Friday, June 10, 2016

Muhammad Ali’s abhorrent views on race

Some long overdue realism from Jeff Jacoby below.  The adulation currently given to Muhammad Ali is ridiculous to the point of hysteria. It can be explained only by the fact that he was black. It's just Leftist racism again.

It reminds me of the "Obamamania" hysteria in the run up to Obama's first election.  Leftists have such a hard time finding any validation for their beliefs that when they do find some validation of them they go quite over the top.  And one of their most unrealistic beliefs is that blacks are as generally capable as are whites.  That lies behind their constant attempts to get blacks equally represented in various skilled occupations.

So, when they find a black who does actually have something going for him, it fills them with joy.  It props up their very counter-factual worldview.  With blacks heavily over-represented in violent crime, educational failure and welfare dependancy, their absurd view that "all men are equal" is under daily assault

LONG BEFORE he died, Muhammad Ali had been extolled by many as the greatest boxer in history. Some called him the greatest athlete of the 20th century. Still others, like George W. Bush, when he bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, endorsed Ali’s description of himself as “the greatest of all time.” Ali’s death Friday night sent the paeans and panegyrics to even more exalted heights. Fox Sports went so far as to proclaim Muhammad Ali nothing less than “the greatest athlete the world will ever see.”

As a champion in the ring, Ali may have been without equal. But when his idolizers go beyond boxing and sports, exalting him as a champion of civil rights and tolerance, they spout pernicious nonsense.

There have been spouters aplenty in the last few days — everyone from the NBA commissioner (“Ali transcended sports with his outsized personality and dedication to civil rights”) to the British prime minister (“a champion of civil rights”) to the junior senator from Massachusetts (“Muhammad Ali fought for civil rights . . . for human rights . . . for peace”).

Time for a reality check.

It is true that in his later years, Ali lent his name and prestige to altruistic activities and worthy public appeals. By then he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, a cruel affliction that robbed him of his mental and physical keenness and increasingly forced him to rely on aides to make decisions on his behalf.

But when Ali was in his prime, the uninhibited “king of the world,” he was no expounder of brotherhood and racial broad-mindedness. On the contrary, he was an unabashed bigot and racial separatist and wasn’t shy about saying so.

In a wide-ranging 1968 interview with Bud Collins, the storied Boston Globe sports reporter, Ali insisted that it was as unnatural to expect blacks and whites to live together as it would be to expect humans to live with wild animals. “I don’t hate rattlesnakes, I don’t hate tigers — I just know I can’t get along with them,” he said. “I don’t want to try to eat with them or sleep with them.”

Collins asked: “You don’t think that we can ever get along?”

“I know whites and blacks cannot get along; this is nature,” Ali replied. That was why he liked George Wallace, the segregationist Alabama governor who was then running for president.

Collins wasn’t sure he’d heard right. “You like George Wallace?”

“Yes, sir,” said Ali. “I like what he says. He says Negroes shouldn’t force themselves in white neighborhoods, and white people shouldn’t have to move out of the neighborhood just because one Negro comes. Now that makes sense.”

This was not some inexplicable aberration. It reflected a hateful worldview that Ali, as a devotee of Elijah Muhammad and the segregationist Nation of Islam, espoused for years. At one point, he even appeared before a Ku Klux Klan rally. It was “a hell of a scene,” he later boasted — Klansmen with hoods, a burning cross, “and me on the platform,” preaching strict racial separation. “Black people should marry their own women,” Ali declaimed. “Bluebirds with bluebirds, red birds with red birds, pigeons with pigeons, eagles with eagles. God didn’t make no mistake!”

In 1975, amid the frenzy over the impending “Thrilla in Manila,” his third title fight with Joe Frazier, Ali argued vehemently in a Playboy interview that interracial couples ought to be lynched. “A black man should be killed if he’s messing with a white woman,” he said. And it was the same for a white man making a pass at a black woman. “We’ll kill anybody who tries to mess around with our women.” But suppose the black woman wanted to be with the white man, the interviewer asked. “Then she dies,” Ali answered. “Kill her too.”

Ali was contemptuous of black boxers, such as Frazier or Floyd Patterson, who didn’t share his racist outlook. His insults were often explicitly racial. He smeared Frazier as an “Uncle Tom” and a “gorilla” whose inferiority fueled stereotypes of black men as “ignorant, stupid, ugly, and smelly.”

Ali was many fine things. A champion of civil rights wasn’t among them. Martin Luther King Jr. at one point called him “a champion of segregation.” If, later in life, Ali abandoned his racist extremism, that is to his credit. It doesn’t, however, make him an exemplar of brotherhood and tolerance. And it doesn’t alter history: At the zenith of Ali’s career, when fans by the millions hung on his every word, what he often chose to tell them was indecent and grotesque.

SOURCE.  There's another critical comment here.


What's going on with Donald Trump?

Richard Muller, Prof Physics, UCBerkeley, gives a surprisingly acute and dispassionate explanation below for what motivates most Trump supporters. He actually describes my thinking quite well and I suspect that he describes it so well because it has something in common with his own thinking.  Few politicians are  expert at anything so you judge the man as a whole and hope that he takes expert advice on matters of detail

Many people in the United States (and around the world) believe that it takes no particular skill or knowledge to be President of the United States, or the head of any government. These are people who believe that intuition and feeling is more important than expertise.

(As I have before, I strongly recommend Alan Cromer’s great book, Uncommon Sense in which he describes in some detail the dramatically different ways that people approach problems.)

These people have a sense that the entire system is corrupt, and that running the government consists of making decisions based on common sense. If extra information is necessary, then the President can solicit it from specialists. Why would the President need to know the difference between Sunni and Shiite, when he can always ask? Why would the president need to know the difference between fusion and fission, or the meaning of the nuclear “triad”, when he can have experts at his beck and call? What is most needed is someone who feels and thinks like you do, and who can be trusted.

Can he be trusted? Well, let’s give him 4 years and see. If he turns out to be corrupt as everyone else, then we can throw him out. It’s worth the risk.

For many such people, Donald Trump seems to be ideal. They like the way that he speaks his mind; they like his self confidence, and even his arrogance. He does not put up with insult or slights; he gives back more than he gets. In many ways, he appears to be a common man who has been successful, and (since no skill or knowledge is needed) will be the perfect person to put in charge.

People who feel this way will not be persuaded by arguments that Trump is unprepared, since they don’t think preparation is necessary. Deep down, they think that they themselves could be a good President. All it really takes is a degree of honesty, and a refusal to be corrupt; an ability to ignore the bribes and the lobbyists and to simply do the right thing. The people who run for office do so from a combination of luck and corruption; maybe because they knew the right people. It’s not what you know, but who you know. [grammatical error made purposefully]

I grew up surrounded by such people in the South Bronx. They read the New York Daily News, and saw in it a common sense that they shared. The world is simple but corrupt; let’s put someone in charge who will not be beholden to special interests.

Think about this when you talk to Trump supporters. Arguments that Trump is not qualified seem irrelevant to them. They distrust “policy” as a kind of alien religion; just do what is right, and you can tell what is right by trusting your instincts.

If you are an intellectual, or someone who thinks either that Trumps policies are misguided, or that Trump actually has no policies, or someone who thinks Trump gets his facts wrong, you will be very hard put to change the minds of any Trump supporter. Such people think differently than you do. The essence of character and experience that you consider essential, they regard as irrelevant.

I think this is why Trump has been so immune to the standard objections that could destroy the political careers of conventional politicians. Many people find him attractive; they see him as someone who approaches national and international issues with the same intuitive approach that they take, and they find that comforting.



You’re Stupid, So We Are Going to Take Away Your Freedom

In a country based on the principle of liberty, should we really contemplate depriving people of freedom because they sometimes don’t make choices experts think are best for them? My title really understates the liberty-depriving philosophy of the nanny state. More accurately, it is: Some people make what we think are bad choices, so we are going to deprive everyone of liberty.

I’m thinking about this after reading Harvard Professor John Y. Campbell’s article in the May 2016 issue of the American Economic Review titled “Restoring Rational Choice: The Challenge of Rational Consumer Regulation.” Campbell reviews several bad financial decisions consumers tend to make, such as not refinancing their mortgages when it is financially beneficial to do so, and ultimately concludes, “The complexity of twenty-first century financial arrangements poses a daunting challenge to households managing their financial affairs” so “household financial mistakes create a new rationale for intervention in the economy.” People make financial decisions that Professor Campbell thinks are mistakes, so he wants government to intervene.

Professor Campbell has lots of company here. People argue that government should restrict consumer’s choices of what drugs to take (both recreational and pharmaceutical), force them to pay for safety equipment on their cars that that, as it turns out, can explode and kill them, force them to participate in a government retirement program, and even limit their ability to buy sugary carbonated beverages. In all these cases, the argument is that left to their own devices, people make “bad” choices, so the government should intervene to force them to act more (to use Campbell’s term) rationally.

Freedom has no meaning if people are only free to make the choices government experts think are rational.

The arrogance of this view of the appropriate role of government is striking. Progressive thinking from people like Professor Campbell and Michael Bloomberg concludes that they can make better decisions for you than you could make yourself; therefore, they will force you to do what they think is best. But ultimately, it won’t be Campbell or Bloomberg who will make those decisions for you, it will be a group of politicians who are more looking out for their own political futures than your welfare. Does government really make better choices for people than they can make themselves?

Campbell’s conclusion that “household financial mistakes create a new rationale for government intervention in the economy” overlooks long-standing government interventions into household financial affairs. One only has to look at the Social Security program, established because people make the “mistake” of not saving enough for their retirements. That system currently gives taxpayers a lower rate of return on their payroll taxes than they could get if they invested in the stock market. In theory, people make mistakes; in practice, government intervention into household financial affairs leaves many of them worse off. And that’s without noting the projections that the system soon will be broke.

The nanny state’s premise that people should be deprived of their freedoms because they might make bad choices attacks the political philosophy upon which this nation was founded. If Campbell wants to spread the word that people are making what he views as financial mistakes, I’m all in favor of that. But it strikes at the ideals of the American Founders to suggest that people’s financial mistakes offer a new rationale for government intervention in the economy.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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