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Americans must work together for social justice

Monday, May 12, 2014
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Americans must work together for social justice

Recently, a TV advocate for the retention of high school team sports suggested that such activity teaches team players lessons that are vital for their roles in later life. That advocate reminded us that to be a team member, one needs to subordinate some of his own goals and efforts to those that are common for team success.

In doing so, the player commits himself to a joint objective and works toward a common goal in unison with others. Players who choose not to do this play for their own benefit, or perhaps not at all. This is the underlying principle in any collective undertaking by individuals, whether it is for an athletic purpose or a social one.

A fundamental collective effort of this nation is to secure civic unity and cohesion in the American society without abridging the rights of ordinary citizens. (Participation is optional.) This has always been an obvious need in view of the vastly different groups of people who have come here with various cultural backgrounds. Those who willfully came to this nation, as well as those who were brought here forcibly, have all needed to subordinate their former heritage in order to work toward a common, unifying social goal that is still needed today.

As in team sports, it requires a willingness to work toward an American society, one based on the nation’s founding principles. Those principles hold that ours is, foremost, a society of individuals, not groups. Groups are merely seen as collections of individuals. These principles also hold that all individuals have certain natural rights, but groups have none. Rights reside only in individuals.

Considering the 6-2 ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court that supports Michigan’s amendment to its state constitution, it seems one should think about the attempt by some to use other means as a factor in the judgment of that ruling. Those means, by contract, hold that the group is the primary social unit. The individual exists to serve the group’s purposes before serving any of his own. In this issue, those who favor preferences would suggest individuals defer to the solution already imposed by government. Individual support of Michigan’s action is deemed counterproductive to government’s leadership.

In Michigan, individuals were asked to vote on an important social question: Should admissions to state educational institutions be based on preferential factors or should they not? In the voters’ view, access should be open to everyone on a non-preferential, non-discriminatory basis without regard to one’s race, ethnic origin, sex, age or other similar factors. Michigan residents, like those of other states, preferred that individuals work toward a unifying social goal (open access to education) rather than a divisive one (preference for a favored group).

Do those who favor preferences recognize their position as divisive of civic unity? Do they believe preferences unify the American society? Their position seems to be a wish for a society that ignores individual opinion and operates on the basis of a group’s exchange value — in this case, one group’s grant of a fabricated group right in return for the recipient group’s political allegiance.

Edward Bernier

Broadalbin

 

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