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November 14, 2007

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"Again, I’m not saying the modern Federalist Society and its comrades are racist."

Well, even in liberal Cambridge, plenty of them are. Plenty of other prominent conservatives too. Plenty aren't, of course. I'm not really prepared to make a statement one way or the other about the majority.

Based on the rest of the post you seem to be using a def'n of "racism" that's different from mine--something more like "white supremacism" or "support for segregation."

"But more abstractly, much of modern conservative doctrine has foundations in racial issues. The clearest example is state rights and federalism."

Your thesis has a little bit of a problem with the 1787-1856 period, as state rights and federalism in modern conservatism trace quite a bit to the Constitution itself.

"Same deal for welfare and “law and order” slogans."

Or alternatively the fact that liberal crime policy combined with not-so-brilliant liberal housing policy had turned entire cities into desolate wastelands might have had something to do with it.

The irritating thing is you have an interesting enough point without having to turn it into EVERYTHING. Don't overplay your hand or you sound like the silly people who think that liberals get all of their ideas from Communism.

"Krugman has – Katrina-style – forced the issue again into the public eye."

I suspect you overestimate the readership of the New York Times.

"Well, even in liberal Cambridge, plenty of them are. Plenty of other prominent conservatives too. Plenty aren't, of course. I'm not really prepared to make a statement one way or the other about the majority."

Come to California. I'll introduce you to all sorts of racists. And they all be Democrats. Or by *them* did you mean a broader group than the Federalist Society?

Very good post indeed.

"Very good post indeed."

I agree. Very good job, publius.

Or alternatively the fact that liberal crime policy combined with not-so-brilliant liberal housing policy had turned entire cities into desolate wastelands might have had something to do with it.

I can't actually think of a single American city that became a "desolate wasteland" post-1945, unless by "desolate wasteland" you mean "area full of black people".

Oh, except New Orleans, of course!

It continues to baffle me that Americans can think we've simply put the problem of racism behind us and can happily move on. (Or sexism, for that matter.) A couple of weeks ago, Cleveland Scene, one of the city's two free weeklies, published an article about a local mayor -- a black woman -- who appeared from the facts presented to have problems with allowing white people on the police force. In response, someone sent the following letter, which appeared in the print edition. Read this and tell me racism in this country is dead, or even dying:

This is not the only time this has happened. The laws in our country favor blacks, but they just can't obey them. If a white hurts or kills a black, it's a national event. However, blacks kill whites (or try to) every day, and nothing is said. Most gangs in Ohio are black. The Jena Six are guilty, period.

The person "reverse racism" hurts these days is the white male. The laws say: "Hire blacks, and we will give you tax breaks." That hurts honest, hardworking whites.

I live in Akron, and 28 percent of this city is black. They commit 82 percent of the crime. I'm moving ASAP to a place in the country where I can raise my children without these animals around me. Not all blacks are bad, but most are. Look at the kid in Akron who won't testify against another gang member. Sickens me.

That mayor should be fired and sued for her comments and actions, just like she would do if it was reversed. Where are Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson on this one? Oh yeah, I forgot. They don't want justice. They want a race war with blacks winning.

Mark Lattimer
Akron

A letter like this appears nearly every week in that publication. The comments sections on news articles at Clevleland.com are riddled with statements much like this, dozens of them every day. And they sure as heck aren't restricted to Republicans. We have a loooooong way to go on race issues in this country.

Come to California. I'll introduce you to all sorts of racists. And they all be Democrats. Or by *them* did you mean a broader group than the Federalist Society?

Lots of Republicans and Democrats are racist. Lots of people are racist. This is a pretty sucky thing and should be worked against. But, generally speaking, Democratic politicians are less likely to institute racist policies or appeal directly to racism than Republicans.

I should be clear I'm not exactly using publius' definition of racism. I see what he's getting at, and I certainly agree that lots of people flip out when called on racist words and actions. It couldn't hurt to have a good way to get people to examine their racist attitudes, but I do not like the idea of diminishing the real impact that these attitudes have on people of color.

"I can't actually think of a single American city that became a "desolate wasteland" post-1945,"

Never been to Detroit, have you? "Desolate wasteland" describes quite a bit of THAT city.

I suppose I must admit that racism has had it's influences on the Republican party. OTOH, you want me to relate the origins of, say, the gun control movement? Planned Parenthood? Mote, beam.

You're reaching, Brett.

Um, close, but not exactly.

I would put it as "tribalist," not so much racist. There has been a lot of racism by the primarily white, primarily protestant, primarily heterosexual establishment involved in discrimination, but the establishment has discriminated based not only on race, but also on religion (no Irish need apply, here in Boston, same with Italian immigrants) and they have certainly discriminated based on sex and sexual orientation.

It isn't just an issue of race.

OTOH

when it comes to criticism of the Republican party, there's always an Other Hand. and if it has to reach back 80 years to the beliefs of a woman who founded an organization which hasn't supported those beliefs in nearly that long, just to grab a tu quoque, well, it does what it must.

The thing I dislike most about arguments like this is that they are often used today to discredit legitimate political opinion. (I’m not saying you are doing that here publius.)

You can’t really believe in state’s rights – that’s just code for racism.

You can’t really be against affirmative action because you believe we should be truly color blind instead – secretly you’re just racist.

You can’t really believe that it’s important to secure our borders – you’re just scared of all those brown people infiltrating your neighborhood.

You’re careful to repeat “I don’t think … are racist” throughout the post. You’re point seems to be that you just want a simple acknowledgement that amounts to “your political movement was built on racism”.

OK. Many of the founding fathers were slave owners. I admit it. Now what?

Acknowledging that racism occurred throughout our country’s history is one thing. Insuring that racism is eliminated in all forms today is another. It’s legitimate to argue that it is important to acknowledge the past in that regard.

But what I often see today is charges of implicit racism used as a cudgel against opposing political views. (No that doesn’t mean that I think racism has been entirely eliminated in this country.)

I don't understand how publius is using the word "racist".

To me it seems obvious that the US is *profoundly* racist: historically, structurally, in practice and in thought. All Americans should assume that we will use illegitimate racial categories when we aren't looking, and that we'll take advantage of them as a matter of course.

One huge change in my lifetime is that it's no longer generally acceptable to make overt, conscious racist statements, so in that sense most USans "aren't racist". But I would never assume that any USan isn't unconsciously racist, including myself. Making a dichotomy between "racists" and "good people" is IMHO false and distracting, when most of the problems are caused by unspoken assumptions and structural racism.

I tend to agree with Seb that although, on the whole, the post has a lot of excellent points to make, there is a tendency to do a bit of overreaching. This is something I have mentioned before on some of publius' posts.

And, yes, there are people with racist views at every level of the political, racial, religious etc. spectrums. In fact, I would have to say I don't know anybody that doesn't, at some level, to some degree, have some racist thinkings. I am sure there might be some people that don't, I just don't know any.

Re Brett's comment, I agree with cleek (as usual.)

Posted, then read OCSteve's comment. Extremely well put.

Since racism is woven into the fabric of American society, it is part of the status quo. Therefor, one way to be conservative is to want to conserve racism. Not all conservatives are overt racists, but anyone who wants to keep racist structures in place is, by definition, conservative.

I talk about structures because in a society as pervasively racist as ours you don't have to *do* or think anything in particular to take advantage of racism. You can be quite certain you've never had a racist thought -- while living a racist life.

The only way out, IMHO, is through. You have to be conscious about things you'd rather not think about, see continuities you'd rather not overlook.

So, OCSteve, you can (in theory) support states' rights without intending anything racist by it. But you'd better be prepared to talk and think about what the racial implications might be, and how you can distance your views from the coded meaning the phrase already has.

Unless you're part of the racial solution, as Americans we're *all* part of the problem.

I can't actually think of a single American city that became a "desolate wasteland" post-1945, unless by "desolate wasteland" you mean "area full of black people".

There were several, Detroit, as noted by Brett, being just one. If you scale it back from entire city to very large neighborhood of a city, there were lots.

Seb's point here is right on.

Racism is, it would seem, bred in the American bone. To be honest, person for person I don't see that folks on the right are any more or less likely to harbor racist thoughts than folks on the left. Any statistical correlation is, I think, accidental.

It is true, however, that from the post war period on, conservatives did their best to turn animus toward blacks into votes, and did quite well with it. And, yes, there was much that was patronizing and counter-productive in the liberal civil rights agenda as well.

Black people were property in this country for a couple of hundred years. It will be another 100 years before we scrub that out of our culture, if in fact we ever do.

I don't see Reagan, personally, as being any more or less racist than the typical Joe of his period. That's still quite a lot, but not enough to be remarkable in any way. He was mainly just another one of those guys preaching the gospel of pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and if that doesn't work it's your own damned fault.

He was, however, not at all above indulging in dog-whistle politics if the audience was right, and I'm damned sure he knew exactly what he was doing when he did it.

Thanks -

The thing I dislike most about arguments like this is that they are often used today to discredit legitimate political opinion.

You can’t really believe in state’s rights – that’s just code for racism.

(...)

Yeah, true, but the question is: who's to blame for this situation? Certainly some overzealous lefties, that's obvious, but it was Republican strategists who willfully blurred the distinction between legitimate political argument and racist doublespeak to gain a political advantage:

It was called "the southern strategy," started under Richard M. Nixon in 1968, and described Republican efforts to use race as a wedge issue -- on matters such as desegregation and busing -- to appeal to white southern voters.

Ken Mehlman, the Republican National Committee chairman, this morning will tell the NAACP national convention in Milwaukee that it was "wrong."

"By the '70s and into the '80s and '90s, the Democratic Party solidified its gains in the African American community, and we Republicans did not effectively reach out," Mehlman says in his prepared text. "Some Republicans gave up on winning the African American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization. I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong."

link

If lefties should be honest in admitting certain overreaches, then those on the right should at least find it in their hearts to be as honest as the former RNC chairman. (This is a general statement, not attacking OC Steve in any way, whose point is valid, but incomplete IMHO)

I agree with that there were and are severe problems with US cities, but is it correct to claim that this is solely the fault of liberal crime and housing policies? My take is that the problems of the inner city originated with white flight that was exacerbated with the onset of the Civil Rights movement, and with white flight, the cities were starved of the resources. I don't think any housing policy might have changed that. A crime policy that operated on sub rosa racist principles might have been able to stop things from declining, but that would be by simply stopping change from occurring.

Good post, publius, and good points made in response (and thanks for dropping the prior thread down the queue!!).

It is hard to believe how entrenched the Washington elites are in trying to protect Reagan on this point. It came up in a recent chat with David Broder:

"Silver Spring, Md.: I am very interested in your views on David Brooks's defense of Ronald Reagan's trip to Philadelphia, Miss., at the start of his 1980 campaign. In today's New York Times, Brooks take issue with the description of the trip as an appeal to racists Southern voters. But because Reagan did use the loaded term "states rights" and promise to give localities more control over their schools, I don't think his visit can be seen as anything but racist. This seems like ancient history, but history seems to repeat itself in these campaigns. See the Willie Horton ads, and then Gov. Bush's speech at Bob Jones University. So I would like to know your views on this issue.

David S. Broder: Your question sent me to the New York Times, which I had not had a chance to read. I have great admiration for David Brooks, and even greater trust on his main source, Lou Cannon. I think both described the sequence of events at the beginning of Reagan's campaign accurately. I have never written or believed that Reagan deliberately appealed to racial prejudice, but I know such prejudice existed -- and exists -- and still affects our politics today."

(snip)

"Lafayette Hill, Pa.: You said earlier in this chat that "I have never written, or believed, that Reagan deliberately appealed to racial prejudice." Do you believe his use of the term "welfare queens" to not have been a deliberate appeal to racial prejudice?

David S. Broder: Welfare as an issue was always racially tinged, and so the term "welfare queen" had racial overtones. But the welfare system was also a legitimate subject for debate, and as you know, it was President Clinton who finally signed a major overhaul of that system into law."

Reagan never did anything wrong, and look over there!

You can’t really be against affirmative action because you believe we should be truly color blind instead – secretly you’re just racist.

Well, speaking for myself, I have no problem with people who sincerely desire a color-blind society and sincerely believe, for whatever reason, that affirmative action is an impediment to achieving it. I disagree with them, but it's honest disagreement.

I have a big problem with people who -- and I'm NOT saying you're one of these, Steve, and if you are, it's up to you to tell me so or not -- refuse to acknowledge two things:

1. The extent to which affirmative action was designed to remedy the lagging effects of a culture which was manifestly NOT colorblind and which was not going to achieve anything even remotely resembling colorblindness until nonwhites were given access to the benefits of education and jobs; but more importantly,

2. If we got rid of affirmative action tomorrow morning, the LAST thing we'd achieve would be colorblindness. Hilzoy has already documented the extent to which, not only is there an entrenched whites>latinos>blacks hiring heirarchy out there now, but that employers will hire white felons over black college graduates. We've also seen studies that suggest that names on résumés perceived by employers as black (or, to be generous, "ethnic") are less likely to get called back than names perceived as white. Getting rid of affirmative action policies would not only not solve those problems, they'd make them an order of magnitude worse, IMNSHO.

So, you can sincerely believe affirmative action is bad, and have that be an honestly-come-by position. But you're going to have to come up with solutions that actually solve the problems, not just wave a hoped-for "colorblindness" as a panacea.

America has deeply entrenched problems with race, and shouting "colorblindness" doesn't solve any of them. When you're more likely to get called for a job interview just because your name is Bob or Jim rather than Latrell or Tyrone, that's a real problem that eliminating affirmative action ain't gonna fix.

Dr. S: But you'd better be prepared to talk and think about what the racial implications might be, and how you can distance your views from the coded meaning the phrase already has.

No. I’m sorry but I don't agree with that. That grants the premise that the viewpoint is implicitly racist today, in 2007. Also, I’m not a University of Delaware student.

If I say I believe that states should be able to establish their own speed limits or legalize marijuana it is up to you to make the argument that I am somehow being racist.


novakant: If lefties should be honest in admitting certain overreaches, then those on the right should at least find it in their hearts to be as honest as the former RNC chairman.

I agree. I’m not saying race hasn’t been used as a wedge issue by the GOP. I object to people assuming that my political views today, in 2007, are based on racism.

How racism is defined is key, here, as Dr Science and others have suggested. The contemporary, teevee, soundbite definition of racism - 'Using The N-or-some-other-Word' - is really kind of an insult to the concept. Even defining racism strictly as discrimination - noticing differences - sidesteps the problem. US racism is, above all, structural, institutional. Slavery, and then Jim Crow, were institutions; unfair housing and lending are structural. Personal bigotry is a symptom. While it's wonderful, and potentially very important, when a powerful person can 'manage' their own symptom (compare Woodrow Wilson to GW Bush), there is nothing preventing them from neglecting or even worsening, the underlying disease.

I think 'nice' conservatives like Brooks have a hard time facing the racist foundations of the modern GOP because they want to escape the fact that there was something really immoral going on. The modern GOP explicitly and conciously decided to exploit the grubby, ugly overt racism still stinking up the South. They want to argue that they didn't invent racism, that southern Democrats personified southern racism, that plenty of Democrats are racist too, etc. All true, but not exculpatory. What damns them is not that they merely exploited a situation which was already there: they extended it. Racism is not a dormant or latent disease; it can only get better or worse. They made it worse. The Southern Strategy was like discreetly slipping the blankets off of someone in a sickbed, a form of cultural torture - not the sort of thing genteel guys like Brooks want to admit to. His very denial of something this obvious is an admission.

OCSteve: I object to people assuming that my political views today, in 2007, are based on racism.

But if you identify as a supporter of a racist party, and identify as part of a racist political movement - both of which apply to the Republican party and the conservative political movement, you will then - and you should - have to constantly be on the defense against members of your own party, and fellow-travellers in your own movement, who will want to include you in their racist political actions and views. What do you do, personally, to resist that? What other people who aren't part of your party or your movement think of you personally is - relatively speaking - small beans, compared to whether you are by your support of your party actually supporting racist policies.

A nice riposte, OCSteve, but what I see is a parallel to the way Republicans have used libertarianism as sheep's clothing to institute 'reforms' that reward market players, frex. A libertarian can say that they honestly think that we should not have any regulation, but when those people are appealed to, and it turns out that 'not any regulation' means regulation dealing with Enron and not with marijuana, I'm not sure if the libertarian gets a complete pass and should be able to say 'how the heck could I have known those guys were going to do that?'

I wonder if the answer to your title question doesn't have more to do with the 2008 election than it does the 1980 one. With the GOP in tatters, and the (previous) appeal of Thompson being more that he's the most Gipperish of the candidates than that he's the most inspiring of the lot, I suspect this whitewashing of Reagan's image is an attempt to be able to both channel Ronnie and still appeal to minorities next November. This need to connect to a GOP success story is a transparent admission that Bush sucks, but they can't even hope of winning if the nation's voting minorities assume the "new Reagan" feels the same about them that the old Reagan did.

Phil: America has deeply entrenched problems with race, and shouting "colorblindness" doesn't solve any of them.

Agreed, and all your points are valid. What I object to is the fact that I can’t discuss it without many people assuming my opinion is based on racism.

put me on-record as not considering the GOP either a "racist political movement" or a "racist political party".

rather, i believe, as many above have described, that there are racists everywhere and that the GOP has a recent high-profile record of exploiting racist feelings. i'm sure you can find Dems who've done the same, but you won't find a recent Dem presidential contender* who has done it as part of their campaign.

* "contender" was carefully-chosen so as to exclude once-candidate Sharpton.

The issue is not whether this or that politician or voter is "racist" or not - I am quite willing to believe that Reagan and/or Bush (either one) is/was not personally hostile to non-whites. The issue is whether or not Republican politicians deliberately exploit the issue, and the answer is emphatically yes.

The Republican party is now the racist party, and if you vote for Republicans you must accept some responsibility for their racist policies.

It seems to me that one form of institutionalized, perhaps even codified racism is a quota system that caps the number of students of Asian ethnicity in various colleges and universities. But those institutions are generally liberal. And the people who institute and enforce this type of discrimination are liberals.

OCSteve,

I have a bone to pick with one of your statements in what was otherwise a post I agreed with.

You can’t really believe that it’s important to secure our borders – you’re just scared of all those brown people infiltrating your neighborhood."

Most of what I've seen in the recent fracas about immigration *is* pretty much poorly disguised hating on Mexicans. Tancredo is the most egregious offender, but there are many, many others.

On Krugman and St. Ronny – I have to go with Mark Hemingway:

Perhaps more approvingly, Krugman used the occasion to gleefully trash the economic legacy of “St. Ronald Reagan” who got elected through “red-baiting” and “race-baiting.” Krugman doesn’t explain to his audience that he had no problems going to work enacting the economic policy of a such a racist when he worked for the Reagan White House’s Council of Economic Advisors.

No mention of that in his blog post either. It doesn’t make Krugman wrong here, but I would expect the disclosure and some explanation of how he parted ways with Reagan, especially from an influential pundit.

Detroit is a perfect storm of many problems. One of the largest problems is the loss of jobs from the auto manufacturers, due to a mix of automation, corporate culture changing, and US automakers not competing with the Japanese manufacturers. It's been losing population for years for many reasons, and no mix of government programs and market "reforms" of either party has had too much benefit.

Pretending that we don't harbor biases/ prejudices can be disruptive to our decisionmaking ability.

More productive, the explicit recognition of predetermined mindsets on race and ethnicity coupled with a resolve to set them aside, would help all of us reach more rational decisions on matters of importance.

All of us pretend at some level, denying that these preformed conclusions about others exist in ourselves. To do otherwise would be to place myself in the category of Sheriff Bull Connor and the rest of the 60's miscreants.

We do this because we view racial biases and prejudices as limited to animosity - hatred - malevolence. But...there is a second category of discrimination, the unemotional belief in a moral/intellectual/psychological distinction that is not borne out by science or experience. Jews are all smart. Blacks are all (great basketball players) stupid.

We would all, not just David Brooks, benefit by acknowledging the undeniable; and by recognizing that all or nearly all of us continue to harbor unreasoning distinctions about race or ethnicity that can only be fixed by facing them and setting them aside.

Jes: What do you do, personally, to resist that?

What little you can. When the GOP sends David Duke an official letter condemning his activities when he decides to run as a Republican, you applaud that. When Trent Lott praises Strom Thurmond’s 1948 presidential bid you join the rest of the blog world in booing him off stage.

I know we’ve discussed in a similar context before – but we have only two parties to choose from here. It would be nice to pick from the “57 varieties” you have available but we don’t have that option. I’m trying not to go down the “but they did it too” road here. I could, but its history and I don’t think it is relevant in 2007 either.


cleek: "contender" was carefully-chosen so as to exclude once-candidate Sharpton.

No fair short-circuiting a good rejoiner. ;)

I'm not sure if Brooks column is really about race as much as the general white-washing of Reagan. I'm sure he'd have been just as defensive if someone had brought up Reagan certifying El Salvador's government supported human rights (back when it was murdering priests and nuns), backing Saddam Hussein and his use of poison gas against Iran, his views on apartheid.
Reagan's a symbol because he took policies dear to the right-wing and was still wildly popular (and probably had most right-wingers convinced that they were finally going to rollback all the evil social changes that happened in the sixties and seventies). The fact that he supported dictators, ran up a massive budget surplus, saddled us with stupid ideas like SDI and supply-side economics, those are to be flushed down the memory hole. The Onion parody about "Reagan memorial pyramid almost completed" pretty much sums it up.
As to his racial record, I've read that his supporting a bill that wiped out California's right-to-carry gun laws was largely in response to the Black Panthers. Any information on that, anyone?

What I object to is the fact that I can’t discuss it without many people assuming my opinion is based on racism.

I could only do that if I was willing to assume that American society is not racist. Why shouldn't people assume that you're a normal American? When a normal American uses racially-loaded words, I assume they mean it. If you're going to use those words in a different way, stripping them of their usual historical baggage, then you're going to have to *work* at it.

You can't deal with racism by saying "Bored now." This is particularly true for those of us on the upside of the American race game, because a huge part of "privilege" is the freedom to not notice things.

While I agree that it is possible to be a Republican or anti-immigrant or want to fill the prisons without being a racist, the problem is that you will end up with many allies who are racist and you will be furthering their agenda. The Republican Southern Strategy was effective for the Republican Party, even for those who were not remotely racist, but they traded their heritage for it, just as the Democrats were finally cleaning up their act.

If the Republicans hadn't made a place for the Confederate Battle Flag Wavers, they would have been marginalized in a George Wallace third party, vile and vicious, but essentially harmless because Democrats were breaking away from their racism and the Republicans had never been.

That pact with the devil is still in place. Republicans who have never been racist, who have Blacks, Latinos, and Asians in their foursomes at the country club and don't even mention it, are still relying on the deal and are still making decisions that keep the racists who still exist voting for the Republican candidates. As others have mentioned, life in the US has been fraught with racism in the past and 'color-blindness' does nothing but reinforce the sins of the past.

Public universities that practice affirmative action have a problem when they keep highly qualified white or Asian students from their states from attending their flagship schools. The answer, of course, is simple, if expensive. Affirmative action students are in addition to the capacity quota of the school. Over the next few years, Berkeley, UCLA, Michigan and other highly selective public universities need to add more seats for freshmen to meet all of the goals they are pursuing. More importantly, the states need to be sure that the affirmative action admittees are really capable of success in these schools. That requires a major overhaul of K-12 education.

Eventually, the problem will be solved by intermarriage, but that is many generations away. Today, the best we can do is mitigate the damage of the past and work to improve the future. Those who advocate doing nothing, for whatever reason, have chosen to side with the racists.

The fact that he supported dictators, ran up a massive budget surplus, saddled us with stupid ideas like SDI and supply-side economics, those are to be flushed down the memory hole.

Fraser, Clearly you meant massive budget deficits. Unfortunately, George W Bush is still pursuing all of these policies. The only one he hasn't figured out how to do is arm two different countries (Iran and Iraq) as they fight each other. Instead, he seems willing to fight both of them, for no good reason.

I agree with Fraser. Brooks was just white-washing, and today's topic happened to be race.

Unfortunately for Brooks, that topic is the one that's probably hardest to wash off.

Great post Pub, and a very good comment thread everybody else.

one that reduced black people to 3/5 of a person

The truth is that blacks remained non-people, while, in effect, whites in slave states got an additional three-fifths of a vote per black. The formulation you've used (which is a common one) implies that the number should be 1. In fact, that was for obvious reasons the slaveholders' position, while the preferred anti-slavery number was 0.

You can’t really believe in state’s rights – that’s just code for racism.

I'll make a weaker statement that I believe to be entirely true. "States' rights" is code for "I can't win at the federal level". If there's a political party (or faction) that will stand on principal and refuse to push their agenda at the federal level even though they have some chance of success there, I have yet to encounter it.

Racists beset by civil rights legislation and the Warren Court are merely the most familiar example. "Conservatives" who want the federal government to outlaw same-sex marriage are the obverse.

Have to disagree with the idea that SDI was a waste. SDI contibuted very much to the eventual freedom of

Albania
Bulgaria
Czechoslovakia
East Germany
Estonia
Hungary
Latvia
Lithuania
Poland
Romania
Ukraine

which is a shared accomplishment with Bush 41. And why wouldn't any American want anti-ballistic missiles as part of our national security? To be against an ABM defense strategy seems to be short sighted, and frankly, weak on security issues, especially given the way the nuclear club is expanding.

Agreed, and all your points are valid. What I object to is the fact that I can’t discuss it without many people assuming my opinion is based on racism.

Granted. On the other hand, it's the case of the burned child, where folks are understandably wary of people who, SAYING the same things, just might DO the same things.

And why wouldn't any American want anti-ballistic missiles as part of our national security? To be against an ABM defense strategy seems to be short sighted, and frankly, weak on security issues, especially given the way the nuclear club is expanding.

Why not just advocate for having the Death Star as part of our national security, it'll cost about the same and is just as feasible.

And why wouldn't any American want anti-ballistic missiles as part of our national security?

And ninja ponies!

SDI, Star Wars, like so many other euphemisms, was and is a bad idea because it is not a defensive tool, but surprise, an offensive one.

"* 'contender' was carefully-chosen so as to exclude once-candidate Sharpton."

I'm suddenly picturing the Reverend Al in a dinner theater production of On The Waterfront.

Ugh, there's no point in replying to a troll who is only interested in jerking people around, and whose goal in commenting is to say anything to provoke a reaction. You're just being played.

If there's a political party (or faction) that will stand on principal and refuse to push their agenda at the federal level even though they have some chance of success there, I have yet to encounter it.

Well, given the tax revolt and Prop 13, one could suggest that some people push agendas on a state level because a path has been established. A parallel example, I have been involved in a national teaching organization here in Japan, and got pushed into running for national office. However, my experience at the national level soured me on any kind of action within this organization on the national level precisely because of the kind of frustrations that exist. So I might get upset if someone suggested (and there were a lot of sharp elbows, so the basic equivalent was suggested on a number of occasions) if you really thought X was such a good idea, you would have attempted to institute it nationally, so I have to assume that you aren't serious when you try to institute these changes locally.

Now, this discusses people rather than parties, but I can think of several groups that would prefer to work on a state level rather than try and subject their changes to the federal level where they would be beaten up.

Unless you're part of the racial solution, as Americans we're *all* part of the problem.

Those who advocate doing nothing, for whatever reason, have chosen to side with the racists.

Sorry, but I simply don't buy these original sin/collective guilt tactics and find them counterproductive. You might have a point if the US was Nazi Germany but it's not.

Also, until we reach egalitarian utopia there is simply no limit to your approach - why stop at race:

There are still pretty few women at the top management level, what are you doing about it, are you a sexist? Children of academics have a much higher chance of becoming academics themselves, than those growing up without such a background - what are we doing about that, is it not unjust? Children of wealthy parents are much more likely to stay or become even more wealthy, while all others have only a minuscule chance of ever reaching these levels - unless you are willing to dispossess them all, you're a classist, right?

I'm all for a more egalitarian society with greater equal opportunity, but there are different ways to get there and not everybody who doesn't share your particular ideas on this matter is a racist.

As an actual question, DaveC, how many of the countries with or pursuing nukes that might use them against the US would send them via missile, rather than say, cargo container?

Because SDI does nothing to cargo containers.

yeah novakant? What about those who argue that we should stop at striking down the 1964 civil rights act & all affirmative action programs as unconstitutional, overturn the decision extending the equal protection clause to the federal government, and stop providing court-appointed lawyers to poor defendants in criminal cases? The boundary between "personal hatred of black people" and "utter indifference to policies which harm them & strong opposition to all possible remedies" becomes fairly unimportant to me.

Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are anti-Semites, period. And yet they became two-term Presidents of the United States of America.

Ronald Reagan was a racist, period. And yet he became a two-term President of the United States.

Coincidence?

OCSteve: "If I say that states should be able to establish their own speed limits or legalize marijuana it is up to YOU to make the argument that I am somehow being racist."

True, but so what? Ronald Reagan, the subject at hand, didn't show up in Philadelphia, Mississippi to galvanize the pothead vote or to lure owners of hepped-up 1957 Chevys to the Republican side.

He either knew precisely what he was doing or the only other explanation is the usual liberal criticism that he thought he was in a movie and was an out-of-touch, distant charlaton. Pick one.

I vote for both, but YMMV.

Unless, of course, those interest groups were also a little pissed off at "outside agitators" coming in to integrate schools and such.

Neither political party will ever wash away the stain of what William Faulkner called America's "original sin".

DaveC:

Leave it to you to throw a spastic in the works. ;) And a very clever one, too, judging from your link that gives out names.

Fine. I'll call you on this. If I'm elected President (after opening my campaign in San Francisco's Chinatown with pointed references to academic quotas at elite schools), you will be named Secretary of Education, head of the Office of Equal Opportunity, and Director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and, if your schedule permits, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

As my underling (God, I love the sound of that!), you will undertake the following: no more quotas; all academic admissions will be based on strict academic merit, AND, in the interests of capitalistic free trade in intellectual capital, you will direct your border agents to admit all comers of Chinese and other Asian descents, including the 100 million or so 17-year old Asian Indians who are looking to emigrate.

My goal, easily achievable under the absolutist terms of a pure meritocracy by the end of our first term, will be to transform the student bodies at those snotty, elite institutions on both Left Coasts, not to mention Chicago, to 100% Asian.

I got this idea from my 17-year old son who attends one of those smarty-pants, elite high school programs for over-achievers. It's a public school, otherwise communist and, heaven forbid, politically correct and inclusive. Nearly all of his best friends and fellow students are Chinese, Indian, and Jewish. Their families go for it. And it shows, compared to we more "laid back" families.

Then we'll sit back and see what happens when diversity is vanguished from the American academic landscape, and it will be, because butts will be kicked..

Fine by me. How bout everyone else?

You can hold out in the White House bunker with me and the rest of the diversity debunkers (Clarence Thomas can come, too, because I will still be one of those closet liberals, despite his fairly pedestrian academic credentials) when the trouble starts. Al Sharpton, George Wallace (the ghost in the wheelchair), Tom Tancredo, southern Democrats turned Republicans turned Independents, soccer moms, and, well, it will be a stressful time as all of these folks link arms and storm the barricades.

We'll send Sebastian out to calm the rabble with cool rationality and perfect reasonableness (which is a good thing, if not always useful). Then, after they're done tarring and feathering him, I will name one of the 622,895,413 million Asians with superior academic credentials to his post.

You will, of course, tender your resignation, having realized the country deserves only the best and diversity has ruined, I say, ruined this country.

That last is a jokey-joke. I think you're the best, but then you can't trust a guy like me who tries to be nice and politically correct in polite company.

PS. Eventually, the racists in the Republican Party and the religiously fundamental demagogues in the Republican Party will realize they were temporarily useful and that their relatively few number put the Party over the top vote-wise to achieve the one and only true aim of the Republican Party: To eliminate taxation and destroy as much government as possible.

"the problem is that you will end up with many allies who are racist and you will be furthering their agenda."

Yeah, that is a problem; The Democratic party is all the time furthering the agenda of racist blacks, isn't it?

Well, guess what: I don't give a fig about furthering the agenda of racists, as long as I'm only doing it to the extent that agenda is legitimate. Like the proverbial stopped clock, even scum of the earth can be right, sometimes, and I'm not going to abandon worthy causes just because some of the supporters of those causes are unworthy.

Democrats don't abandon a cause just because Al Sharpton signs on, why should you expect Republicans to abandon any cause David Duke approves of?

OCSteve, you make some good points, I agree that believing in states rights doesn't make one a racist, but going to Philadelphia, MS in 1980 and making a statement supporting states rights is an appeal to racism. I honestly don't feel a good faith argument can be made that that isn't the case.
Further, I'd like to see some consistency in application of states rights (it's clear you feel the same way). Modern Republicans who make states rights arguments for any issue had better be ready to defend state sanction of medical pot.

And we see reason #1 why Obama will not be elected POTUS. Reason #2 is that he's a Muslim.*

*Ok, he's not a muslim, but if he gets the Dem nod, there will be a "Obama is a secret muslim" whisper (if not outright shouting) campaign the likes of which even God hasn't seen.

Brett:

"Like the proverbial stopped clock, even scum of the Earth can be right, sometimes, and I'm not going to abandon worthy causes because SOME of the supporters of those causes are unworthy."

I just said that.

To bring the thread back to Ronald Reagan, I think you scored a hat trick.

publius, looks like you hit the big time-a link from sully! but he credits your fantastic post to hilzoy. better get someone on that champ.

Incidentally, I misspelled "vanquish" with a "g".

See, I was turned down by Stanford on my own merits. But I'm the exception that proves the rule, even though I think I should go to the head of the line because of my exceptional unruliness.

Democrats don't abandon a cause just because Al Sharpton signs on, why should you expect Republicans to abandon any cause David Duke approves of?

I wouldn't have thought this needed saying, but apparently it does.

Because Al Sharpton, for all his faults, was never the Grand Wizard of a domestic terrorist organization with a 100 year history of brutality against anyone they don't like. And, of course, by "brutality" I mean lynching, maiming, mutilation, and burning alive, along with the more pedestrian shooting, beating to death, and blowing up.

Hey, maybe Hitler had some good ideas too.

David Duke and Al Sharpton are not comparable individuals. If that's not clear, I'm not sure how to proceed.

Thanks -

John, this is probably due to my utter disinterest in sports, but what exactly did you mean by "hat trick"? Does this involve rabbits, or silk scarfs?

Democrats don't ... why should you expect Republicans to ...

is the Neenerneenerist Party going to field a candidate for Pres in 2008 ?

Many of the comments here speak in terms of how racist Americans are, i.e. it is embedded in our heritage and nationality.
Maybe so, but have any of you ever travelled outside of this country? Do you think racism is a peculiarly American phenomenon? (Just like some people think slavery was America's "peculiar institution," when in fact it was prevalent around the world?)
Go to Japan, and see how other Asian nationalities are treated. Go to Malaysia, and see how the Chinese or Indonesians are treated. Go to African countries, and pay attention to the animosity between light-skinned and dark-skinned tribes. Go to South American countries, and observe the racial heirarchies that remain.
The U.S. isn't exactly the world's biggest practitioner of racism. There are plenty of countries where the equivalent of a "civil rights movement" has not happened yet. Please stop disparaging Americans as if we are uniquely racist, and oh how good it would be if we were like the rest of the world. That indicates a bizarre, provincial self-hatred.

"And, of course, by "brutality" I mean lynching, maiming, mutilation, and burning alive, along with the more pedestrian shooting, beating to death, and blowing up."

You actually wrote that without irony? I'm pretty sure that Sharpton, for all that he's the new guy on the block, has actually been involved in more arson/murders than Duke...

"Please stop disparaging Americans as if we are uniquely racist, and oh how good it would be if we were like the rest of the world."

The fact that racism is endemic throughout the world, and that America isn't particularly more egregious than most, is perfectly true, and a point I make myself from time to time.

However, in this case, I invite you to please quote some specific statements in this thread that engage in "disparaging Americans as if we are uniquely racist," so we can consider the accuracy and applicablility, or not, of your criticism in this case, please. Scatter-shot vague accusations are difficult to address when you've not pointed to what statements, exactly, you're referring to.

"I'm pretty sure that Sharpton, for all that he's the new guy on the block, has actually been involved in more arson/murders than Duke..."

Have you notified the police? If not, why not?

coming to terms with racism is an American problem, not just a Republican one.

http://blanksslate.blogspot.com/2007/11/st-reagan-race-and-right.html

Your thesis has a little bit of a problem with the 1787-1856 period, as state rights and federalism in modern conservatism trace quite a bit to the Constitution itself.

It seems odd, Sebastian, that you acknowledge the roots of modern conservatism's view of states rights and federalism as pre-Cviil War--and yet, the whole point of the post-Civil War settlement notably, the 14th Amendment, was to alter the state/federal relationship. And of course, there is a reason we had a Civil War and a 14th Amendment, and that reason is not unrelated to racism . . .

You can’t really believe in state’s rights – that’s just code for racism.

Your point might be more persuasive if it were not for the fact that mainstream Republicans demonstrably do not beleive in state's rights when it comes to issues like drug laws or marriage laws. somehow, they seem to care about state's rights only when we talk about state's rights to be racist.

Reminder on how to post a non-broken, working link: How To Embed A Link.

Here is a handy guide to HTML tags.

You can use "find" to go to "link something."

Here's how you link (you can copy this and paste it as necessary, if you can't remember):

Put words as necessary between > <

Put the actual URL to link to where it says "URL."

You're done. It doesn't matter if you capitalize or not.

I'm pretty sure that Sharpton, for all that he's the new guy on the block, has actually been involved in more arson/murders than Duke

woah... cite ?

I'm pretty sure that Sharpton, for all that he's the new guy on the block, has actually been involved in more arson/murders than Duke...

OK, whatever. This is where I say "Uncle".

Do you think racism is a peculiarly American phenomenon?

No.

Thanks -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Sharpton#Freddie.27s_Fashion_Mart>Freddie's Fashion Mart.

IMO, this is a bit like a participant in a mud wrestling contest accusing his foe of being dirty. The Democratic party, the party of slavery and Jim Crow, did not enjoy a virgin rebirth in the civil rights movement, much as you'd like to think it, and it gets very tiresome indeed when Democrats launch into this "racist Republican party" riff without the slightest sign of self-consciousness.

"... but have any of you ever traveled to this country?"

Yup.

Even though Gary already asked after this, I'll offer this statement: "Humans are uniquely racist in the aggregate, with individual exceptions.

Americans are no more exceptional (despite some who are argue that we are uniquely exceptional) than anyone else, except that we have elected governments to coerce us into improving the ravages of racism.

"outside of this" not "to"

I would cry Uncle too, but I can't spell it and I would probably misquote my uncle as well.

Leave it to you to throw a spastic in the works. ;)

Good Catch John (Center Fielder?)

First thing I'd do as Secy of Dept of Education would be to force U.S. News and World Report to rank colleges according to their BCS standings, which would lower the attractiveness of the Ivys and Berkeley (Although Cal did thump the Vols pretty good this year.)

This still would not solve the problem at Michigan, but App State may have made a little dent.

Anyway, another link I looked at posed the question this way, "Why should Asian American students have to go to Valparaiso or Kalamazoo?", and my first reaction was "Hey, don't be disrespecting Valpo! Come on, guys, remember The Shot." (although "The Play" did happen between smarty-pants schools Cal and Stanford.

Second thing I would do is eliminate some college sports like volleyball, in favor of a college NASCAR league. Now, before you go saying, "DaveC, you couldn't hold Sebastian's jock, so who are you to eliminate vollwyball?", I'll come right out and say that volleyball was my only varsity H.S. sport. So I make cuts where they even hurt me. Also so sorry to those who hate to see me mess up the consensus formation going on around here. My inane comments are in the spirit of the booby post.

hat-trick: to score three times (usually in hockey and if I'm not mistaken, cricket)

I have a feeling we're both going to find out much more about the precise meaning soon on this thread. ;) to you know who.

Brett:

You scored at least three points with Ronald Reagan, if you were around to vote for him.

He was a stopped clock; he appealed to the scum of the earth in Mississippi (and he knew it); you didn't abandon his overall philosophy because of it.

The crowd roars.

While an improvement over The current president, Reagan was hardly the "saint" the right is making him out to be.

Gary:

some specific statements in this thread that engage in "disparaging Americans as if we are uniquely racist,"

Not to do global view's homework for him, but there are several comments that can be construed this way (at least they seem to imply that Americans are *especially* racist -- "uniquely" is a leap):

Doctor Science:

To me it seems obvious that the US is *profoundly* racist

racism is woven into the fabric of American society

in a society as pervasively racist as ours

Russell:

Racism is, it would seem, bred in the American bone.

Phil:

America has deeply entrenched problems with race

Brett, so what about the fact that most of the Dixiecrats became Republicans, or were replaced by Republicans when they retired? Just calling the Democrats "The party of slavery and Jim Crow" is ignoring an entire swathe of American political history, and the drastic realignment of the parties that happened in the Civil Rights era.

Sharpton -- arson?

WTF?

Aaaaas Brett takes a gleeful leap off the deep end...

I don't like Sharpton, but I don't know of a single felony he has enabled, really. Whereas the Klan is a terrorist organization by any reasonable definition. An ineffective, mostly-talk terrorist organization in my lifetime, but still --and proudly -- the same organization that used to burn blacks (and the occasional Jew, Catholic, and Mexican) alive, hang them, burn their property, attack courthouses and jails, etc. Sharpton at his worst was an apologist for one racist mob action, not an accessory.

Racism is, it would seem, bred in the American bone.

I'll stand behind that statement. If you'd like to argue against it, have fun. You've got your work cut out for you.

The question was whether we're unique in that regard.

Thanks -

You're asking Republicans (or anyone for that matter)to look at themselves in a self-critical way without having shown any propensity for doing so in the past.

Good luck with that.

Unfortunately, you can play this game just about anyway you want- there are plenty of "Progressive" policies that have some relationship to racism, both white and black.

Not that the gold standard is a particularly important issue in my mind, but it gives a good example: Dave Neiwert has been claiming that Ron Paul's support of the gold standard has deep roots in anti-Semitism because it's a favorite issue of "New World Order" types. Trouble is, he ignores the fact that the gold standard was a favorite of classical liberals and, notably, the first President of the NAACP. Meanwhile, opposition to the gold standard was primarily brought to the forefront in this country by William Jennings Bryan as the centerpiece of his brand of populism (which we would now likely characterize as primarily racist in nature). So, in that case, which side is really based more in racism- the "conservative" gold standard side, or the "Progressive" anti-gold standard side.

Also, I wanted to respond to Japonicus' 9:47AM Post, where he said:
"A libertarian can say that they honestly think that we should not have any regulation, but when those people are appealed to, and it turns out that 'not any regulation' means regulation dealing with Enron and not with marijuana, I'm not sure if the libertarian gets a complete pass and should be able to say 'how the heck could I have known those guys were going to do that?'"

I think you will find that this is the very reason libertarians have been fleeing the GOP and/or mounting an anti-establishment insurgency. After 25 or so years of being co-opted by the GOP, the Bushies finally pushed us over the line. Unfortunately, elements of the GOP have now taken to calling themselves "libertarians at heart" while advancing very un-libertarian arguments. I think this is because it allows them to feel good about themselves, and seem much less manipulative. Consider it the GOP's version of "I have black friends." Of course, it involves a dramatic level of doublethink to make such an argument, but in the process of doing so, they've completely misrepresented the real libertarians. I'm starting to think we need a new name.

If you'd like to argue against it, have fun.

Thanks, but I was just trying to point out where "global view" might have gotten his/her impression. Anyway, regardless of my own opinions, I wouldn't dare argue against a statement like that until you fleshed out exactly what you meant by it.

OCSteve reasonably asks why he should care about the history of the states-rights movement (btw, Sebastian, I vehemently disagree with your thumbnail assessment of the 1796-1860 period, as even then "states rights" were most loudly and comprehensively invoked in defense of the Peculiar Institution). I would answer that abstract arguments about rights seldom mean anything divorced from context. Ringing phrases about how people need space to realize their greatness, for example, sound a bit different in the original German. If a doctrine, like states' rights, is developed largely to further some evil, such as Jim Crow, that fact throws an additional burden of proof on those who offer the doctrine as generally good or in good faith -- just as the lofty ideals of communism must be judged in light of the horrors of Soviet Russia and Maoist China.

Also, it's generally a bad idea to ignore history, and always a good idea to know when you're walking on someone else's grave. I certainly don't think that you, or any other modern supporter of new federalist theory, needs to prove that they're not racist. But the kind of willful blindness to history shown by most Americans assures that we will 1) repeat our mistakes and 2) offend people who do remember history (e.g., "we're Crusaders!"). Then we sit around and wonder, gee, how did that go so wrong.

I don't think anyone is saying that the conservatives need to apologize for Reagan's race-baiting, but do we really need to lie about him? I wish more Republicans would ask themselves, why is it ALWAYS my politicians who wind up saying things like "welfare queen in a Cadillac" and "welcome to America, macaca!" That kind of scrutiny might finally clean out that ugly taint that never quite seems to go away. But they're not going to ask that if they live in denial that it's not just a one-off.


Since I'm one of the people KenB is citing, let me make myself clear(er):

I'm a US citizen. Therefore, I do not stand outside American problems. It seems to me clear that racism is one of the big, ongoing problems the US has, and it has been a problem since the Revolution and before. This is hardly my own observation (see: Jefferson; Lincoln; Douglass; Faulkner; any survey course in American history).

Are we unique in the degree of our racial problems? Insofar as these things can be measured or compared, no -- but they're pretty damn bad.

Do we have a unique configuration of racial problems? Yes, because we have a unique history.

Racial issues are profound and pervasive in US society because they've been here for a long time, have involved a lot of people, and have created & exposed the stresses & contradictions of our way of life. To me, this seems a completely unradical observation, pretty much at the 9th-grade history level.

kenB says:

Not to do global view's homework for him, but there are several comments that can be construed this way (at least they seem to imply that Americans are *especially* racist -- "uniquely" is a leap): . . .Phil: America has deeply entrenched problems with race

You forgot to quote the second part, where I said, "Unlike every other country in the world." Oh, wait, that's because I didn't.

The Democratic party, the party of slavery and Jim Crow, did not enjoy a virgin rebirth in the civil rights movement, much as you'd like to think it, and it gets very tiresome indeed when Democrats launch into this "racist Republican party" riff without the slightest sign of self-consciousness.

How you don't drown in your own irony on a daily basis is beyond me. Buy a flippin' history book, kid.

Bob Herbert, a New York Times columnist, reported of a 1981 interview with Lee Atwater, published in Southern Politics in the 1990s by Prof. Alexander P. Lamis, in which Lee Atwater discusses politics in the South:

You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say 'nigger'—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger.".[8]

Dave Neiwert has been claiming that Ron Paul's support of the gold standard has deep roots in anti-Semitism because it's a favorite issue of "New World Order" types.

well, it is a favorite of NWO types. and those types apparently love Ron Paul.

nonetheless, Neiwert is often a little quick to leap to connections and conclusions, IMO.

So, in that case, which side is really based more in racism- the "conservative" gold standard side, or the "Progressive" anti-gold standard side.

again, IMO, neither Party today is responsible for what the Parties were doing over 100 years ago. i'm not going to, despondently, pull the lever for the Dems because i liked where they stood on the issues back in 1892.

are you?

"The Democratic party, the party of slavery and Jim Crow, did not enjoy a virgin rebirth in the civil rights movement, much as you'd like to think it, and it gets very tiresome indeed when Democrats launch into this 'racist Republican party' riff without the slightest sign of self-consciousness."

Brett, the Democratic Party has, as you say, a long history of racism, going back to its pre-Civil War days, and with continued great fervor and virulence in the post-Civil War era, and the construction of Jim Crow as Reconstruction was destroyed.

But the Democratic Party started to take the lead in, first very tentatively, fighting back against Jim Crow, and racism, with the first baby steps under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, with the first civil rights plank in the 1940 Democratic platform, the creation of the Fair Employment Practices Committee in 1941, and other small but important and historic measures.

This trend towards civil rights accelerated greatly under Harry Truman, who integrated the armed forces, and made the first strong push for full civil rights, and against bigotry, of any American President.

Then, of course, after Eisenhower's tepid course, JFK first stuck with lip service to civil rights, but little more, until finally forced, by the terrible violence on display against civil rights protestors on nightly tv news broadcasts, as America saw young men and women brutally beaten and attack by the authorities and "white" people of much of the south, to take up the cause of civil rights which was already a wide-spread Democratic cause, as it had been growing to be for many decades, led by... the liberals of America.

By the Forties, Fifties, and Sixties, the fight for civil rights in America, and against racism, was led by Democrats, and fought against by Republicans.

If you think that's sufficiently unimportant that it can be glossed by pointing out that, say, Woodrow Wilson was a dreadful and despicable racist -- which he was -- or that the Democratic Party was still losing its racist wing in the Forties, Fifties, and Sixties, to the Republican Party -- hello, Strom Thurmond! -- be my guest.

If the facts make you uncomfortable, alas. I'm not in the least uncomfortable condemning the racist Democrats of the past, whether George Wallace, or Lester Maddox, and any in the near-endlessly long list of past racist Democratic politicans, while noting that when it came time to finally start to deliver on the promises of voting rights, and legislation to ban discrimination in housing, education, public accomodation, and all the other civil rights protections so hard fought for for so many decades, and won at the cost of people's lives, and the life's work of so many others, it was the Democrats who fought so hard to accomplish these goals, against the Republicans, who largely fought to prevent those laws.

I'm comfortable with those facts. Tiresome though they may be.

You cite a link here, presumably to support your claim that you're "pretty sure that Sharpton, for all that he's the new guy on the block, has actually been involved in more arson/murders than [David Duke]."

As you know, "involved in... arson/murder" commonly means "was a criminal participant in arson/murder."

That's quite a serious charge. And you're "pretty sure" of it. I ask you again: what evidence do you have, or point to, of Al Sharpton's criminal responsibility in that arson?

It's a perfectly simple question. You've made the charge (which is, I think, incidentally, not that I'd worry about it, libelous if untrue). Please support it.

Why wouldn't you, after all? Let's put that arsonist behind bars!

All we need is some actual evidence. You wouldn't just casually libel someone, right?

Thanks.

KenB, thanks for the pointers. However, not one of them actually supports the claim that the statements were "disparaging Americans as if we are uniquely racist."

"Uniquely" means something: it means unique, singular. Not one of those statements said or implied any such thing.

The statement "these statements are disparaging Americans as if we are uniquely racist" and the statement "these statements are disparaging Americans as if we are racist" have completely different meanings, no less than another change of a one word modifier completely changes the meaning "these statements are disparaging Americans as if we are not uniquely racist."

global view's entire stated point was that everyone in the thread was disparaging Americans as uniquely racist: other claims about American racism are not at issue.

"global view" attacked the entire body of commenters here: "Many of the comments here...."

Every single person was included: "Maybe so, but have any of you ever travelled outside of this country? Do you think racism is a peculiarly American phenomenon?"

We were all issued instructions: "Please stop disparaging Americans as if we are uniquely racist, and oh how good it would be if we were like the rest of the world. That indicates a bizarre, provincial self-hatred."

I'd like to see at least a few of these statements that were "disparaging Americans as if we are uniquely racist."

Certainly such statements are made by people, and such people are wrong. The question is: who was doing this in this thread?

Secondly, was, in fact, every single commenter engaging in such disparagement of Americans?

I'm kinda skeptical, but I'd like to give global view an opportunity to support these claims, which strike me as questionable.

And, as always, goal-post moving isn't a valid means of supporting a claim. (In this case, that would include claiming "uniquely" doesn't mean "uniquely.")

i'm not going to, despondently, pull the lever for the Dems because i liked where they stood on the issues back in 1892.

Hmmph.

cleek is clearly a Roo - se - velt man. (A 75 year Democrat legacy). And probably he is voting against Republicans because Warren Harding is in cahoots with Big Oil.

Cleek:
That's exactly my point- if you want to, you can find a plausibly racist connection to plenty of policies, and in many cases to policies on both sides of the same issue. This makes publius' suggestion that the GOP acknowledge the source of "cognitive dissonance" on its side unworkable and frankly inappropriate without a similar demand of the Dems.

If this suggestion were followed, each side of every argument would be required to find out which racists support or supported said policy, and then disclaim association with said racists. This would make the rightness or wrongness of something of less importance than who supports or supported it.

"Do we have a unique configuration of racial problems? Yes, because we have a unique history."

Not to disagree with anything else you said in that comment, Doctor Science, but this is a uselessly meaningless statement. It's true of not just every single country, but of every single set of human beings who has ever existed.

What set of people can you chose of whom the statement isn't true?

A distinction that isn't a distinction isn't a distinction.

cleek: "well, it is a favorite of NWO types."

Um, I think you mean anti-"NWO" types.

Yeah, Gary, I meant to imply that I'd only call the US "uniquely" racist in an incredibly banal, I-must-write-a-300-word-essay kind of way.

We're not *outstandingly* racist, but racism is an *outstanding* problem of ours.

Um, I think you mean anti-"NWO" types.

yeah, they are the anti- types. but i meant something like "people who use the phrase 'New World Order'". since these days, i only hear it from conspiracy-minded black helicopter (anti-black helicopter?) types. your Dale Gribbles and such.

Yeah, Gary, I meant to imply that I'd only call the US "uniquely" racist in an incredibly banal, I-must-write-a-300-word-essay kind of way.

We're not *outstandingly* racist, but racism is an *outstanding* problem of ours.

Um, what? I'm sorry, but I don't follow what you're saying here at all: I have no idea what any of this means.

(As a point of trivia, I wouldn't call anything of only three hundred word an "essay"; I'd tend to consider an essay as having to be at least about 2,000 words before it was an actual "essay" -- but that's more personal usage preference than anything else. However, what are you talking about?; I'm afraid I'm baffled.)

"your Dale Gribbles and such."

I had to look that reference up; the Fox tv channel broadcast disappeared from here about four years ago (I assume they moved the antenna; the station that used to be UPN also vanished from broadcast a while back, and I know they've been putting up new antennas for HD; I only get one channel at all clearly, and that's PBS 12; I get a very staticy NBC, CBS, ABC, and CW, and one other staticy PBS station, and that's it).

Second run at this. If I eliminate my initial interpretation that the first paragraph was sarcastic about something, and then remove my confusion about the purpose of the asterisks in the second sentence, I guess the comment makes sense as a straight-forward comment, kinda.

It's my presumption that the comment was sarcastic about something, along with my confusion about the asterisked second sentence -- which I now take as a substitute, for some reason, for italics for emphasis -- that left me baffled. Sorry, Doctor Science.

(Can I call you just "Dr. Science" for short, or would that be presumptuous?)

Ross Douthat links to this and expands on the crime angle among other things. I think it’s a pretty good response though I have to give it another read.

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Whatnot


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