Chilton Williamson, Jr.’s column “Pragmatic Destruction” (What’s Wrong With the World, December 2011) attacks American democracy with a vengeance. He seems to be bothered by the fact that Southern blacks were “freed” (his quotation marks) by civil-rights laws through the negation of “states’ rights” (my quotation marks). I don’t see how restricting a certain class of people from being educated or voting, which too many states were doing under the umbrella of states’ rights, was worth preserving.
Too many times the claim of states’ rights was used to maintain the status quo. The people in power weren’t theorizing about the Greek concept of democracy, and they weren’t reading Tocqueville to justify their position. It was mainly a power grab. By using states’ rights arguments to preserve “for colored only” restrictions, any legitimate use for states’ rights was obscured in racist tones. This is similar to what the bureaucrats of our leviathan national government do today. Mr. Williamson applauds the former and attacks the latter, whereas both should be criticized.