Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Black racism and socialism

Thomas Sowell

Although much of the media have their antennae out to pick up anything that might be construed as racism against blacks, they resolutely ignore even the most blatant racism by blacks against others.

That includes a pattern of violent attacks on whites in public places in Chicago, Denver, New York, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Kansas City, as well as blacks in schools beating up Asian classmates -- for years -- in New York and Philadelphia.

These attacks have been accompanied by explicitly racist statements by the attackers, so it is not a question of having to figure out what the motivation is. There has also been rioting and looting by these young hoodlums.

Yet blacks have no monopoly on these ugly and malicious episodes. Remarkably similar things are being done by lower-class whites in England. Anybody reading "Life at the Bottom" by Theodore Dalrymple will recognize the same barbaric and self-destructive patterns among people with the same attitudes, even though their skin color is different.

Anyone reading today's headline stories about young hoodlums turning the streets of London into scenes of shattered and burning chaos, complete with violence, will discover the down side of the brotherhood of man.

While the history and the races are different, what is the same in both countries are the social policies and social attitudes long promoted by the intelligentsia and welfare state politicians.

A recent study in England found 352,000 households in which nobody had ever worked. Moreover, two-thirds of the adults in those households said that they didn't want to work. As in America, such people feel both "entitled" and aggrieved.

In both countries, those who have achieved less have been taught by the educational system, by the media and by politicians on the left that they have a grievance against those who have achieved more. As in the United States, they feel a fierce sense of resentment against strangers who have done nothing to them, and lash out violently against those strangers.

During the riots, looting and violence in England, a young woman was quoted as saying that this showed "the rich" and the police that "we can do whatever we want." Among the things done during these riots was forcing apparently prosperous looking people to strip naked in the streets.

The need to bring people down in humiliation that marked the mass violence against the Armenians in Turkey nearly a century ago, and that later marked the Nazi persecutions of the Jews in Germany, is still alive and well in people who resent those who have achieved more than they have.

A milder but revealing episode in England some time back involved burglars who were not content to simply steal things but also vented their hostility by scrawling on the wall: "RICH BASTARDS."

In the United States, young black thugs attacked whites with baseball bats and took their belongings in Denver, while voicing their hatred of whites. But it is all a very similar attitude to what has been found in other countries and other times.

Today's politically correct intelligentsia will tell you that the reason for this alienation and lashing out is that there are great disparities and inequities that need to be addressed.

But such barbarism was not nearly as widespread two generations ago, in the middle of the 20th century. Were there no disparities or inequities then? Actually there were more.

What is different today is that there has been -- for decades -- a steady drumbeat of media and political hype about differences in income, education and other outcomes, blaming these differences on oppression against those with fewer achievements or lesser prosperity.

Moreover, there has been a growing tolerance of lawlessness and a growing intolerance toward the idea that people who are lagging need to take steps to raise themselves up, instead of trying to pull others down.

All this exalts those who talk such lofty talk. But others pay the price -- and ultimately that includes even those who take the road toward barbarism.



Ominous Parallels

Walter E. Williams

People are beginning to compare Barack Obama's administration to the failed administration of Jimmy Carter, but a better comparison is to the Roosevelt administration of the 1930s and '40s. Let's look at it with the help of a publication from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and the Foundation for Economic Education titled "Great Myths of the Great Depression," by Dr. Lawrence Reed.

During the first year of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, he called for increasing federal spending to $10 billion while revenues were only $3 billion. Between 1933 and 1936, government expenditures rose by more than 83 percent. Federal debt skyrocketed by 73 percent. Roosevelt signed off on legislation that raised the top income tax rate to 79 percent and then later to 90 percent. Hillsdale College economics historian and professor Burt Folsom, author of "New Deal or Raw Deal?", notes that in 1941, Roosevelt even proposed a 99.5 percent marginal tax rate on all incomes more than $100,000. When a top adviser questioned the idea, Roosevelt replied, "Why not?"

Roosevelt had other ideas for the economy, including the National Recovery Act. Dr. Reed says: "The economic impact of the NRA was immediate and powerful. In the five months leading up to the act's passage, signs of recovery were evident: factory employment and payrolls had increased by 23 and 35 percent, respectively. Then came the NRA, shortening hours of work, raising wages arbitrarily and imposing other new costs on enterprise. In the six months after the law took effect, industrial production dropped 25 percent."

Blacks were especially hard hit by the NRA. Black spokesmen and the black press often referred to the NRA as the "Negro Run Around," Negroes Rarely Allowed," "Negroes Ruined Again," "Negroes Robbed Again," "No Roosevelt Again" and the "Negro Removal Act." Fortunately, the courts ruled the NRA unconstitutional. As a result, unemployment fell to 14 percent in 1936 and lower by 1937.

Roosevelt had more plans for the economy, namely the National Labor Relations Act, better known as the "Wagner Act." This was a payoff to labor unions, and with these new powers, labor unions went on a militant organizing frenzy that included threats, boycotts, strikes, seizures of plants, widespread violence and other acts that pushed productivity down sharply and unemployment up dramatically. In 1938, Roosevelt's New Deal produced the nation's first depression within a depression. The stock market crashed again, losing nearly 50 percent of its value between August 1937 and March 1938, and unemployment climbed back to 20 percent. Columnist Walter Lippmann wrote in March 1938 that "with almost no important exception every measure (Roosevelt) has been interested in for the past five months has been to reduce or discourage the production of wealth."

Roosevelt's agenda was not without its international admirers. The chief Nazi newspaper, Volkischer Beobachter, repeatedly praised "Roosevelt's adoption of National Socialist strains of thought in his economic and social policies" and "the development toward an authoritarian state" based on the "demand that collective good be put before individual self-interest." Roosevelt himself called Benito Mussolini "admirable" and professed that he was "deeply impressed by what he (had) accomplished."

FDR's very own treasury secretary, Henry Morgenthau, saw the folly of the New Deal, writing: "We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. ... We have never made good on our promises. ... I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started ... and an enormous debt to boot!" The bottom line is that Roosevelt's New Deal policies turned what would have been a three- or four-year sharp downturn into a 16-year affair.

The 1930s depression was caused by and aggravated by acts of government, and so was the current financial mess that we're in. Do we want to repeat history by listening to those who created the calamity? That's like calling on an arsonist to help put out a fire.



Fear and Loathing of Bachmann

In the last election cycle, we heard a lot of complaining about the sexist treatment accorded to Hillary Clinton as she campaigned for president. One magazine wrote, "It's her resilience and capacity to survive and thrive against all comers that partly fuels the haters' fury." They even wrote "The anti-Hillary industry has never managed to bring down Hillary herself -- in fact, the more they have attacked, the higher she has risen."

That would be Newsweek magazine, in the June 18, 2007 issue. Four years later, Newsweek mocked Republican candidate Michele Bachmann on its cover, making her look pale and confused and, well, nutty -- with the headline "The Queen of Rage." Physician, heal thyself. Now the term "hater's fury" aptly describes the very same "news" magazine that so pompously lectures us about civility every one time one of their favorites is in political crosshairs.

It's impossible to imagine the "objective" news rags picturing Hillary with crazy eyes and a headline like "Queen of Rage." Newsweek titled their 2007 article "The New War on Hillary." There is a war on Michele developing, and the left-wing press is waging it. They won't stop until they achieve their goal of grinding her presidential hopes -- if not her entire political career -- into a fine powder. They despise this woman.

On MSNBC, Joe Scarborough was typical: "Michele Bachmann is a joke...Her candidacy is a joke." Joe has favored the sleep walking Jon Huntsman because "He can speak in complete sentences. One sentence actually relates to the previous sentence." Huntsman only got beat in the straw poll by Bachmann by, ahem...4,823 to 69, or a ratio of about 70 to 1. So who is the joke?

On NBC, former CNBC host Donny Deutsch defended Newsweek's right to mock Bachmann as a cartoon without care for accuracy and honesty: "Why can't they make a statement? Obviously that was a real picture, and they didn't air touch her. It's not a flattering article. By the way, why can't you write an unflattering, biased article?"

Deutsch wasn't kidding about the nastiness of the article. Newsweek's Lois Romano threw acid at Bachmann about her dangerous "shtick" of "intransigence." Here's a typical, sneering sentence: "For now, Bachmann revels in the Iowa crowds, which don't fuss about the missing fine print behind her ideas, the perceived contradictions among them, or their radicalism."

Newsweek claims to loathe contradictions -- as they write long, nasty editorials and then claim like complete hypocrites that they're publishing a "news" product.

There are at least three reasons for the media's everlasting enmity. The first is Bachmann's staunch and vocal conservatism on TV. She has become the most identifiable member of Congress aligned with the Tea Party, which to the liberal media is a cancer on our politics that like a tumor must be removed. Bachmann's opposition to President Obama and his radical agenda was red-hot before the Tea Party "rage" was born.

The second is Bachmann's deeply-held religious faith. She's an evangelical conservative who doesn't hesitate from a fight on cultural issues like abortion and "gay marriage." Our secular press corps seriously despises people who dare to assert that America is great in part because America has been and is inspired by Judeo-Christian values. Their ideal of a "devout Christian" is Barack Obama, who devoutly spends most Sundays golfing.

Third is Bachmann's gender -- but that's closely associated with the first two. If you're a liberal woman, the media will celebrate your presidential run as shattering a glass ceiling. But as we just learned with Sarah Palin, a conservative woman on a national ticket is going to get nothing but a carpet-bombing from the powers that be in "compassionate" journalism. (The same narrative applies to conservative blacks. Just ask Clarence Thomas.)

There are many Republicans infatuated with the idea of countering Obama in 2012 with female or minority conservatives, be it on the presidential and/or vice presidential ticket. But it's quite obvious that the media -- especially liberal females and minorities in the media -- loathe the very thought, regardless of the person. They don't want to give up their "making history" template for two seconds.

Five months ago, new Newsweek boss Tina Brown's first cover championed Hillary Clinton and "How she's shattering glass ceilings everywhere." Brown doesn't really want conservative women to shatter that metaphorical ceiling first. After a run of victories by conservative female candidates in the 2010 GOP primaries, Brown went on ABC and with a straight face called the wins "a blow to feminism."

And she calls Michele Bachmann the Queen of Rage.



The Authoritarian Temptation

In the weeks during and since the debt-ceiling debate, the media, pushed by the Democratic Party, has peddled the propaganda that our government is broken -- because the Republicans in the House of Representatives negotiated a better deal than the liberals wanted.

While it was President Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner who, during the debate, said they couldn't assure payments of Social Security or interest on the federal debt payments (while Republican leaders guaranteed there would be no lapse in such payments) it was the GOP that the media accused of irresponsible threats.

It is par for the course for the losing side in a congressional fight to bewail the end of democracy in America. But it is rare for the major media to push and the broader public to bite on, such a line.

Yet the surprisingly gullible Wall Street and European opinion leaders bought in to that propaganda. Indeed, Standard and Poor's downgraded U.S. Treasuries expressly on the preposterous proposition that the American governmental process was broken and unreliable. After all, a deficit bill passed without tax increases in it -- the process must be broken. From their point of view, any system that doesn't raise taxes is broken. (For explanations of why our governance is not broken, see Washington Post opinion writer Charles Krauthammer's column last week, "The System Works" and my article " Is Our Government Really Broken?" from February 24, 2010.)

The immediate price of this "broken government" propaganda is several trillion dollars in lost equity value last week on the stock exchanges of the world. But, the enduring danger -- if not intent -- of such propaganda is its potential to undermine public confidence in representative government.

Make no mistake: If our form of government is "broken," democracy's challengers would "fix" it by castration. In our case, these critics would castrate the "representative" bit. We have seen this argument before in our history. Put forward by authoritarians and their supporters, it disdains the messy and disorderly process whereby free people thrash out the nation's decisions.

The current recrudescence of this authoritarian temptation did not start with the debt-ceiling fight. Its been building for a couple of years. It comes -- as it always does -- at a moment when the nation faces serious economic or security dangers. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman in September of 2009 gave early voice to the current authoritarian temptation: "One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century."

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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