Max Boot’s Anti-Desegregationism


I learned earlier this week that before Max Boot became a national security expert and acquired his current wingnut welfare perch at the Council on Foreign Relations he was involved in other branches of right-wing crankier and even wrote a book called Out of Order: Arrogance, Corrption, and Incompetence on the Bench decrying—wait for it—judicial activism. Searching around in the book you can tell that Boot is a cut above your standard-issue conservative since he has the good sense to recognize that the entire “activism” controversy was spawned not in some rights of the accused case, but rather in the Supreme Court’s decision to rule that school segregation was illegal in the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision.

As he writes, “as with all modern judicial activism, the answer comes back, ineluctably, to Brown v. Board of Education.” Or, since “judicial activism” is a made-up nonsense word, the way I would have put it would have been that “as with all modern complaining about judicial activism, the answer comes back, ineluctably, to the fact that white supremacists didn’t like Brown v. Board of Education.” But of course Boot, being a contemporary conservative rather than a 1950s or 60s conservative, isn’t a white supremacist at all. He even goes so far as to concede that “the result is one we can all applaud.” He’s just more upset by the prospects of courts overturning the demographically expressed will of a herrenvolk democracy that denied its black citizens the right to vote in order to better be able to oppress them with the systematic application of terrorist violence than he is by the apartheid regime itself.

And so we get yet another classic expression of the weird conservative view on racism. They’re not exactly for white racism, and they get very upset if you accuse them of being for it. They’re just against doing anything about it and very concerned that efforts to do something about it are having all manner of dire consequences.