Is there a centrist approach to racial issues in these polarized times, one that deals honestly with American history while upholding the best of the country’s founding values? Two recent books take up the question, one looking primarily to the past while the other makes plans for the future.
In Black Liberation through the Marketplace, Rachel S. Ferguson and Marcus M. Witcher have messages for both the Right and the Left. Viewing black American history through the lens of classical liberalism — a political tradition embracing free markets, free speech, and the rule of law — they urge conservatives to confront the ways in which African Americans have been denied the liberties and rights that make America great, and how these violations slowed black flourishing. They also urge the anti-capitalist Left, however, to reckon with the role those very same rights and freedoms have played in black liberation and progress, not to mention the way that many important black leaders have embraced these tenets of liberalism. Ferguson and Witcher can sometimes run a little too far with libertarian dogma, but their careful parsing of history makes their book easily worth reading.
Photo by milanklusacek/iStock