It’s probably from Christianity that Socialism derives the idea that it’s virtuous to abase oneself. Sociological thinking and the leftist collectivist ideal of leveling require self-abasement.
Sometimes we come across statements or practices by leftist ideologues that sample for us all that is repulsive, anti-human, narrow and dumb about the Left.
Here for instance is a report, by Kyle Olson at Townhall, of just such a sample. It is about education officials prescribing self-abasement for Whites – as St. Paul did for Christians.
Wisconsin Education Officials Want Students to Wear “White Privilege” Wristbands.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction runs several programs that heavily emphasize racial issues in public schools …
Some feel that one of those programs – an Americorps operation called VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) – may go a bit overboard by encouraging white students to wear a white wristband “as a reminder about your (white) privilege.” …
A Gloria Steinem quote on the top of VISTA’s Facebook page reads ominously:
“The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.”
The webpage also offers a series of suggestions for high schools students to become more racially sensitive. They include:
Wear a white wristband as a reminder about your privilege, and as a personal commitment to explain why you wear the wristband.
Confess, confess. Confess to being white. Hang your head and be ashamed. Make amends by abasing yourself.
Set aside sections of the day to critically examine how privilege is working.
Put a note on your mirror or computer screen as a reminder to think about privilege.
Examine your conscience. Repent being white.
The Wisconsin DPI also sponsors several similar programs, including CREATE Wisconsin, an on-going “cultural sensitivity” teacher training program which focuses largely on “whiteness” and “white privilege.”
Hating whitey sessions? After which the teachers will be better able to educate the children of Wisconsin?
An opposite way of thinking about race may be found in a column by the wise and great Thomas Sowell. He writes:
There are so many fallacies about race that it would be hard to say which is the most ridiculous. However, one fallacy behind many other fallacies is the notion that there is something unusual about different races being unequally represented in various institutions, careers or at different income or achievement levels.
A hundred years ago, the fact that people from different racial backgrounds had very different rates of success in education, in the economy and in other endeavors, was taken as proof that some races were genetically superior to others.
Some races were considered to be so genetically inferior that eugenics was proposed to reduce their reproduction, and Francis Galton urged [in tune with Marx and Engels - ed] “the gradual extinction of an inferior race.”
It was not a bunch of fringe cranks who said things like this. Many held Ph.D.s from the leading universities, taught at the leading universities and were internationally renowned.
Presidents of Stanford University and of MIT were among the many academic advocates of theories of racial inferiority — applied mostly to people from Eastern and Southern Europe, since it was just blithely assumed in passing that blacks were inferior.
This was not a left-right issue. The leading crusaders for theories of genetic superiority and inferiority were iconic figures on the left, on both sides of the Atlantic.
John Maynard Keynes helped create the Cambridge Eugenics Society. Fabian socialist intellectuals H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw were among many other leftist supporters of eugenics.
It was much the same story on this side of the Atlantic. President Woodrow Wilson, like many other Progressives, was solidly behind notions of racial superiority and inferiority. He showed the movie “Birth of a Nation,” glorifying the Ku Klux Klan, at the White House, and invited various dignitaries to view it with him. …
Now, instead of genes being the overriding reason for differences in outcomes, racism [has become] the one-size-fits-all explanation … [for] the same false premise — namely, that there is something unusual about different racial and ethnic groups having different achievements. …
Not only different racial and ethnic groups, but whole nations and civilizations, have had very different achievements for centuries. China in the 15th century was more advanced than any country in Europe. Eventually Europeans overtook the Chinese — and there is no evidence of changes in the genes of either of them.
Among the many reasons for different levels of achievement is something as simple as age. The median age in Germany and Japan is over 40, while the median age in Afghanistan and Yemen is under 20. Even if the people in all four of these countries had the same mental potential, the same history, the same culture — and the countries themselves had the same geographic features — the fact that people in some countries have 20 years more experience than people in other countries would still be enough to make equal economic and other outcomes virtually impossible.
Add the fact that different races evolved in different geographic settings, presenting very different opportunities and constraints on their development, and the same conclusion follows.
Yet the idea that differences in outcomes are odd, if not sinister, has been repeated mindlessly from street corner demagogues to the august chambers of the Supreme Court.
Here’s Thomas Sowell, with Peter Robinson, talking good sense on race, racism, and discrimination
South Africa is a geographical paradise. For the beauty of its landscapes of mountains and valleys and forests and vast plains, for the grandeur of its cities, for the comfort and cheer of its climates, for its blossoming indigenous trees, its bushlands of immense variety, its brilliant flowers and exotic fruits, for the colors of its birds (not their sounds, they do not sing but squawk and shriek and twitter and tweet), for its wild animals, for its smooth beaches and immense safe bays where the white waves roll in and the fishing boats trawl for their silver harvests, for the elegant Cape Dutch architecture of its historical towns and farmhouses, for its rich vineyards, and the bounteous mines of gold that have flourished since the goldrush that did not fail, no superlatives can be too strong. No meat in the world could taste better than South African beef and mutton. No table-grapes can match the long, firm, green honey-sweet Hanapoots. And this praise poem could go on for pages, as do the praise-poems sung to African chiefs.
That said, the country is a human tragedy. For decades millions of people suffered under the cruelty and humiliation of the policy of apartheid. It ended, and in 1994 the Communist ANC (African National Congress) came to power. Despite its predominant ideology, the new black leadership had the good sense to let the private sector of the economy continue – though under ever more irksome restrictions – and it has kept the nation afloat. But the lot of most people, the millions of blacks, has not improved. What a huge disappointment the change to democracy has been. The black slums are still there and much bigger. The first ANC minister for housing, the (white) Communist Joe Slovo, who returned from exile to put his long dreams into effect, managed to have built – how many good houses for poor urban blacks? One. Just one model house, as far as we can discover. But a shantytown, or “informal settlement”, has been named after him. Here’s a description of it (from Project Muse):
The highway connecting Port Elizabeth to the town of Uitenhage passes by one of these informal settlements, known as the Joe Slovo Community. Over four thousand people live in the maze of 1,200 shacks. There is no access road to the settlement. To get there one simply pulls off the highway into the mud. Homes in Joe Slovo are made of found materials including cardboard, corrugated metal, and plastic, and offer little shelter from the elements.
Like many other informal communities across South Africa, Joe Slovo has no electricity or sanitation system, and only a handful of communal water taps. The only semblance of urban development are six 100-foot tall security lights whose pink glow turns the hazy night sky to cotton candy. Ninety percent of the adult population is unemployed, and twenty percent is HIV-positive. [Until recently] there was no public school in Joe Slovo, and children had to cross the highway to get to the nearest school, five kilometers away.
And now the country is degenerating into another Zimbabwe, as it was bound to do. Here’s a very recent report by Arnold Ahlert, which we quote from Canada Free Press:
For decades, the country of South Africa was the focus of an international rallying cry against the injustices of apartheid. On June 17, 1991, South Africa’s Parliament abolished the legal framework for the practice of racial persecution. In 1994, Nelson Mandela and his Marxist African National Congress (ANC) assumed the reins of power. The international community looked away, satisfied that justice had prevailed. They continue to look away, even as South Africa has degenerated into another racist pit, best described by an Afrikaner farm owner: “It’s politically correct to kill whites these days.”
In July of 2012, Dr. Gregory Stanton, head of the nonprofit group Genocide Watch, conducted a fact-finding mission in South Africa. He concluded that there is a coordinated campaign of genocide being conducted against white farmers, known as Boers. “The farm murders, we have become convinced, are not accidental,” Stanton contended. “It was very clear that the massacres were not common crimes,” he added — especially because of the absolute barbarity used against the victims. “We don’t know exactly who is planning them yet, but what we are calling for is an international investigation,” he added.
The number of farm murders, or “plaasmoorde” as they are called in Afrikaans, is staggering. Over the last decade, it is estimated that at least 3000 Boers have been killed. Estimating the number of murders is necessary because the ANC has banned crime statistics from being compiled, claiming they scare off foreign investment. Moreover, the world knows little about the savagery that accompanies those killings. Many victims, including women and infant children, are raped or tortured before they are killed. Some have boiling water poured down their throats, some are burned with hot pokers, and some are hacked to death with machetes, or disemboweled. Several others have been tied to their own cars and dragged for miles.
The ANC, whose leader Jacob Zuma was reelected with over 75 per cent of the total voting delegates at the ANC National Conference held in Bloemfontein last December, denies that genocide is occurring, insisting that such attacks are part of the larger crime problem. …
What is known is that the ANC celebrated its 100th year anniversary with a song led by President Zuma himself. “Dubula iBhunu” or “Shoot the Boer” was a line in the lyrics of an apartheid-era song, “Ayesaba Amagwala” (“the cowards are scared”) that violates the South Africa constitution prohibiting the “advocacy of hatred that is based on race … and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.” Yet Zuma apparently felt no compunction to refrain from singing it, because the ANC considers it an integral part of the anti-apartheid movement that is part of their heritage.
In 2010, Julius Malema, then leader of the ANC Youth League, revived the practice of singing the song after many years. After the South Africa High Court ruled it was hate speech, the ANC appealed. Last October, the ANC and AfriForum, a lobby group that wanted the song banned from public performance, reached an out-of-court settlement.
Dr. Stanton concluded that Malema’s revival of a song advocating murder moved South Africa from the fifth stage on his genocidal scale to stage six. When the South African judiciary ruled it to be unlawful hate speech, Genocide Watch put South Africa back at stage five. When President Zuma was caught on tape January 2012 singing, “We are going to shoot them with the machine gun, they are going to run/You are a Boer, we are going to hit them, and you are going to run/shoot the Boer…” South Africa was raised to stage six once again.
Stage six is known as Preparation: “Victims are identified and separated out because of their ethnic or religious identity. Death lists are drawn up. Members of victim groups are forced to wear identifying symbols. Their property is expropriated. They are often segregated into ghettoes, deported into concentration camps, or confined to a famine-struck region and starved.”
The sixth stage is followed by stage seven: Extermination. …
The Afrikaner civil rights group AfriForum … is calling for attacks on South Africa’s mostly white farmers to be designated a crime of national priority. They delivered a memorandum to the country’s police minister, Nathi Mthethwa, urging him to give the murder of farmers the same level of urgency aimed at rhinoceros poachers and copper cable thieves. …
According to Johan Burger, a senior researcher with the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies’ crime and justice program, white farmers’ concerns are legitimately “special”. He reveals that it is now twice as dangerous to be a farmer in South Africa than a police officer … [and says that] many murderers “take out their hatred for all those past wrongs, and show who’s in control now.”
Like so many societies where demonstrating who’s in control becomes a necessity, disarming the population becomes a priority. In 2010, the ANC-led regime changed the Firearms Registration Act, demanding that all legal guns be re-registered by July 31, 2011. In the process of re-registration, more than half the applicants were turned down, and 90 percent were turned down again on appeal. Thus, white farm families were forced to relinquish their last line of defense against the tens of thousands of criminal gangs roaming the countryside – armed with AK47s. and as Genocide Watch noted on its website last July one more step was taken as well. “The government has disbanded the commando units of white farmers that once protected their farms, and has passed laws to confiscate the farmers’ weapons,” it reported. “Disarmament of a targeted group is one of the surest early warning signs of future genocidal killings.”
There is also a movement, much like the one that occurred in Zimbabwe, to confiscate white farmers’ land. Julius Malema led the charge, saying all whites are criminals, and that his ANC Youth League members were going to take all the land back without compensation, unless farmers relinquish 80 percent of it. …
That is a recipe for famine, as revealed by Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti. In 2009, he told Parliament that more than half of the farms purchased for black farmers, at a cost of $891 million in government outlays, had either failed or were “declining.”
Yet ANC president Zuma remains undeterred. “The structure of the apartheid economy has remained largely intact,” Mr. Zuma said, in a speech given June 26, 2012 to thousands of delegates at ANC’s policy conference, held every five years, where the party’s pre-presidential election platform is discussed. “The ownership of the economy is still primarily in the hands of white males, as it has always been.”
Embedded in that platform is the idea that making peace with white South Africans following the end of apartheid has “hampered” the transfer of wealth to black South Africans. Thus, a “second transition” was proposed, which even the see-no-progressive-evil New York Times was forced to concede represents a “sharp leftward shift for the A.N.C., which despite its roots has largely backed a free-market economy …”
[Dr.] Stanton [of Genocide Watch] sees a bigger picture. In a speech in Pretoria, organized by the Transvaal Agricultural Union, Stanton claimed the ANC was demonizing white farmers, who have been in South Africa since the 1600s, by calling them “settlers.” A Genocide Watch reports reveals the strategy behind those efforts. “High-ranking ANC government officials who continuously refer to Whites as ‘settlers’ and ‘colonialists of a special type’ are using racial epithets in a campaign of state-sponsored dehumanization of the White population as a whole,” it stated. “They sanction gang-organized hate crimes against Whites, with the goal of terrorizing Whites through fear of genocidal annihilation.”
ANC President Jacob Zuma continues to fan the flames of racial division. Last December, he admonished black South Africans for being dog owners, saying that doing so amounts to copying white culture. Zuma’s office contended the message was aimed at “the need to decolonize the African mind post-liberation”.
It is a post-liberation effort that remains alarmingly on track to emulate all the other historically blood-soaked efforts by Marxists, who invariably need an enemy at whom to direct their anger. White African farmers are that enemy.
Racism as national policy did not end in South Africa in 1994. It is the motivating passion of the Marxist government. So the oppression, cruelty, and killing will have no stop.
It is a thing passing strange that many – a big majority – of the successful Silicon Valley billionaires, who achieved what they did precisely because their inventiveness and enterprise were nurtured by capitalism and freedom, vote for socialism with its restrictions and regulations, its discouragement of individual effort, its confiscation of wealth by punitive taxation, its infertility for innovation. The same could be said of the elites of the east coast, and wherever else the children of Liberty have grown to despise her.
How explain the cognitive dissonance?
Victor Davis Hanson explores the contradictions that are writ so large in California. He writes at PJ Media:
We keep trying to understand the enigma of California, mostly why it still breathes for a while longer, given the efforts to destroy the sources of its success. Let’s try to navigate through its sociology and politics to grasp why something that should not survive is surviving quite well — at least in some places.
The old blue/red war for California is over. Conservatives lost. Liberals won — by a combination of flooding the state with government-supplied stuff, and welcoming millions in while showing the exit to others. The only mystery is … how high will taxes go, how many will leave, how happy will the majority be at their departure?
California has changed not due to race but due to culture, most prominently because the recent generation of immigrants from Latin America did not — as in the past, for the most part — come legally in manageable numbers and integrate under the host’s assimilationist paradigm.
Which is to say, the melting-pot, that worked so well for a few hundred years.
Instead, in the last three decades huge arrivals of illegal aliens from Mexico and Latin America saw Democrats as the party of multiculturalism, separatism, entitlements, open borders, non-enforcement of immigration laws, and eventually plentiful state employment.
Given the numbers, the multicultural paradigm of the salad bowl that focused on “diversity” rather than unity, and the massive new government assistance, how could the old American tonic of assimilation, intermarriage, and integration keep up with the new influxes? It could not. …
There were, of course, other parallel demographic developments. Hundreds of thousands of the working and upper-middle class, mostly from the interior of the state, have fled — maybe four million in all over the last thirty years, taking with them $1 trillion in capital and income-producing education and expertise. Apparently, they tired of high taxes, poor schools, crime, and the culture of serial blame-gaming and victimhood. In this reverse Dust Bowl migration, a barren no-tax Nevada or humid Texas was a bargain.
Their California is long gone … and a Stockton, Fresno, or Visalia misses their presence, because they had skills, education, and were net pluses to the California economy.
Add in a hip, youth, and gay influx to the Bay Area, Silicon Valley, and coastal Los Angeles that saw California as a sort of upscale, metrosexual lifestyle … and California now has an enormous number of single-person households, childless couples, and one-child families. Without the lifetime obligation to raise $1 million in capital to pay for bringing up and educating two kids from birth to 21 … the non-traditional classes have plenty of disposable income for entertainment, housing, and high taxes. …
Finally, there is our huge affluent public work force. It is the new aristocracy; landing a job with the state is like hitting the lottery. Californians have discovered that, in today’s low/non-interest economy, a $70,000 salary with defined benefit public pension for life is far better than having the income from a lifetime savings of $3 million. …
And with money came political clout. To freeze the pension contribution of a highway patrolman is a mortal sin; but no one worries much about the private security’s guard minimum wage and zero retirement, whose nightly duties are often just as dangerous. The former is sacrosanct; the latter a mere loser.
The result of 30 years of illegal immigration, the reigning culture of the coastal childless households, the exodus of the overtaxed, and the rule of public employees is not just Democratic, but hyper-liberal supermajorities in the legislature. In the most naturally wealthy state in the union with a rich endowment from prior generations, California is serially broke — the master now of its own fate. It has the highest menu of income, sales, and gas taxes in the nation, and about the worst infrastructure, business climate, and public education. Is the latter fact despite or because of the former?
How, then, does California continue? Read on, but in a nutshell, natural and inherited wealth are so great on the coast that a destructive state government must work overtime to ruin what others wrought. …
Somehow, in just thirty years we created obstacles to public learning that produce results approaching the two-century horrific legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. About half the resources of the California State University system are devoted to remedial schooling for underperforming high school students (well over half who enter take remediation courses; half don’t graduate even in six years; and well over half have sizable financial aid). … The majority of the once-vaunted upper-tier University of California campuses now resemble second-tier CSU of old. Yet I think a Fresno State graduate of 1965 was far better educated than a UC Irvine or UC Santa Cruz student of today.
The state’s wealthiest and best-prepared students are perhaps only well-taught at its elite schools — the two UC campuses at Berkeley and UCLA, Stanford, Caltech, USC, Pepperdine, or Santa Clara — while the poorer but still serious students increasingly enroll in the new private online and tech schools that sprout up around failed CSU campuses. …
The coastal elites unite politically with the interior poor … Along the coast, elites have harvested well California’s natural and acquired wealth. I’ll again just toss out a few brands; you can imagine the lucre and jobs that are generated from Santa Rosa to San Diego: Apple, Chevron, Disney, DreamWorks, Facebook, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Hollywood, Napa Valley, Oracle, PG&E, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Wells Fargo, the ports of Los Angeles, San Diego, and Oakland.
So let us not speak of California decline, but of California’s decline and another California boom — one of 6% unemployment and another of 16%, one of $100,000 per capita income and another of $15,000, one of cottages sold on the first day on the market in Newport and another of vacant McMansions molding away in Stockton.
Success continues on the coast and is managed by very wealthy and mostly liberal residents of the sprawl that surrounds Los Angeles and San Francisco. For the five million or so who are enriched in enterprise zones like these — and there are thousands more spin-off and smaller such companies — life is pretty good if you keep your household small, inherited a house, or make enough money to buy something at about $500 to $1,000 dollars a square foot. In Selma, new 1800 sq. foot homes sell for $140,000; in Palo Alto, dollhouses go for $1.5 million. …
Coastal folk seem to view high taxes like Mafia protection money, but in the sense of psychological satisfaction and freedom from guilt. For now, sales, gas, and income taxes are not so high as to matter to those who voted for them, at least in view of the social and political advantages of coastal living: the beautiful weather, the Pacific panorama, the hip culture …
To the extent that “they” (i.e. you, reader) exist, the distant others are nebulous, rarely thought-about souls. Perhaps they really do enjoy polluting the planet as they generate the electricity, pipe in the natural gas and oil, refine the fuels, grow the food, and cut and haul the lumber that gives a Palo Alto or Santa Barbara the stuff to go on …
One of the questions I always hear from strangers: “Why doesn’t everyone leave?” The answer is simple: for the coastal overdogs there is nowhere else where the money is as good and the weather and scenery are as enjoyable. [But] yes, the middle-class small farmers, hardware-store owners, company retirees, and electricians are leaving in droves.
The Latino population, I would imagine, would be in revolt over the elitist nature of California politics. Of course, thousands of second-generation Latinos have become public employees, from teachers to DMV clerks, and understandably so vote a straight Democrat-public union ticket. But millions are not working for the state, and they suffer dramatically from the ruling Bay Area left-wing political agenda of regulations, green quackery, and legal gymnastics. It is not just that the foreign national illegally entered the U.S. from Oaxaca, but entered the most complex, over-regulated, over-taxed, and over-lawyered state in the nation — hence the disconnects.
Take energy. California may have reserves of 35 billion barrels of oil in its newly discovered shale formations, and even more natural gas — the best way to provide clean electricity and, perhaps soon, transportation energy for the state. Tens of thousands of young Latino immigrants — given that agriculture is increasingly mechanizing, construction is flat, and the state is broke — could be making high wages from Salinas to Paso Robles, and along the I-5 corridor, if fracking and horizontal drilling took off. Even more jobs could accrue in subsidiary construction and trucking. And for a cynic, billions of dollars in state energy taxes from gas and oil revenue would ensure that the state’s generous handouts would be funded for a generation. Did someone forget that the California boom of the 1930s and 1940s was fueled by cheap, in-state oil?
More importantly, our power companies have the highest energy bills in the nation, given all sorts of green and redistributionist mandates. The costs fall most heavily on the cold winter/hot summer interior residents, who are the poorest in the state. Those who insist that the utilities invest in costly alternate energy and other green fantasies live mostly in 65-70 degree coastal weather year-round and enjoy low power bills.
Yet the liberal coastal political lock-hold on the state continues.
No one in San Joaquin or Tranquility cares about a baitfish in the delta, but they do vote nonetheless for the elites who divert water from farms, put the poor farm worker out of work, and feel good about saving the smelt in the process. …
How then does the California coalition work, and in some sense work so well?
The coastal elite offers an agenda for more welfare funding, scholarships, class warfare, public unions, diversity, affirmative action, open borders, and amnesty, and in response the interior voter signs off on everything from gay marriage, solar and wind subsidies, gun restrictions, mass transit schemes, and the entire progressive tax-and-spend agenda. Most of this coalition never much sees one another.
The young Mountain View programmer keeps clear of Woodlake. He even has only a vague idea of what life is like for those who live in nearby Redwood City and make his arugula salad at the hip pasta bar in Palo Alto. In turn, the Redwood City dishwasher has an equally murky sense that the wealthy kid who works at Google does not wish to deport his uncle — and so the two become unspoken political partners of sorts. One of the state’s wealthiest cities, a gated Atherton, is juxtaposed to one of its most Latinate communities, Redwood City. But they might as well be Mercury and Pluto. Or should we applaud that the owner of the manor and his grass cutter vote identically — and against the interests of the guy who sold and serviced the Honda lawn mower? …
The liberal aristocracy is as class-bound as the old Republican blue-stockings, but saved from populist ostracism by what I have called the “hip” exemption — liberalism’s new veneer that allows one to be both consumer and critic of the Westernized good life, to praise the people and to stay as far away from them as possible.
California is a tired idea.
Is America a tired idea? Are Americans becoming tired of the idea on which America was founded - liberty itself? Do they really want a different America, a country more like socialist Europe? Or are they just blind to where their votes are taking them?
Liberals’ devotion to their ideology greatly exceeds their concern about what actually happens to flesh and blood human beings as a result of their ideology.
With his usual clarity, Thomas Sowell explains how blacks are made to suffer from liberal policies which make only the liberals themselves feel good.
There is no question that liberals do an impressive job of expressing concern for blacks. But do the intentions expressed in their words match the actual consequences of their deeds?
San Francisco is a classic example of a city unexcelled in its liberalism. But the black population of San Francisco today is less than half of what it was back in 1970, even though the city’s total population has grown.
Severe restrictions on building housing in San Francisco have driven rents and home prices so high that blacks and other people with low or moderate incomes have been driven out of the city. The same thing has happened in a number of other California communities dominated by liberals.
Liberals try to show their concern for the poor by raising the level of minimum wage laws. Yet they show no interest in hard evidence that minimum wage laws create disastrous levels of unemployment among young blacks in this country, as such laws created high unemployment rates among young people in general in European countries.
The black family survived centuries of slavery and generations of Jim Crow, but it has disintegrated in the wake of the liberals’ expansion of the welfare state. Most black children grew up in homes with two parents during all that time but most grow up with only one parent today.
Liberals have pushed affirmative action, supposedly for the benefit of blacks and other minorities. But two recent factual studies show that affirmative action in college admissions has led to black students with every qualification for success being artificially turned into failures by being mismatched with colleges for the sake of racial body count. …
In all these cases, and many others, liberals take positions that make them look good and feel good — and show very little interest in the actual consequences for others, even when liberal policies are leaving havoc in their wake.
The current liberal crusade for more so-called “gun control” laws is more of the same. Factual studies over the years, both in the United States and in other countries, repeatedly show that “gun control” laws do not in fact reduce crimes committed with guns.
Cities with some of the tightest gun control laws in the nation have murder rates far above the national average. In the middle of the 20th century, New York had far more restrictive gun control laws than London, but London had far less gun crime. Yet gun crimes in London skyrocketed after severe gun control laws were imposed over the next several decades.
Although gun control is not usually considered a racial issue, a wholly disproportionate number of Americans killed by guns are black. But here, as elsewhere, liberals’ devotion to their ideology greatly exceeds their concern about what actually happens to flesh and blood human beings as a result of their ideology. …
Many liberal ideas about race sound plausible, and it is understandable that these ideas might have been attractive 50 years ago. What is not understandable is how so many liberals can blindly ignore 50 years of evidence to the contrary since then.
There is abundant proof that the welfare state, redistribution of wealth, regulation of individual lives by government, do not raise populations from poverty to prosperity, from misery to happiness. Could there be greater lessons in the fallacy of socialism, statism, collectivism – call it what you will – than the collapse of the Soviet Union, the ruin of Greece, the change to capitalism in China? Yet the Left clings to its formula of failure.
Why do liberals continue to pursue policies that not only keep people poor but make them poorer?
Because without underdogs they would have no cause. Without underdogs they would have no one to feel superior to. Since they cannot be unaware that their policies work against life, liberty. and the pursuit of happiness, the only conclusion to be drawn is that that is their whole idea: to keep the poor ever poor, ever dependent on government, so that – as Thomas Sowell says – they themselves may “look and feel good”.
There may be far fewer self-proclaimed Christians among liberals than among conservatives, but it is the liberals who keep the abasing values and moral hubris of Christianity alive and active in contemporary politics.
“A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn is not so much a history, more a compendium of complaint. And (therefore) of every Leftist issue you could think of.
(We have written about Zinn before. See our post Zinn writes histories, December 11, 2009.)
The “People” in Zinn’s mind are a totally different species from the “fifty-five privileged white males whose class interest required a strong central government” and so wrote the Constitution and founded the Union. Those same fifty-five privileged white males of a species different from the People have continued to pursue their selfish material interests ever since at the expense of downtrodden masses. These masses, this vast victimized majority (he quotes Shelley at them: “Ye are many; they are few!”), consists of subordinated races, females, persons of minority sexual preferences (he doesn’t call them that), and people who would like to be rich but do not manage to become so (he doesn’t call them that).
Zinn milks pity from his readers (or tries to). He would have you feel bad if you are white, if you are male, if you are “privileged” (ie not poor), and if you are American; but implies over some 700 pages that you can redeem yourself from your badness if you will beat your breast frequently, cry ‘Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!” every day of your life, and join with the complainers in bringing down those fifty-five imperial villains by becoming a violent radical socialist revolutionary or, more comfortably – well, he doesn’t say so in the book because it was published before the Occupy Wall Street movement emerged, but he would have said, by joining it.
Thomas Sowell writes at Townhall:
Schools were once thought of as places where a society’s knowledge and experience were passed on to the younger generation. But, about a hundred years ago, Professor John Dewey of Columbia University came up with a very different conception of education — one that has spread through American schools of education, and even influenced education in countries overseas.
John Dewey saw the role of the teacher, not as a transmitter of a society’s culture to the young, but as an agent of change — someone strategically placed, with an opportunity to condition students to want a different kind of society.
Or to put it another way: indoctrinate students to believe that a much better society – even a perfect one – could be planned and is only not being planned because “corporate interests” (a euphemism for the fifty-five immortals who founded the USA) will not allow it.
A century later, we are seeing schools across America indoctrinating students to believe in all sorts of politically correct notions. The history that is taught in too many of our schools is a history that emphasizes everything that has gone bad, or can be made to look bad, in America — and that gives little, if any, attention to the great achievements of this country.
If you think that is an exaggeration, get a copy of “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn and read it. As someone who used to read translations of official Communist newspapers in the days of the Soviet Union, I know that those papers’ attempts to degrade the United States did not sink quite as low as Howard Zinn’s book.
That book has sold millions of copies, poisoning the minds of millions of students in schools and colleges against their own country. But this book is one of many things that enable teachers to think of themselves as “agents of change,” without having the slightest accountability for whether that change turns out to be for the better or for the worse — or, indeed, utterly catastrophic.
This misuse of schools to undermine one’s own society is not something confined to the United States or even to our own time. It is common in Western countries for educators, the media and the intelligentsia in general, to single out Western civilization for special condemnation for sins that have been common to the human race, in all parts of the world, for thousands of years.
Meanwhile, all sorts of fictitious virtues are attributed to non-Western societies, and their worst crimes are often passed over in silence, or at least shrugged off by saying some such thing as “Who are we to judge?”
Even in the face of mortal dangers, political correctness forbids us to use words like “terrorist” when the approved euphemism is “militant.” Milder terms such as “illegal alien” likewise cannot pass the political correctness test, so it must be replaced by another euphemism, “undocumented worker.”
Some think that we must tiptoe around in our own country, lest some foreigners living here or visiting here be offended by the sight of an American flag or a Christmas tree in some institutions. …
American schools today are … undermining American society as one unworthy of defending, either domestically or internationally.
Which reminds us of what happened to Rome when it took on Christianity, the first Mea Culpa creed in history.
Pat Condell’s latest video. Unmissable.
People died, Obama lied. Yes, that happened in Libya last month, when Ambassador Stevens and three other American were murdered by terrorists, having been refused the protection the ambassador had asked the State Department for. And Obama and his henchwomen went on lying and lying about what happened. (You need a bitter sense of Huma to appreciate the appalling story to the full.)
But that is not the story that Thomas Sowell deals with in the article we appreciatively quote from here. He is writing about a speech Obama made in 2007 in which he typically lied. Dr Sowell calls Obama “Phony in Chief“.
When President Barack Obama and others on the left are not busy admonishing the rest of us to be “civil” in our discussions of political issues, they are busy letting loose insults, accusations and smears against those who dare to disagree with them.
Like so many people who have been beaten in a verbal encounter, and who can think of clever things to say the next day, after it is all over, President Obama, after his clear loss in his debate with Mitt Romney, called Governor Romney a “phony.”
Innumerable facts, however, show that it is our Commander in Chief who is Phony in Chief. A classic example was his speech to a predominantly black audience at Hampton University on June 5, 2007. [ See the video below.] That date is important, as we shall see.
In his speech — delivered in a ghetto-style accent that Obama doesn’t use anywhere except when he is addressing a black audience — he charged the federal government with not showing the same concern for the people of New Orleans after hurricane Katrina hit as they had shown for the people of New York after the 9/11 attacks, or the people of Florida after hurricane Andrew hit.
Departing from his prepared remarks, he mentioned the Stafford Act, which requires communities receiving federal disaster relief to contribute 10 percent as much as the federal government does.
Senator Obama, as he was then, pointed out that this requirement was waived in the case of New York and Florida because the people there were considered to be “part of the American family.” But the people in New Orleans — predominantly black — “they don’t care about as much,” according to Barack Obama.
If you want to know what community organizers do, this is it – rub people’s emotions raw to hype their resentments. And this was Barack Obama in his old community organizer role, a role that should have warned those who thought that he was someone who would bring us together, when he was all too well practiced in the arts of polarizing us apart.
Why is the date of this speech important? Because, less than two weeks earlier, on May 24, 2007, the United States Senate had in fact voted 80-14 to waive the Stafford Act requirement for New Orleans, as it had waived that requirement for New York and Florida. More federal money was spent rebuilding New Orleans than was spent in New York after 9/11 and in Florida after hurricane Andrew, combined.
Truth is not a job requirement for a community organizer. Nor can Barack Obama claim that he wasn’t present the day of that Senate vote, as he claimed he wasn’t there when Jeremiah Wright unleashed his obscene attacks on America from the pulpit of the church that Obama attended for 20 years.
Unlike Jeremiah Wright’s church, the U.S. Senate keeps a record of who was there on a given day. The Congressional Record for May 24, 2007 shows Senator Barack Obama present that day and voting on the bill that waived the Stafford Act requirement. Moreover, he was one of just 14 Senators who voted against – repeat, AGAINST – the legislation which included the waiver.
When he gave that demagogic speech, in a feigned accent and style, it was world class chutzpah and a rhetorical triumph. He truly deserves the title Phony in Chief. …
Obama’s true believers may not want to know the truth. But there are millions of other people who have simply projected their own desires for a post-racial America onto Barack Obama. These are the ones who need to be confronted with the truth, before they repeat the mistake they made when they voted four years ago.
The extreme importance of the 2012 presidential election is recognized by (among millions of others, we hope) Diana West, who warns at Townhall that “Election 2012 is anything but politics as usual. It is an existential crisis.”
This election is for keeps. If Barack Obama doesn’t lose his bid for a second term, he and his vast, left-wing support network of Marx-inspired think tanks, strategists and elected officials will fulfill Obama’s 2008 campaign promise to “fundamentally” transform this nation, thus bringing the American experiment in liberty to what could be the final curtain…
Americans are about to decide whether to empower the increasingly dictatorial executive branch of Barack Hussein Obama, whose future plans to distort “checks and balances” promises to transform the U.S. government out of all recognition, or to break the momentum of government centralization by electing Romney-Ryan.
Yes. And we find signs that are good; signs that there is a swing to the right in public opinion, considerably boosted since Paul Ryan was selected as candidate Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential choice.
This is by Scott Johnson at PowerLine:
GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan appeared at a rally this morning at Deep Run High School in Glen Allen, Virginia. … An audience of more than 2,000 turned up for the rally. More impressive than the size of the crowd is the fact that supporters started lining up for the event around 2:00 a.m. Recent alumni of Deep Run High School, where Ryan spoke … joined the line around 7:00 a.m. with [Chick-fil-A] breakfast in hand.
In these faces we can see what optimism looks like:
Ryan is a star. Romney’s pick of him for his vice-president has energized the Republican Party and brought excitement to the electorate. Even the heavily left-biased British newspaper the Guardian has to concede that:
Democrats’ nerves start to show as Ryan fires up conservative voters …
The Democrats have been sending out panic-laden appeals for donations, one of them expressing concern over the size of the crowd. One of the appeals, for $3 or more, said of Romney-Ryan attacks: “This could cost us the election.”
And quoting American pundits with a message the left canot be happy with, the Guardian raises the prospect of Republican government for the next 16 years:
If Romney wins, then Ryan, as vice-president, will be well placed as a Republican presidential candidate for the future. …
Roger L. Klavan writes at PJ Media that the Democrats are scared of Ryan:
Obama’s main man David Axelrod looks depressed. Why wouldn’t he be? Forced to run a campaign based on lying about or distorting what the other side says, fanning the flames of non-existent racism, etc., is a sure loser, even if you win — perhaps especially if you win. Winning ugly in this instance will not be a triumph of any sort. Obama, at his worst, may succeed in destroying America as we know it, but he would destroy himself and everyone around him in the process. At this moment, I’m betting none of this will happen. Romney’s choice of Ryan, for me, saved the day.
But the black vote – that’s remaining pretty solid for Obama, isn’t it?
Or is it? A formerly prominent black Democrat has gone over to the Republicans. Former Democratic Representative Artur Davis, who was also a candidate for the governorship of Alabama in 2010, and was one of Barack Obama’s campaign managers in 2008 – making one of the nominating speeches for him at the 2008 Democratic National Convention – is to speak this year at the Republican National Convention in support of the Romney-Ryan ticket. (Read more about this in the Washington Post here.)
And there’s this (also from the Washington Post). The story of a black community organizer’s disillusionment with Obama. He is “disillusioned” for the wrong reasons, and he probably will not be coming over to the right, but if he decides to cast his vote for Obama, it won’t be with any enthusiasm. The point is, redistributive economics and collectivist politics don’t work, and the Obama episode in American history has proved it. Once Obama has gone – and go he absolutely must with the coming election – his bad four years in the White House can be seen as a lesson millions of Americans needed to learn.
He still walks the same streets here as his old acquaintance Barack Obama once did. That is about all they have in common anymore. At 50, Chicago activist Mark Allen … [is] the head of a small, community-assistance organization called Black Wall Street Chicago. Allen regards his personal survival alone as a small victory, grateful he can pay the rent on his modest office space, aware he is doing better than many on this city’s restive South Side.
“Things haven’t gone the way we’d hoped after Barack got elected,” he says. Surveys place unemployment rates above 25 percent here, and indications are that South Side residents such as Allen aren’t nearly as passionate about the 2012 election as they were during Obama’s trailblazing 2008 campaign.
Historically, community organizers such as Allen have wielded outsize influence in the black-majority neighborhoods of the South Side, with none better known than Obama, who directed a group called the Developing Communities Project for three years during the 1980s. But old bonds between the two have frayed. Allen, who as a member of another group worked on community issues with Obama during their organizing days, has grown frustrated with his former ally in the Oval Office.
Obama’s much ballyhooed 2009 stimulus package has failed to touch ordinary South Side residents, says Allen, who has reached out to Obama administration officials, including fellow Chicagoan and prominent White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, to express his dismay. …
Allen, who views the South Side’s pain as common to U.S. inner cities, also offers a political warning for Obama’s campaign strategists. The disillusionment of once fierce Obama admirers, he suggests, may hamper the president’s reelection chances by subtly dampening black voter turnout.
Best of all there’s this:
Yesterday, August 17, the South African police opened fire on striking miners, killing 34 and wounding 78 according to press reports.
The incident recalls another South African miners’ strike which began way back in December 1921, when the gold-mining companies reacted to a drop in the world price of gold by lowering the wages of white miners, and, in defiance of the color bar, proposed to employ black miners in the more skilled jobs that the whites held to be their prerogative.
Under the leadership the Communist Party the strike escalated into a violent revolt.
The slogan of the Communist Party was: “Workers of the world unite and fight for a white South Africa”.
In March 1922 the prime minister, Jan Smuts, called out the army and air force to crush the uprising. With the use of heavy artillery, tanks, and bombing from the air he succeeded. More than 200 men were killed.
The political outcome was that trade unions for whites only were recognized, and the color bar was reinforced.
Blacks were kept in poverty. There was no way they could rise by their own effort. The system of apartheid, which was to be entrenched in law some twenty years later, was launched by the demand of the Communist Party.
The present strike, put down with guns, began with a dispute over wages.
The miners were armed with spears and machetes. The police say some had guns, but that remains to be ascertained.
Will the world that claims to abhor apartheid (as it should), also condemn a massacre of black miners under the predominantly black and leftist government of post-apartheid South Africa?
Why do we hardened skeptics doubt it?
Cruelty and sentimentality are two sides of the same coin. Collectivist ideologies, however oppressive, justify themselves in sweet words of sharing-and-caring. Disagree with a leftie, and she will lecture you in pained tones on how a quarter of the children of America “go to bed hungry”. Or say that you are against government intervention in industry, and she’ll describe horrific industrial accidents, as if bureaucrats could prevent them from ever happening. Collectivists believe that only government can cure poverty by redistributing “the wealth”, not noticing that, if they were right, poverty would have been eliminated long ago in all the socialist states of the world – the very ones we see collapsing now, under the weight of debt.
However rich the crocodile weepers of the Left may be (and many of them are very rich and passionately devoted to redistributing other people’s wealth, such as John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, George Soros), they are likely to tell you that they “don’t care about money”. They despise it. (“Yucks, filthy stuff! Republicans with their materialist values can think of nothing else!”) Or if they are union members, and demand ever higher wages and fatter pensions, they express the utmost contempt for the producers of wealth. To all of these, we at TAC issue a permanent invitation. If you feel burdened by the possession of wealth, we’re willing to relieve you of it. We have a soft spot for money. The harsh words said about it rouse our sincere compassion. We promise to welcome it no matter where it comes from, and give it a loving home.
In regard to the hard Left and its sweet vocabulary, here are some quotations from a column by the great political philosopher Thomas Sowell. He writes:
One of the most versatile terms in the political vocabulary is “fairness.” It has been used over a vast range of issues, from “fair trade” laws to the Fair Labor Standards Act. And recently we have heard that the rich don’t pay their “fair share” of taxes. … Life in general has never been even close to fair, so the pretense that the government can make it fair is a valuable and inexhaustible asset to politicians who want to expand government.
“Racism” is another term we can expect to hear a lot this election year, especially if the public opinion polls are going against President Barack Obama. Former big-time TV journalist Sam Donaldson and current fledgling CNN host Don Lemon have already proclaimed racism to be the reason for criticisms of Obama, and we can expect more and more talking heads to say the same thing as the election campaign goes on. The word “racism” is like ketchup. It can be put on practically anything — and demanding evidence makes you a “racist.”
A more positive term that is likely to be heard a lot, during election years especially, is “compassion.” But what does it mean concretely? More often than not, in practice it means a willingness to spend the taxpayers’ money in ways that will increase the spender’s chances of getting reelected. If you are skeptical — or, worse yet, critical — of this practice, then you qualify for a different political label: “mean-spirited.” A related political label is “greedy.”
In the political language of today, people who want to keep what they have earned are said to be “greedy,” while those who wish to take their earnings from them and give them to others (who will vote for them in return) show “compassion.”
A political term that had me baffled for a long time was “the hungry.” Since we all get hungry, it was not obvious to me how you single out some particular segment of the population to refer to as “the hungry.” Eventually, over the years, it finally dawned on me what the distinction was. People who make no provision to feed themselves, but expect others to provide food for them, are those whom politicians and the media refer to as “the hungry.” Those who meet this definition may have money for alcohol, drugs or even various electronic devices. And many of them are overweight. But, if they look to voluntary donations, or money taken from the taxpayers, to provide them with something to eat, then they are “the hungry.”
Beware the Compassioneers: even as they pick your pocket they try to pluck your heartstrings.