of blood guilt and to purge it from all existing institutions. Affirmative action must be abolished and replaced by the evaluation of each individual on the basis of his personal merits alone. 
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