Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Ruse of Race

"Equal before the law" is the principle that ends institutional racism, institutional homophobia, institutional genderism, and any other distinction by group in the government of the United States. Who is equal under the law? Individuals.

In an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled Mr. Constitution, this principle, which is the one that inspires Judge Thomas, is made clear:

The case that preceded Brown v. Board of Education (1954) was the separate but equal decision of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). Justice John Marshall Harlan is an example of a Justice putting his personal predilections aside to keep faith with the Constitution. Harlan was a Kentucky aristocrat and former slaveowner, although he was also a Unionist who fought for the North during the Civil War. A man of his time, he believed in white superiority, if not supremacy, and wrote in Plessy that the "white race" would continue to be dominant in the United States "in prestige, in achievements, in education, in wealth and in power. . .for all time, if it remains true to its great heritage and holds fast to the principles of constitutional liberty."

"But," Harlan continued, "in view of the Constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Out Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among its citizens."

That, for Mr. Thomas, is the "great "But,'" where Harlan's intellectual honesty trumped his personal prejudice, causing Mr. Thomas to describe Harlan as his favorite justice and even a roll model. For both of them, justice is truly blind to everything but the law.

None of this, in principle, applies to a person's choices. You get to choose who you marry regardless of race, ethnic group, sexual orientation, or any other group designation. You get to choose who you work with. You get to choose via many discriminations, how you want to live your life. It is the government than cannot discriminate by any of these means.

And none of this applies or can apply to a group. Can you imagine charging someone with assault and battery based on the fact that he is part of a group? "He hit me because he is white, black, gay, or a gypsy!" It makes no sense.

So, what is the reason that people want to have another conversation on race? In a free society you can be a racist or a homophobe. No one expects you to accept people you don't like. And insofar as the government is concerned, the laws have been scrubbed clean of racial qualifiers starting in the 60s. I'm questionning this whole thing about black separatism as the bottom line message in Reverend Wright's speeches. I think the racial separatist message is a means to get his people to think they are underprivileged, left out, un-cared for, in short, an underclass that has been cheated out of something that they are owed. What I think this is about is Marxism and class warfare.

Although Marx and Rousseau as an inellectual base for socialist politics have been discredited, the idea of the poor, the weak, the underclass, the abandoned, is a popular recurring theme. Is is fueled and has currency in our culture beyond the influence of those bygone ideas because of the ethics of Christianity.

We are not only supposed to love the weak, treat them fairly and give them a hand. We are supposed to turn the other cheek, love them no matter what it costs, and gauge our own self-worth based on whether or not we do that.

Reverend Wright is equal before the law. Some of his parishners are rich beyond measure. Michelle Obama is reported to be making $300,000 a year. Yet they talk like they have never gotten a break. This isn't about money. It is about political power - raw, nasty dirty power - the power to have the largesse that the government does unjustly and wrongly give out flow to them. His is a message based on nothing and asking for nothing. It is bitching for a purpose - feel guilty and because you feel sorry for him, you will give him something based on nothing other than your guilt.

Obama has erected his life on community organizing. A community organizer has to search for that place among a populace where he can get them riled up. His purpose is to bring benefits, ususally economic benefits, to the neighborhood in exchange for stopping the bellyaching. What he gets is influence and power over them.

Isn't it odd that this focussed on race? I think Geraldine Ferraro sacrificed herself (with the agreement of the Clintons who are probably repaying her) to get this started. The Left and Christianity demand sacrifice for the greater good. That has been its modus operandi from Day 1. The Clintons have to get your disgust level up against Obama so you will dismiss him, but the one thing they cannot point out is the underclass message. Why? Because it is their message too.

Notice how both Hillary and Obama tout the weakest, the poorest, the sickest, the most effortful efforts of the underclass of our society. They end their speeches with these kinds of remarks almost every time.

You, because you have been taught to turn the other cheek, don't yell when an injustice occurs, don't complain when the government has to have more money to take care of these poor people - you - are being counted on to keep your mouth shut. You have been silenced by what you consider the good. Is it any wonder that the bad, the foulest, the most crooked win whatever you have achieved when you take yourself out of the battle? WAKE UP!


robert574 said...

Reverend Wright and other "racebaters" are doing something very dishonest. By taking the "white conspiracy against blacks" into areas that can't be proven, he is establishing a racism that can be postulated indefinitely among both blacks and whites. For blacks it establishes a myth of white racism that is unforgivable and totally evil...if you believe it. It creates reverse-racism against whites.

Whites therefore must pay indefinitely in order to rid themselves of their guilt. The only thing they can do is establish an endless socialism where whites funnel "guilt-money" into the black communities indefinitely through charity and social welfare. It is an effort to establish socialism of a type never seen before. It is a socialism where one group is kept enslaved indefinitely and must work for their so-called "victims" indefinitely. Under this sort of system, there will never be racial reconciliation because it totally invalidates any of the struggles that whites have engaged in order eliminate racism in our society. It totally invalidates the idea of individual rights and sets the races into a perennial struggle and even race wars.

In view of the fact that Obama did not address this issue in his speech, one has to think that he's in on the game.

principlex said...

You bring up a point which is, I think, important and definitely un-American. Who, for money, would be willing to be a permanent underclass? I can't imagine any self-respecting black to even consider it. This is like reverse serfdom. A black underclass is permanently supported by the producers. During the Middle Ages it was the aristocrats supported by the serfs.

Insofar as the myth of white racism, that is a product of postmodern philosophy, the current most prevalent philosophical influence and which is virulently anti-reason. According to these ideas, whatever skin color you were born with is the kind of racist you are. Everyone is a racist and there is no getting around it. This is bold-faced determinism, the idea which interprets everything as unchosen.
Character means nothing. Making good choices means nothing. Acting morally means nothing. All of any behaviors that work or that you like are determined and unchosen.

principlex said...

This morning I read this Letter to the Editor of the Wall Street Journal. I think it is good and illustrates the point of how easy it is to get caught in the whole matter of race. I agree with this writer that Oprah and others are not thinking about being a bargainer as Shelby Steele asserts. Rather, they are coming from the idea of having their character be primary. I think Oprah has achieved that.

As I said in my original post, the issue that concerns me about Obama is not his race but his Marxism. SCB

Steven Schultz
Princeton, N.J.

Shelby Steele is one of the most gifted writers and critical thinkers in the U.S. today. Nevertheless, he paints with too broad a brush in referring to "the anxiety that goes along with being white in a multiracial society" and "in a society where whites live under constant threat of being stigmatized as racist." As a second-generation American, I don't have any anxiety or guilt for being white today in a multiracial American society; and, I don't live under the threat of being stigmatized as racist by anyone whose opinion I respect as rational and objective. I'm tired of the constant rant of black and white liberal racists about victimhood. As Churchill warned of fanatics, "They won't change their mind and they can't change the subject."

I believe the most pernicious and duplicitous racists in America are the black "challengers" like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan, et. al., and the guilt-ridden white liberals in pursuit of racial innocence despite their inherent racist notions of superiority.

And I disagree with Mr. Steele that Tiger Woods, Michael Jackson and Oprah Winfrey are "bargainers." I think they are living the dream of Martin Luther King, which is to live a colorblind life, judging others not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

principlex said...

To clarify my first comment under this post, I want to say that Robert's post is not un-American. The point he makes of a collective view of racism is un-American in the sense that it is collectivized and anti-individual and does not recognize that the individual has everything to say about whether he is racist regardless of his background.

The idea that everyone is racist by virtue of being born is untrue because it is a varient of determinism, the "theory that everything that happens in the universe - including every thought, feeling, and action of man - is necessitated by previous factors so that nothing could have happened differently than the way it did, and everything in the future is already pre-set and inevitable. Every aspect of man's life and character, on this view, is merely a product of factors that are ultimately outside his control." (Peikoff, Lecture 1 of Philosophy of Objectivism)

or this:

"Dictatorship and determinism are reciprocally reinforcing corollaries: if one seeks to enslave men, one has to destroy their reliance on the validity of their own judgments and choices -- if one believes that reason and volition are impotent, one has to accept the rule of force." ("Representation Without Authorization," The Ayn Rand Letter, 1972)

To disprove determinism, all you have to do is introspect when you make a choice. You, at any point in time, can choose to think or not (the basic choice). By this fact, applied over and over in every aspect of your life, you create yourself and your life. If you cannot choose between alternatives at all levels of your life, let me know. You will be an interesting speciman to study.

If American loses itself - i.e., the idea that every human being has a right to his life and the chance to make something of it, then it must get rid of the idea of the validity of the individual. Immigrants come here for this distinctly American right. Collectivized racism is a way to overthrow that idea.

principlex said...

To distinguish determinism, I decided to bring up the other side of this duo: free will. For Objectivism, this basic choice is beneath the choice to think, the choice to focus. The basic choice is between letting your mind drift and focusing it. The latter sets up thinking and all the choices that can then follow.

Here's one of Rand's best quotes on free will. "Man's consciousness shares with animals the first two stages of its development: sensations and perceptions; but it is the third state, conceptions, that makes him man. Sensations are integrated into perceptions automatically, by the brain of a man or an animal. But to integrate perceptions into conceptions by a process of abstraction, is a feat that man alone has the power to perform -- and he has to perform it by choice. The process of abstraction, and of concept-formation is a process of reason, of thought; it is not automatic nor instinctive nor involuntary nor infallible. Man has to initiate it, to sustain it and to bear responsibility for its results. The pre-conceptual level of consciousness is nonvolitional; volition begins with the first syllogism. Man has the choice to think or to evade -- to maintain a state of full awareness or to drift from moment to moment, in a semi-conscious daze, at the mercy of whatever associational whims the unfocused mechanism of his consciousness produces." ("For the New Intellectual," 1961, pb 14.)