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A civil rights lawsuit exposes anarcho-tyranny in action

A civil rights lawsuit exposes anarcho-tyranny in action
Photo by Wesley Tingey / Unsplash

Federal officials have leveled a discrimination lawsuit at the Sheetz convenience store chain, alleging that the company’s use of criminal background checks as a screening mechanism for employees falls afoul of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Although Joe Biden’s Department of Justice says it does not believe the company intended to discriminate, the fact that minority applicants are more likely to have criminal records places Sheetz outside the law.

This action may seem absurd, but the lawsuit fits well within the logic of existing civil rights law and its standard of “disparate impact.” Sheetz employs a common screening method to protect its customers and employees’ safety, yet the Biden administration has made it clear that criminals’ rights hold more importance.

The civil rights regime that rules the United States reckons that skin color trumps all other concerns and has made a safe, high-trust society illegal, punishing the average law-abiding citizen in the name of equality.

Most Americans think of the Civil Rights Act as the piece of legislation that ended legal discrimination in the United States but do not understand how the relevant body of law has mutated over the years.

The original language of the law was vague and allowed for radical interpretations that have led to the rise of a legal leviathan that reaches into every part of American life. The average person would assume civil rights law simply prevents a business from openly denying an individual employment due to his race, but the truth is far more complicated. The Supreme Court's decision in Griggs v. Duke Power Co. (1971) introduced the language of disparate impact, and that change has warped every institution in the United States.

Under disparate impact, the employer does not need to make any conscious decision to discriminate in order to violate the law. In the original case, the justices decided that if minority applicants reliably scored lower on aptitude or IQ tests, then the use of those tests to screen potential employees broke the law even if the employer had no intent to discriminate.

Removing intent as a factor made any difference in outcomes for racial groups count as evidence of discrimination. The Civil Rights Act of 1991 made the change official, leading to college degrees becoming the only acceptable way for businesses to screen would-be hires.

Most Americans would enthusiastically endorse the idea that we should evaluate every individual on their merits, but the creation of a standard like disparate impact exposes the falsehood that civil rights law merely aimed to give each person an equal shot.

Whether we like it or not, differences between groups reliably emerge across different domains, and using objective standards will naturally reflect those differences. Progressives did not want a world that removed racial preferences. They wanted a world that actively used racial preferences to reshape American institutions. A standard like disparate impact does not reduce racial preference but instead increases the salience of race to the point that companies must hire less qualified or even dangerous employees to fill a de facto racial quota system.

Warping reality to meet an artificial ideological goal is always dangerous and often leads to disastrous results. The justification for banning basic aptitude and IQ tests was based on utopian thinking at best and cynical political calculation at worst. It has resulted in the explosion of extreme college debt and a leftist monopoly on employment credentials in the United States.

The relentless expansion of the ideology at the heart of civil rights law always meant that it would eventually need to be applied to criminal records. Some minority groups commit crimes at a significantly higher rate and therefore have a much higher likelihood of being excluded from employment by a background check. Those on the left attribute this fact to racism, but they find it hard to disagree with the data itself. People can and will argue endlessly over the causal factors, but just as with aptitude tests, the intention of the employer does not matter. If any difference in results occurs, even with the use of objective measures, it is a violation of the law.

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