The 1965 assassination of Malcolm X was a public policy calamity of immeasurable magnitude and one that may have cost American taxpayers trillions of dollars in wasted spending on Big Government programs that were born of the integrationist philosophy that Malcolm routinely demolished in every single public forum and televised debate in which it was pitted against his independence philosophy.
Malcolm anticipated and resolved numerous race-based public policy debates decades before they took place (such as the discord over School Bussing and Affirmative Action). His assassination denied both the American public and, more importantly, US policy makers the opportunity to fully hear-out his philosophical positions in a way that might have shaped social policy and prevented the wasted expenditure of trillions of taxpayer dollars on programs that Malcolm had already shown to be unworkable since they were premised on flawed assumptions and misguided notions about how best to redress inequities between the races in a truly effective and lasting fashion.
When Malcolm was murdered the single most effective exponent of the independence ideological paradigm was silenced and removed from the contest of ideas with the integrationist proponents. As a consequence, the only voices in Black America that gained a hearing in the White House and amongst Washington DC policy makers were those representing the already-doomed integrationist paradigm.
This flawed philosophical construct went on to feed its misguided ideas into the policy-making machinery on Capitol Hill only to emerge from that process in the form of Big Government programs like the aforementioned School Bussing and Affirmative Action initiatives. These ill-conceived social programs likely cost American taxpayers trillions of dollars in wasted spending, produced civil and political strife, divided the races against each other, sowed resentment, reinforced the very cultural stereotypes they were supposed to extinguish and, years on, have precious little to show by way of appreciable progress towards the goals at which they were aimed.
As Malcolm demonstrates in this exchange with Wyatt Tee Walker and James Farmer (both of whom were surrogates for Martin Luther King), Affirmative Action programs were never destined to produce what Malcolm describes as a ‘real solution’ to the inequities they were designed to redress since they would have simply led to demands for ‘more than equality’ without achieving the desired outcomes. Malcolm argued that Black Americans should instead take their cue from the newly-independent African nations (and, by implication, newly-arrived American immigrants) and mobilise the talents and resources that Black Americans already possessed to redress the inequities which the integrationists sought to correct through Big Government social programs.
Had Malcolm lived and, more importantly, been granted more frequent opportunities to contest these misguided integrationist philosophical arguments before a watching public he would have likely won over not just the entirety of Black America but the overwhelming majority of White Americans, both at the public and policy-making levels and at both ends of the ideological spectrum, and Malcolm’s ideas would have successfully steered the 1960s on a vastly different ideological course, fed into the policy-making machinery on Capitol Hill and emerged in the form of government-backed but public-led initiatives that would have long ago put to bed the entire ‘race problem’ in America.
Malcolm’s assassination was therefore a public policy catastrophe of incalculable proportions but is not one that is entirely unsalvageable. What must now occur is for Malcolm’s philosophical positions (as aired during his numerous TV appearances) to be placed before the public for a second time in a series of global broadcasts and town halls and for the world to finally be granted the opportunity to fully hear-out those positions unfiltered and in a way we were previously denied. These broadcasts and debates should be part of a new Malcolm-led global conversation designed to reshape public policy and finally produce the social and economic outcomes that were tragically deferred when Malcolm was slain.