Spoiled Brat Politics
in a recent issue of the National Geographic's "Traveler"
magazine complained that kayakers in Maine found "residential
development" near national parks and urged its readers to
use their "influence" to prevent such things.
are the stakeholders in our national parks," it said.
What stake do kayakers and others of like mind have that is not
also a stake held by people who build the vacation homes whose
presence offends the kayak set? Homeowners are just as much citizens
and taxpayers as kayakers are, and they are even entitled to equal
treatment under the 14th Amendment.
of bigotry is denying others the same rights you claim for yourself.
Green bigots are a classic example.
The idea that government
is supposed to make your desires override the desires of other
citizens has spread from the green bigots to other groups who
claim privileges in the name of rights.
In California a group
of golfers in wheelchairs are suing a hotel chain for not providing
them with special carts that will enable them to navigate the
local hotel's golf course more comfortably and play the game better.
According to a newspaper
account, the kinds of carts the golfers in wheelchairs want "have
rotating seats so a golfer can swing and strike a ball from the
tee, the fairway and on the green without getting out of the vehicle."
If golfers want this kind of cart, there is nothing to stop them
from buying one -- except that they would rather have other people
be forced to pay for it.
One of the golfers
in this lawsuit has been confined to a wheelchair as a result
of a diving accident and another as a result of a gunshot wound.
Apparently the hotel had nothing to do with either.
There was a time
when people would have said that the hotel is not responsible
for these golfers being in wheelchairs and therefore it has no
obligation to spend additional money for special carts in order
to help their scores on the links. But that was before the Americans
with Disabilities Act, under which the hotel is being sued.
If the government
wanted to do something for the disabled or the handicapped, it
could have spent its own tax money to do so. Instead, it passed
the Americans with Disabilities Act, which created a right to
sue private institutions, in order to force them to spend their
money to solve the problems of individuals with special problems
or special desires, whether serious or frivolous.
It was a lawyer's
full-employment act, creating another legally recognized victim
group, empowered to claim special privileges, at other people's
expense, in the name of equal rights. Nor could such legislation
make the usual claim that it was coming to the defense of the
poor and the downtrodden. Golf courses are not the natural habitat
of the poor and the downtrodden.
One of the plaintiffs
in the golf-course lawsuit is a former managing partner in a large
law firm. He says, "I just want the same opportunity as everyone
else" to "get out and play 18 holes with my friends
does not mean equal results, despite how many laws and policies
proceed as if it does, or how much fashionable rhetoric equates
of that rhetoric was the title of a recent New York Times
"A Ticket to Bias." That column recalled bitterly a
time before the Americans with Disabilities Act, when a woman
in a wheelchair bought a $300 ticket to a rock concert but was
unable to see when other people around her stood up. This was
equated with "bias" on the part of those who ran the
Even now, decades
after this incident, the woman in the wheelchair declares, "true
equality remains a dream out of reach." Apparently only equality
of results is "true" equality.
A recent publication
of the American Historical Association shows this same confusion
when it says that doors "are largely closed" to people
who want to become historians if they didn't graduate from a top-tier
college. In other words, unequal results proves bias that closed
doors, according to this rhetoric.
equal opportunity and equal results is a dangerous confusion behind
many kinds of spoiled brat politics.
2005 Creators Syndicate
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