Tuesday, February 03, 2004

In the Beginning. . .

Hi, welcome. Much more telecom, politics and foreign policy to come. I'm new at this, and my first post is a bit off topic. I was responding to a question from a friend, and decided it's a reasonably comprehensive summary of my philosophy.

Racism: where to start?

It's well known that conservatives are racists, and liberals aren't. Why else would 92 percent of American blacks have voted for Al Gore in 2000? So it must be true.

But, it's simply false. The most revealing thing I've ever heard about racism is Spike Lee (I loathe his racism) admitting that HE crosses to the other side of the street when he sees two young blacks approaching and actually is relieved to recognize strangers to be white. How can the same act be racist for whites but not for blacks?

The differences between black and white you cite stem from 40 years of patronizing blacks. As liberals patronize the most---one must protect the poor from their own "bad decisions," you can't hold the Arabs or Arab leaders responsible, and you certainly shouldn't expect Iraq to become a democracy. It reminds me of Lee Kuan Yew, former president of Singapore (and responsible for its enormous prosperity since the early '60) who said, often, something like: "Oh you silly westerners and your individual rights. They don't apply to Chinese or Malays, who (via Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism or otherwise) need strong, authoritarian leadership, not freedom or democracy." THAT is the single most racist thing I've ever heard, and current Democrats seem to believe quite similarly now.

Example of racism of current Dems: the effort to expand trade agreements to include fair labor standards, i.e., minimum wage and working hours. For the most part, this idea is pushed by Unions (and Union-friendly pols, such as Gephardt), and it's designed to protect their jobs. I know why such interested parties favor global labor standards, but they confuse their private interest with the interest of the larger public. Still, there are many on the left who defend mandatory labor practices on what appears the noblest of reasons: we have to stop "sweat-shops" and "child labor," they say. Seems logical, right? Or other do-gooders who want the U.S. to force Brazil to stop cutting down its rain forest. Sure it's "unilateral." But, who could oppose it?

I do. Because liberal racists want to prevent poor foreigners from bettering themselves, exactly as Americans did. We're a nation of immigrants. And the first generation lived in cramped, slum quarters, and worked their butts off--never mind a 40 hour work week or $6.15 and hour--to get their kids to college. When my grandfather, grandmother and my father came here, they had $12 and couldn't speak the language. My grandmother worked as a maid, my grandfather had odd jobs--and my father got his Masters at Princeton. My maternal grandfather came here at 14, found work as a watch repairer--and got a B.S. at Syracuse and a PhD from McGill. If it weren't for slums and low paying jobs, I--and many others--would not enjoy the privileges of the middle class. Liberals want to prevent the Chinese from pulling themselves up by their bootstraps as my ancestors and countless other Americans did. And that's racist.

Same regarding the rain forest. That land is OWNED by someone (sometimes by a tribe). So Liberals would remove these owners' sole asset: their land. By prohibiting or conditioning sale of forestland, self-styled "progressives" make it impossible to sell, or mortgage, some land to have money to, say, start a small business. The left accuses conservatives of wanting to keep darkie on the plantation; perhaps without realizing it, that's exactly what the liberal solution would do--freeze people in what ever state they're in today. If liberals want to preserve the rain forest (by the way, the rain forests have shrunk by just 1.47 percent in the 20th century, and the rate of change is decreasing dramatically, but never mind) JUST BUY THE FUCKING LAND YOURSELF!!

Liberals fail to consider the consequences of their actions, and they forget the law of unintended consequences. Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty" destroyed any incentive for the poor to work. Thank god we passed, and Clinton signed, a welfare reform that largely eliminates that disincentive. Liberals never look before they leap--change is always good; revolutionary change still better. But it's not necessarily so. Indeed, liberal views can result in more racism than the worst "Klan" plan.

I've seen this time and time again. And so, my views changed over time. This is the best, greatest society ever known to man. Unlike others, Americans don't have to follow in their fathers' footsteps. Thanks to the lack of "classism," to the "frontier" and to bankruptcy laws, Americans can reinvent themselves. And reinvent themselves again, should they choose. This is unique in world history--and should continue.

I'm no racist. Like any intelligent person, I condemn racism in every form. But the discussion must extend beyond such universally shared abstraction. Racism must be judged by the programmatic differences proposed by people or parties. Judged on that basis, the conservative approach to race is far less racist than liberals claim, and some minorities believe. In fact, it's less racist than any liberal proposal.

This country has known racism. And racism still exists. Yet, we've come a long way in just a few decades, and--in my experience in a wide variety of overseas travel--America is now the least racist of any heterogeneous society.

Which brings me to my point: America's strengths--the melting pot, the reinvention, the absence of class boundaries, the esprit--have overcome the vast majority of its racial issues. We tackled the beast with typical American directness and gusto, and are on the path to eradicate racism altogether. So, why do I favor the conservative approach? Simple: I'm a conservative because so much in America is worth conserving.

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