Rekindling my hatred for Republicans

I’d let go of the hatred of Republicans for a while. I’d transferred most of the acrimony to Democrats, since Democratic policies have had the most devastating effects on my friends and family. Welfare has been incredibly destructive to blacks in America. The steady erosion of the family, the obsolescence of men within many black communities, and the reliance on government solutions to problems are things which I specifically associate with the programs supported by Democrats, and the popular support of the Democratic Party by blacks.

But just when I think I can forget about the Republicans, a reminder came to me, courtesy of The History Channel. During a discussion on cocaine, Nixon’s initiation of the war on drugs, and Reagan’s escalation of that policy were particularly highlighted. Looking at the ruin visited upon black communities, especially ones in urban areas, across the country, I found the old hatreds easy to resurrect. In my opinion, the war on drugs is the most destructive set of laws since slavery. Worse, in fact, than Jim Crow, since at least with Jim Crow laws, a black person could escape within the United States by going north. It is difficult to escape the war on drugs, even outside of the US.

Of course, the war on drugs cannot be blamed purely on Republicans. Democrats have waged the war on drugs very fiercely in their own right, yet few, if any, of the so-called black leaders who are commonly trotted out on various television programs bother to ever say anything negative about these policies. Those “leaders” are swift to take offense for all blacks for the smallest perceived slight or appearance of unfairness, yet they rarely attack the most savagely unfair laws on the books, drug laws. Indeed, looking at the issue without bias should lead any reasonable person to the conclusion that Barack Obama, due to his continued prosecution of the drug war, is the latest in a long line of racist presidents.

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  • Could you provide a little more justification for your slams against Democrats? Perhaps you’ve written about it elsewhere.

    First, the “harm” that you describe from the welfare policies seems to be rather indirect. I generally consider such inferences to be a real stretch. It’s very difficult to figure out what society would look like in the absence of some policy or another. Society is complicated.

    This indirect harm of welfare policies obviously pales in comparison to the direct and intentional harm done by drug prohibition policies (as you noted). Just to be clear, by “intentional harm”, I am referring to the harm inflicted on individuals who are punished, not the broader community.

    Do you think that economic support for the poor is inherently harmful, or has it just been implemented in a harmful manner. For instance, many of the policies (such as housing projects) seem rather totalitarian–not only does the state tell the recipient where the resources must be spent, but the state tells the recipient exactly where they have to live, and segregate them from normal society. Do you think that housing vouchers, or even cash, would be less damaging.

    As I understand, there has also been situations where the eligibility criteria create a distinct disincentive to increase one’s own income…where the effective income tax rate can be greater than 100%. I don’t know how widespread this was, or whether it has been fixed.

    As for this “economic safety net” in general, it seems that it can reduce the incentive for a person to get out of a bad situation, but on the flip side it can provide the basic resources needed to improve one’s lot.

    As for Obama’s “racism”, he seems to be in a tough bind. If the system (i.e. the state, the law, etc.) has institutionalized racism, and we aren’t prepared to abolish the entire institution today, and we don’t have enough influence within the institution to excise the racist parts, then an anti-racist person can only try to reform it gradually, and has to live with its ongoing racism.

    I think that Obama and the Dems are poised to do more to de-escalate the drug war than any government in the past few decades. I wish that it would be a higher priority, but I haven’t given up on them yet regarding this issue.

  • I can’t see any reason NOT to blame the Democrats as much as the Republicans for the War on (Some) Drugs. The Harrison Tax Act was passed in the Wilson Administration, essentially outlawing cocaine and the opiates. The Marijuana Tax Act (1937) and the Opium Poppy Control Act (1942) were passed in FDR’s administration; after (alcohol) prohibition was ended in 1933, it was FDR that redirected the “revenooers” to the drug war. The Boggs Amendment mandating sentences for narcotics was signed by Truman in 1951; LBJ signed DACA in 1965. Seems to be as bad a track record as the GOP. And certain, Carter and Clinton didn’t do much to end the war.
    As for the effects of welfare on ANYbody, black or white, but especially on black families and individuals, the harm is both direct and indirect: many studies have demonstrated this, and identified many different reasons for the harm, as well as the harm done: bastardy, single-parent families, multi-generational welfare clients, growth of political machines, expansion of bureaucracies, deterioration of rental properties, decline in home ownership, rise in crime, and many others.
    Do a Google search on “negative impacts welfare system” and you will see a half-dozen articles discussing the impact on marital status, children, families, and a whole lot more, just on the first page.
    If anything, the current administration exhibits all the indicators of “reverse racism,” similar to what happened in Haiti after its “revolution.”

  • A few issues here:

    1) Nathan is right that the Dems can take a lot of the blame for the Drug War. The status quo in both parties is to support prohibition, and both parties have their own high-profile decriminalizers. However, among the non-libertarian majorities in each party, I think there is a real difference: Dems emphasize harm reduction, fairness in sentencing, and general acceptance of marijuana, while Repubs emphasize absolute prohibition and punishment.

    2) Nathan, what do you mean by saying that welfare causes “direct” harm? What I meant by “direct” is that it harms the person who receives it (probably in a short time frame). Since welfare is voluntary, this is basically impossible (unless we adopt the patronizing attitude that we know better that the person involved).

    3) The Economist has a relevant article: Sex and the single black woman
    How the mass incarceration of black men hurts black women
    . This columnist has a tendency towards missing some important points, so I wonder what you think of this particular article.