Why Are the People Here So Docile?

There’s an interesting post over at The Economist, musing over why the poor in America aren’t “up in arms”. Like a bad storyteller, I’ll jump to the conclusion:

  1. Being poor isn’t as bad as it used to be.
  2. In the United States the poor don’t think they deserve to be treated any better than they are.

Both of those factors may be true but I don’t think they fully explain why Americans are so docile. There are other factors which IMO are equally or even more important.

First, there’s a bipartisan consensus to subsidize the rich, both the ultra-rich and the merely well-off, and to imprison the miscreant poor.

Second, there’s no ready alternative. You can either support the Republicans who voted to cut taxes on the rich, increase taxes on the poor, and import low-skill workers to push the wages of the low-skill workers already here down. Or you can support the Democrates who voted to cut taxes on the rich, increase taxes on the poor, and import low-skill workers to push the wages of the low-skill workers already here down. It’s a Hobson’s Choice.

Finally, my study of revolutions suggests that the poor never rebel. The Glorious Revolution in England, the American Revolution, the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and the Chinese Revolutions of 1911 and 1949 were all launched by one group of elites against another group of elites. The general rule is that educated, urban elites foment revolution against agrarian elites who depend on the ownership of land for their wealth.

Here in the United States our own elites benefit mightily from the system as it is. They like the way things are. Unless the snow doesn’t get removed on the QT from their neighborhoods, of course. It will take a lot more than that to make one group of our elites unhappy enough to rebel against another. On behalf of the poor, of course.

42 comments… add one

  • PD Shaw

    A. Expectations are important. Being poor isn’t as bad as it used to be if you were raised poor.

    B. What does revolution mean in an age of specialized, indirect production? The serfs could seize and work the farms; the laborers could seize and work the factory. Workers of the world unite and seize the McMansions?

    C. Organization skills appear to be atrophied. I think American culture has become more individualistic, whether on the right or left. While I think the blogosphere had more organizational ambitions 10-15 years ago, its really just individuals with top-down assumptions talking with others. Weakness of political parties and unions are more problematic than two-party limitations.

    D. I find most Americans do not have political sense (similar to the complaint about number sense). Smart people can recite School House Rocks facts, but don’t understand how politics works on the ground. Political action requires an understanding of the roles of the branches of government, as well as the roles of federal, state and local government. Also understanding some of the kabuki theatre aspects of law-making, what is misdirection and why.

  • TastyBits

    Rich celebrities may be ostentatious, but most Americans actually find it amusing. Most of the remaining rich do not intentionally flaunt it in front of the less well off.

    Warehousing the poor keeps the peasants too “happy” to revolt. Maintaining a substandard school system ensures the peasants will be too “dumb” to revolt. Declaring “War on Poverty” keeps the peasants “fat” to revolt. “Fat, dumb, and happy” peasants tend not to revolt, but this is just a coincidence.

    The American Revolution was really the American Liberation. Recently, @Steven L. Taylor at OTB had a post on some of the characteristics. Unless anybody wants to get into the weeds, it is a good summary.

    In the US, there is a “liberation” every 3 -4 years. It may not be 100% to anybody’s liking, but it is usually not 100% to anybody’s not liking. There are a number of safety valves to relieve revolutionary pressure, and the First Amendment guarantees several.

    Recently, the firebreathing partisans have taken to using the primaries as a means of fighting a revolutionary war. This may seem silly and pointless to some, but it is an important mechanism. In other countries, these would be accompanied by gallons of blood.

    Revolutions are bloody, and the idealists always are always slaughtered. Revolutions are about power not ideals, and power goes to the most ruthless and/or most cunning. Always.

    Today’s agitators, will be tomorrow’s traitors, and they will be denounced by their most ruthless comrades. At OTB, there a few commenters who would be ruthless, and they are not among the thumbs down crowd. “Beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

  • jan

    Poor is a descriptive label of a person’s economic status compared to another, in respective countries, not to the world as a whole. Here in the states, our “poor” would generally be considered relatively well-off in comparison to the slums of India, the Philippines, Africa etc. But, when you compare U.S. moguls to their average countryman, most of us are relatively “poor” — just in different stages and degrees.

    Somehow, though, I don’t see our poor as particularly docile because they are happy. In fact, any suggestion of this kind of unusual obedience seems more reminiscent of a broken spirit, tamped down by fear and/or appeasement, that is usually exerted by outside powerful forces — like an omnipotent centralized government. Consequently, IMO the absence of riots in the streets and/or open populace rebellion, is an outgrowth of our increasingly liberal agenda, promoting dependency programs that, at the same time, diminish individual empowerment and success. These programs, however, do not raise people out of poverty, but rather keeps the status quo of the poor either in place or increasing in numbers — fed and sheltered enough to be placated, placid, and inoculated with the belief that this is all there is, the most that can be hoped for or expected.

    IOW, the popular liberal progressive message currently circulating is that struggling masses of people are better off to keep voting for scraps these policies offer, rather then those proposed by others, which might loosen up, expand the economy, giving the poor and poorer middle class opportunities to move out of their meager circumstances and provide for themselves. Of course, multiplying opportunities, rather than simply redistributing monies, is a much more dynamic process involving personal passion, energy and risk — traits we are slowly leeching out of the people by ‘giving’ them just enough to exist, for free, creating what I guess some are calling a ‘docile,’ beholding type of society.

  • michael reynolds

    The poor have the safety net, their votes, the illusion of economic mobility and of course poor whites are brainwashed to identify with rich whites as opposed to poor blacks or Latinos. Put it all together and you have stability. Until one of those elements breaks down.

  • steve

    1) Interesting. I just had this argument recently with a bunch of libertarians. There have been relatively few successful revolutions conducted by poor people. It takes some money and it takes some commitment.

    2) Revolutions are harder in big countries.

    3) You need intellectual leaders to provide a framework. There was some push for communism in the US in the 30s, but as a movement now, it is pretty much shot. A revolt would not be promoting a new ideology, just better and more fair govt. How do you generate the kind of passion that make people willing to die for that?

    4) The media is owned by the wealthy.

    5) At some level, I suspect there is acceptance that low skilled workers in the US are competing with low skilled workers on a global level.

    Steve

  • TastyBits

    @michael reynolds

    … of course poor whites are brainwashed to identify with rich whites as opposed to poor blacks or Latinos. …

    Having 99% is not good enough for you. You want 100%. You got to love those rich liberals.

  • Michael Reynolds

    Tasty:

    No idea what that’s supposed to mean.

  • steve

    Just curious. Why do people seem to think that rich people tend to be liberal? When actually studied they donate to and support the GOP by a small margin. I have been reading blogs for many years and I am accustomed to the sneering “rich liberal” comments but it is fairly uncommon to see the same made about rich conservatives.

    I also think we forgot to note that people dont always vote their economic preferences. A lot of people are single issue voters (abortion) and many vote primarily on a basket of social issues. Some of us vote primarily on foreign policy.

    Steve

  • Ben Wolf

    @steve

    The term liberal is used as a synonym for Democrat, nowadays. So if a conservative rich person donates to a blue guy he’s automatically called a liberal.

  • michael reynolds

    Steve:

    I suspect it’s a carryover of the the logic of the plantation. The rich white planter made common cause with the poor whites on the grounds of race. This despite the fact that of course slavery is what impoverished the whites to begin with since they couldn’t compete with slave labor. But never mind logic, the poor white reassured himself that at least he wasn’t black.

    So a hierarchy existed that had rich whites at the top, followed by poor whites, with blacks at the bottom. This made it impossible for poor white and poor black to work together to challenge the rich white planter. This hierarchy was enforced with guns in the hands of poor whites.

    Liberals on the other hand tend to despise the very thing (racism) that confers status on poor whites. We blame them for the thing they cling to that allows them to feel superior. We deprive the poor white of his assumed status and he resents it. What do we offer in exchange? A social safety net that does not elevate either poor whites or poor blacks out of poverty but treats poor whites and poor blacks as equals.

    Translation to a poor white? “You are still poor and now you’re no better than a black man.” Rich conservatives offer poor white folks a myth of innate superiority, rich liberals offer them an equality that translates as a demotion.

    Also liberals tend not to be terribly religious, or to love guns, or to serve in the military, or to live in rural areas, and of course we’re imagined to be great snobs who eat Brie, drink Chardonnay and read books not written by Fox News hosts. Recipe for antagonism. And from this you get morons who let their kids get sick because their rich white governor refuses to allow them to accept extended Medicaid.

  • Ben Wolf

    Bye the way, we tend to forget the Zapatista’s who were poor, who did rebel and did so successfully. The next American rebellion will look much like it, a secession-without seceeding model where regions of the country simply refuse to play the game any more.

  • PD Shaw

    I thought of mentioning the Haitian Revolution (the only slave revolt that succeeded in forming a new nation), but some might point to the role of the Creole caste. I don’t know when the mulatos took charge of the revolution, but a country with a ratio of 10:1 slave to free should still be considered an uprising from the bottom of society. A small country though, not even a whole island.

    I think the American Revolution was not elite in its instigation. The Boston political violence strikes me as the actions of conspiratorial, religiously bigoted gangs of young men enjoying fun and outrage, with the Adams cousins assiduously avoiding any visible connection. This was a popular uprising by the middle class or middle class aspirants that was subsequently organized and given vision by the wealthiest men in British North America.

  • TastyBits

    @Michael Reynolds

    No idea what that’s supposed to mean.

    I do not believe that, but here it goes:

    A large percentage of the black and brown population is poor. The liberals were not the cause, but their “War on Poverty” has not helped. Now, liberals are trying to get the poor white voters.

    The poor voters do not have anything, but their votes will allow the rich to acquire the remaining wealth of the middle class or the 1% the rich do not own.

    As more regulations are enacted, more jobs move overseas. As more jobs move overseas, more people lose their assets. As more people lose their assets, more people join the poor.

    Let us compare theory with reality:

    President Obama elected. Liberal theory enacted. $800 billion stimulus bill passed, numerous regulations enacted, Obamacare passed, more regulations enacted, promises made, blah, blah, blah, jobs go away, stock market zooms to record highs, median wages go down, rich have record income increases, rich have record everything going up, everybody else have record income inequality, rich liberals have record caring spree.

    Being a fiction writer has its advantages, but honestly, you are not the hero.

  • PD Shaw

    @steve, rich liberal is not descriptive, its an accusation of hypocrisy. I doubt anybody thinks rich conservatives don’t exist; they are blessed with transparency.

  • michael reynolds

    If I were going to try and start a revolution in the US I’d look to religion as the emotional underpinning. The angriest people in America are religious conservatives. Their mythology is being dismantled with civil rights, women’s rights, now gay rights. Each of these steps deprives them of a sense of superiority. They lose status.

    They’re already armed. They are concentrated outside of major cities. They have a unifying “ideology” of primitive Christianity and a sense of victimization. They already have dozens of so-called militias – proto-terrorist groups. Rural, religious, resentful of change — that’s a winning combination. Or would be if we had more Hindu Kush and less Great Plains.

  • michael reynolds

    Tasty:

    Go find a graph showing job losses. Now look at the dates. Now look up the arrow of time and cause and effect. See if you can explain how a liberal president caused a meltdown before he came to office.

    The truth is we’ve been cutting minimum wage for years and years. Minimum wage is now far lower in real terms than it was a few decades ago. That’s what conservatives said would yield jobs, jobs, jobs! Did it? No.

    Conservatives said tax cuts would yield jobs, jobs, jobs! Did that happen? No.

    Conservatives said if we lowered the deficit it would yield jobs, jobs, jobs! So under Mr. Clinton we did that. And did it yield jobs? No.

    Conservatives said if we’d cut regulation of banks and financial companies, it would yield jobs, jobs, jobs! And did it? No. It crashed the economy and destroyed jobs.

    And what that has to do with your inexplicable earlier remark I still don’t know.

  • TastyBits

    @steve

    If you look at the liberal groups, you will see that they are not supported by middle & lower income people. These are supported by rich people. Hence – rich liberals.

    These liberal groups influence far more legislation than any conservative groups. Therefore, we should say “powerful rich liberals”, and since most of them are white, they are properly called “powerful rich white liberals”.

  • michael reynolds

    PD:

    I think that’s right, that the basic accusation is one of hypocrisy. But why? Liberals have never said they were against wealth. Our greatest liberal icons are people with names like Roosevelt and Kennedy.

  • michael reynolds

    Or at least Clooney and Damon.

  • Ben Wolf

    The minimum wage adjusted for inflation is about 26% lower now than in 1968, yet the people earning that wage are much better educated given that a significantly higher percentage have a high school diploma.

  • TastyBits

    @michael reynolds

    Poor black and brown voters identify with rich white liberals, and they vote for the interests of the rich white liberals. If the poor white voter were to also identify with the rich white liberals, the rich white liberals would be able to acquire the remaining wealth for the rich.

    Sorry. The smartest people in the whole wide world designed the best stimulus package in the whole wide world. It was supposed to save the economy, and this is the best they could do. Honestly, my two dogs could have put together a better plan – two dog turds on a newspaper.

    As to Banking and Financial regulations, I am not sure where you have been, but I have written extensively on these. I have fought with the left and the right on this issue. For the 47,000th time, repealing Glass-Steagall was the problem, and this occurred in 1999. Dodd-Frank will not fix the problem, and it will occur again. When not if.

    The powerful rich white liberal telling the poor black person how to vote is not racist. Funny how the liberal can insert himself into an otherwise racist situation and suddenly the racism disappears. Being a powerful rich white liberal has its privileges, but somehow the powerful, rich, and liberal seem to have been omitted.

  • ...

    This was a popular uprising by the middle class or middle class aspirants that was subsequently organized and given vision by the wealthiest men in British North America.

    But PD, the middle class IS an elite. That’s where the professionals have always lived. They’re in the middle because they’re not at the top (the nobility in the old Europe) and they’re not at the bottom (the peasants, serfs and such). It is an American accident that we had a large middle class.

    I believe many of the revolutions mentioned by Schuler have been the professional middle class revolting against the then ruling elite. But the lawyers and doctors and such usually constitute a different sort of elite.

  • TastyBits

    @michael reynolds

    On a previous thread, I proposed a yearly minimum wage increase. It could be a fixed percentage, or it could be tied to SS COLA adjustments.

    That could have been solved when Democrats had all three branches with a filibuster-proof Senate, but like tax hikes, they forgot. Somehow the smartest people in the whole wide world cannot remember anything. Maybe we should pin a note to President Obama’s shirt.

  • steve

    “Sorry. The smartest people in the whole wide world designed the best stimulus package in the whole wide world. It was supposed to save the economy”

    4th quarter 2008 was the worst or 2nd worst quarter since the Great Depression. The stimulus, or something, stopped that slide. Maybe just the confidence from having the GOP out of office, but I dont think you can discount the stimulus on that front. Once we realized how bad the damage really was it was clear we had many years until recovery.

    “Poor black and brown voters identify with rich white liberals”

    What is your evidence for this claim? Certainly not true for the ones I have known well, though that has been a while. I dont really see blacks or poor whites voting because people tell them what to do. It strikes me that blacks and browns vote for Dems because they have no option. The fear, distrust and dislike of minorities is pretty clear among the GOP base. Poor whites, like many not poor whites are voting on social issues that are important to them, including abortion, or because of the issues they believe in. That, plus tradition and opposition to anything Democratic.

    “Liberals have never said they were against wealth.”

    Exactly. Never have seen the hypocrisy in just being wealthy.

    Steve

  • ...

    Never have seen the hypocrisy in just being wealthy.

    When you premise your electoral strategy off class envy, being wealthy is in fact hypocrisy.

  • Merrcer

    “Democrates who voted to cut taxes on the rich, ”

    Obama has raised taxes on the rich.

    The poor did not launch a revolution during the Gilded Age but they carried out massive strikes that paralyzed the economy and were stopped only with military force. I think the widespread strikes were what moved progressives like TR to help the poor.

  • TastyBits

    @steve

    … Once we realized how bad the damage really was it was clear we had many years until recovery.

    In other words, the people who designed the stimulus package did not know their ass from a hole in the ground. When I go in for knee surgery but the doctor cuts off my balls, I would say he does not know what he is doing, but then again, I am not one of the smartest people in the whole wide world.

    If they did not know how bad it was going to be, they did not know their ass from a hole in the ground.

    Let me restate: They were not qualified to know how unqualified they were for the job, but that seems to be a qualification for this Administration.

  • TastyBits

    @steve

    What is your evidence for this claim? …

    The logic is within the original statement:

    … poor whites are brainwashed to identify with rich whites as opposed to poor blacks or Latinos. …

    The sentence is poorly structured, and it is difficult to determine the exact meaning. We know he is a well accomplished author, and it is unlikely he threw together this structure haphazardly. This portion of the sentence is thrown as a political jab, but it is telling.

    He tells us that poor whites are brainwashed. The result of this brainwashing is for them to identify with a specific group, and he identifies the specific group as rich whites. We can safely assume he means rich white conservatives. We can also safely assume that the rich whites are racists, and part of the brainwashing includes racist indoctrination.

    The final clause is “as opposed to poor blacks and Latinos.” The structure is: “poor group A is brainwashed to identify with group B”. The first option is: “poor whites brainwashed to identify with poor blacks and Latinos.”

    This does not make any sense. The poor whites are not being brainwashed by the rich white conservatives to be racists, but non-brainwashed poor whites are not racists. Therefore, there would be no need to brainwash them to identify with blacks and Latinos.

    The second option is: “poor blacks and Latinos brainwashed to identify with rich white conservatives.” This makes even less sense.

    We are left with a sentence structure with two senseless options written by an accomplished author. There must be another explanation, and if we examine the generic structure, there is.

    With a slight modification, the structure is: “poor group A is brainwashed to identify with rich white group B”. Now things become clear. “Poor whites” and “rich white conservatives” go together, and “poor blacks and Latinos” and “rich white liberals” go together.

    My statement left out the brainwashed part: “Poor black and brown voters identify with rich white liberals”

    I do not believe that anybody has been brainwashed, and therefore, I did not include it.

    @michael reynolds

    I do dislike anybody trying to be cute. There are no “mean girls” thumbs up/down here. Throwing in snide partisan political comments are not going to get you a pretty color.

  • Ben Wolf

    When you premise your electoral strategy off class envy, being wealthy is in fact hypocrisy.

    Never seen a strategy of class envy, other than the Republican strategy of making billionaires angry the poor still have 37 cents to their names. No one is more envious than the wealthy.

  • TastyBits

    @steve

    … It strikes me that blacks and browns vote for Dems because they have no option. …

    I really try to believe liberals just ignorant not racist, but it gets really hard. They are human beings, and being humans, they have brains. They do wash their heads, but they are not brainwashed. As such, they can vote for anybody on the ballot. Just because people are poor, they are not stupid.

    Here again, we have a powerful, rich, white liberal telling a poor black man that he has no options. If he had no options, he should not vote, but obviously, that is not what you mean. The only way for the poor black man’s vote to benefit the powerful, rich, white liberal is to vote Dem.

    After voting Dem, the poor black man will be just as poor, and the powerful, rich, white liberal will be blaming Republicans, conservatives, Santa Claus, Syria, housing bubble, who knows for the poor black man still being poor.

    Let help you with the reality. This applies for all races and colors.

    People at the bottom expect the rich and powerful to tell them all sorts of crap. Whatever. It is expected for people at the bottom. It is like being deaf in one ear. You learn how to deal wit it, and you get on with your life.

    Shit flows downhill. You never piss-off the powerful because they can send more shit your way. You just do not get it because you never expect to get shit on.

    To review: Black & brown people are humans capable of thinking. They have options, and they know this. Poor people know that when powerful people tell them that they have no options, it is best to act like they have no options. Powerful, rich liberals are trying to use the poor black and brown folks to benefit powerful, rich liberals.

    … The fear, distrust and dislike of minorities is pretty clear among the GOP base. …

    You should replace “the GOP base” with “white people.” I would suggest that most enlightened liberals are only enlightened in white supermajority settings. Signs you might not be quite as non-racist as you think you are:

    You move when the third minority family moves onto your block.

    Your child changes schools when the school becomes more than 15% minority.

    You would never live in a 40%+ minority neighborhood or send your child to a 40%+ minority school. (be honest)

    Have ever had more than 3 minority couples (heterosexual) or 2 minority families (w/4 or more children) to a family party.

    Do you know anything about your minority friend: children’s names, birthday’s.

    Have you ever been to a family function at your minority friend’s house or given their child a birthday present.

    How many of your white friends have the same minority friend.

    When you all go out after work, is it always to a white majority establishment.

    When planning a driving route do you intentionally stay out of certain areas because there are too many minority folks hanging around.

    If you stop for gas, do you pull off if there are too many minority folks.

    Do you suddenly drop something if the elevator has too many minority men in it.

    Do you try to talk about minority political issues with minority people in an effort to bond. Bonus – Do you really think they give a shit about your dumb ass crap.

    I hate to break this to all you “enlightened liberals”, but I can assure you that the black folks are not buying it. I am not very familiar with the brown folks, but it is probably the same.

    If you ever get to really know a few black people you will discover that your stereotype is a caricature, but it is unlikely that you will ever get to really know any black folks. This is because you do not have white privilege. You have powerful privilege.

  • steve

    “Here again, we have a powerful, rich, white liberal telling a poor black man that he has no options.”

    Nope. I am not telling anyone how to vote. I believe very much that they have brains. My sister is married to a black guy, my daughter to a Puerto Rican (first generation). I go to the family functions, unless I can get out of them. My Spanish sucks so sometimes I sit and smile when they argue in Spanish, but the food is good so I am happy. That said, I would agree that many white people are not happy about mixing with people of color, but that doesnt mean they are willing to translate that into policy that would be harmful to minorities. That is primarily a GOP response. Sure, you can make the case that left of center policies have not helped much, or that there were unintended consequences that ended up being bad, but the active animus seen on the right is not as prominent on the left.

    Where I would distinguish this from Michael, is that I dont think this is all racism. I think a lot of it is just suspicion, fear and not wanting to lose privilege, i.e. I dont think they believe that minorities are inherently inferior. Border fences, voter ID laws, etc. are not necessarily intended to be racist. I know that a lot of people who support these are well intended and most definitely not, AFAICT, racist.

    “Powerful, rich liberals are trying to use the poor black and brown folks to benefit powerful, rich liberals.”

    I dont really see this because I believe, as someone else said…

    “Black & brown people are humans capable of thinking. ”

    The really, really weird thing here is that because of all the people I know, I assume they arent doing anything because some amorphous group of white people are telling them what to do. It seems to be your assumption that they are too stupid to think for themselves. I am assuming, based at least partially upon the people I know and have known, that they are voting overwhelmingly against the GOP because they have reasons for doing so and they arent just taking orders.

    If the GOP ever decides to give them options, they will flock to the party. It is not as if the Dems have been all that great. Until that happens, until you get the Tancredos off the presidential tickets, and you get the race baiters off talk radio, I suspect that people capable of thinking on their own will continue to figure out where they are not welcome.

    (As an aside, I am of course probably overly influenced by the people I know, and in my area and my life, my sister lives far away, it is mostly brown people. Drinking beers and talking with my son-in-law has reminded me again how culturally and fiscally conservative so many Hispanics are, so when politics came up I finally asked him why he didnt vote Republican. He said he might some day, but didnt feel very welcome there right now. OTOH, my Cuban partner, second generation, is as conservative as they come. )

    Steve

    PS- You really shouldnt make assumptions about other people. I can easily answer yes to just about all of your questions, but I am not sure what that proves. (I dont talk politics in order to bond with anyone. Seems like kind of a silly reason to talk politics. Is that what you do?)

    Steve

  • TastyBits

    @steve

    I appreciate the response. It was really thoughtful, and I cannot ask for more. I think we could find a lot to agree or mostly agree upon. Unfortunately, that must not be.

    Many of my comments are also directed to a larger audience. There are many other readers who do not comment. Occasionally, one may pop-up, and some are just passing through. If I am addressing you, my long winded comment is probably to get a larger point across to them.

    The list was meant to be a jolt for anybody who may think they are not a racist. They may not be, but their actions may be highly racially insensitive. This is applicable to liberals or conservatives.

    When I attack my liberal friends, my conservative friends tend to follow the argument more closely. I am hoping that this may be a way to enlighten them.

    You could probably add 10 items, and the black and brown folks you know could add another 40 or 50. I like the idea of a list that points things that you may do that are racially insensitive. Something needs to be done, but until people understand that they are unintentionally being hurtful, nothing is going to change.

    Back when reparations for slavery was a hot topic, there would always be one guy who would want to show his solidarity with the “black man”, and he would bring up the topic. It never had anything remotely to do with what was being discussed.

    Regarding the powerful rich white liberal man theme: I am weaving some leftist logic into a larger narrative. This has been going on for a few weeks, but I am not sure anybody has noticed.

    The short version is that many liberal causes have been hijacked by powerful rich people. These causes are supported by rich liberals, but the rich liberals do not support what their causes are being used for. At least, I do not think.

    Conservatives believe that they are supporting a “free market capitalist system”, but the system is anything but free. Most of the conservative heros financially support the liberal groups they despise. These groups pull in far more money than the regular rich liberals can afford.

    @Dave Schuler has posted on most of these topics multiple times. He is usually much nicer.

  • Zachriel

    steve: If the GOP ever decides to give them options, they will flock to the party. It is not as if the Dems have been all that great.

    In fact, there are a lot of conventionally conservative blacks, but they still vote Democratic. The Republicans work very hard to alienate minorities. It’s one of their their shticks.

  • TastyBits

    @steve

    If the GOP ever decides to give them options, they will flock to the party. …

    I did not get to this, but I will take this opening. One thing that bothered me (read: really pissed me off) about Mitt Romney was the 47% comment and the Republican reaction.

    If he won, he would have been president of 100% of Americans. The 47% will never vote for you until they know you, and they will never know you until you meet them personally. It may take 10 to 20 years of campaigning in Chicago before Republicans would get a double digit percentage, but it would be progress.

    To my earlier comments: I know that there is still a lot of racism in this country, and I am sure @steve knows it. Furthermore, this knowledge is first or second hand.

  • The Republican Party had a latch on the black vote from Reconstruction until Franklin Roosevelt created his coalition in the 1930s. They’ve remained faithful ever since despite their merciless exploitation by Democrats. To get some gauge of that look at the Congressional Democratic leadership and the legislative record of the last twenty or thirty years.

  • jan

    Your child changes schools when the school becomes more than 15% minority.

    I got a chuckle out of that comment, Tasty.

    My son’s elementary school had a 70% composition of minority students with the remaining being a paltry 30% profiling as ‘white.’ In fact his pasty white, blue eyed, blonde-haired appearance stood out like a neon sign in the midst of all the darker skin colors. I remember he didn’t like going to the beach with his class, as his contrasting hue was even more obvious there, from that of his peers. However, his clownish and friendly personality prevailed, and he experienced racial diversity in his friendships at a young age —something that has extended into his adult years. I found when you don’t emphasize race, race doesn’t become the issue in relationships. Bonding or not, is based more on whether you have things in common and like each other.

    The irony, though, of this lopsided school culture was that the hard core parents doing most of the work, were a group of around 10 women — all but one being white. Everything from creating school gardens, murals, read-a-thons, book fairs, sweatshirt sales, helping out in the class room, reading mentors etc. was generated from this small group. I personally was disappointed that the ethnic make-up of the school wasn’t reflected more in the hands-on efforts of parent volunteers.

    If the GOP ever decides to give them options, they will flock to the party. It is not as if the Dems have been all that great.

    I have never considered the GOP to be the racist party that the dems continue to mouth. It is well documented that before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the dems were more the instigators of black intimidation and dialing back civil rights than the GOP. Since the era of the Civil Right’s marches, the dems have now imbibed in inflammatory rhetoric and entitlement programs keeping African Americans attracted and tethered almost exclusively to their party, in a beholding type of pattern — no matter how grim or economically eroding their policies prove to be. This manufactured kind of base-loyalty has been achieved, IMO, by keeping racial tensions alive, well, and boiling, along with draping any alternative, conservative ideas as “bad” and racially motivated. Furthermore, if there are any race baiters in the American equation, I would point to the Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons of the world, who do little but pick and choose events that fester discrimination wounds, which then makes a niche for themselves to continue to be racially relevant and rich.

  • jan

    The Republican Party had a latch on the black vote from Reconstruction until Franklin Roosevelt created his coalition in the 1930s.

    During Rosevelt’s first term, the concerns of blacks were largely ignored, as Roosevelt needed the votes of Southern dems to pass his relief legislation. In fact his New Deal legislation was called the “Raw Deal” by many southern black leaders.

    Black history has been revised, oftentimes muted or distorted, in attempts to cover up the dems involvement in a disgraceful period of time.

  • steve

    “It is well documented that before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the dems were more the instigators of black intimidation and dialing back civil rights than the GOP.”

    OK, lets go over this one more time. Where did those Dems live who were doing this stuff? The South. Where did the Republicans live who voted in favor of Civil Rights? The North. What has happened since then? The South now makes up the base of support for the GOP. The people who were instigating intimidation have changed parties. It is called the Southern strategy. This is old and very well known. Also simplistic.

    The South as it exists now does not have the racists it did in the 50s and 60s. It has conservative voters who are afraid that their culture and way of life is being changed. That their jobs will be lost to people of color. That their tax money is being used to help, preferentially, people of color.

    Steve

  • PD Shaw

    I meant to mention religion as a place where organizational skills are honed that could be a source of organized opposition. Church politics is a tough sport. Today’s lessons:

    (1) Control who can vote. The Shaws are members when money is asked for and their participation is encouraged, but not when the votes are uncertain.

    (2) Control who can speak. If the non-members won’t leave when strongly encouraged, prevent them from voicing their opinions.

    (3) Pack the real debate in committee. Make it hard for non-committee members to understand the issues and what alternative approaches might be available.

    (4) Present the proposal with little advance notice. If you’ve worked on a proposal for months, still don’t hint at the conclusions and release paperwork until the day of the vote. Repress opposition and embarrassing questions.

    (5) Present the proposal as the only alternative. People always feel comfortable making an unpleasant vote if their excuse is they had no (or at least an uncertain) alternative.

    (6) Maximize leverage through parliamentary procedures. Don’t ask for discussion on a second, call for a vote. Make sure the parliamentarian is an advocate.

    (7) Use of lawyers may be encouraged for their unique ability to advance a position, without concern for bigger issues or questions. Those more interested in the big questions of why we are here or what are we doing should see a member of the clergy.

  • PD Shaw

    Perhaps I did not make the case for religious organization. Concerted action is hard.

  • jan

    My understanding of the simplistic “Southern Strategy” was an effort by Nixon (who voted for the Civil Rights Act in 1957, which many prominent dems opposed) to discourage the south from voting for the very dems not sharing their values and were discriminating against blacks. Some of this is discussed in an earlier piece published by the Claremont Institute, asserting that the “segregationist mountain went to the GOP” because in many God-fearing religious southern democratic minds the democratic party had become too radical, especially in their support of abortion — not because they felt the GOP shared any of the racist attitudes held for almost a 100 years by their southern democratic leadership. In fact, it was “fairminded” democrats who Nixon reached out to, in his attempts to open the GOP up to the south, not closed-minded racists, so typical of Lester Maddox and George Wallace followers. Even the great Senate leader and democratic icon, Robert Byrd, was a former KKK member, was against desegregating the military, even going so far as filibustering the Civil Rights Act. It was also under Nixon that R. Art Fletcher, a black republican, crafted Affirmation action. This legislation was initially created to be a merit-based plan. But, under the democrats’ influence, it evolved into a more racially terse, quota system.

    There are so many examples of republican proactive endorsements of civil rights, all the way through the 60’s, including the famous ’63 march on Washington organized by another black republican, A. Phillip Randolph, and irrationally opposed by President Kennedy. Even the NAACP was originally established by a republican in 1909, and first lead by black republican James Weldon Johnson.

    American history is rich in so many individual and legislative attempts by the GOP membership to end discrimination, once and for all. However, since the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the GOP’s free-market approach, equal standards for all, and no special preference principles have been messaged by the dems as being racist, insinuating the GOP to be the party of exclusion, when ‘inclusion’ has been their mantra and Congressional bent since the end of the Civil War.

    BTW, look up the history on northern Anti Civil War democrats — called Copper Heads — and their behavior towards African Americans. Also, racist southern dems had no love for the GOP until the 60’s begin to morph the dems towards leftist ideology. In fact, so despised were republicans that racist southern dems used to say they would rather vote for a “yellow dog,” than the R party, who they considered to be the Party of Blacks!

    Ironic, isn’t it!

  • TastyBits

    Lest we forget:

    Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) deemed black people second class citizens, and it was legal to discriminate against them. This was not limited to the South.

    Brown v. Board of Education (1954) deemed black people first class citizens, and it is illegal to discriminate against them.

    Take a minute, and let it sink in. It makes me want to take a shower. It is disgusting, but we should learn from it.

    I find it absolutely mind boggling that race is nothing more than something to be used to score a few political points. I would suggest that the fight be over which side is going to do more to make things better. I did not create the mess, but I would like to contribute something to fixing it.

Leave a Comment