New Proposals Revive Debate Over “Reverse Discrimination”

Below is my column in the Hill on a variety of proposals that could rekindle the debate over “reverse discrimination” in the federal courts.  Many of the proposals seek to adopt exclusive racial classifications that will collide with existing precedent under both statutory and constitutional law.  If this movement is to result in lasting reforms, these threshold legal challenges should be considered.

Here is the column:

In 1976, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall lambasted the “illogic” of civil rights advocates insisting that laws against discrimination should protect only minorities from discrimination. The first African American justice and civil rights litigator declared that whites also deserved such protections. Today, as bizarre as it may seem, he could be denounced as enabling claims of “reverse discrimination.” Yet this debate could find its way back to the Supreme Court, given the array of controversies over the use of race as a threshold criteria for benefits or penalties.

      The Black Lives Matter movement was premised on the need to recognize the inequities and abuse of African Americans exclusively, rather than a broader position that “all lives matter.” The protests have convinced many of us about the importance of that recognition. But cities and states are turning to reforms where that racial exclusivity presents a potentially insurmountable barrier. Relying on threshold exclusions of all but one or two races could rekindle the debate over “reverse discrimination” and what constitutes discrimination versus affirmative action.

     Marshall is an interesting figure at the crossroads of that debate. While ruling that whites are protected from racial discrimination under laws like Title VII, he supported affirmative action and dissented from the 1978 decision in the Allan Bakke case to reject reverse discrimination claims. He maintained that there was much to be done to correct the continuing depravations of racism since the Supreme Court “did not prohibit the most ingenious and pervasive forms of discrimination” against blacks. He stated, “I cannot believe that this same Constitution stands as a barrier.” 

        The question is where to draw that line and whether, as a number of commentators have asked, “reverse discrimination” is “even a thing.” That issue came up when Gary Garrels, a senior curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, resigned after he was denounced as a racist. The reason? While supporting diversity of the artists exhibited in the famed collection, Garrels said, “We will definitely still continue to collect white artists.” He reportedly also said a ban on acquiring art from white artists would be “reverse discrimination.” A petition calling for his firing said the terms “reverse discrimination”  and “reverse racism” are offensive forms of “white supremacist and racist language.”     

      This instance highlights the limitations and the lingering debate over such distinctions. His colleagues had every right to express their views of his comments, and his decision to resign was a private decision. However, his objection to the use of race as an exclusive criteria to be in the collection captured the uncertainty between discrimination and diversification, a line that has occupied the Supreme Court for decades without a clear resolution in college admissions and other areas. 

    One possible case may arise in Seattle, where city council members have called to cut the police budget by 50 percent. Doing so would require firing a significant number of police officers, which is also popular. But that puts the city council in a quandary, as firing half of the department would start with the most junior officers, many of whom are minorities. Thus, defunding the police in the name of racial justice would lead to firing minority officers. The solution, according to city council member Lisa Herbold, could be simple: fire the white officers. Her proposal is striking in both its illegality and its popularity.

           In his 1976 opinion in the Santa Fe Trail Transportation Company case, Marshall ruled for two white employees fired after a theft. While a black employee also was held responsible, only the two white employees were fired. Marshall said that discriminating against them made a mockery of laws against discrimination. In 2009, the Supreme Court ruled against New Haven after white firefighters and a Hispanic firefighter challenged the city when it refused to certify results of promotion exams in order to promote black firefighters who did not perform as well. The Supreme Court held that the refusal to certify was unlawful discrimination.

      While the Supreme Court has allowed race to be considered as a factor in some college admissions cases, it has struck down certain programs that crossed the line into discrimination. The position of many of the justices on this is summed up by Chief Justice John Roberts in a 2007 decision in which he wrote, “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discrimination on the basis of race.”

          Of course, what is discrimination to some is affirmative action to others. The California Faculty Association has called for a wide array of reforms, including “free tuition for all Black, Native, and Indigenous students.” The California legislature is moving to undo “reverse discrimination” rules, and state senators voted to approve a ballot measure for the election this fall revoking Proposition 209, the 1996 state amendment banning any consideration of race or ethnicity in admissions decisions at public universities. Governor Gavin Newsom supports that revocation. 

         The California proposals could present another array of challenges over what are benefits to particular insular groups and what are penalties for those excluded. It is easier to benefit an insular group than it is to penalize other groups based on race. That line can become murky. Past cases have argued that state funds work as a zero sum game, where the increase of funds from one purpose means the reduction of available funds for other purposes. If the proposal is adopted to give free tuition for minority students, the loss of revenue would be considerable for state schools. 

             As the nation moves toward concrete reforms, these criteria will have to be addressed in the courts. The exclusive reference to one or two racial groups will be met with judicial suspicion under governing case law. That is why we need a civil debate not over whether to implement reforms but how to do so. It cannot happen if concerns raised by people like Garrels are denounced as dog whistles or white supremacy.          

       The translation of this important social movement into needed legislative reforms will not be easy if it relies on threshold benefits or penalties based on a single classification or exclusion. We must have that discussion now so we do not waste years in unsuccessful litigation instead of using our energy to forge something that passes constitutional muster.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can find his updates online @JonathanTurley.

124 thoughts on “New Proposals Revive Debate Over “Reverse Discrimination””

        1. Young…yes…I like Handel too….Royal Fireworks, Water Music, Messiah were fun to play…..speaking of Messiah and speaking of Mr. H “borrowing” compostions here and there…..does this Corelli “Fuga a quattro voci” (fugue for 4 voices)
          sound a teensy bit familiar??? Anyone?? Bueller? Bueller?? LOL..Seriously, tell me what you hear. BTW Corelli was about my favorite Baroque composer………….

          1. My God! What a ripoff by Handel. I did not know that. Thank you for that information. I too like Corelli, particularly his Christmas Concierto. Also I enjoy Gabrielli. His Magnificat a 14 is beautiful.

            1. Young LOL …yes a ripoff! Unbelievable, right? Corelli had been dead for 30 years when Handel wrote “Messiah”.
              A funny story….My big brother in Dallas is the one who clued me in. He is a classical music aficionado and usually has the classical station playing on his radio. Driving home one day about 15 years ago, the radio announcer announced the Corelli piece. When my brother heard the familiar strains he said he almost fainted..LOL! ..pulled off the road immediately and listened in disbelief. He knew Corelli had died in early 18th c and Handel wrote Messiah in that mid century. He called me when he got home, still in disbelief! .Anyway, my brother is not a dramatic person, so I thought that was so funny. And btw, in my opinion, the people with the most knowledge about music trivia are non-music majors who just happen to take a Music Appreciation course in college, or are self taught. They know far more trivia and background stories than most music majors, like me.
              Yes…the Gabrieli is nice! And have always loved Corelli’s Christmas Concerto…..i have enjoyed these discussions! Thank you!

              1. If you listen to Marin Maraise Les Folies de Espagne I swear you can pick up some of the music in The Last of the Mohicans but at a more sedate pace. His Sonnerie de St Genevive is also great but intoxicatingly slow and complex.

                1. Young….Maraise’s Les Folies is absolutely gorgeous. Thank you! Not familiar with him at all…..I did check the credits for the soundtrack to Mohicans, and they gave him no credit.. The other piece was nice, too. I am ashamed to say I have not played much by French composers, except Bizet, of course. And I sang in a performance of Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s Midnight Mass for Christmas about 20 years ago. We sang in Latin…so much fun. But this cantata of Charpentier’s is wonderful, imo..
                  The image of Notre Dame is a nice surprise.

                  1. Beautiful and an interesting mix of melodies. Poor Notre Dame. I suspect it was torched by the same people who have been destroying other churches and cathedrals but the French are afraid to admit it.

                    1. Young….I think you’re right.
                      Historically, the “Notre Dame school of polyphony” during the 12 century was the basis of our church music
                      In ’65, I took 2 dozen pictures of the stained glass windows using a little Brownie (with no flash) They came out great!

      1. Cindy– Regarding the discussion below. I think I gave the wrong impression. I didn’t choose the mining industry over office work. There was no choice. Those were the jobs available and they kind of chose me. I was basically a kid at the time, working in the industry [and the woods] for five years, from 17 to 22 before moving far away to train and work in tool and die work and then school and to a degree in law. Everything after that five year period seemed soft by comparison.

        Where you were in Montana was at the edge of the Great Plains. Had you gone further west you would have gotten to the mountains and the mining and logging area. Western Montana and the Idaho Panhandle share the same culture of mining and logging.

        My area was a bit like the Old West. With a total population of about 7 or 8 thousand we had scores of saloons and 7 brothels that we called cat houses. I think nearly all the guys from my high school went to the cat houses. I have seen the like, though now closed, in Skagway, Alaska and in Bisbee, Arizona, also mining towns.

        The author, Gregg Olson has captured the culture very well in his book, The Deep Dark, about the mining disaster in the Sunshine Mine that killed 91 guys in a single day. I knew some of them from school days and very likely some were guys I worked with in the same mine whose names I don’t recall but I do remember their faces when we visited underground before going back up on my last day.

        I still have my miner’s hat like those worn by the two survivors pictured in the article. I kept it unless I had to go back someday.

        The blast furnace had the advantage that I could see daylight and there was room to run if things went sideways. Because it was very hot I worked in front of the furnace for two hours and then had two hours off before returning for another two hours. I read Shirer’s Rise and Fall of the Third Reich in my off time in the lunch room. Before going to work there I had read Atlas Shrugged and there is a scene in which a young John Gault is working on a blast furnace that has a breach in the side and he plugs it by throwing clay at it. Very heroic and also probably b.s. I quickly saw that it wasn’t at all likely. The force of the air in the furnace is enormous and when I resealed the tap hole every 20 minutes or so I had to ram a handful of clay on the end of a long steel rod into the tap hole squarely, against the force of the blast, and hold it in place for several seconds while it hardened. Even then it sometimes began to leak and had to be redone. So much for accuracy in literature.

        Probably more than you wanted, but I have been asked to write about it and a lot of the old memories are leaking through just now.

        1. Young,
          That’s a fascinating history. One that would likely make a good book. Thank you for sharing.

          1. Olly– Thank you. I am up to about 350 pages just now. I don’t know how long till I finish. I spent a number of pages on the two strikes that pitched much of the valley into poverty. My classmate, Jullie Whitesel Weston, another lawyer, published about the area and the second strike that lasted about 8 months. The Good Times All Are Gone Now, Life, Death and Rebirth In An Idaho Mining Town. Roberta Brainard Garner, younger than I, has written Pay The Piper about the same area.

            1. Young……..I am sorry I didn’t know that you are writing a book!! That’s great! my apologies that I haven’t paid attention.

              1. I think this was the first time I have mentioned it. I have been badgered to do it for years.

        2. Young….I thoroughly enjoyed a brief look into your past. It is really interesting to me. And your furnace test must have been an eye opener. I wonder if Ayn Rand had spent much time in that element….even though she did write about the steel industry. I never read one of her books…but she was popular when I entered college in1965. You were really cool if you dropped her name into a conversation back then.,,unless of course you mispronounced it…LOL
          That is a tragedy about the 1972 explosion….I’m so sorry about your friends.
          I’ve said this before….but you could make some very fine short stories out of your bio. The West is always a good resource for potential writers.and it’s popular with readers, and of course, you write well. The West is popular, I think, is because not everyone could live out there where so much was “unforgiving”. It took tough brave citizens to make it work.
          We drive to West Texas whenever we can…’s exhilarating and the people are happy and self sufficient!

  1. Did you guys catch this?

    St Louis Muslim organizes BLM style mob to deface statute of Saint Louis; Catholics defend it by praying rosary; black mob attacks Catholics who run away

    I’ll tell you this, the Catholics must not have noticed Saint Louis is holding a SWORD and charging not running away

    Political questions in their deepest sense are questions of which faction is stronger, well organized and bringing violence to bear on a question.
    it has been ever thus.

    That is an understand we have been blinded to as Americans in spite of our many wars which proved the point.

    We must not misunderstand this as have the Catholics who brought prayer beads instead of swords.
    Saint Louis protected Christians in the Holy Land who were being slaughtered by revanchist Arab Muslims, with the sword.

    Understanding this is now a point of existential importance.

    1. Louis the Nineteenth King of France was the only canonized King of France (the only one who is a saint in the Roman Catholic Church). I want to know why some of us – the ones in #BLM – have decided for the rest of us that his statue must be demolished.

      It’s an important question. It answers the question “What does #BLM want?” – What they want is to make questions ALL of us ought to make. like “What statues may stay standing. The wikipedia article “Louis IX King of France” doesn’t record notable military atrocities by the standards of the time – If you pull down Louis IX King of France’s statues, then pull tributes to Mohammed and his Companions down. But #BLM hast’t touched anything relating to Islam, even though when slavery flourishes in the 21st century, it does so in Islamist nations.

      1. Yes, because BLM is controlled by plutocratic funding, that wants to flood the West with migration from Muslim countries, ie, abundant source of new cheap labor, and to do so, it will help them to break down what small vestigates of Christianity yet exist in “the West”

        simple as that

        among the bilionaires who expect to profit from this chaos, there is a noticeable plurality. who dislike King Louis for other quasi religious reasons, perhaps.
        Geo Soros is one, but there are others. very disproportionate representation in the billionaire caste, this particular group, and its not Muslims

        is this a mere coincidence>? I would not know. just making an observation

  2. Let us remember that it was the Democrats who voted a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard to be their Senate Majority Leader where he served until 1989. Do these BLM anti-Trump protesters know who Robert Byrd is? Doubtful. Ask Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton about their “mentor”….

  3. Reverse Racism or any kind of racism has no business in our Constituional Republic along with the other ‘isms. The only way to stop it is not to change gears but to turn off the engine.

  4. The National Organization for Women is savagely sexist.

    The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is savagely racist.

    Affirmative action, quotas, forced busing, Fair Housing, Non-Discrimination are racist and sexist.

    Every last scintilla of it is irrefutably unconstitutional.

    Abortion is murder (of America).

    Americans have no choice now but to take back their restricted-vote republic, compassionately repatriate the hyphenates, maximally increase the fertility rate and re-implement the “manifest tenor” of the

    Constitution and Bill of Rights.

  5. Racism does not only refer to any one particular race as a victim. Racism requires bigotry against an entire race. Any race. All forms of racism are wrong.

    Yet, racism against whites, Latinos, and bigotry against Jewish people has been encouraged to fester in African American activism. This is the antithesis of unity.

    Any attempt to legalize racial discrimination, whether it’s a racially punitive tax law like Reparations, or punishing Asians and Caucasian high achievers with Affirmative Action, is wrong.

    The answer to low achievement in African American communities is to render fatherless households socially unacceptable, rather than the goal of peer pressure, and to close the academic gap. The former does not indicate a scarlet letter, but rather a shift in cultural mores against the expendability of fathers. In addition, Welfare should be reformed so as not to financially incentivize fatherless households. In order to improve the academic achievement of African Americans on average, again a cultural sea change is warranted. Studying hard in school must no longer be condemned as “acting white.” That’s the reality of under performing schools. There is intense peer pressure to blow off school, i.e. blow off the path out of poverty. Single parent households are more often poor than not, so these children also don’t have access to private tutors. If academics was not instilled as a value in their mothers as children, their mothers don’t have that value to pass on. At some point, it must originate, and be passed down. Going to school used to be a point of pride in African American communities. That value has been destroyed, along with the nuclear family, in the attempt by the Left to attribute traditional values and goals as “whiteness normalization.” The result has been catastrophic.

    African Americans are just as capable as any other demographic of high achievement. However, it’s the subculture that promotes failure over success. Every single African that I can think of, whom I used to work with, was an H1B visa holder, or naturalized citizen. Africans immigrate here, work hard in school, and excelled. Their entire culture was different than the native born.

    It’s the culture.

    BLM misrepresents data, vehemently opposes any personal responsibility or internal change, is anti-Capitalist, pro Marxist, and fosters racism against whites. It is not a benevolent organization, and has nothing to do with justice.

    If black lives mattered to BLM, it would focus its hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions on ending gang violence, and healing the nuclear family, both of which are the existential crisis of African Americans today.

    Instead, they ignore the war zone in Chicago, Baltimore, and other African American cities cutting young black lives short, and instead focus on the roughly dozen unarmed black men shot by police in 2019.

    By their actions shall you know them.

    1. Karen–“Racism does not only refer to any one particular race as a victim.”


      I don’t think you get away with saying that these days. The narrative is that only white people can be racist. You and I are not allowed a white person’s opinion on the issue.


      1. There is a nifty infographic going around about all the building blocks for white supremacy.

        Being color blind, judging people based on their character, not caring about race, and believing in the existence of “reverse racism” are all supposedly aspects of white supremacy.

        If MLK, Jr were alive today, he would be pilloried by the Left, and called the usual racist slurs that conservative blacks must bear.

        1. Karen S : If MLK, Jr were alive today, he would be pilloried by the Left, and called the usual racist slurs that conservative blacks must bear.


          Very likely. There is no room for talk like his these days.

        2. If MLK, Jr were alive today, he would be pilloried by the Left, and called the usual racist slurs that conservative blacks must bear.

          If I’m not mistaken, Bayard Rustin was the only person in King’s circle who was a critic of racial preference schemes after 1968. Perhaps Ralph David Abernathy made some unconventional remarks. I tend to doubt King would have been outside the consensus of black politicians.

    2. Shall you also dictate religious beliefs? Where and when does your dictatorship cease? You can’t grasp the scope and breadth of American freedom. You can’t handle the truth. You can’t handle the Constitution and Bill of Rights. You can’t handle American freedom. You may not like, but the Constitution provides it. Are you aware that the Founders required Americans to be “…free white person(s)?”
      Do you know which country you are in? You favor stripping away all American rights, freedoms, privileges and immunities. Did you know Lincoln favored African repatriation and legislation was passed commencing the funding or repatriation to Liberia? You take freedoms from one person to give them to another.

      You insidiously conflate violence with the holding of opinion.

  6. To make orchestras more ‘diverse’ the classical music editor for the New York Times wants to end blind auditions.

    A blind audition is when the player performs unseen so that those judging his merit will only be touched by the quality of the music and not biased by age, sex, race, or other distractions.

    The New York Times wants performers to be chosen on the basis of race rather than quality of performance. So much for the ‘level playing field’ we were told was needed to end race inequality.

    Besides being a racist and loathsome idea, this is an idea that is likely not to work well at all. It may be like trying to recruit black students for real engineering courses. Not enough interest and maybe not enough ability.

    I like classical music and often watch performances on the internet and I was struck last year by the fact that the performers are almost entirely white and Asian. That is true in America, Europe and Asia. What matters to these wonderful and talented people is not race but music.

    I did not believe for a minute that this racial composition was due to racism. Indeed, if auditions are blind, that could not be a factor. So I wondered what it was like in predominantly black countries, in Africa. You can do this for yourself. I looked for classical music orchestras in two African countries where the populations are almost entirely black. As near as I could tell, the classical music orchestras in the blackest of black countries were composed of white performers.

    I remembered a businessman I visited years ago on a legal matter while he was in the last stages of completing his lounge together with a package window for selling alcohol out the side. He pointed to his newly installed piano and I said I didn’t really care for lounge-type piano music. He said, “I don’t either, but it keeps the blacks out. They can buy booze outside at the package window.” That was the first time I realized that just maybe there are inherent ethnic factors influencing music choice. Judging by what I saw of orchestras and audiences in videos from Africa I have to wonder again if that is so. If by and large blacks simply do not like classical music, orchestras are going to be struggling to get even third-rate performers.

    If we can do this racist nonsense with air traffic control towers [Obama’s idea] and orchestras, and movies, I am still wondering why it can’t be done with the NBA and NFL which are most certainly not diverse in proportion to the population.

    1. they already get a lot of their performers from Asia. because, many Americans can’t be troubled to learn a skill like playing violin, really well, which takes ten thousand hours by the time you’re shooting for a full time job playing first chair in a decent orchestra.

      because, of all the electronic distractions, freedom aka entitlement garbage, and other lies that are pumped into our heads from the system through control sewer day after day

      and so about a fifth of one local orchestra may be from the PRC. more power to them. i welcome these skilled artists.

      as for the idea of finding black people who can carry the fine arts along, they have done well in opera, and not much else that Im aware of. sorry, just the facts. show me otherwise if i am wrong.

      but I welcome the Red Guard trying to ram their agenda down the throats of the fine arts people too. because let the rich people who underwrite so much of it get a taste of what they’ve encouraged and tolerated to be imposed on the rest of us.

      1. I didn’t think there were very many blacks in opera, but I know there are some. On the whole, the black contribution to the fine arts is very small. They had a hand in creating jazz, but I am not sure that is even really music.

        1. Young – “had a hand”, Dude, they invented Jazz. And they are some fine blacks in opera. I would suggest a French New Wave movie Diva.

          1. Okay, they invented jazz. It’s still crap to listen to and I retreat every time I hear it.

        2. Young…….a dear friend of ours, who is black, had an incredible career in opera in U.S. and Italy, and was a protoge’ of Gian Carlo Menotti, and icon, Sam Barber.
          Also, the fabulously talented Paul Robeson introduced classic song Ol Man River in Showboat…He was a great operatic talent. I believe he moved to Europe eventually because of segregation here. There were many wonderful black opera singers……and still are.
          Scott Joplin’s “Bethena, a Concert Waltz:” combined ragtime and classical waltz….some say was his best composition, and a Masterpiece. I agree!

          1. Cindy– I am impressed you had such prominent friends who also knew Barber. It appears there are more black people in opera than I knew. David Benson cited another favorite above.

            It would be a tragedy to sully their talent and accomplishments by an affirmative action that must lead to hesitation when seeing any black performer enter the stage. They are hurt most of all. If anyone is on the stage it should be because his talent and training earned the spot, not because of the color of his skin.

            A friend for years who is an accomplished black physician and adored by her patients told me of a time when she was attending medical residents. On one occasion she went to the medical director with two names; one she thought should be held back a year and the other should find some other career. Both were black and the medical director refused to accept her recommendation because the department ‘had to’ graduate more black residents. At least one of these, and maybe both, were potentially dangerous to their patients. She was furious. She earned her profession by hard work. We came to know her when she was in medical school and for a few years she seemed likely to become my sister-in-law. Always she was studying and working to become the best doctor she could. It casts a shadow on her legitimate achievements to hustle anybody through a professional program just because of his color.

            I appreciate the link to Scott Joplin’s music. I like Ragtime to a degree as movie or background music. As a matter of taste I wouldn’t put it on to truly listen to music. For that I lean to Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto performed by Helene Grimaud or the Mendellsohn violin concerto performed by Hillary Hahn. I immerse myself in it rather than use it as background music. Just a matter of taste.

            1. Young…..interesting but upsetting story about your doctor friend. Good comment and I agree…and btw excellent choice in music. When I was an 18 yr old kid I was a violinist in an orchestral symphony made up of other kids from Houston….and we were lucky enough to be invited to Paris to record for Radio Free Europe. (Paul and Prairie have heard this story…SORRY!!). We recorded the Mendelssohn concerto, with the conductor’s son as soloist…I’ll never forget, in an old warehouse/studio with huge glass windows. You could see Paris outside, of course. It was a gray day and raining! I cannot listen to that concerto without seeing that marvelous image of a rainy Paris in 1965. It was magical… is music itself!

                1. Paul C You are too kind! The arts, especially music and theater, open the world to kids who might not get that chance otherwise.
                  And for any BLMers reading this, I was not PRIVILEGED, but blessed! 🙂

              1. Cindy– What a wonderful and beautiful memory. If it were mine I would put the Mendellsohn on from time to time and revisit it with my eyes closed but my mind looking out that window at a rainy Paris.

                I envy your learning to play the violin. When I asked to do it when I was 5 it really wasn’t something likely to happen. Paul can guess what it was like growing up in a gulch in a mining town like Butte where he has been. That was half the problem; I was the other half. One can be a bit feral in that environment. When I saw the feral child in Road Warrior I laughed and thought that that was I at that age, rough, ragged, dirty and unrestrained. Now imagine that kid asking for a violin. You laugh, and they did too. Who would I hit with it? But I can still listen.

                1. Young….The Mendelssohn concerto is one of my favorites.. Absolutely gorgeous. Love your story with imagery of feral child in the West with a violin….would make a great short story! there were lots of violins on the wagon trains! Sorry you never got to play. Although violin was one of my majors, I wasn’t very good but loved playing in a symphony. My favorite symphony is Dvorak’s #8 in G…. It features the celli Magnificent.
                  Piano is my love, but mostly play by ear. BTW our kid symphony was in Europe that summer, also, to participate in the Wagnerian Festival in Bayreuth, Germany. We played in the old Margrave Opera House built by Fred the Great’s sister. Check it out online….It is gorgeous! Can’t believe a bunch of Texas kids played on that stage!! our big finale was Overture to Die Meistersinger..The German audience threw roses on the stage…Pretty heady experience for 16, 17, 18 yr olds, but like I’ve said that’s the magic of music!

                  1. I just looked at images of the Margrave Opera House. What a glory to architecture. I would feel special just sitting in the audience, never mind performing on the stage to acclaim. Wonderful, too, to meet a descendant of Wagner and Liszt as part of your tour. Those are memories to cherish for a lifetime and pass to your children.

                    My own recollection of 17 was vivid to me but far more mundane. It was when I went to work for one of the local mining companies.

                    1. Wow…a miner. You must be one tough guy! And to claim Montana as home seems exciting to me.
                      I love , love love the West.
                      Honstlawyer and I went to Wyoming 8 or so yrs ago….then drove up to Little Big Horn……wonderful experience but that was the only part of Montana we got to see.

                    2. Actually I was in Idaho and I worked underground, 3,700 foot level, for only awhile before switching to the blast furnace. I am not at all tough. You just do the work that is there when you grow up. Switched out and fought forest fires for a few summers, going back to the furnace when it got cold and snow closed the woods. It was hard, hot, sweaty, sometimes dangerous work though and I never really felt I was actually working in an office–too clean, comfortable and safe.

                    3. Young…I have never thught about I daho being a mining state..? Of course, I know nothing about any of that area.
                      I can see why your choice of jobs seemed better than an office job. And you have a law degree, right?

                2. Young……Forgot to mention, Friedelind Wager, Richard Wagner’s granddaughter, was our tour guide in Germany. She was known as the “white sheep” of the family because she hated Hitler and the Nazis! (Her grandmother was Cosima, Franz Liszt’s daughter)
                  The point is that our conductor and business manager were Jews….and they never hinted at any ill feeling towards Richard Wagner…..just the opposite. We were there to make music. Period!
                  That’s a part of what is missing today in race relations…..forgiveness and focus.

                  1. and they never hinted at any ill feeling towards Richard Wagner…..just the opposite. We were there to make music.

                    Like Mark Twain said, Wagner’s music is better than it sounds.

                    1. I love Wagner’s music. I have seen the Ring Cycle performed in Chicago at the Lyric Opera.

                      Put aside the fussing over what happened a century ago, nearly, and focus on today, drawing inspiration from Wagner’s evergreen work of total art, the retelling of the Ring of the Nibelungs.

                      I will make this short. You can research and confirm it on your own. Wagner was operating on many levels. On a mythic level of deep existential truth, on an aesthetic level, so many levels. But one level was an important social issue, the power of international finance, to enslave a nation. This was known in every age by the wise. We must rediscover it today.

                      We can use antitrust laws to break the censorship oligopolies of Twitter, Google and Facebook. We must, the US Dept of Justice must, asap, before the election, or it’s going to be the last time free speech drew a breath of fresh air, because now it is on its back crying, “help i cant breathe” as websites like this get fewer and farther in between and behemoths of censorship like Twitter suck all the oxygen out of the national debate.

                      Now this is tied to finance in the most obvious ways. And they are openly supporting BLM with millions of dollars and green lighting the chaos of the riots in the mass media and demonizing the elected President with incessant lies and insults.

                      but back to Wagner. In a superficial reading, the Ring is the power of money that is to say, financialism. Global capital. Think of that sinister billionaire destroyer of nations, George Soros. I am not the first to say this. Not the first to say it of him nor this take on the Ring.

                      The giants who hoard the gold are the enemy. The heroic quest requires that we just like the company in “the Hobbit,” eventually must slay them.

                      Slay them as the hero Siegfried, Who arose, after casting off the lies of his evil foster father Mime, the gollumish figure that tried to cheat him out of his inheritance and the truth of his ancestry, and his destiny. Reforge Nothung, the sword, symbol of the power of man’s will, symbolized by steel, over the power of man’s greed, symbolized by gold. The sword, which can only be reforged when we abandon our selfish desires and come together for our common purpose, is the tool and symbol of social organization which we have lost due to the empty lies and glamour of selfish liberalism and greed, that is to say, the evil magic of gold. Arise, reject the false promises and empty glamour of gold, embrace the work of the blacksmith at his forge working steel, reforge the sword of common purpose, and use it to slay the Dragon


                      Remember, the ancient Spartans forbade the use of gold as fiat money, fearing its dull gleam, which corrupts men with selfish thoughts. Instead the laws of Lycurgus required ugly iron ingots to be used as units of exchange in Lakedaemonian commerce. We must reject the false glamor and embrace the ugly work. This was the life of the Spartiates, the highest element of their society was required to be the strongest, and the most altruistic for the common good, and deemed it honor to die for the good of the whole. This is how they lived and died with glory and why we remember them still. Is it inside us yet, or not?

                    1. Wow Mr Kurtz…what a critique…..very impressive. You know, Wagner spent most of his adult life in debt and running fron debt collectors.

      2. Kurtz– It isn’t always the case that Americans can’t be troubled to learn the violin. I asked to learn it when I was five. Circumstances didn’t allow.

        1. just as well for boys to be weaned now on shooting games and mma. and it is just as well. we can rediscover the arts later.
          for now singing is enough for music, and the drums of war can keep the time

          here let me take the norse myth into a different musical idiom

          these are the prayers we need to raise now. the words of negotiation fall flat and empty.
          words aimed past the city walls are wasted, only words to organize and valorize are what we need to hear now

    2. Young……I would love to see the pearl clutching if anyone hinted at making NBA and NFL more “diverse”! Now THAT would be entertaining!

  7. Of course, what is discrimination to some is affirmative action to others.

    Affirmative action has become nothing more than reparations, disguised as justice. It’s been used to provide an advantage to specific classes over other classes. And it will never be just, if it discriminates against any group in favor of any other group. This shouldn’t be that difficult.

  8. The right to private property is absolute as it precludes any and all interference in any and all forms by Congress and/or government. Congress has no authority to claim or exercise dominion over private property. Affirmative action, quotas, Non-Discrimination Laws, Fair Housing Laws, forced busing, rent control, minimum wage, etc., are all unconstitutional.

    “[Private property] is that dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of every other individual.”

    – James Madison

    Congress has no authority to “regulate” or deny rights and freedoms to one group in order to provide rights and freedoms to another.

    Congress has no authority to regulate anything except the value of money, the “flow” of commerce among nations, states and Indian tribes, and land and naval Forces per Article 1, Section 8.

    Article 1, Section 8

    The Congress shall have power to…

    To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;

    To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;

    To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

    Understanding that there are legitimate and binding laws against property damage and bodily injury, the freedoms of speech, thought, belief, opinion, publication, press, assembly, disassembly and every other conceivable, natural and God-given right and freedom per the 9th Amendment, preclude any legislation against the holding of opinion, free choice, discrimination, opinions on race, etc.

    People must adapt to the outcomes of freedom.

    Freedom does not adapt to people, dictatorship does.

    1. George, I fear the concept of personal property will continue to be under attack by the left, the professors, and the Media elite. The Kennedy’s, the Cox’s, the Pritkzer‘s, Warren, Gore, Edwards, Clinton’s, etc. don’t have to worry – they won’t be the target – for now. It will be the non-POC middle/upper middle class.

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