The Libertarian Standard » Racism http://libertarianstandard.com Property - Prosperity - Peace Thu, 16 Oct 2014 23:30:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 A new website and group blog of radical Austro-libertarians, shining the light of reason on truth and justice. The Libertarian Standard clean The Libertarian Standard thelibertarianstandard@gmail.com thelibertarianstandard@gmail.com (The Libertarian Standard) CC-BY Property - Prosperity - Peace libertarianism, anarchism, capitalism, free markets, liberty, private property, rights, Mises, Rothbard, Rand, antiwar, freedom The Libertarian Standard » Racism http://libertarianstandard.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://libertarianstandard.com/category/racism/ TV-G Enoch was right (wing) http://libertarianstandard.com/2013/04/24/enoch-was-right-wing/ http://libertarianstandard.com/2013/04/24/enoch-was-right-wing/#comments Wed, 24 Apr 2013 14:43:14 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=12448 Enoch PowellI have a fondness for Enoch Powell that I never could manage for Margaret Thatcher. Perhaps that’s because I was indoctrinated to hate Thatcher and had never heard of Powell before last Saturday, when Wikipedia noted the 45th anniversary of the so-called Rivers of Blood speech for which he is infamous.

Both Thatcher and Powell were British politicians. Both were Conservatives. (Powell eventually left the Conservative party, claiming that while he was a life-long Tory, there were good Tories in the Labour Party. I guess I don’t really understand Toryism.) Both Thatcher and Powell are targets of left-wing hatred and smeared as proto-fascists. (See Lawrence Reed on the recent anti-Thatcher hatefest in the UK.) And I suspect the British Left would have a hard time distinguishing either of them politically from libertarians. We’re all ultra right wing, radically free market, and anti progress, aren’t we?

Powell rose to political stardom at the same time he fell from political power. On April 20, 1968, he gave a speech criticizing the British government’s existing immigration laws and its proposed anti-discrimination legislation. Everywhere I’ve looked for information on this speech and the speechmaker, these two issues have been conflated, and yet to a libertarian they could not be more different.

Two issues:

  1. Immigration
  2. Discrimination

On one of these, Powell seems to be in accord with us. On the other, not so much.

Immigration

Calls for the state to control or limit immigration are antithetical to the libertarian goal of limiting or eliminating the state itself.

(Unplanned plug: at Invisible Order we just completed our second ebook for Reason magazine, and it happens to be apropos: Pro-Growth and Humane: A Reason Guide to Immigration Reform.)

Discrimination

On the other hand, any law that prohibits individuals from discriminating on any basis they choose is a violation of the fundamental rights of free association and free thought. This line from Powell’s speech, which one detractor called an “explosion of bigotry,” could not be more in accord with libertarian thinking:

The third element of the Conservative Party’s policy is that all who are in this country as citizens should be equal before the law and that there shall be no discrimination or difference made between them by public authority. As Mr. Heath has put it, we will have no “first-class citizens” and “second-class citizens”. This does not mean that the immigrant and his descendants should be elevated into a privileged or special class or that the citizen should be denied his right to discriminate in the management of his own affairs between one fellow citizen and another or that he should be subjected to inquisition as to his reasons and motives for behaving in one lawful manner rather than another.

What is not at all in accord with liberty is Powell’s suggestion that the British taxpayer provide “generous grants and assistance” to help immigrants leave the UK. (Paul McCartney apparently considered some Enoch-specific lyrics in the Beatles song “Get Back (to Where You Once Belonged)” but they didn’t make it into the final release.)

If Margaret Thatcher was the British Ronald Reagan (or vice versa), perhaps Enoch Powell was the British Pat Buchanan (or vice versa). Like Buchanan, Powell was an ultra-nationalist. Like Buchanan, he consistently took positions in opposition to the main party line of his country’s conservatives. Powell supported gay rights and opposed nuclear weapons, at least within Britain. He advocated the dismantling of the British Empire.

Unlike Buchanan, Powell often advocated for free-market positions, although he seems, like Buchanan, to have had a soft spot for economic nationalism (which consistently takes the form of protecting the nation’s producers at the expense of the nation’s consumers).

While writing this post, I thought I should double-check to see if Murray Rothbard had had anything to say about Enoch Powell back in the day. Here’s the Libertarian Forum on the British elections of 1974:

Decades of horrific British policies have created a rigid, stratified, and cartellized economy, a set of frozen power blocs integrated with Big Government: namely, Big Business and Big Labor. Even the most cautious and gradualist of English libertarians now admit that only a radical political change can save England. Enoch Powell is the only man on the horizon who could be the sparkplug for such a change. It is true, of course, that for libertarians Enoch Powell has many deficiencies. For one thing he is an admitted High Tory who believes in the divine right of kings; for another, his immigration policy is the reverse of libertarian. But on the critical issues in these parlous times: on checking the inflationary rise in the money supply, and on scuttling the disastrous price and wage controls, Powell is by far the soundest politician in Britain. A sweep of Enoch Powell into power would hardly be ideal, but it offers the best existing hope for British freedom and survival. (Libertarian Forum, March 1974Download PDF)

And 8 months later:

Amidst this turmoil, the most heartening sign is the rapid growth of libertarians and anarcho-capitalists in a country that only a few years ago had virtually no one even as "extreme" as Milton Friedman. The major libertarian group is centered around Pauline Russell, and includes businessmen, journalists, economists, and others ranging from anarcho-capitalists to neo-Randians to the Selsdon Group, the free-market ginger group within the Conservative Party. Most of this group is friendly with the notable Enoch Powell, who of all the politicians in England is the only one with both the knowledge and the will to stop the monetary inflation and to put through a free market program and an end to wage and price controls. Powell, himself, despite his Tory devotion to the monarchy (which is seconded even by many of the English anarcho-capitalists), has grown increasingly libertarian. The Powell forces were working on a gusty strategy for the then forthcoming October elections: voting Labour in order to smash the statist leadership of Edward Heath. (Libertarian Forum, November 1974Download PDF)

(Cross-posted at bkmarcus.com.)

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Didn’t The Terrorists Win A While Back? http://libertarianstandard.com/2013/04/19/didnt-the-terrorists-win-a-while-back/ http://libertarianstandard.com/2013/04/19/didnt-the-terrorists-win-a-while-back/#comments Sat, 20 Apr 2013 03:49:22 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=12434 I posted the paragraph below on my Facebook page and a long, sometimes contentious, debate broke out. We even had a resident of Boston and a policeman–two different people, by the way–chime in to attack my point of view. Given that it generated so much discussion in that venue, I figured I’d share it here as well.

Armored police vehicles. Tactical teams. Everyone under house arrest. Soldiers and/or other armed enforcers roaming the streets. House-to-house searches. We call it, “Terror in Boston!” In any one of the several places the U.S. has invaded and/or is currently deploying drones, they’d call it, “Tuesday.” Perspective. Stated differently, maybe the “terrorists” won a while back?

Even looking at it now, it strikes me as obvious and uncontroversial. Maybe I’ve spent too much time sniffing the glue of philosophical free thought?

…cross-posted at LRCBlog.

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Was Hitler Really Anti-Gun Control? http://libertarianstandard.com/2013/01/14/was-hitler-really-anti-gun-control/ http://libertarianstandard.com/2013/01/14/was-hitler-really-anti-gun-control/#comments Tue, 15 Jan 2013 03:00:14 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=12278 A Salon.com article by Alex Seitz-Wald called “The Hitler Gun Control Lie” is making the rounds, purporting to challenge a myth Second Amendment enthusiasts spread that blames the Holocaust on Hitler’s policies of civilian disarmament. The thrust of the argument is that Hitler’s 1938 firearms law indeed ratcheted back restrictions from the Weimar era. But here is the most telling paragraph:

The law did prohibit Jews and other persecuted classes from owning guns, but this should not be an indictment of gun control in general. Does the fact that Nazis forced Jews into horrendous ghettos indict urban planning? Should we eliminate all police officers because the Nazis used police officers to oppress and kill the Jews? What about public works — Hitler loved public works projects? Of course not. These are merely implements that can be used for good or ill, much as gun advocates like to argue about guns themselves. If guns don’t kill people, then neither does gun control cause genocide (genocidal regimes cause genocide).

As a libertarian, I actually would argue that the violence of Hitler’s statism can be seen in such areas as his militarized police forces, and the totalitarian potential of a heavily policed society is one reason I’ve been so critical of America’s police.

Honing in on the gun rights issue, we see a most curious argument: Hitler was actually pro-gun rights—except for the minor issue of the Jews. We can get the same nuanced information from Wikipedia, which cites work by Stephen Halbrook and sums up Hitler’s gun control policy in this seemingly important area:

On November 11, 1938, the Minister of the Interior, Wilhelm Frick, passed Regulations Against Jews’ Possession of Weapons. This regulation effectively deprived all Jews of the right to possess firearms or other weapons.

Yes, Hitler did loosen some restrictions on firearms—except for the people he exterminated! The Seitz-Wald pieces relies heavily on a University of Chicago working paper by Bernard Harcourt, which includes this seemingly cursory dismissal of Hitler’s disarming of the Jews in the context of the Holocaust:

How to characterize their treatment of Jewish persons for purposes of gun control—banning the possession of dangerous weapons, including guns, in 1938, and subsequently exterminating Jewish persons—is, in truth, an absurd question. The Nazis sought to disarm and kill Jews, and their treatment of Jews is, for all intents and purposes, orthogonal to their gun-control tendencies.

Even if you don’t accept the standard “gun control = genocide” line coming from gun-rights advocates, this passage is just bizarre. If the question being debated is whether Hitler enacted gun control that enabled his murderous policies, it seems rather odd to me to concede that the “Nazis sought to disarm and kill Jews” yet assert in passing that genocide was “orthogonal to their gun-control tendencies.” Within a couple days of Kristalnacht, Hitler disarmed the very group he was most determined to eliminate. Even if this correlation is not causal, there is a relationship here. It is not random. It is not “orthogonal.”

Harcourt continues, writing that “if forced to weigh in, it actually seems, somewhat surprisingly, that the white supremacist Pierce may have the better of the argument: the Nazis were probably more pro-gun than their predecessors.”

He’s referring to one of the primary scholars behind the thesis that Hitler was pro-gun—William L. Pierce, “a pro-gun white supremacist” whose “ideological commitments are so flagrant” that he cannot be “trusted entirely in these historical and statutory debates.” Harcourt says the same about Halbrook, “a pro-gun litigator.”

This raises interesting questions. Surely we could expect someone with a soft-spot for white supremacy to be at least as biased as a pro-gun lawyer like Halbrook. This is not to say that a writer with extreme views is incapable of producing useful scholarship. Yet I would suspect that Pierce’s efforts to vindicate Hitler as a gun-rights champion in Gun Control in Germany, 1928–1945 might suffer from a fatal flaw, if indeed the gravamen that has made its way from that book to the Harcourt piece to the Salon.com article is: Hitler supported the right to bear arms. . . except for the Jews and other people he wanted to kill, but that’s a minor detail.

Harcourt weighs the evidence and argues that Pierce’s account is more accurate than Halbrook’s, but I think this all turns on a question of emphasis. Consider this revealing paragraph:

To be sure, the Nazis were intent on killing Jewish persons and used the gun laws and regulations to further the genocide. But it appears that the Nazis aspired to a certain relaxation of gun laws for the “ordinary” or “law-abiding” German citizen, for those who were not, in their minds, “enemies of the National Socialist state.” Stephen Halbrook, in fact, seems to acknowledges as much.

Yes, Halbrook does admit it—because Halbrook’s point isn’t that Hitler disarmed everybody; it’s that he disarmed the people he wanted to exterminate. We can glean this from the very title of his paper: “Nazi Firearms Law and the Disarming of the German Jews.”

I hate seeing poor history used in defense of liberty, and I hate seeing the false Nazi and Hitler quotes floating around. On the other hand, it seems to me that disarming Jews was indeed clearly one of the precursors to the Final Solution, as Harcourt admits, and as Seitz-Wald mysteriously ignores by dismissing the importance of Hitler’s prohibition of “Jews and other persecuted classes from owning guns.” If the only revisionist response to the core thesis that disarming the Jews facilitated the Holocaust is something like “Hitler only disarmed the Jews and his enemies,” one wonders what the policy implication is, especially considering that most people happily citing the Salon.com piece without reading it carefully or digging deeper seem to want to go even further and disarm the general population.

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Thumbs Down on the Fourth of July http://libertarianstandard.com/2012/07/04/thumbs-down-on-the-fourth-of-july/ http://libertarianstandard.com/2012/07/04/thumbs-down-on-the-fourth-of-july/#comments Wed, 04 Jul 2012 14:34:48 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=11327 Anthony Gregory has a great  post up on TLS today, Should We Celebrate the American Revolution?, which exposes many myths about the “libertarian” nature of Independence Day and the Revolutionary War. (See also Jeff Tucker and Doug French’s column today, The Birth of Sedition.) I previously expressed skepticism of Constitution Day (Black Armbands for “Constitution Day”). Likewise, it’s problematic “Independence Day” is upheld as some sort of libertarian event.

Doing some random wikipedia searching about the Statue of “Liberty,” I came across a great quote, from 1886, by an African American newspaper, scoffing at the dedication of the Statue of Liberty (official name: Liberty Enlightening the World) and at the idea that America was a some free country and beacon of liberty. These thoughts express basically how I feel about the 4th of July, celebrations of the Constitution, American “independence,” and America’s “birthday” (note: by calling July 4–the date the US government may be said to have emerged–the country’s birthday, a subtle equation is made between country and state; which is why today yahoos say you are “unpatriotic” or “you hate your country” if you don’t “respect the flag” or don’t send your kids off to the military meat grinder to fight in its savage wars, etc.):

Shortly after the dedication, the Cleveland Gazette, an African American newspaper, suggested that the statue’s torch not be lit until the United States became a free nation “in reality”:

“Liberty enlightening the world,” indeed! The expression makes us sick. This government is a howling farce. It can not or rather does not protect its citizens within its own borders. Shove the Bartholdi statue, torch and all, into the ocean until the “liberty” of this country is such as to make it possible for an inoffensive and industrious colored man to earn a respectable living for himself and family, without being ku-kluxed, perhaps murdered, his daughter and wife outraged, and his property destroyed. The idea of the “liberty” of this country “enlightening the world,” or even Patagonia, is ridiculous in the extreme.

They had a good point. I’m so sick of libertarians upholding America or its Founding slaveholding “Fathers” or the Declaration or the abominable Constitution (the word is rightly used as a swear word in L. Neil Smith’s The Probability Broach or Gallatin Divergence, as I recall, as in “Constitution! I just hit my thumb with a hammer!”). Today will see countless American yahoos, the products of government schools, cheering on our “freedom” by singing Lee Greenwood songs and crying when they put their hands over their hearts to worship Old Glory, in violation of the First Commandment.

All these state-sanctioned state-worshiping “patriotic” holidays only serve to equate country with state and to glorify the state and its statism1 and wars. I’ll watch fireworks with my kid tonight, but tell him to enjoy the lights and chemical reactions, not what the state wants it to signify.

Related posts:

 


  1. See Re: War and Civil Liberties Under Obama

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‘Hispanic’ vs. ‘White’ http://libertarianstandard.com/2012/04/04/hispanic-vs-white/ http://libertarianstandard.com/2012/04/04/hispanic-vs-white/#comments Wed, 04 Apr 2012 14:52:18 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=10808 As a Hispanic, watching the media’s use of terms like “white” and “Hispanic” and “Latino” in the Zimmerman-Martin case has been an occasion for much eye-rolling. The way the press uses these terms betrays just how completely ignorant most reporters and talking heads are about even the basics of ethnicity and race in this country. Also, it’s a fair bet that the “journalists” at CNN and NBC have never actually seen a Hispanic who wasn’t scrubbing toilets or peeling potatoes back at the reporters’ Chevy Chase estates, so they can be forgiven for being so clueless on this matter. Our media elite might have to leave Martha’s Vineyard to actually meet a Hispanic who didn’t fit their preconceived notions of race and ethnicity.

With the Zimmerman-Martin case, Zimmerman is labeled as simply white, in spite of his claims of Hispanic heritage, because that’s what the media has determined will produce the most fertile ground for “racial” conflict. Had Zimmerman been the victim of a shooting, and the shooter were also white, then Zimmerman would of course then be labeled Latino, and the case would then be a national story on the oppression of Latino persons of color by whites in this country. In fact, Zimmerman is pretty obviously white or perhaps mestizo. What is not deniable however that he is also Hispanic. I don’t know why this is so hard for the media to grasp, but let’s just make this clear: According to anthropologists, ethnologists, historians, and census takers, “Hispanic” or “Latino” is not a racial designation. It is a term that denotes ethnicity.

Hispanics can be of any race. There are white Hispanics, black Hispanics, and even Asian Hispanics. Examples would be former Mexican president Vicente Fox, Cuban musician Ibrahim Ferrer, and former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori, respectively. There are also, of course, mestizo Hispanics, such as Benito Juarez. White non-Hispanics are properly referred to as “non-Hispanic whites” in the technical jargon, and among us Hispanics, we simply refer to such people as “Anglos” for lack of another easy-to-use term. We all know, however, that only the mestizo Hispanics, who look like the stereotypical Latinos in the minds of many Americans, count as fully “Hispanic.” Indeed, my mother who is a dark-skinned Hispanic is often forced to have conversations like this with Anglos and other non-Hispanics:

Stranger: What are you? I mean racially? Mom: Uh, well, my parents came here from Mexico Stranger: Hmmm, you don’t look “Hispanic” Mom: Maybe if I donned a sombrero and put my hair in braids I would look Hispanic enough for you?

And so on.

Left liberals are often the worst about this. Being utterly parochial about race and ethnicity, as so many Anglo leftists are, they fancy themselves the arbiters of who is sufficiently Hispanic and who is not. Such is the case with the talking heads during the Zimmerman-Martin affair. Zimmerman, perhaps because of his German last name, is deemed white without any qualification because, well, that plays better as racial high-drama. And we all know that all Hispanics have Spanish surnames just like Nestor Kirchner, Salma Hayek and Bernardo O’Higgins, the George Washington of Chile.

Vicente Fox, Person of Color

Why should we refer to Zimmerman as a Hispanic? Well, because we know that he and his family claim that he is Hispanic. They know better than we do. A Hispanic is simply a person raised in a culture in which Hispanic cultural elements are a dominant or influential factor in one’s life. Such things include the Spanish language, a feeling of shared heritage and cultural solidarity with other Hispanics, and sometimes but not necessarily, Roman Catholicism. If someone has been raised in or lives in such an environment, such a person is probably Hispanic. It has nothing to do with race, and it has nothing to with the origins of one’s last name.

There is a reason that questionnaires with demographic information ask two questions to determine one’s status as a Hispanic or Latino: What race are you? and “Are you Hispanic or Latino?

NB: I don’t know if Zimmerman is a murderer or not. We have trials to sort those things out.

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The myth of high Muslim fertility rates, and the threat they pose http://libertarianstandard.com/2012/04/02/the-myth-of-high-muslim-fertility-rates-and-the-threat-they-pose/ http://libertarianstandard.com/2012/04/02/the-myth-of-high-muslim-fertility-rates-and-the-threat-they-pose/#comments Tue, 03 Apr 2012 02:57:19 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=10799 Important to the anti-Muslim narrative is the idea that Muslims reproduce at prodigious rates, and that this poses an existential threat to the West. Specifically, Muslims are reproducing so quickly, that within a generation or two, they will overwhelm the entire Western world.

These predictions are usually muttered by brooding prophets of doom who predict the near-impossibility of Western civilization over triumphing over the implacable foe. This is a common theme at various “race realist” (i.e. racist) web sites and other nationalist web sites that forever repeat myths about American exceptionalism and the U.S. state’s duty to defeat the global threat of the foreign races.

Rick Santorum has more or less built his entire career on the idea that Muslims are the great threat of our age and that all of Western society must be reformed into militant soldiers against Islam. We must “wake up” to the threat, Santorum believes. Watching the anti-Muslim crowd alternate between violent screeching for Holy War and sombre brooding over the grave threat, it is difficult to not think of the anti-communists of the days of yore, like Whittaker Chambers and Frank Meyer, who, being ex-communists, were absolutely convinced that the world was but in the midst of a losing rear-guard action against the superhuman army of Stalinist Soldiers of the Millennium.

It turned out, however, that the communist ubermensch was more interested in blue jeans and Coca Cola than in immanentizing the eschaton.

What sort of apparel and soft drinks motivate Muslims, I can’t say, but it does seem they now have at least one more thing in common with the Westerners: collapsing birth rates. Notes one researcher:

“Of the three major monotheistic religions, all of which encourage fertility, Islam is the one that encourages procreation the least,” he explains. The factor that explains different fertility rates around the world continues to be, not religion, but education levels. In addition, there are other political and sociological factors that differ from country to country, and which the examples below illustrate.
In short, a demographic Homo Islamicus does not exist. And instead of clashing civilizations, the world is headed towards demographic convergence.

Meanwhile, according to John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter, the Catholic population in Africa has increased 6,700 percent over the past century. Globally, there are not many more Muslims than the 1.1 billion Catholics, and when we add in other Christians, there are nearly twice as many Christians as Muslims.

But the the purveyors the Holy War will never be satisfied, and just as the anti-communists beat the drum for more and more government, more war, and more police statism, just as William F. Buckley called for a totalitarian bureaucracy in America to defeat communism, so it is for the anti-Muslims. Rick Santorum will not rest until the last American freedom has been extinguished in the name of killing a few more Muslims, but even if he fails, it seems likely that debt, bankruptcy, war, tyranny and societal dysfunction here at home are much bigger threats than a bunch of supposedly hyper-fertile Muslims.

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Fears of Decentralization http://libertarianstandard.com/2012/02/08/fears-of-decentralization/ http://libertarianstandard.com/2012/02/08/fears-of-decentralization/#comments Wed, 08 Feb 2012 13:27:21 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=10489 Many libertarians, perhaps most notably Thomas E. Woods, support the decentralization of power from the federal government, including the power of nullification. Many people fear and denounce this power, often because they like the immense power of the central state and are supporters of big government. There are, however, some very real concerns by people who desire freedom as their highest political goal. A simple question, which is asked in various forms is “if decentralization leads to more freedom, why did African slavery thrive in a more decentralized America, and only go away (well, sort of) when the central state forced it to go away?” Similar statements could be said of Jim Crow.

Tom Woods briefly addresses a critical point which bears emphasis: a major problem with decentralization is that decentralizing power may have huge negative effects for people who cannot vote.  The very people who are most obsessed with them not having political power are the people who are most empowered by the receding power of the central state. This points to the people that libertarian activists should concentrate on protecting: non-citizens (including both legal and illegal immigrants) and convicted felons in states which strip them of the franchise. As most minorities have the ability to exercise the vote, the greatest evils of the past have no chance of being repeated. And some unprecedented benefits may come about. Without the significant support of the federal government, individual states could not maintain the murderous drug war at the levels at which it is currently prosecuted.  Family and morals-destroying welfare programs would have to be greatly scaled back without the ability to print money. Taxes would have to be levied to pay for these things, forcing citizens to carefully evaluate just how much they wish to impoverish themselves in the attempt to eradicate various victimless crimes.

The benefits don’t end there. Freedom would be catching in this country for several reasons. Our national myths support the value of freedom. The proximity of states and the freedom of movement among them, in the face of massive differences in the amount of liberty inside them, would mean that the most inventive, industrious people would tend to leave less free areas and go to more free ones. This would impoverish the most oppressive states, further pressuring them to liberate. Perhaps the single most important factor which would allow liberty to really catch in the United States is that the US military would not be looking to crush these efforts, as it does in other countries. If liberty is to be permitted by any government, it is likely that it will have to be permitted in the USA, as the American government is among the world’s most fervent supporters of foisting government on people, whether they like it or not, in the name of “stability.”

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Don’t These Uppity Negroes Ever Get Tired of Being Uppity? http://libertarianstandard.com/2011/10/20/dont-these-uppity-negroes-ever-get-tired-of-being-uppity/ http://libertarianstandard.com/2011/10/20/dont-these-uppity-negroes-ever-get-tired-of-being-uppity/#comments Thu, 20 Oct 2011 22:14:42 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=9344 I’ve written on the phenonenon before, most recently, while examining the trite hate-fest that pretends to be media coverage surrounding LeBron James. And frankly, I’ve found myself disagreeing with Bryant Gumbel on a number of salient points throughout these discussions. This time though, Gumbel is on-point. Recently he made these comments, regarding the NBA Lockout and how NBA Commissioner David Stern is handling it:

Stern’s version of what has been going on behind closed doors has of course been disputed, but his efforts were typical of a commissioner who has always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer, treating NBA men as if they were his boys. It’s part of Stern’s M.O., like his past self-serving edicts on dress code and the questioning of officials. His moves were intended to do little more than show how he’s the one keeping the hired hands in their place.

His comments have drawn a lot of ire, much of it from black media members. (In full disclosure, I tend to discount white media member’s discomfort when a black person uses a supposed slavery analogy. Call it a personal failing.)  Try though I may, I can’t find what is incorrect about Gumbel’s statement.

It’s accurate, right down to Stern’s approach in handling “his” players. Apparently, invoking slavery–or seeming to invoke slavery–since Gumbel didn’t call the NBA players slaves, is a special case of Godwin’s Law. I get that too, but here’s the thing.  The fact that those who are under control are better paid is no reason to conclude that control is not taking place. (A similar analogy is applicable to the American State and its “freedoms.”) The amount of compensation doesn’t necessarily change the relationship between those under control and those who control them.  (It can however, and I’d be among the first to admit, make the control feel better!)

Sometimes, the plantation is in our minds. One of my idols, Carter G. Woodson, might suggest that this is often the case.  The walls surrounding this mental plantation were on full display during a recent “debate” I watched on ESPN. Asked if the players should start their own league, one of the commenters said “No!” He suggested that they should instead hold out and continue to fight the owners, hoping that they eventually receive–what this commenter thought–was appropriate compensation, or a “better deal” from the owners.

So, they’re not really on a plantation, i.e., they can leave and “do their own thing” whenever they like, but instead of doing that, they should debate with the overseers about how much cornmeal is enough? Damn. I’m forced to quote Woodson again:

When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his “proper place” and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary. … History shows that it does not matter who is in power … those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they had in the beginning.

Count me among those who hopes, desperately, that just this once, rich guys living in a mostly-free society tell their ostensible overseer to go jump in a lake, and use free enterprise to their own advantage. (They probably won’t—but a guy can dream, right?)

…cross-posted at LRC.

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Super-statists Love The Super State http://libertarianstandard.com/2011/09/05/super-statists-love-the-super-state/ http://libertarianstandard.com/2011/09/05/super-statists-love-the-super-state/#comments Mon, 05 Sep 2011 18:35:30 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=9059 After a horrific and murderous weekend in NYC, Mayor Bloomberg, frustrated that folks determined on committing crimes are ignoring those magical incantations and spells enacted by local legislators, does what must necessarily follow in the mind of the statist: call the feds.

“We cannot tolerate it,” Bloomberg said while speaking at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn. “There are just too many guns on the streets and we have to do something about it.”

New York has the toughest gun laws in the country, but Bloomberg said the city alone cannot stop the onslaught of shootings. “We need the federal government to step up,” he said.

The problem of crime is that it finds a way. And prohibitions are, at best, marginal; but they are totalitarian nonetheless and have no place in a free society. To try to control the means of the few by subjecting the entirety of society to the dictate of a despot is a symptom of desperation. After all, not every place experiences the same level of overall crime or the same numbers of crimes committed by firearms.

And then there is the elephant in the room. As Robert Wicks points out, “‘getting guns off the streets’ is just code for ‘getting poor urban minorities to disarm themselves.'” Indeed, NYC’s own government report on crime shows that minorities both commit and experience a higher percentage of crimes. Yet because most minorities are not criminals but potential victims, gun disarmament leaves minorities in a greater situation of peril. Of course, politicians do not understand economics or how incentives work so they would never think that ending drug (and gun) prohibition, welfare, taxes, zoning and licenses, rent control and compulsory education would radically lower crime across the board.

As for Bloomberg, his policies, and the policies of Albany, are–let’s face it–pretty much an epic fail. The last thing anyone needs is the federal government coming in to “fix” things.

 

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It’s 2011: Do You Know Where Your Uppity Negroes Are? http://libertarianstandard.com/2011/06/16/it%e2%80%99s-2011-do-you-know-where-your-uppity-negroes-are/ http://libertarianstandard.com/2011/06/16/it%e2%80%99s-2011-do-you-know-where-your-uppity-negroes-are/#comments Thu, 16 Jun 2011 20:17:03 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=8744

Uppity Negro: N.—a Black person who is committed to reversing the crimes of self-refusal, self-denial, and self-hatred that are endemic to the Black community and detrimental to the Black psyche. Syn.—UNAPOLOGETIC. VAINGLORIOUS. MULTIFARIOUS. JUST AUDACIOUS. ~ The Urban Dictionary

Having written on both LeBron and Kobe it should be pretty clear that I like sports. What I find particularly fascinating is how a combination of selective logic and the availability heuristic drive almost all sports discussions, be they on “sports talk radio” or during the ostensibly more journalistic major network coverage. In the case of Kobe, I was amazed that something as innocuous as a video game could draw so much discussion, but then again, the discussion of irrelevant crap even remotely involving sports has spawned an entire profitable network. Just ask Disney. (FTR, I openly admit to watching way too much of this particular network.)

Recently, I found myself Tweeting about LeBron James quite a bit. (Yes, I obviously have time to kill.) I have also found myself responding to several negative posts about him among my Facebook friends. Over the last few days, people I don’t even know have exchanged barbs with me about James. Ironically, this is despite the fact that I was fiercely hoping for a Dallas victory. How did this author—a staunch supporter of Dirk, J-Kidd, and the Mavs—morph into a protector of LeBron’s image? Truthfully, I do not know. Well, I did not know, until I watched a particularly interesting telecast on “The LeBron Network,” which is occasionally also referred to as ESPN.

During the episode, amid ample dissection of the game itself, much was made of a statement James made during the post-game press conference. At some point during the presser, after he had been asked a breathtaking variety of insipid questions ranging from “Did you choke?” to “Why do you think you perform so poorly during the clutch?” James was asked, “What do you think about the people who hate you?” (or words to that effect). No, I am not making this up. Whatever happened to asking sports figures about, well, sports—Xs and Os and the like?

LeBron responded with some variant of, “Tomorrow those people will wake up with the same life they have, and so will I.” I was proud of him. The reporters on ESPN were aghast! Surely, he will regret saying that later, they opined. My question is simply, “Why?” What LeBron said was accurate. Maybe he should have been more sheepish in his response. Sheepish always plays well for the cameras. Maybe he should have continued to respond politely to even more insulting, vapid, and frankly, silly questions. Good for him that he did not. After some consideration I now realize that LeBron’s biggest offense that night was the same as his biggest offense throughout this whole saga, dating back to The Decision.

LeBron James is an uppity Negro!

I’m not the first person to draw this conclusion. Skip Oliva implies a similar conclusion in his piece, “LeBron and the Collectivist Mentality.” Says Oliva:

James is the ongoing target of one of the most vehement public racism campaigns in recent memory. And when I say racism, I don’t mean he’s being targeted because he’s African-American. That type of racism is generally taboo. James is a professional athlete, which is one of the few groups the mainstream press not only condones racism against, but also actively promotes.

Oliva stopped short of saying James is a target of died-in-the-wool racism. This author won’t pull up short. LeBron James is an uppity Negro. In fairness, Oliva made the above statement over a year ago. He now says, “I’m 100% on-board with the notion that this is straight-up anti-black racism.” He shared with me that this wonderfully even-handed piece from Deadspin provided the tipping point for his point-of-view. (Parental guidance suggested for anyone following that link, and by the way, it is not even-handed.)

If there is one thing the press doesn’t like, it’s an uppity Negro—particularly when those members of the press think they have somehow bestowed greatness upon that Negro. (“We made you, nigger, and we can break you.”) In this case, James had the gall to actually collude with two other darkies to decide for whom he and they would play basketball. The nerve! He did this with the stated goal of winning the NBA championship. Say what? He even had the moxie to openly state that he and his compadres would win multiple NBA championships. Tacky? Sure. It seems pretty clear to me that he was, at that point, just mugging for the camera (i.e., not having a serious discussion of his team’s prospects), but apparently statements made during a made-for-fans celebration are fodder for public debate and reprisal. Tacky statements from sports figures ain’t exactly something new, are they? Again, if we return to Oliva, we get a clue as to what really galls me about this situation:

I’ve heard reasonable basketball minds differ as to whether James might be closer to a championship in Chicago or New York. Such debate is normal and fun. What I’m critical of is the collective consciousness of the press harping on nonsensical talking points that seek to portray James as somehow antisocial or mentally unbalanced. I believe such criticism originates from the false belief that professional athletes like James must conform their behavior to social norms that the critics themselves would not adhere to. (Emphasis added.)

Exactly. We can debate if The Decision, i.e., the announcement of his plans to “take his talents to Miami,” was handled properly, but as Oliva states elsewhere in his piece and as I state in mine—previously posted here—the movement of high-profile players around the NBA, and elsewhere, is routine. Anyone who seriously thinks LeBron is the first superstar to be teamed-up with another superstar would do well to repeat one phrase to himself:  Boston Celtics. (Boston even calls their three studs “the Big Three,” just as sportswriters have dubbed the Miami triumvirate of Wade, James, and Bosh.) As an aside, Kobe Bryant publicly pouted in Los Angeles—while privately threatening to leave—until the Lakers went out and stole “the most skilled big man in the NBA” and brought him to L.A. to help Kobe win, which he promptly did. That the Miami case can be presented as somehow unique is laughable, except for one thing—the Miami case happened because the players directly pulled the strings, versus the normal course of events, whereby team owners and management do so. Damned uppity Negroes!

Conclusion

Will the Heat win multiple championships? I don’t know and, really, I don’t care. Did LeBron choke against Dallas? I’ve played a lot of sports and I actually have no idea what that phrase even means. (Wiki didn’t help, since the definition they gave didn’t apply to this case.)  More to the point, as Wade so eloquently answered that tacky question, the terminology “choked” is overused. The use of such a designation suggests that the Mavericks do not deserve due credit. Basically, saying the Heat choked is tantamount to saying that Dallas won by default. What a compliment! (Apparently, Dallas has the power to make four consecutive teams, even the vaunted Lakers, who they swept, become chokers.  The Force is strong with the Mavs!)

That the same group of supposed journalists can simultaneously ask if Miami choked while celebrating Dirk Nowitski’s clutchness is testament to the cognitive dissonance that we’ve come to expect from the typical coverage of U.S. sports and embrace as we enjoy it.  That the same people who over-praised, over-promoted, and over-hyped a 26-year-old basketball prodigy now attack him for being audacious is par for the course. After all, unapologetic audaciousness is the very definition of being an uppity Negro.

For a little historical context, one has only to look at the post-NBA career of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Kareem was always, always the prototypical uppity Negro—and now, one of the smartest men to ever play in the NBA, cannot get a sniff at an NBA coaching job. Clearly, not pandering to the press and not displaying appropriate levels of “humility” is not only a recipe for ridicule and personal attacks, all too often from people who should know better, but also a way to make sure you spend lots of time watching other guys get opportunities while you do not. While I can appreciate the age-old wisdom of “going along to get along,” part of me also hopes folks like LeBron James continue to follow the advice offered by Frederick Douglass, in his Narrative, when he says:

I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and incur my own abhorrence.

Granted, Douglass was speaking of issues far more important than basketball. It strikes me that amazingly negative attitude toward LeBron James is about more than basketball as well.

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