I stand by what I said about the Ricci case. I think there's a horrid history of discrimination in the firefighting ranks. I also think that the city of New Haven's means of addressing that history was hamfisted, ill-thought and will ultimately retard the fight to remedy the wounds of history.

But it's sobering to wind up on the same side as Pat Buchanan, who thinks that the Ricci case is the equivalent of Jim Crow. For a reminder of who Pat Buchanan is, here is his racist assessment of black America:

First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.

Second, no people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans. Untold trillions have been spent since the '60s on welfare, food stamps, rent supplements, Section 8 housing, Pell grants, student loans, legal services, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits and poverty programs designed to bring the African-American community into the mainstream.

Governments, businesses and colleges have engaged in discrimination against white folks -- with affirmative action, contract set-asides and quotas -- to advance black applicants over white applicants.

Churches, foundations, civic groups, schools and individuals all over America have donated time and money to support soup kitchens, adult education, day care, retirement and nursing homes for blacks.

We hear the grievances. Where is the gratitude?

I always found this quote interesting because it originates from the same racist thinking that Byron York employed last week--that black people don't actually count. In this instance, the idea isn't about polling, it's about taxes. By Buchanan's lights, black people do not exist as tax-payers, but as social sponges. And the converse is true--no white people use government services, they simply pay taxes that are transferred to blacks

But Buchanan's not a racist. Or an antisemite.

Andrew had this great quote from Orwell last week:

The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.

I think Buchanan's opinion on Ricci comes out of his own quasi-white nationalist impulses. He's one of a legion of people beating the drum on this case, who aren't so much concerned with discrimination--as they are concerned about discrimination against people like them.

The dishonesty of it all is bracing. I don't believe in argument for sport, and so I'm somewhat ill-equipped. Still, it's times like these when you wonder whether argument has any real point.

UPDATE: Edited this post for a few embarrassing errors. Among them, Pat Buchanan as a black nationalist.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.