The Public Interest

Civil Rights and Natural Rights

William Bradford Reynolds

Winter 1989

CLINT BOLICK, a lawyer who has worked at the Justice Depart- ment and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, has written a book that should force everyone interested in civil rights to reconsider his or her views. Changing Course provides a lucid account of the rise and successes of the civil-rights movement, but it does not shrink from offering a penetrating analysis of that movement’s failures. Bolick boldly proposes a fresh strategy. The book is gracefully written, and by concentrating on the legal and historical (as distinct from economic or sociological) aspects of race relations, it complements works like those by Nathan Glazer, Charles Murray, and Walter Williams. It is also timely. Liberal policies and politics unswervingly seek to push us in the direction of what Charles Murray, writing in Commentary, has recently identified as “custodial democracy.” Bolick’s book provides an alternative direction—one far more consonant with the overarching principles that originally inspired the civil-rights movement. It deserves close and serious attention.

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