Paul L. Caron

Friday, March 13, 2015

Herzig & Brunson: Using the Tax Law to Combat Racist Fraternities and Sororities

SAESlate:  Subsidized Injustice: Racist Fraternities and Sororities Should Have Their Tax-exempt Status Revoked, by David Herzig (Valparaiso) & Samuel Brunson (Loyola-Chicago):

The video of an inexcusable racist chant by members of the University of Oklahoma chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity came as a shock to most viewers. The fraternity’s national headquarters acted swiftly to close the chapter, and the university quickly removed the fraternity from its campus. But the discussion seems to end there.

Treating this as an isolated incident, rather than as a symptom of a larger problem, is shortsighted. ... These incidents show structural inequities in the Greek system. ...

As tax law professors, we naturally see solutions through the prism of the tax law.

Policymakers often use the tax law to provide both carrots and sticks, encouraging certain societally beneficial behavior while deterring behavior we deem detrimental. With apparently endemic discrimination bubbling to the surface of Greek organizations, the tax law may be able to help nudge these organizations to either integrate or clearly signal their discriminatory tendency.

What does tax law have to do with discriminatory fraternities and sororities? All these Greek organizations have been granted tax-exempt status. The SAE chapter in Oklahoma files under the national SAE grant of tax-exemption. By granting a tax-exemption to the fraternity, we, as a society, are subsidizing actions we purport to despise.

If these actions are not societally acceptable, we should not be granting this tax benefit to the organizations. In 1983, the Supreme Court ruled that tax-exempt organizations could lose their tax-exempt status when their practices are contrary to a compelling public policy. One such policy is preventing racial discrimination. Under the Reagan administration, the IRS revoked Bob Jones University’s tax exemption because of its racially discriminatory policies, including not admitting black students. In Bob Jones University v. U.S., the university contested the IRS’s decision. The Supreme Court upheld the IRS’s revocation, deciding that, notwithstanding the university’s sincere interpretation of biblical mandates, the government’s “overriding interest in eradicating racial discrimination in education” outweighed any burden on the university from denial of tax-exempt status based on its exercise of its religious beliefs. ...

How can the tax law operate, then, to effect structural change? It can dangle the carrot of their tax exemption in front of them while, at the same time, threatening them with its loss if they do not eliminate discriminatory behavior. We would propose that the IRS begin sending letters to all Greek organizations putting them on notice that if they discriminate, their tax-exempt status will be revoked. They can retain their tax exemption if they demonstrate that they do not discriminate based on race. This provides Greek organizations with a choice. If they are willing to comply with the norms of society, then they can enjoy the benefit of their tax exemption. If they do not wish to conform, they can explicitly signal that desire by forgoing the public subsidy implicit in being exempt from taxation.

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If IRS removes tax-exemptions from KKK-like organizations—surely an exaggeration of the core purpose of the SAE fraternity—then they certainly must do the same for PP-like organizations. The latter shares similar ideas but bigotry is the very core of their reason for existing.

There’s been a long series of books documenting that Planned Parenthood is the upper-class equivalent of the KKK. It's goals have always been similar, controlling groups considered threatening. Only the methods have been different.

As part of the broader eugenics movement, from its beginning as Margaret Sanger's American Birth Control League, Planned Parenthood has sought to curtail the birthrates of groups considered unfit and "feeble-minded." Its initial target populations were those who’d come here from Eastern and Southern Europe, but also included the poorer native whites. That’s why Sanger’s first birth control clinic was in NYC’s Brownsville neighbor, where those immigrants lived.

You can read about that in Sanger’s own words in her 1922 bestseller, The Pivot of Civilization. For her, civilization depends on keeping down the multiplication of the unfit. If you’d like to understand the background to what she was saying and her coded language, read my extended version of it, The Pivot of Civilization in Historical Perspective. You’ll also discover why feminists fear forced motherhood. Eugenics has both negative and positive aspects.

In the late 1930s just before its name changed to the PPFA, it also began to work with racist Southern politicians to target Southern blacks. Nazism discredited open eugenics, but, as always, support for it remained strong among the very wealthy (think Rockefeller). Eugenists began to call themselves family planners and population controllers.

You see that most clearly in the late 1960s when the drive for legalized abortion began. It’s foremost champion was the president of Planned Parenthood-World Population, Dr. Alan Guttmacher. And what earlier leadership position had Dr. Guttmacher held? That of vice-president of the American Eugenics Association of course. You can find that in his Who’s Who listing.Its not like he was trying to hide what PP-WP’s intentions were.

And the last half of the name, World Population, was because we were in the midst of a deliberately contrived hysteria about an alleged population explosion. Was that actually happening? Of course not. With the advent of the birth control pill in 1960, white birthrates plummeted. That sets the stage for our soon-to-come problem with funding Social Security as baby boomers retire.

But black birthrates were not dropping off nearly as quickly and, given the benefits of civil rights, they might even rise. What had Dr. Guttmacher and Planned Parenthood alarmed was not high birthrates. They knew that was a lie. What alarmed them were the disproportionately high black birth rates relative to whites.

Check out Roe v. Wade. Justice Blackmun says precisely that in his opening paragraph when he refers to the “eugenic” and “racial overtones” of the decision. He knew.

I’ll also let you in a little secret I discovered long ago. How do you discover who your real enemies are? They’re not those who criticize you. They at least believe you can change. No, they’re the ones who seem to loudly champion your cause. But when you step back a bit, you realize they’re being too solicitous. In the case of black people, that’s fussing over admissions to Harvard but doing little about terrible inner-city schools. That’s making a big fuss on a single police shooting, but ignoring the huge murder rate among black male youth. They consider the latter belated abortions.

There’s another clue that is just an appeal to common sense. Liberals make no secret of their disdain for ordinary working whites, dismissing them as “clinging to guns and religion” in Obama’s words. Now ask yourself if someone regards a Baptist plumber who likes to hunt deer as a danger to our society, what do they really think about violent, inner-city black drug dealers? Yeah, that bad.

Answer that and you’ll understand why in the doing of evil, Plannned Parenthood and its supporters are a thousand leagues beyond the drunk frat brothers. Exert any government punishment on SAE, and you must, for consistency sake, prosecute those who support Planned Parenthood for crimes against humanity. And no, that not an exaggeration, the genocide convention does include “methods to prevent births” among its crimes. Nazi Germany legalized abortion across occupied Eastern Europe.

Is the legal system going to be consistent. Of course not. The rich, liberals, progressives, feminists, and much of the media support legalized abortion for precisely the reasons I have described. In fact, in the numerous articles that introduce my edition of The Pivot of Civilization in Historical Perspective they give, in their own words, why they believe it is progressive, feminist or whatever to curtail the birth rates of those they consider inferior. Or, as a liberal English professor and Planned Parenthood supporter whispered to me, as he pointed at a young black man nearby, “That’s why we need abortion.”

And yes, I also have ample reason to loathe the Ku Klux Klan. Three members of my family were murdered by the Klan or Klan-like groups in the 1800s. But I have no reason to fear anything they might do despite bringing back into print a popularized version of the most influential anti-Klan novel ever published, Albion Tourgee’s a A Fool’s Errand, which I’ve transformed into an exciting young adult novel, Lily’s Ride. The Klan, what few of them are left, pose no danger for me.

But as much as I loathe the Klan, I loathe far more those who fake tolerance by attack a bunch of drunk frat students and wink at an infinitely greater evil like a legalized abortion deliberately tailored to target the black underclass.

—Michael W. Perry, co-author of Lily’s Ride: Rescuing her Father from the Ku Klux Klan

Posted by: Michael W. Perry | Mar 13, 2015 8:36:48 PM

This is an interesting and provocative post. The problem that I see here is selectivity. My fraternity at Cornell was ethnocentric and certainly sexist although not racist as such. But then, so was the entire university. If the fraternity should receive such a letter, why not the whole university? Or any university that discriminates against--or, in many cases, in favor of--women or minority groups? It's an interesting thought but there are far broader implications.

Posted by: mike livingston | Mar 14, 2015 5:26:16 AM

Actually, neither step goes far enough. As a liberal whose lived in New York and California his whole life, and frankly someone who hates everything about the South (the culture, the disgusting food, the accents, their hatred of the federal government while mooching off my states), let's use the tax code to punish the whole state of Oklahoma.

Posted by: Cent Rieker | Mar 14, 2015 9:50:34 AM

Make the IRS the thought police? What a great idea! Oh, wait - they already are (see: L. Lerner).

Posted by: Nathan | Mar 14, 2015 10:07:31 AM

"We're not going to sit here and listen to you bad mouth the United States of America." -- Animal House -- Deltas on Trial

Posted by: Woody | Mar 15, 2015 9:57:39 AM

Wow, Cent, that is one of the most ignorant and intolerant things I have ever read. And, since I am a Southerner by birth, I have heard and read plenty of ignorant things.

Posted by: Daniel | Mar 16, 2015 7:16:27 AM