Thursday, October 21, 2010

What About the Argument that Wax Elides Remedies in her Race, Wrongs, and Remedies: Group Justice in the 21st Century?

Listen to the first 4' of the following where Wax states the essence of her thesis:

She somewhere else uses what she calls the parable of the truck driver and the pedestrian. He runs over a pedestrian and is clearly at fault. He pays the pedestrian's medical bills, but can't get the pedestrian to walk again.

This the pedestrian must do for himself.

So she says the law of remedies has an ideal of justice insofar as damages and compensation can make victims whole. But the law of remedies stops short at what it cannot do. And justice must be so understood as imperfect. So for blacks, the liability of American society is indubitable. What amends?

It de jure rectified the unjust laws. It allocated money for big dollar programs like Johnson's Great Society. It can have innovative and (other) policies like affirmative action, enterprize zones, development preferences and grants, urban renewal projects, subsdized housing, and so on and a legal infrastructure of equitable employment practices mandated by statute and run by bureaucracy --C.O.R.E., (which infrastructure in fact the famous firefighters' case was a reaction against).

All that is analogous to remedies, and their limits. Because what do you do when the cost of these programs outweighs their benefits, are remedial basically at the margins and instances of black dysfunction--crimes rates, out of wedlock births, broken families, educational outcomes-- persist and expand?

Wax argues that it's politically incorrect to lay the locus of the problem at the feet of blacks themselves, where it needs to be laid. And she argues that the law of remedies' limits forms a powerful analogy by which this conversation might be reset.

The black injured pedestrian, so to speak, after the hospital bills are paid, so to speak, needs to will himself to walk again.

The complaint that there are/have been no remedies so as to make her analogy inapt is mistaken, I think.

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