Victor Davis Hanson‘s latest column at National Review Online examines the potential impact of recent social developments on the future of affirmative action.

For a half-century, the engine of diversity preference and affirmative action has been fueled by physically identifiable racial identity — one-drop rules just as reactionary and exclusionary as those of the Old Confederacy. Race was supposedly easily ascertainable, even still in our increasingly intermarried and assimilated society.

The DNA-derived color of one’s skin — not the content of one’s character — usually alone qualified one for affirmative action. If Shaun King or Rachel Dolezal can become black simply by asserting that they are black, are they then eligible for special minority advantages?

That notion is neither idle speculation nor conservative cynicism. King, for example, received an Oprah Winfrey minority scholarship at Morehouse College. Had he been seen as biologically white, he would never have been frequently interviewed on cable television as a national black leader.

Being white and male supposedly means enjoying innate and undeserved privilege. But now trans-elites reinvent themselves as females or minorities and have access to special advantages or privileges.

We are still fighting the old battle between nature and culture.

Our 21st-century postmodern culture says that we can become whatever we declare ourselves to be. But age-old realities suggest that only nature determines our gender and race.

How odd that progressives publicly insist that we can be what we wish to be, but privately accept the ancient wisdom that we really cannot quite do that — at least not without dropping the accepted criteria for social institutions such as racially based scholarships, female sports programs, or affirmative action for women and minorities.