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Reagan devastated the civil rights enforcement agencies, as he pandered to the white nationalists who helped him win election. But employment discrimination law has survived and continues to be an often-effective tool against racism, misogyny, homophobia, religious hatred, and other forms of discrimination. Title VII cases and claims under parallel statutes continue to be a major part of the caseload in federal courts. Because the Civil Rights Act is largely enforced by private civil rights groups and lawyers in private practice who bring cases before independent judges pursuant to a private right of action.

Did a progressive Congress have the foresight to recognize that a private right of action would protect the victims of discrimination from future administrations hostile to civil rights, and thus include it in the statute as a check against enforcement agencies captured by civil rights opponents?

What does 'Be careful what you wish for' mean?

Rather, moderate and conservative Senate Republicans, resigned to the fact that an employment discrimination law was inevitable, and fearful of a powerful federal agency that would restrict business autonomy in the manner of the National Labor Relations Board NLRB , substituted a private right of action for agency adjudication in an attempt to sabotage the effectiveness of Title VII. In , the adoption of a private right of action was widely seen as a great loss for civil rights advocates, turning Title VII from an enforceable law to an ineffectual call for voluntary compliance with anti-discrimination policies.

Those who tried to sabotage the enforcement of civil rights through a private right of action should be turning in their graves, having inadvertently given civil rights advocates a powerful tool to resist assaults on civil rights. Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation. Subscribe to this free journal for more curated articles on this topic. Subscribe to this fee journal for more curated articles on this topic. Economic Anthropology eJournal.


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Employment Law eJournal. We use cookies to help provide and enhance our service and tailor content. How do you pick a friend or an ally? Who decides you cannot be friends with someone? Is it human nature to have both friends and foes? And do nation-states behave like human beings in matters pertaining to friendship and animosity? The answers to these questions are not as simple as they seem. The dynamics and products of human intelligence are very complex. You may consider your friendship with someone is a rational choice, but it often is not.

Chance, change and challenges conspire to bring you to your existing choices.

Be careful what you wish for - Egon Zehnder

You are forced to spend more time with someone perchance and you discover a good friend in them. Your best friend is leaving town for good and your dependence on the friendship necessitates that you look for someone to fill the vacuum. And sometimes the challenges you face are just beyond your capacity to manage singlehandedly and you are compelled to combine forces with other people only to find you have become good friends with them.

Does that mean you have to be similar or share a common set of values to be good friends? Not necessarily. You will be surprised by the complexity of the choices you make and even the amount of irrationality involved if you were to take a dispassionate look at your relationships. Matters of hostility ought to be easy, right?

Be careful, what you wish for

You are bound to have one or more genuine reason s to dislike or hate somebody. Perhaps someone betrayed your trust or badmouthed or even backstabbed you. But what about your instinctive dislike for someone? Instincts are not rational you know. Similarly, what about your jealousies? And do not forget the role played by a third party, say a closer friend, in such matters. An abiding sense of loyalty to your friends and their choices often force you to make decisions that you were originally very fond of.

Various disciplines within the social sciences may seek to demystify these choices but given the vast number of variables at play in human interactions in contrast to the natural objects natural sciences seek to study, there is no rule of thumb and no formulae to classify them into patterns. And do nation-states behave in the same fashion as individuals?

This is the area where you will come across many parroted lines.

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For instance, there are no friends or foes in foreign policy, only states and their national interests. If that was so, why do you think Pakistan does not recognise Israel? Ask any international relations expert and you will be told that the country has nothing to lose and a lot to gain from such a relationship. But you and I both know it is unlikely to happen any time soon. Because in the messed-up ideological calculus of Pakistan, a country which was born in a reaction to Hindu extremism in India, maintaining a relationship with Hindutva India is acceptable but not establishing relations with Israel, a nation with whom we have no direct conflict.

And then there is a fear of pushback. Wrap your head around that. The first-ever television interview I conducted over two decades ago was with the late Dr Stephen P Cohen.

Careful what you wish for…

He chuckled in admiration when I asked him how relevant morality in the international system was. Not too irrelevant he replied. He gave two examples. And the US and Israel alliance. You can see what he did there. China and Pakistan are not too similar. Nor the US and Israel. But somehow they work. And it is not as if their national interests always converge.

But these countries can instinctively count on each other.

Time, opportunities and increased exposure often build trust. And then there is the issue of old friendships gone bad. The US and Iran once were good allies. Before the Iranian Revolution, of course. But their hostility today is not unknown. Saddam Hussein was once a close ally of the US. But then things fell apart as they often do. But then along came the Long Telegram by George Kennan and the world changed beyond recognition.