Wednesday, December 26, 2012
A party that doesn't think with its skin
by Jeff Jacoby
SOUTH CAROLINA'S conservative Republican governor, Nikki Haley, is the daughter of Sikh immigrants from Punjab. US Representative Tim Scott of Charleston, a Tea Party hero who was raised in poverty by a divorced single mother, is South Carolina's first black Republican lawmaker in more than a century. To anyone who shares the ideals that animate modern conservatism – limited government, economic liberty, color-blind equality – it stands to reason that Haley and Scott are conservatives. And their Republican affiliation should surprise no one familiar with the GOP's long history as the party of minority civil rights.
But many people aren't familiar with that history. So relentlessly have liberal propagandists played the race card over the years that virtually anything conservatives or Republicans do – from opposing Obamacare to tweaking the president's fondness for golf -- somehow gets twisted into proof of racial malice. So when Haley announced last week that she would appoint Scott to the US Senate seat being vacated by Jim DeMint, who is leaving to take a job at the Heritage Foundation, I indulged in a bit of preemptive snark.
"An Indian-American governor appoints an African-American to the US Senate," I posted on Twitter. "Man, that lily-white GOP racism never ends, does it?"
On being sworn in, Scott will become the Senate's only sitting black member and the first from the South since the 1880s. Indeed he'll be just the seventh black senator in the nation's history; three of the others, including Edward Brooke of Massachusetts, were also Republican. Haley, meanwhile, is one of only two Indian-Americans ever elected governor (the other is Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, a fellow Republican). For anyone who esteems racial and ethnic diversity, this has to be a good-news story. Could even the most determined racial McCarthyists find reasons to decry Scott's appointment?
Of course they could.
"Tokens. That's all they are," one Twitter user promptly replied to my tweet. Remarked another: "The man's race may be inconvenient for the Repubs, but he's a teabagger like them so they'll ignore it." Twitter users elsewhere smeared Scott as an "Uncle Tom" and a "house Negro."
In fairness, on Twitter anyone can pop off about anything. What about more serious venues?
Well, the NAACP – which used to be a serious organization – promptly let it be known that while it was glad to see "more integration" in Congress, it disliked Scott's "record of opposition to civil rights protection and advancing those real issues of concern of the … African-American community." Does the NAACP really believe that Johnson opposes black civil rights? A ludicrous canard. Then again, so was its absurd resolution two years ago denouncing the Tea Party movement as a platform for "anti-Semites, racists and bigots."
Writing Wednesday in The New York Times, University of Pennsylvania political scientist Adolph Reed Jr. was in a similar froth, slamming Scott because he doesn't think with his skin. "His politics, like those of the archconservative Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, are utterly at odds with the preferences of most black Americans." Scott has no legitimate connection to "mainstream black politics," Reed scoffed. He's just another "cynical token" – one more black Republican elected to Congress from a majority-white district.
It's an old story by now, this venomous lashing-out at blacks and other minorities who embrace conservative or Republican values. It especially infuriates the Democratic left to see the enthusiasm black conservatives inspire among Republicans. Far from celebrating the fact that minorities can demonstrate appeal across the political spectrum, the left whips out the race card. The rise of black Republican leaders, they say, is just a thin disguise for GOP racism. Yet if Republicans oppose a black Democratic leader, they call that racism too.
Perhaps historical guilt feelings explain this reflexive racial demagoguery. For a very long time the Democratic Party was a bulwark of American racism – it was the party that defended slavery; that fought the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments; that founded the Ku Klux Klan; that enacted Jim Crow segregation; that opposed anti-lynching laws. Could it be the psychological weight of such a record that leads so many Democrats and their allies today to promiscuously impute racism to their political opponents? Above all, to their black political opponents?
"I'm a black Republican," Scott says serenely . "Some people think of that as zany – that a black person would be a conservative. But to me what is zany is any person – black, white, red, brown or yellow – not being a conservative." If the accusation is that he doesn't think with his skin, Scott seems happy to plead guilty as charged.
Questions the Press Doesn't Ask
Merry Christmas to the Fourth Estate! Hope you've enjoyed your goose or turkey or whatever your family tradition includes (latkes for those who are Jewish). When you return to work, there are a few loose ends on which you might want to follow up.
"Follow up." It's a term that has gone out of style in the age of Obama. You members of the press have become remarkably uncurious since he's been in the White House. A blanket of benevolent uncuriousness smothers news about Obama administration wrongdoing.
The Secretary of State, who took "full responsibility" for the Benghazi debacle, has not once been publicly questioned about it. Called to testify before a House committee this week, she pleaded illness -- a fall resulting in a concussion. She says she will testify in January. Perhaps members of Congress will ask what the press has not. Who made the decision to deny the requested additional security to our diplomats? Where is a copy of the order President Obama says he issued requiring that "everything possible" be done to save our personnel who were under attack? (Former Assistant Secretary of Defense Bing West notes that such orders are always written down.) Were Navy seals stationed in Benghazi told to "stand down" rather than render assistance? Who told Susan Rice to say that the attack grew out of a protest, when there was no protest?
Speaking of that non-existent protest, isn't anyone even a little uncomfortable at the spectacle of the United States government arresting a guy for making a video (however "crude and offensive")? On orders of this administration, an FBI team descended upon and locked up Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. He may be a petty criminal and an idiot, but that's not the point. Aren't members of press sensitive about infringements of the First Amendment? Besides, what sort of message does it send to extremists around the globe when the U.S. cracks down on expressions of "blasphemy" toward Mohammed? Won't they congratulate themselves on intimidating us?
You may want to ask. Just saying.
Oh, and here's something else you forgot to be inquisitive about. An unpaid intern working in the office of Democratic New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez (who was reelected on Nov. 6) was arrested on Dec. 6. It seems the 18-year-old illegal immigrant from Peru (who helped the senator on immigration issues!) was a registered sex offender. ICE knew about him, but he was repeatedly told by higher ups at DHS, according to a government source, to delay the arrest until after the election. If true, that's a remarkable politicization of law enforcement. So far, one "no comment" from a government official has sufficed to quiet your inquiries.
During the campaign (we learned after the election), the Obama administration undertook to devise guidelines for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles or drones. "There was a concern that the levers might no longer be in our hands," an official told The New York Times. In other words, a Republican president would need guidelines for the use of Hellfire missiles, but with President Obama in the White House, safeguards are unnecessary. His unerring judgment is all that's required. The president has presided over the deaths of an estimated 2,500 individuals -- including some American citizens -- through the drone program of targeted assassinations. Isn't the press interested in what sort of guidelines the administration recommends imposing on its successor? On itself? Oh, wait, with the election safely past, the guidelines are on hold.
Finally, this isn't a scandal, an abuse of power, or an example of hypocrisy, but it's such a blatant display of moral confusion that it begs for questioning. The Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, (about whom the next secretary of state was so wrong), has killed roughly 25,000 civilians and uprooted 1.2 million more. Human Rights Watch reported that there are 27 known torture centers run by the Syrian military. Yet the president has said that only the use of chemical weapons represents a "red line" that Syria must not cross. "If you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons," he warned earlier this month, "there will be consequences and you will be held accountable." Question: Doesn't that mean that Assad will not be held accountable for the rest? What is the logic of that?
You might ask. If it's not too much trouble.
Christmas in an Anti-Christian Age
In a recent issue of New Oxford Review, Andrew Seddon ("The New Atheism: All the Rage") describes a "Reason Rally" in Washington, D.C., a "coming out" event sponsored by atheist groups. Among the speakers was Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins, author of "The God Delusion," who claims that "faith is an evil precisely because it requires no justification and brooks no argument."
Christians have been infected by a "God virus," says Dawkins. They are no longer rational beings. Atheists should treat them with derisory contempt. "Mock Them!" Dawkins shouted. "Ridicule them! In public!"
In "The End of Faith," atheist Sam Harris wrote that "some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people."
"Since the New Atheists believe that religion is evil," notes Seddon, "that it 'poisons everything,' in (Christopher) Hitchens' words -- it doesn't take much effort to see that Harris is referring to religions and the people who follow them."
Now since atheists are still badly outnumbered in America and less well-armed than the God-and-Country boys, and atheists believe this is the only life they have, atheist suggestions to "kill people" of Christian belief is probably a threat Christians need not take too seriously.
With reference to Dawkins' view that the Christian faith "requires no justification and brooks no argument," Seddon makes a salient point.
While undeniable that Christianity entails a belief in the supernatural, the miraculous -- God became man that first Christmas, Christ raised people from the dead, rose himself on the first Easter Sunday and ascended into heaven 40 days later -- consider what atheists believe.
They believe that something came out of nothing, that reason came from irrationality, that a complex universe and natural order came out of randomness and chaos, that consciousness came from non-consciousness and that life emerged from non-life.
This is a bridge too far for the Christian for whom faith and reason tell him that for all of this to have been created from nothing is absurd; it presupposes a Creator.
Atheists believe, Seddon writes, that "a multiverse (for which there is no experimental or observational evidence) containing an inconceivably large number of universes spontaneously created itself."
Yet, Hitchens insists, "our belief is not a belief."
Nonsense. Atheism requires a belief in the unbelievable.
Christians believe Christ could raise people from the dead because he is God. That is faith. Atheists believe life came out of non-life. That, too, is faith. They believe in what their god, science, cannot demonstrate, replicate or prove. They believe in miracles but cannot identify, produce or describe the miracle worker.
At Christmas, pray for Hitchens, Harris, Dawkins and the other lost souls at that Reason Rally.
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.
For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena . GUN WATCH is now put together by Dean Weingarten.
List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)
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)
Posted by JR at 10:54 AM