Much has been written about the concept of social justice in order to bridge the long-standing inequality that has historically plagued African Americans in the socio-economic and political life of this nation. Much of this work has focused on public policy and its role in potentially smooth issues of racial justice, but more often than not, these studies fail to note public policy as the root cause of this injustice. A small group of scholars of the classical liberal tradition, such as Thomas Sowell, Harold A. Black and the late Walter E. Williams Yoman has worked not only to expose, but also to explore, the weaknesses of public policy in dealing with racial justice. The market as an effective alternative to dealing with historical oppression. With their new book Black Liberation through the Marketplace: Hope, Heartbreak and the Promise of America, Rachel Ferguson and Marcus Witcher provide a worthy entrant to this important tradition.
Ferguson, an economic philosopher, and Witcher, a historian, wasted little time laying their foundations. The experience of Black America, they tell us, does not fit well with the political culture of the country, and it is detrimental to everyone involved to try to force such a fit. While classical liberals have insights into providing solutions to this seemingly complex problem, they do not excuse themselves from contributing to it, writes, “and the classical liberals themselves have not done a great job of communicating with the public how a philosophy that limits government. Defending individual rights, encouraging markets, and evaluating civil society can speak volumes about the lives of black Americans. “
Thus, it is their duty to show these failures as examples where blacks have been excluded from healthy market activity, how state intervention has often made marginalized groups competitively weak to help them, and Americans have achieved through the market system providing examples of many black successes.
Although social justice is often viewed as a critique by classical liberal scholars, the author seeks to present a broader definition of social justice that works to uphold the principles of American federalism, which give the highest value to property rights, freedom of contract, and free trade. And equal protection under the law. In the first chapter, they note that traditional notions of social justice are generally criticized as a function of Hayek’s information problems; The fact that knowledge spreads unequally in society makes the central authority ineffective in making decisions for the benefit of a particular population subgroup. This led to Hayek’s famous characterization of social justice as a mirage, not because disadvantaged subgroups existed, but because of the absence of invalid information determining the correct distribution of overall wealth in a larger spontaneous market system.
Nevertheless, inequalities exist in the social order, and in the chapter criticizing the demands of the critical race theory, the author appeals to Tapareli’s views on social justice. In this perspective, public policy is directed towards respecting the supremacy of aid, empowering small units, such as families and communities, to make decisions that seem to be in their best interests, thus contributing to the discipline of human development within state boundaries. . From a Taperelian perspective, “social justice is a just system of legal and political institutions that allows for human development … the current efforts under which it flies … are often very centralized, marginal people’s lives are very directly administrative, and government failures are their own institutional Instead of trying to recover, they wallow in their sadness and thus, experience more failure. “
With this in mind, the authors associate their work with advising on institutional, policy, and legal changes that empower disadvantaged subgroups to work for their own improvement within the market system.
A recurring theme throughout the book is the work of economic activity to promote civil rights and push for greater equality. Chapter 6 specifically relates to this, explaining the need for blacks to build their own civil society in the face of coded racism and discrimination. The formation of schools, churches, fraternal lodges, anti-lynching societies and civil rights organizations was based on the parallel formation of life insurance companies and associations to promote black business. The “African Americans,” wrote Ferguson and Wicher, formed national associations that fought racism on various fronts. These organizations, philosophies, and strategies laid the groundwork for the next social and political movement. – Helped to overcome the hardships imposed on them by unauthorized separation … “
The following chapters discuss the positive effects of dispersed benefits, as well as the spread of costs as a result of public policies that have arisen in response to black flooring. In many ways, the author notes, social programs like New Deal were rooted in eugenics.
For a vibrant market, the rights of minorities must be protected against the will of the majority, and this guarantee is one of the fundamental principles of classical liberalism. Despite the guiding structure of the American Constitution, the history of the United States has been marked by the failure of the state to adequately police the rights of subgroups within its purview. Ferguson and Witcher provide several examples of this tragic negligence of responsibility, warning the reader that recounting these examples is graphic and boring. One such incident, Easter Sunday, sparked controversy over the outcome of the 1873 Colfax genocide, the Louisiana Governorate Race, which killed more than 100 blacks.
The short version of the incident is that both Republicans and Democrats have claimed victory in a contest of fraud and intimidation. Federal intervention was needed to determine if the Republicans were legitimate winners. Despite the presence of federal troops in the area, Black Republicans in Grant Parish responded by fearing that the Conservative Democrats would take over the government and occupy the Colfax Courthouse themselves to ensure there is no folly in certifying the election results in Paris. The White Democrats mobilized a large force of their own vigilantes to disperse the blacks, who responded by creating earthworks to prevent the blockade. On Easter morning, whites attacked, drove opponents out of their pottery with cannon fire, and massacres continued. This happened despite the presence of federal troops in the area.
Of course, this review covers only a small portion of the material covered by the authors and hopefully in a way that explains the value of the work to potential readers. Like any multifaceted work that deals with different themes, sometimes the depth of the topics discussed is lost, but the author does a believable job to provide a basis for further exploration on the part of the reader. For example, when I was interested in treating their critical race theory, I was a little disappointed with its brevity. However, this is a trivial matter, since the correct interpretation of CRT from the point of view of classical liberalism would require a volume of its own. Ferguson and Witcher do not really cover anything new, but they do manage to provide a perspective on the often-absent race issue from classical liberal thought. While acknowledging the importance of political society in protecting property rights and freedom of contract, they demonstrate why commercial society is the only real guarantor of subgroup power that does not adapt to the development of a majority culture.
They do so in a way that is more accessible to those who are not economists, political scientists, historians, or sociologists, or even to the great works produced by the likes of Sowell or Williams. They do not answer all the questions, because there is no easy answer to those questions. However, they do create questions about what they should be and provide a path to further discovery if the reader wants to travel that route further. I strongly recommend that this work be added to the reading list for anyone dealing with minority justice and civil rights issues.