Friday, February 24, 2012

Outrageous Fact of the Day

From Steve Sailer:
JUST three decades ago, Thurgood Marshall was only months away from appointment to the Supreme Court when he suffered an indignity that today seems not just outrageous but almost incomprehensible. He and his wife had found their dream house in a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C., but could not lawfully live together in that state: he was black and she was East Asian. Fortunately for the Marshalls, in January 1967 the Supreme Court struck down the anti-interracial-marriage laws in Virginia and 18 other states. And in 1967 these laws were not mere leftover scraps from an extinct era. Two years before, at the crest of the civil-rights revolution, a Gallup poll found that 72 per cent of Southern whites and 42 per cent of Northern whites still wanted to ban interracial marriage.
You read that right - up until 1967, interracial marriage was illegal in 18 US States. And it would have likely persisted longer until the Supreme Court stepped in. 1967! Flying men to the moon, banning interracial marriage.

File:US miscegenation.svg

 Dates of repeal of US anti-miscegenation laws by state
   No anti-miscegenation laws passed
   Before 1887
   1948 to 1967
   12 June 1967

And this being the early 20th Century, they weren't just trying to stop the symbolic recognition of interracial marriage, but instead stop the actual mixed race union, and mixed race sex in general:
Typically defining miscegenation as a felony, these laws prohibited the solemnization of weddings between persons of different races and prohibited the officiating of such ceremonies. Sometimes, the individuals attempting to marry would not be held guilty of miscegenation itself, but felony charges of adultery or fornication would be brought against them instead. All anti-miscegenation laws banned the marriage of whites and non-white groups, primarily blacks, but often also Native Americans and Asians.
In many states, anti-miscegenation laws also criminalized cohabitation and sex between whites and non-whites. ... While anti-miscegenation laws are often regarded as a Southern phenomenon, many northern states also had anti-miscegenation laws.
Steve Sailer is exactly right - 'not just outrageous but almost incomprehensible' is indeed the description.

I guess it's a failure of imagination on my part, but I simply cannot conceive of how the public justified these opinions to themselves. Even if you were racist to the core, and disgusted by interracial marriage. Was there no libertarian urge at all? Was there no sense that your own revulsion at two people having sex is not a public policy rationale for passing a law? John Stuart Mill wrote 'On Liberty' a full century earlier. Had nobody read it? Did they think it was all nonsense?

Conservatives would do well to not get too misty-eyed about America's glorious libertarian past that's being trampled on by modern liberals. In certain aspects (regulatory overreach, taxation levels, nanny-state condescension), this is definitely true.

But in other very important respects, today is a lot better than it used to be. The past is not only another country, but one that on closer inspection you may like less than you'd thought you would.

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