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Social contract theory is a political-philosophical framework, rather than an in-person negotiating event, and so doesn't require an actual contract. I didn’t say anything about the Founders, nor about any classical liberals in U.S. history.
Think of it as the norms, de jure and de facto, that if overturned would turn America into something else. For example, we could not ditch democracy and remain America (even though, historically, America has been rapaciously undemocratic).
My argument is that from this point on we cannot understand our guiding ideals to be race- or ethnicity-privileging.
Certainly inputs like our founding documents, the historical sweep of American experience in society, and much more, form and shape our current understanding of America. Critical institutions include democratic vibrancy, and freedom and fairness for all under the law.
These are all problematized by building into our policies values that are either directly tied to racial or ethnic identity or values supervening on racial or ethnic identity (as in Wax's "cultural affinity").
What happens when we do that is the critical institutions take on a racial or ethnic character; but, for America to go on being America, those crucially need to remain untethered to racial identity layers.
Historically, they have been wedded to those layers. Voting, for example. But the argument for moving away from that position is elegantly simple: it is contrary to our self-conception as free and equal persons.
Jefferson didn’t live up to this, but Jefferson’s ideals captured it. And we cannot go back to a time when our policies effectively nullify this ideal. Plus, there is no good case for excluding people from voting based on race (as opposed to, say, excluding them based on age).
Here’s another example from the same era: Benjamin Franklin hated Germans on account of German immigrants' unwillingness to assimilate to the degree that other groups would. But America wasn’t Franklin’s to define.
Your "super algorithm that could predict with 99% accuracy who the best immigrants would be” would need to be engineered according to specific values, according to criteria that specify what the “best immigrant” would be like.
What I’m arguing is that if those values or those criteria are racial or ethnic in nature, you have an algorithm that is, moving forward, fundamentally anti-American. They would be ruinous to our institutions.
Good luck convincing an Argentine-American like me that, even though you are engineering your policies to reflect the value that Western Europeans make the best Americans, I’m still equal to the races and ethnicities you’ve chosen to privilege.
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